Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 2/Chapter FAQ

Educational Philosophy FAQs

by Holly

Hcogg001 (talk) 00:46, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Learning Targets


Readers will learn different aspects of educational philosophy they might have had questions about before.

Readers will learn why an analogy is a useful tool for teachers.

Readers will learn if there is a simple definition of educational philosophies.

Readers will learn ways to assess students' progress.

Readers will learn the purpose of education.

Readers will learn why teachers need a philosophy of learning.

Readers will learn how to use constructivism in the classroom.

Key Questions and Answers


1. Why is an analogy a useful tool for teachers?

“An analogy is one of a teacher's most useful tools. It helps the instructor relate a difficult concept to something the students will already have the infrastructure for, thus enabling the students to cement the ideas in their mind.” ([1])

An analogy is an extended metaphor, which allows the teacher to use an idea, word, phrase, or object in place of another to suggest a likeness between them. Hoffman estimates that the average English-speaker uses over 3,000 metaphors per week and suggests we can occasionally use four metaphors per minute in everyday conversation!

An analogy is important in the classroom because it allows the teacher to take an unfamiliar idea and relate it to a familiar idea. It can increase student attention, reduce anxiety, improve critical thinking, enhance concept learning, and create a positive classroom environment (Garner, Randy, 2005).


2. What is a simple definition of educational philosophies?

For more information and easy to understand definitions of these five main philosophies, check out this website: "".

When looking for a “simple” definition of educational philosophies, I realized there isn’t one! Educational philosophies are a diverse subject, with many opinions. There is not one simple, correct answer to this question. Teachers seem to work better when using a variety of educational philosophies. This is because if a teacher stays locked into just one philosophy, students are not able to grow and learn from different ideas; they are stuck with one idea and way of learning, when they might have learned better from a different method. The variety of educational philosophies are pulled from the five main philosophies of: Perennialism, Idealism, Realism, Experimentalism and Existentialism (Kurtus, Ron, 2001).

3. What are some ways to assess students’ progress?


There are several different ways of assessing students’ progress. We learned about four main ways of assessing students during our in-class lecture. The four main assessment methods are selected response, extended written response, performance assessment and personal communication. Selected response would be using multiple choice, true/false, matching and fill-in-the-blank on a test. Extended written response would be having the students show all their work in an essay or math problem. Performance assessment is the ability to perform tasks/skills. Some examples are P.E., music, foreign language, speech, measuring or creating products, art, research paper, lab report, timeline, or diorama. Personal communication is writing in journals, questioning, discussions, interviewing, observations, or oral exams (taken from class notes).

Another way to assess students’ progress is to use the student progress monitoring system. There is an official site for teachers and parents from The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring.

For more information about this project go to The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring website" "

There definition of progress monitoring is, “a scientifically based practice that is used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class”(Student Progress, 2007).

4. What is the purpose of education anyway?


Webster defines education as “the process of educating or teaching”. It defines to educate as “to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of...” These definitions are not very helpful in understanding why education is important. “In ancient Greece, Socrates argued that education was about drawing out what was already within the student.” Some would say, “The purpose of education is to appropriately prepare our children for their future.” The government says education is covering all the standards, improving performance on government tests, meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and producing a competitive workforce (Foote, Carolyn, 2009). [3]

Where to find information about leaders in educational philosophy: [4]"Socrates"] [5]"Plato"] [6] "or" [7] "Sophists"]

But what really is the purpose of education? If you ask a student their response will be different than their parents or teachers response. This is because everyone has a different opinion on education and why we learn. There are different ideas about the purpose of education. “Ask yourself, what is the purpose of education? No matter who you ask, everyone's answer will be different. If you ask a student, there answer will be unlike their parents whose answer will be different from a teacher's viewpoint. Education is the whole learning process of not only acquiring knowledge but, to a deeper level, for a person to discover more about himself as well as the world which he is living in (Lim, 2005). Students are taught the basics in Math, Science, Reading, and English in order to survive in today's society. Therefore, how students use the education given is the true purpose of education. Some teachers believe that the transmission of knowledge is the primary purpose of education although the transfer of knowledge from school to the real world is something that happens naturally as a consequence of possessing that knowledge (Yero, 2002). Students take what they learn from school and apply this knowledge to their everyday lives. The learning process never ends and students will continue to use the knowledge from school to become better citizens in the world today”(Taylor-Davis, Tasha, wikibook article 2.3.2, 2008). [8]"Chapter 2.3.2"]

