Renee L. Scott

R Scott

Philosophy of Education

    My philosophy of education has a strong foundation based on famous educational philosophers, teaching experiences, and daily examples of educators who define the word education.  I feel my philosophy is developed from the style of teaching that I implement into the classroom.  I feel my style of teaching is similar to John Dewey, Maria Montessori, and John Locke.  I teach my students the importance of engagement, motivation, and openness to learning.  I keep a watchful eye, an open ear, and I observe other educators as they lead their students in these areas.  This helps me to incorporate my ideas and the ideas of my colleagues to build my students’ confidence, character, and academic success.  I lend an extended hand to let my students know that I am near, yet not just pulling them along.  I let my students learn about themselves, their abilities, their challenges, and their accomplishments.  I provide a classroom environment that accepts my students at their individual stage of learning.  I implement motivations through hands-on teaching, movement, music, and character building.  I let my students know I care about every aspect of their lives, and I build lasting relationships that extend past the school year.  I have found that as I teach, I also continue to learn.
     When comparing my teaching to a famous philosophy, the first name that comes to mind is John Dewey. Dewey felt a student learned from an experience that incorporates the life of the child.  This is defined as Pragmatism.  Dewey also felt a student’s environment exposed a student to his style and quality of learning.  The thought here is a child-focused approach to teaching.  Dewey’s philosophy was determined to be a movement of Progressive Education.  Even today, I feel this practice is important, and I incorporate Progressive Education in my style of teaching.  I use the environment and an interdisciplinary approach to provide my students an individual ownership of their educational experiences.  I also provide a democratic classroom that encourages my students to deeply explore their learning.  I provide ample opportunities for students to be fully engaged in their learning through hands-on experiences.  Therefore, I feel I exercise pragmatism as a teacher.

     A second philosopher that I feel a connection to is Maria Montessori.  Montessori believed in an Intellectual Development Theory.  This theory is child-centered.  It develops the child physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.  The process is divided into three stages: early childhood, elementary, and adolescence.  Montessori was considered to use the constructivism approach due to her strong belief of students working with the use of a manipulative to self-explore within reason.  While Montessori did feel there were stages to learning, she did not feel everyone learned at the same pace.  She also did not feel cognitive milestones were met due to age.  Montessori did believe there was a triangle to learning.  She felt the child was the center of learning, the environment sparked natural curiosity of learning, and the teacher was the facilitator.  When thinking about Montessori’s beliefs and comparing it to my style of teaching, I see how I focus on the student and not the grade level. I feel it is my job to meet all students where they are in their stage of learning.  I pride myself on differentiated instruction and the use of the use of a manipulative in my classroom.  I must encourage my students as a facilitator, and I must be a model of good character.  I am very fond of Maria Montessori’s theory of student learning.

     My philosophy of education also involves some of the beliefs of John Locke.  He felt children should enjoy their learning, but not feel burdened.  He thought children should not be hindered during play, should have no demands that cause a feeling of confinement, and should have limited distractions.  Locke thought education prepared one to become a good citizen.  Locke also thought it was important for one to learn a manual skill in order to develop self-discipline.  Locke thought self-discipline was taught through building self-worth.  I see validity in this thought. I feel punishment does not always have a 
successful impact on students.  Many times rules are developed more for the teachers instead of what will be a positive impact for the students.  My thought is differentiated instruction is a must to meet the needs of students, both academically and behaviorally, which I feel eliminates behavior issues most of the time.   The most profound thought of Locke is that children should learn through motivation and not by force.  I agree with Locke in that children learn best when a desire and level of enjoyment are present.  In my teaching, I have found the hands-on approach facilitates more enjoyment for my students.  This has been in the form of games, songs, plays, scavenger hunts, and/or peer taught lessons.  By using these, I see my students having a desire to accomplish an educational task to its fullest.  The implementation of Problem Based Learning mimics Locke’s belief of building knowledge through experience, allowing students to have ownership of learning, working hands-on, and learning in an environment with few limitations.  I feel this approach easily stimulates motivation and redirects unwarranted behaviors. I concur with Locke that students who share a partnership in learning will be more successful.

While the philosophies of Dewey, Montessori, and Locke hold a commonality with my beliefs of allowing students to grow through experience, thought, and having a personal voice, I hold another person’s philosophy as having merit.  No one will ever read about her in a book, Google her on the web, or discuss here in Foundations of Education.  This person’s philosophy is my driving force in seeing the classroom through the eyes of a child.  She said, “There will always be new ways to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic; but in the end, it is still reading, writing, and arithmetic."  "You must make sure the child has the best day of his/her life while at school, because you have no idea what you are sending the child home to.”  These words are from a school teacher who taught in a one room school house, who didn’t receive a salary during the war years, who taught elementary and high school, who taught about life, work, God, and building good character, a teacher who was far ahead of her time in allowing students to experience and hold self-ownership of their education, a teacher who taught by example, and a lady who holds the name, Grandmother, to me.  My love for teaching, and the reason behind the smile on my face each morning I step into the classroom, I owe to Jane Elmira Turner.  Her philosophy allows me to be open to the needs of my students, while practicing many of the principles I share with famous philosophers, whose educational practices allow students to become productive citizens.  My wish is to always have a love and desire for teaching.

As a teacher, I must create an environment that allows my students to be lifelong learners through self questioning.

As a teacher, I must create an environment that encourages my students to make applications through problem solving,

As a teacher, I must model and encourage my students to develop growth mindset.

As a teacher, I must engage the students with the diversity of learning in both local and global education.

As a teacher, I must be a servant leader with empathy for my students.