My Philosophy of Education

Table of Content


Education is a passport to the future. It is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world. This paper addresses my philosophy of education under my perspectives of how I believe teaching and learning should look in the education field. Learning is a continuous lifelong process. Educators have major roles in developing the minds of lifelong learners. Knowing that each learner has different learning needs, I support and identify with two philosophies of education. They are essentialism and progressivism. There are many views of how education should look. Each school division and teacher for that matter, have different beliefs on how education should look in their school and classroom. In this paper, I will address the educational philosophies I identify with most, and my beliefs on the purpose of the school, function of the teacher, and how student learning is influenced by educational philosophies.

Philosophies I Identify with Most

Education is critical for the development of all humans. Education is driven from an early age by the child’s parents. Teachers and parents are the two most important educators in a child’s life. I believe that enthusiasm, curiosity and choice are the key elements of a good education. Especially when they are used appropriately. Fundamentals of essentialism and progressivism have influenced the growth and development of my educational philosophy. I believe these types of educational philosophies are best suited for describing how I view teaching and learning in the classroom. I identify best with these philosophies because in my classroom I provide students with all different types of learning. At times, learning is teacher driven and other times learning is student driven. All students learn and obtain information in different ways. I would like to agree that both types of learning are meaningful and needed in the elementary classroom. Some students work best with hands-on practices. Other students enjoy the help and guidance from teacher driven activities. In my classroom, I have lectured and lead discussions on a topic. I have also given a plethora of opportunities for student choice activities. Both have been successful in meeting the needs of all of my students. My aim of education is to teach young students the essentials they need to live well in the modern world. Teaching and learning in my classroom may not always be exiting because I believe in times of tough core essentialistic education. To this day, “Essentialism is a significant educational theory that has remarkable staying power in American schools” (Gutek, 2014, p. 311). Many fellow educators feel that this type of education has implications for schooling, curriculum, and teaching and learning. Essentialism has been practiced and viewed affectively for many years. I also view progressivism as a valuable practice in education. Since students are so young, teachers cannot expect their attention spans to last for a long time. It is also important for teachers to remember that students learn in different ways. Not all students may benefit from essentialistic learning. Teachers, who teach progressively, focus on child-based activities and less on teacher driven lectures. Focusing on this type of education has its benefits for students at this age level. With that being said, educational progressivism should be considered in the classroom. Do you agree that both types of philosophies are important in education? Just as Kennedy (2020) said, progressive education is different from the traditional style of teaching. “It is viewed as a pedagogical movement that values experience over learning facts at the expense of understanding what is being taught.” (Kennedy, 2020)

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Purpose of the School

I believe the purpose of any school is to provide the best possible education for each learner. I trust that every school has the same goal in mind, which is to teach students how to live their lives and prepare them for their future. Parents, teachers, and other adults are the best role models for children to trust in helping them become life ready. An essentialistic-based school can implement a curriculum that will focus on core knowledge education. This type of curriculum is teacher centered and is focused on establishing a common knowledge base for all students. According to Eddirectonline, (2015), the curriculum in essentialism is to teach the essentials of life. The focus is on teaching students how to survive, be productive, and be good citizens.

Function of the Teacher

Every school needs high-qualified teachers to serve under a school division. Teachers are there to provide the best quality education for their students. I believe that teachers are what make a school thrive. Without excellent and educated teachers, there would not be good quality education. When it comes to curriculum and instruction, the function of a teacher is to help students learn new information every day. Teachers are trusted to provide students with the materials and facts that they need to meet each academic standard. How can teachers give students a good education? Well, there are a variety of roles that teachers follow in order to have a good functioning classroom. When it comes to building relationships, teachers need to develop a respectable classroom environment where the students feel safe. The students need to know that the teacher is in charge of the classroom and in charge of guiding them towards success. Encouragement and participation are other functions that teachers provide for setting their students up for achievement. These roles identify with the essentialism philosophy because it is teacher focused and teacher tasked. I agree with this well written statement by Excite Education, “A vital part of the classroom is the teacher. The whole classroom’s educational environment is centered on the teacher, so it is the teacher who is responsible for the student’s mental and intellectual growth as well as directing their future’s in the right direction” (Excite Education, 2001).

How Students Learn

Essentialism and progressivism are two different types of educational philosophies. You may be wondering why I identify with both philosophies. I have mentioned before, that I strongly believe in different types of teaching and learning in the classroom. Due to my beliefs, I feel that both philosophies are appropriate for teaching and supporting young learners. There are no students that look the same, act the same, or learn the same. Therefore, having a mix of both types of teaching and learning in the classroom environment will be beneficial for students who learn in different ways. Some student may prefer student choice and student driven ways to learn. Other students may enjoy listening and responding to teacher instruction. I have witnessed success in both types of instruction with differentiation. My students who want to take control of their learning know that they can always choose the independent route. My students who prefer teacher driven activities usually choose to work with me in a small group. By providing different types of learning, teachers will open the door for student success. Mentioned in Maci’s Eisenhower’s bPortfolio, “both educational philosophies have their benefits, and somewhat of a healthy combination between the two could be the answer” (Essentialism vs. Progressivism, 2012).

Curricular Implications

“An educator’s teaching philosophy represents their personal beliefs regarding the purpose of classroom instruction and the methods used to facilitate learning” (Tuttle, 2016). My belief is that there are many ways that essentialists and progressivists can implement the curriculum to facilitate student learning. Essentialist teachers can use instructional strategies, lectures, homework, mastery learning, and teacher centered activities to teach core curriculum. Types of progressive teaching is when the teacher is the facilitator not the authority in the classroom. This type of teaching and learning involves student choice and exploration activities that will correlate with the curriculum. Typically, the learning activities are flexible and provide students the chance to take the wheel and control their learning.


As a teacher, I believe in two different types of educational philosophies, essentialism and progressivism. I have learned through my research that many other educators view these philosophies the same way I do. They agree that essentialism and progressivism are the best philosophies for teaching students in different ways. After looking at some forms of data, many educators feel that progressivism outweighs essentialism at elementary age. Some might agree that progressive education provides students with more hands-on learning and activities that focus on student driven tasks that promote growth and decrease distractions. The research I conducted on my philosophies have influenced me to teach my students more progressively and less essentially. I can still provide my students with differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners even if I choose to teach in a more progressive way. No matter which philosophies I choose, my goal remains the same. As an educator, I want to help students become problem solvers and good model citizens.


  1. Eddirectonline. (2015). Essentialism in Education. Retrieved from
  2. Essentialism in Education, Online Essentialism in Education. (2001). Retrieved February 26, 2020, from
  3. Essentialism vs. Progressivism. (2012, September 27). Retrieved February 26, 2020, from
  4. Gutek, G. L. (2014). Philosophical, ideological and theoretical perspectives on education (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson Central Pub.
  5. Kennedy, Robert. ‘Progressive Education: How Children Learn.’ ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020,
  6. Tuttle, B. (2016). Curriculum Impact on Educational Philosophy Identification. PDXScholar .

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My Philosophy of Education. (2022, Jul 11). Retrieved from

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