Josh Hotz’s Educational Philosophy
In putting together my philosophy of education I looked at several things. I started by examining the goals of education and how education prepares the student for the future. I then looked at the relationship between schools and society. Next, I decided to look at both the perspective on “the learner” as well as “the teacher”. The nature of learning is the next topic that will be covered followed by the perspective of “the school”, curricular organization, and the educational process. Finally I wanted to look at some of the obstacles that may arise when trying to implement this philosophy.
The goal of education is simply to prepare the student for the future. This can be done in many ways. First it starts in the classroom by learning the fundamentals of Math, Science, English, History, and Computers. I believe all students need the core concepts in order to be successful in anything they do. Once these basic concepts are learned through repetition, practice, and reading, the students need to learn how to relate them to everyday life. Most students tend to get bored when doing Algebra and wonder how it will ever be used in there life after school. Students need to see that the things they are learning everyday will have some use at some point in their life. If someone believes they are wasting their time it can be very difficult to keep their attention.
Another way education can prepare the students for the future is through extracurricular activities. Athletics is a great learning tool. Competition, discipline, and hard work are all great things that can be taught through athletics. Other clubs and activities that teach students to think outside the box are also very beneficial. Whether its band, student council, or the journal club, there are valuable lessons in everything.
By being a well rounded in the basic subjects and also learning the values of hard work and competition, the students will be prepared for the future. If they chose to continue on to college they will have all the necessary tools to be successful. If they decide to enter the workforce, again, they will have a basic core system to rely on.
The schools are part of society. This is most prevalent in smaller towns. The smaller communities really get behind their schools and continue to involve themselves in the schools years after graduating. I believe this strengthens the schools. Even in larger communities schools are a way of relating with one another. The schools are in a way producing the future adult society as well as shaping the younger society. The school in which a student attends is largely how they are judged or perceived. Whether this is right or wrong is another question but this is the way it is. In this town, a person who goes to Chaminade is perceived as rich and smart and in most cases will be successful. The person who goes to Vashon is perceived as dumb and poor and in many cases will not graduate high school. There is a direct correlation between the schools and the society we live in.
The learner needs to be willing to learn and the teachers need to be willing to teach and get them excited to learn. Young students have a lot on their minds and it is the teacher’s job to get them to focus for the short time that they are in front of them. The teacher must be able to relate to the students or find a way to relate the topics to the students every day life. The student must participate in order for this to be successful. It is a two way road. The teacher must have an organized plan and inform the students just what that plan is. I believe if the student is able to follow along and know exactly what they will be required to do, they will be more productive. The teacher must stick to this plan in order to keep the students on the right track. Students need to ask questions while the teacher needs to take the time to answer all questions. There are NO dumb questions. The teacher needs to make sure all students know you are available for them if they are struggling and encourage them to ask questions. The teacher needs to make sure everyone is ready to move on before doing so. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate to the teacher if there are any problems.
For a student to get the most out of school they need to be involved in something besides class. As mentioned before, athletics is a great way to teach life lessons as well as grow socially. Athletics should also encourage students to do well in their studies because there are eligibility requirements. A student is not allowed to participate if they do not meet these basic requirements. Other activities can have the same effect on students. It is important to get more than out of school than just the core knowledge. Life lessons need to be learned and organized school activities can have a great impact on the students.
All students learn differently but I feel people learn best when they don’t actually know they are learning something. Core beliefs and values are learned by hands on activities. Students learn best by doing. One may not know they are learning the benefits of hard work when they are at home doing math problems for hours. The student is learning key skills for everyday life when doing math. What they learn most, in my opinion, is accountability, the benefits of hard work, and the great feeling of completing a task. A student does not know this while they are doing these math problems. It is only after they complete the assignment that they begin to pick up on these other valuable lessons. This can go for any assignment. By being accountable for your school work you are learning how to be accountable for your career and life. It is important for teachers to point this out to the students when the students feel it is a waste of time or get bored with the assignments.
The school is responsible for being a safe place for children to come to learn all the things listed above. It is the responsibility of the school to make sure the students have a comfortable working environment. A student should never not feel safe. I believe bullying is a major issue and needs to be dealt with very seriously. School’s need to have zero tolerance. A school also needs to be a place where a student has the ability to learn and grow as a person. Allowing students to express themselves should be allowed to a certain extent. The school needs to be open minded to the needs and issues of all students.
As stated above, there are certain core subjects students will need to learn in order to be prepared for the future. Much like today’s schools students will be required to learn Math, Science, English, History, and Computers. All students who would like to attend college would be encouraged to take classes on the ACT and SAT standardized tests. All students will be required to be in at least one extracurricular activity per semester. There is so much to be learned in activities outside of the classroom. Classes that will prepare students for a specific job related field will be offered. Being able to show the students how their core classes can be related to a career will be a key concept.
There will be some obstacles implementing this philosophy. One, getting all the students to effectively participate in an extracurricular activity may be difficult. It will be important to show both the students and parents the benefits of these activities. Staffing all these activities may be a challenge as well. Besides the mandatory extracurricular activities my philosophy is much like today’s schools. The core classes are mandatory and elective classes are offered. I would make sure the teacher’s were expressing the big picture when students are feeling bored or uninterested in the topic at hand.
The schools main mission will be to prepare the students for a productive future no matter what they decide to do with it. The end product should be a well rounded person with the key knowledge and life lessons that make it possible to be productive in today’s society.