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Selena Ledford

Portfolio Two
Philosophy paper two
November 8, 2015

Introduction
As a society changes, educational system and philosophy evolves as
well. More and more techniques and options on how to make education and learning better have
happened. The more I spend my time in the classroom, the stronger some of my opinions on how
education should work. This paper looks at how my opinions have changed, where my opinions
have stayed the same and what I feel makes a good teacher and a great class.
My beliefs
Looking at what I have done once I entered the education department, I had some sense
of what I wanted to do and what is the best way to teach children. Most stem from the way that I
learned as a child and what I personally did not like doing when I was a student. There was a
balance of doing everything for my students and doing nothing. Finding it took practice. My
main thought when it comes to teaching is that I want my students to learn by doing activities. I
want them to be in the dirt, researching and allowing me to help guide them to the answers not
give it to them. I want my students to find the answer or very similar answers after thinking
about it themselves. I want to teach them that are some honest truths in everything. I want to
teach them that knowledge is always changing and that we must learn the structure and how to

build it before anything else. I have always thought that my philosophy always matched up with
the Perennials style of teaching. That first we must teach about the things that have not changed
or will not change for what could be forever before we teach something facts (Jordan, K., Metha,
A., Webb, L., 2010, p. 72). If we teach like these, students will be able to take the basic
information and manipulate it until it comes to the facts of the time.
This is important for me because a few times through my time at Wesleyan, it was
mention that we are teaching students for jobs that have not yet been created. As teachers, we
now are preparing them for those jobs. That is why I feel that as teachers we need to teach kids
how to figure out information by teaching them information that will stay consistent.
Teaching students how to search use their prior knowledge is important. That is why I
feel including technology in the everyday classroom is needed. My reasoning for this comes
from reflecting on both my different school placements and part of the theory of postmodern
Constructivism. This means individual constructs their own meaning their own personal
experiences, also can be called prior knowledge (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004, para 2). My school
placements allowed me to show how important schools need technology. I have been in schools
that still had computers from the 1990s and others that had smart boards and computers that the
children can use. It seemed that the difference between what and how things were being taught.
The schools that had computers from the 1990s were not being used, and it seemed that teachers
are using textbooks and outdated materials in class instead. The schools with higher quality of
technology, used it, and also played more songs videos that when along with the standards.
Those schools seemed to have more differentiate activities in the classroom. For the
Constructivism, I agree with the part that students construct their own meaning from personal
experiences, but I disagree with the part of postmodernism that believes that reality is subjective

and does not depend on out history (Jordan, K., Metha, A., Webb, L., 2010, p. 87). I will go
more into detail about this in my next paragraph. Children today are greatly influenced by
technology ranging from televisions, video games, and computers. Information is being thrown
at them from all corners. As teachers, we need to help guide the students and teach them
elements that will help them make educated choices.
Postmodern constructivism, Perennialism, and Humanism all have points which I agree
with and see as parts of my philosophy of education. Perennailism states that humans are
rational being, and their minds need to be developed (Cohen, 1993, para. 2). I also believe that
there is some universal truths and that children should learn and be able to define the ideas that
are everlasting (Cohen, 1993, para. 2). For me this means that if we look at a subject, how its
viewed all around the world. That with the different perspectives there at the center can be a and
is a common truth. One example of this could be religion. There are many types of religions, yet
in the center we believe in something higher than ourselves. To find and understand these truths,
we must read and study the great works of literature and the arts and also understand the laws
and principles of science (Cohen, 1993, para. 2). Humanism is the belief that we must show
respect to people and also the dignity of the human spirit and all of nature (Jordan, K., Metha, A.,
Webb, L., 2010, p. 103). Erasmus, a humanist during the Renaissance, believed in the education
of children and that teachers need to be education in an extensively large area of subjects and
also the subject that they are teaching in (Jordan, K., Metha, A., Webb, L., 2010, p. 103). This
last statement is what I think that Wesleyan is doing for all majors. It is why we as education
majors take two sciences, an art and along with our general education classes from all subjects. I
also feel that this is important for a childs education. Children need someone who knows an
array of information and also are willing to learn with students. The importance of teacher