5. Why do teachers need a philosophy of teaching?

This website explains how to write a teacher philosophy: ([9])
A philosophy of teaching is written to meet a requirement of teaching portfolios. But, beyond that and more importantly, a teaching philosophy can be used to stimulate reflection on teaching. It can also be used to provide a reflection for teaching, helping them grow and develop professionally (Chism, Nancy, 1996). [10] “It is important to have a theory when it comes to education because it will help to develop lesson plans and provide a basis for one's rubric; in turn the students will know how they are going to be assessed” (Lee, Ben, wikibook article 2.2.1, 2008). [11]

6. How can a teacher use constructivism in the classroom?


Constructivist teaching is going above and beyond the traditional classroom objectives. The goal is for students to be able to play an active role in the learning process in the classroom.

Some suggested characteristics of a constructivist teacher:

  1. Become one of many resources that the student may learn from, not the primary source of information.
  2. Engage students in experiences that challenge previous conceptions of their existing knowledge.
  3. Allow student respones to drive lessons and seek elaboration of students' initial responses. Allow student some thinking time after posing questions.
  4. Encourage the spirit of questioning by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions. Encourage thoughtful discussion among students.
  5. Use cognitive terminology such as "classify," "analyze", and "create" when framing tasks.
  6. Encourage and accept student autonomy and initiative. Be willing to let go of classroom control.
  7. Use raw data and primary sources, along with manipulative, interactive physical materials.
  8. Don't separate knowing from the process of finding out.
  9. Insist on clear expression from students. When students can communicate their understanding, then they have truly learned (Hanley, Susan, 1994).

Multiple Choice Questions


1. Of the four main assessment methods, which one makes use of multiple choice, true/false, matching and fill-in-the-blank on a test?

  • a) Extended Written Response
  • b) Performance Assessment
  • c) Personal Communication
  • d) Selected Response

2. In ancient Greece, who argued that education was about drawing out what was already within the student?

  • a) Aristotle
  • b) Platos
  • c) Socrates
  • d) Sophists

3. From the following choices, which one is the main goal of a teaching philosophy?

  • a) It can be used to stimulate reflection on teaching.
  • b) It can help develop ones lesson plans.
  • c) It is a requirement for getting a job.
  • d) It is written just to put in your teaching portfolio.

4. There is a parent/teacher conference planned to discuss little Susie's progress in English. The teacher uses constructivism in the classroom to help her teach. Whom is she going to tell the parents she wants to be more involved in the learning process?

  • a) No one else.
  • b) Other Teachers
  • c) Susie's Parents
  • d) Susie



(2007). Student Progress. Retrieved June 6, 2009, from The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring Web site:

Chism, Nancy Developing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement. Retrieved June 6, 2009, from Essays on Teaching Excellence Web site:

Foote, Carolyn (2009 January 19). What is the Purpose of Education?. Retrieved June 6, 2009, Web site:

Garner, Randy (2005). Humor, Analogy, and Metaphor: H.A.M. it up in Teaching. Retrieved June 6, 2009, from Radical Pedagogy Web site:

Hanley, Susan (1994). Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation. Retrieved June 6, 2009, from On Constructivism Web site:

Haugen, Lee (1998 March). Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement. Retrieved June 6, 2009, from How to Write a Teacher Philosophy Web site:

Kurtus, Ron (2001 February 26). Philosophies of Education. Retrieved June 6, 2009, Web site:


  1. D
  2. C
  3. A
  4. D

Check out this website. Here is a great article from Teacher Vision that helps explain the differences between student and teacher-centered approaches." "

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