“There are neither ignoramuses nor perfect sages; there are only men who are attempting, together to learn more than they now know.” – Paulo Freire
The starting point of any educational process lies with the philosophy held by the educator. Perhaps there is no more important aspect to the teacher-learner relationship, because the working philosophy of the teacher determines the purpose, and ultimately much of the success of the educational activity.
What is the aim of the instructional program?
What assumptions has the educator made about truth and what experiences are valuable?
What assumptions exist about the nature of the learner, and his will to learn?
Don’t you wish that education could begin with the end in mind – and that the end was something other than highstakes testing? Maybe the goal should be that for which the instructional program was designed and toward which the teacher and learner striver?
In his book, The Experimental Mind in Education (Harper & Row, 1968), Bob Burton Brown put it this way:
Teachers, like everyone else, can behave only in terms of what seems to them to be so.
Their classroom practices are related to their beliefs. What teachers believe and do about educational problems in the classroom depends to a considerable extent upon their fundamental beliefs about (1) people, and why they behave as they do, (2) reality, or the world in which people live, and (3) knowledge, its nature and relationship to what people do. Such beliefs are called a person’s philosophic point of view or frame of mind.
In today’s educational environment, the adult educator who possesses a philosophy extends the profession by being able to articulate the assumptions upon which her practice is built, bring a certainty to her actions, to what ought to be taught and how– and delineate what conditions should exist to inform that process.
As professional educators – or maybe you’re a school administrator or someone in the business of education, we hope you will paticipate in the faculty lounge community by contributing compelling resources and commentary in the service of the teachers everywhere – as well as for the people who live and learn from them.