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Application of Educational Philosophies

Using educational philosophies in the classroom

With all the different philosophies I’ve read about over the past five weeks, it’s hard to keep them all straight, and harder still to determine which one will work best for me. One thing I have learned is that no one philosophy includes all the elements I’d like to incorporate into my own classroom. With that being the case, this paper will review the philosophies of idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism to determine what parts of these philosophies I’ll incorporate into my own educational philosophy.


From idealism, I take the practice of using the Socratic Method of skillful questioning to help my students develop their critical thinking skills. The Socratic Method is a type of questioning that uses probing questions to help “stimulate the student’s recollection” (Gutek, 2009, p. 19). Asking these types of questions can get students probing into the answers, which can lead to dialogue that increases learning for everyone involved. Something else I’ll take away from idealism is the view of the teacher as a moral compass. By modeling how I want my students to behave, I can help them learn what is and what is not acceptable in the grown up world.


From realism, I’ll take the belief that our actions should be purposeful. Every event in life provides us with an experience to learn. The real trick is to discover what the lesson is. We can even learn when we do thing the wrong way, and hopefully, what we learn is to avoid the same mistakes in the future. If we keep learning in the back of our minds and move forward with the purpose of learning from the life we’re living, education becomes a richer, fuller experience.


From pragmatism, I’ll take on the idea that reflective thinking is a key to a successful educational experience. Reflective thinking helps students research a problem systematically, and aids them in developing the critical thinking skills they’ll need to get through life. Reflective thinking is more than just hashing through the same old problems repeatedly. Reflective thinking means learning to dig deeper into the meaning of something, and learning to create a workable solution to the problem at hand.


From existentialism, I’ll take the belief that we choose the life we live. Our choices, throughout life, make a difference in where we end up. We have to create our own course, and we have to ensure that our own life has meaning, Nobody else can do this for us. I’ll also take away the belief that although we may belong to many groups, our groups do not define us. We always have the right, and the ability to choose for ourselves what we will become.


My educational philosophy combines elements from each of the four philosophies that have been mentioned. I believe each has qualities that I can use in my own classroom, and I’m looking forward to learning how to put them altogether.