[Originally posted May 23rd,’07]

I wrote this three years ago, but recently had to make a change… As little as one year ago the second paragraph did not exist for me, and now it is placed in a position of importance. I post my Statement of Educational Philosophy now, after reading and posting a comment on Kelly Christopherson‘s post, which in turn was inspired by Harold Jarche‘s post, which in turn was inspired by Albert Ip‘s post, that Harold first read over two years ago… Has this kind of engagement in learning ever happened for you, coming from a text book?

I wonder how much of what I have written is ‘universal’ and how much of it is a product of being stuck in the current bureaucratic-age based paradigm?

Feedback, as always, is appreciated. (Think Healthy Discord and feel free to be critical.)

Statement of Educational Philosophy

The goal of education is to enrich the lives of students while producing articulate, expressive thinkers and lifelong learners, who are socially responsible, resilient, and active citizens of the world. Education is about teaching students, not subjects. It is about engaging students in their learning, and maximizing the potential of each and every child. Education is about looking beyond the child’s intellect, and seeing the whole child. Education is about providing students with opportunities to be challenged and still succeed.

Education is currently going through some dramatic changes. Technology has altered the way teachers, and students, communicate with and amongst themselves, as well as with the greater community, and with the world. New ways of communicating and sharing learning are being developed and explored. There needs to be a transformation from using technology in schools to using technology for learning. Teachers have to adapt, and be adept at making a students’ learning experience both meaningful and engaging. Teachers also need to recognize that technology has created new needs and new definitions of what it means to be literate in today’s world. However, just being literate is not enough, students must develop their curiosity, creativity, communication skills and critical thinking.

Teachers and school leaders have a responsibility to be mentors and role models to students. We have a responsibility to cultivate a sense of community and belonging. The quote, “It takes a village to raise a child”, rings true in so many ways. Education is a collaborative effort that needs leadership and a strong vision. Co-operation among all stakeholders is essential. A community is an essential extension of a school. Relationships between a school and its’ community, whether educational, entrepreneurial, co-operative or charitable, should not just be encouraged but pursued.

We must value and foster relationships with parents and family. The power of having all significant adults working together to raise a child cannot be underestimated. No one understands more than an educator how valuable parent involvement is in successfully educating a child. It is vital to keep parents, our partners, informed and actively engaged in their child’s education. But all parents are not created equally, so we also have a responsibility to educate and inspire good parenting within our community. And for those children who do not have a significant adult role model at home, we have an obligation to create opportunities for our educators to provide caring guidance. Every child that cannot find an adult to connect with in a school is a child we have failed, and every child we have provided a meaningful relationship with is a success to be relished. Caring, compassion and empathy are cornerstones to a meaningful educational relationship.

Schools with a strong leadership team, that encourage a meaningful, common vision, can help students perceive learning as a lifelong journey. In doing so, a school must encourage greatness and loathe mediocrity. Educators must maintain high expectations and strive to see students excel. Students must be given the opportunity to maximize their potential and they should be inspired to do so. Every child has the potential to attain greatness! The job of an educator is to harness a child’s abilities and set them free with the confidence and the necessary toolbox to succeed.

"Every child has the potential to attain greatness! ~ David Truss"

Originally posted: May 23rd, 2007

Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:

In his brief comment on the original post, Harold Jarche said, “I really like your first paragraph. It captures the essence of education.”

That puts technology into perspective! Technology is a tool used to help us get to the goal in the first paragraph. “Do not confuse the pointing finger with the moon.”

9 comments on “Statement of Educational Philosophy

  1. Hi,
    I liked reading your Educational Philosophy. It got me thinking. You write, ”Education is currently going through some dramatic changes.”, I would argue that it is not so. It is society that is changing. It is a new paradigm and some teachers are trying to acknowledge this. They have understood that teaching is helping people to better themselves and giving them the tools to live I good life. Moreover, they have understood that living a good life is very personal, not two individuals think the same, so teaching must be very individual.
    Sadly, many teachers and politicians see school simply as an institution to preserve old values and subject knowledge.
    Education is currently going through some dramatic defence actions, which many young persons are finding stupid.
    Calle Z

  2. Hello Calle,

    Almost 7 years ago, when I started this blog, and before my first attempt at this Statement of Educational Philosophy, I shared this as my first blog post: The purpose of a system is what it does.

    Back then, I would have agreed with you completely. Things have changed. It isn’t just a handful of Lone Wolves, on their own, trying to work against the system anymore. I believe that education is indeed transforming.

    Admittedly, some of the ‘reforms’ currently happening in the United States (particularly around Standardized Testing) would support your point of view whereby ‘politicians see school simply as an institution to preserve old values and subject knowledge’, but I see a global shift, and a wave of educational thinkers that suggest to me that things are indeed getting better.

    And finally, I would like to add that I believe that we need a positive, constructive outlook to help speed the change process. As long as we hold fast to the idea that the educational paradigm is one rooted in tradition and old values, we are deciding to live in a limited construct. I both want and have to believe that our educational system is one that is undergoing a meaningful transformation… To think otherwise is to invite a limiting view of what’s truly possible! 🙂

  3. “…we also have a responsibility to educate and inspire good parenting within our community.”

    Hi David, I am not witnessing very many practical examples of this. I am hearing a lot of… “Let’s do our best with our students while we have them here, we can’t control what happens at home.” As teachers, where do we start with this?

    1. Greetings Joe,
      I think there are limits to what we can really do, but also believe that not making an effort is in itself a failure. At one school that I was at, I had a ‘Parents as partners’ section of my newsletter and you can see some of the things I shared here: http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/parents-as-partners/

      Communication home from teachers and administrators alike can help. A colleague of mine did coffee chats at his elementary school, designed around topics that parents brought up.

      And when discipline issues arise, our ability to help parents deal with a student’s poor choices as behaviours that need to change, can go a long way in reducing punitive punishments that we know don’t help for many students.

      These are not big things that touch every parent, but we do need to see an obligation to do our part in influencing students and families beyond the classroom walls.

Comments are closed.