In this essay I will examine my philosophy of education, that is, my own personal beliefs about education, and the sources in which I have drawn these ideas from. I will then use this to examine how that I will apply these to my future professional career. I will first start by referring to my teaching metaphor that I used to describe what a teacher symbolised to me. I chose to do an idea that I felt would be unique to myself, in order to highlight my own individuality, a value of which I believe is very important in educational terms. The idea that I chose was to relate the concept of the teacher to being similar to that of the concept of the ninja. On the surface it may seem like an odd comparison to make but there are many qualities that are shared between the two that I feel are essential in being a good teacher. Qualities such as dedication, patience, teamwork, utilising tools/resources, pride/honour in your work and the utilisation of stealth – Pollard states that the best lessons often occur when the children aren’t even aware that learning is taking place. (Pollard, 2008) Due to the fact that the connections between the two concepts were not as obvious at first, I feel that it enabled me to look deeper into finding connections between them. It put pressure on me to justify the choices I made which in turn, I believe, gave me a deeper understanding of what I believe are the qualities/skills required to be a successful teacher.
As previously mentioned one of the aspects of education that I value considerably is the value of individuality. Richard Aldrich notes that individuality is an aspect that Locke gives considerable weight to as well. Aldrich carries on by saying that Locke believes that every child is unique and should be taught in a way that is reflective of this, in that ‘each man’s mind has some peculiarity, as well as his face, that distinguishes him from all others; and there are possibly scarce two children, who can be conducted by exactly the same method.” (Aldrich, 1994: 11) Aldrich states that this is in reference to the fact that just because one style of teaching proves effective when working with one child does not mean that it will automatically work well for another, meaning that a range of strategies must be employed in order for all of the children to be taught effectively. (Aldrich, 1994) Richard Ashcraft however notes, that it is worth considering, that when writing his notes on this, Locke was writing in regards to the teaching of a pupil by his/her own personal tutor. This tutor would easily be able to design the lessons around the pupil’s individual learning requirements due to the close relationship that is formed from working one on one. Ashcraft puts forward the notion that this becomes difficult for modern day teachers to implement due to the sheer number of pupils in the class and the amount of class time that is available. This in turn restricts the teacher’s ability to cater for every child’s individual requirements, in every lesson. (Ashcraft, 1991) It is important to consider a historical perspective whilst examining educational theory. Lawton states that most of what is commonly accepted as good educational practice today have their origins set in the theories and hypotheses of educational/philosophical thinkers of the past. (Lawton, 2002) Ayers does acknowledge that there exists a sharp contrast between the society of today and the time in which Locke had written his theories on education. Ayers carries on by saying that whilst Locke’s world of personal tutors and the teaching of gentlemen seems far removed from the educational priorities of the twenty-first century, many of his ideas are still as relevant to today’s society as ever. (Ayers, 1991)
Another vital quality that is essential, in my opinion, in forming my own teaching philosophy is the notion of a positive ethos. Both McLaughlin and Solvason state that whilst from time to time the definition of