Philosophy of Education in the Elementary School setting

Formal education is something most children in our country have the privilege of attending. To its credit, the education system in the United States has extended literacy and math skills to several generations of students. As a result, the country overall has become more educated. The percentage of young adults passing high-school has increased steadily; and so has the number of graduates, post-graduates and doctoral students. Yet, when we look at what kind of products children turn out to be at the end of this process, the results are not satisfactory. When we look at how far formal education serves to ‘enlighten’ young minds, the answer is disappointing. When we look at young adults’ ability to make informed choices about what they consume or their ability to act as responsible citizens of a democratic country, etc., we find plenty of inadequacies. These aspects of the education system make me uneasy. As opposed to imparting necessary cognitive tools for young people to think for themselves and act as they see merit, the present system indoctrinates them to become obedient automatons in the corporate world. This is reflected in the fact that student intake in disciplines under Humanities (including that of Education/Instructional Design courses) has decreased over the years and technical/vocational courses have become preferred choices due to lucrative career paths they offer.

This brings me to the reasons why I chose to be an educator. In order to compensate for the deficiencies pointed above, a lot of hard work from earnest educators is necessary. It is perhaps a reflection of my deep compassion for children that I have decided to be an educator. Moreover, I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching young kids, especially of elementary school level. With modern education technology much advanced than what it was a few decades ago, it would be an exciting time to be a teacher. For example, today there are overhead projectors, personal computer terminals, on-line library databases with extensive catalogs, sophisticated research methodologies, etc that are available to the instructor. Using all these, I intend to create for my students a wonderful learning experience in the classroom and beyond.

At another level, I would like to contribute toward positive changes to our education system. At present, as research conducted on SAT score data reveal, there is a definite race-bias in many of these standardized tests. There is also the problem faced by Hispanic-American kids, whose mother tongue is Spanish. The way in which some schools get funded easily while others struggle to garner government support is also problematic. This is illustrated by the obvious failure areas of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in the last few years. Despite so much social progress over the centuries, socio-economic background and race/ethnicity are significant determinants of academic success. And I am interested in working on viable solutions for these problems.

And finally, I sincerely believe in John Dewey’s philosophy of education. As per this school of thought, education is best acquired when creativity is given a free reign and constructive co-operation is encouraged among students. In the current education system, co-operation is replaced by competition for high-grades, which goes against the spirit of social cohesion and unity and turns children upon each other. Implementing Dewey-ite system of education would be my cherished goal, and I would put in all efforts necessary toward achieving it.