having a range of knowledge is important because then they can talk and discuss information
with their students on what they find interesting. The humanistic approach believes that the
interest of students should be picked for their choices in materials and methods and not
necessarily the choice of others (Jordan, K., Metha, A., Webb, L., 2010, p.103). Constructivism
is the believed that students construct their own meaning from hand on experiences, problem
solving activities (Jordan, K., Metha, A., Webb, L., 2010, p. 88). These three philosophies all
have components that fit along with what I believe. At first I only thought that Perennialism
matched my philosophy of education, but now I see elements in all three. When I taught my
science unit, I really did not want to use a textbook or just tell them about rocks and erosion. I
wanted them to do activities that let them see science happen in the moment. That idea goes
along with Constructivism. The knowledge of what will happen is the fail safe for that unit. I
knew the basics of erosion and studied the topic enough that I could answer questions that my
students asked me. This matches up with both the PerennialismandHumanismphilosophies.I
knewthatConstructivismwasthehandonexperiencesthatIgavethem.Seeingthem
researchingandmakingguessesallowedthemtounderstandwhatwashappeningbecausethey
werecreatingandcausingareaction.
The idea of guiding them and teaching them general guidelines is truly important to me.
My first portfolio paper mentions a story as part of my introduction. It was the story of my
mother forcing me to ride my bike without training wheels (Ledford, S., 2014., p.1). Her words
were You can. You have the potential to do it. You have been practicing and with that you just
need to understand the moment you start you keeping pedaling and when stop stick your feet to
the ground. Also, what is most important is when you do fall you get up and try again (Ledford,
S., 2014., p.1). The thought was that take a risk, learn from it, and get up and try again (Ledford,

S., 2014., p.1). This idea was taught to me and ingrained in me, and I think that I took it to heart.
Learning takes time and many practices. Theories would not be needed if children only took
once to understand and were able to apply what was being taught to them. For me, I grew up
knowing I need to try again if I failed. I did not know that I had self-efficacy. I had that belief in
myself that allowed me to have that sense of competence (Mraz, M., Vacca J., Vacca R., 2011, p.
169). The moment that I learned about this I took it in. I made a promise to myself that I would
show my students that they could do anything that they set their minds too. My job was and is to
build their self-efficacy. I plan to do this by giving them detail positive criticism and helpful
criticism. They need to know what they are doing right and how they can improve.
What my Belief Would Look like in an Elementary School Classroom
In my classroom, science is taught by experiments and those experiments happen because of
questions that we need or want to answer. My students will be comfortable answering questions.
In my first philosophy paper, I included a quote from Neil Tyson, who is an Astrophysicist
(Tyson, N., 2011, para. 1). He states that every child is a scientist (Tyson, n., 2011, para. 2).
Kids are scientist at the most basic level. This is something that I believe is important. Kids start
trying to figure everything out before they get into school. This can be seen when they are
putting everything in their mouths. They then go on to connect what they see to what they are
being taught. Schools should be another place where their questions can be explored and
answered. My classroom will be filled with different types of activities that deal with questions.
For science, the questions will be hypothesis and for other subjects it can be anything. One
example would be a questioning the author, also known as a QTA. This is a comprehension
strategy that shows students how to and the importance of asking questions (Mraz, M., Vacca J.,

Vacca R., 2011, p. 204). It goes along with my idea that questions are okay and that to learn
something we must first ask a question.
My classroom will be filled with centers and group discussions. I know that there are the
multiple intelligences and different personalities. That it is important to find activities that my
student find interesting and help them connect and understand what is being taught and explored.
I want my class to be student-centered where they are getting what they need. I am, as the
teacher guiding them to to the knowledge that is in the standards. I think that groups are really
important because it allows students to learn from other student. It gives them examples of
experiences that they may not have had if they did not spend time working with another person.
For students to understand basic truths, they must learn and see the world from someone elses
viewpoint. That is why my classroom along with inquiry will also be a multicultural classroom. I
will use the transformative approach that allows students to read about concepts and events, to
think critically and to generate their own conclusions about those ideas (Mraz, M., Vacca J.,
Vacca R., 2011, p. 55). I truly want my classroom to be a place where kids know their ideas are
important. They are learning information at their own pace. I also want them to know that it is
okay to fail only if they get up and keep trying.
Conclusion
Reflecting on my past paper I can say that my ideas are pretty static. What I do know is that
before what I did lack was examples and activities for what I want to do. I really did not have
examples of what I want to do. I did not have the resources that allowed me to see how I would
want to use a KWL, QTA or even a menu that allowed my students to choose their own
activities. I only connected to one philosophy of education but now I see parts of my ideas in a
few. All of the philosophies had one thing that I can truly connect to my philosophy. I want to be

the teacher that shows my students that they can reach for anything and gives them the tools to
do it.

References
Cohen, L. M. (1999). Philosophical Perspectives in Education. Oregon State University:
of Education. Retrieved from http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/ed416/PP3.html
Thirteen Ed Online (2004). Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning.
http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html
Tyson, N. D. (2012). Neil Degrasse Tyson: Science is in Our DNA. Humanizing Technology.
Retrieved from: http://bigthink.com/videos/neil-degrasse-tyson-science-is-in-our-dna
Webb, Dean L., Metha, Arlene., Jordan, Forbis K. (2010). Foundations of America Education.
(6th ed.). U.S.A. Pearson.
Vacca, R., Vacca, J., & Mraz, M. (2011). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across the
curriculum (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
conLedford, S., (2014). Philosophy paper one. Not Published.