My philosophy of education is centered on my Christian worldview. As an administrator and educator, I understand that modeling ethical values for students is an important part of how I help students to learn. The purposes of education are to prepare effective citizens, and when these purposes are combined with a Christian worldview, students can learn how to assist one another not only for the good of society, but for their own spiritual development as well. Students also learn by doing, and when students can roleplay how to solve ethical dilemmas, then they are more prepared to positively influence society. As an administrator, I realize that effective communication enhances the collaborative learning community of school stakeholders. I assure that teachers address diversity in each classroom, and foster supportive environments for each student’s background, ethnic group, race, language of origin, gender, ability and disability levels, and socioeconomic status.
Key words: leadership, ethical, worldview, administrator, Christian
My philosophy of education is centered on outcomes for the student not only in school, but in his or her post-secondary journey and achievements as well. These outcomes are focused on education in academic, social, and spiritual domains (Buehrer, 2014; De Muynck, Hegeman, & Vos 2011). Students are naturally motivated to increase their understanding of the world and learn. Some students have the motivation to learn more strongly than others, but this aspiration can be tutored, developed, and refined in an effective manner. Knowing students have a natural inclination to learn, my philosophy of education is centered on supporting positive student outcomes, which can center on important Christian beliefs (Moreland, 2007; Van Brummelen, 2009). When we impart through education and for effective student outcomes the nature of morality, structure of society, and existence of God, we truly educate students.
My philosophy for schools and student learning includes an ethical worldview. My personal philosophy of education is concerned with a Christian worldview (Buehrer, 2014; Van Brummelen, 2009). Philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle taught about the social order and what it means to be a good citizen. I know that for students, I need to collaborate with school stakeholders to provide a total and comprehensive way to understand knowledge, ethics, humanity, and meaning. Character and moral education can allow students to discover for themselves what they think about the world around them and what the purpose of their learning is supposed to be (De Muynck, et al., 2011; Gutek, 2011). By equipping students with the understanding that they can participate in moral decision making, students can discover for themselves how to best be good citizens. Although there are numerous ways of presenting an ethical worldview in academic courses, one way is to relate learning to an overall understanding of the universe and order. As learners, we can investigate the philosophical foundations of specific disciplines, recognizing that our worldview shapes our thinking about each area. Students can then reason, construct, and question through insights to understand the nature of reality and knowledge.
The why of education, then, should impart long-range goals for students not only in this lifetime, but their outcomes beyond schooling as well. We need to be fair to students and let them also choose what they believe (Van Brummelen, 2009). We need to give students a chance at think about not only outcomes in this lifetime, but the life hereafter, however we do not need to compel them to do so. If students choose to be Christian, Muslim, or even atheist, they need to define for themselves their beliefs in the cognitive domain (Buehrer, 2014). Students can then be equipped to decide what beliefs they embrace and what they accept as true. Teaching religion is not the calling of public schools, but we need to teach students how to think and choose for themselves what they believe with effective instructional practice. Acts 28:31(King James Version). We can teach students how to effectively think by modeling these thinking skills to students.
My Christian philosophy of education relates to my instructional practice in that I try to be an effective role model for students. In the classroom and when I model for students, then, they have an idea of how they can choose to react in certain situations (De Muynck, et al., 2011; Gutek, 2011). I can show students how I respond to various circumstances in life. For example, if I have a flat tire, drop my lunch tray, or model for a student how to make better grades, I think about the Bible. We are supposed to be humble and have patience, and I model these characteristics to my students. Luke 8:15 (King James Version). Modeling appropriate behaviors for students on what to do regarding last minute decisions or how to handle tough situations is very important.
By being an effective role model, I can model positive expressions of faith to others. I can represent how to be Christian by treating others the way that I would like to be treated. Matthew 7:12 (King James Version). Also, for discipleship, I can model values that allow students to know that they can make the right choices and decisions and speak up for themselves (Van Brummelen, 2009). As an adult with values that promote good citizenship, I can have a modeling and peer-related ministry that helps students know what the right actions are to take in different situations (De Muynck, et al., 2011; Gutek, 2011). For example, if a student falls in the floor, I should try to help that student up instead of laugh or make fun of that student. Pedagogical practices, then, include role play for students in different situations, such as helping another student who is struggling. So, teacher and learner relationships need to be centered on positive role models, and the school leader needs to be an effective communicator to enhance these relationships.
My overall Christian philosophy of education impacts students and collaborative colleagues in the following manner. As an administrator, I do my best to communicate in appropriate, productive, meaningful, helpful, and healing ways with teachers, students, parents, and colleagues (Buehrer, 2014; Van Brummelen, 2009). I also communicate via phone, email, in person, and with various media, whether it is with others, individually, or in small or large groups. As an administrator, I need to model Christianity and communicate with people of all ages, socioeconomic and educational levels, and backgrounds. I do the best that I can to listen attentively and empathetically to the concerns and problems of people, and this is just part of what I do. I also write newsletters, collaborate on a team regarding different school and district-related issues, summarize school improvement plans, tell stories, and talk with parents about student successes.
I am also a collaborative instructional leader who works with my staff regarding research-based curriculums, instruction, and learning strategies (Buehrer, 2014; Van Brummelen, 2009). I strive to motivate values of good character and citizenship for teachers to foster intellectual growth and development for their students. Also, I do my best to focus on the big picture, which is positive and lifetime good outcomes for my students. I am sensitive to the worldview of school stakeholders and strive to effectively communicate how to best achieve the most positive outcomes for my students. It is also important to consider diversity in a worldview approach to education.
It is important that teachers consider all types of diversity issues in the classroom. A student’s background, ethnic group, race, language of origin, gender, ability and disability levels, and socioeconomic status are just some of the points of diversity that must be addressed by the teacher in the classroom (Buehrer, 2014; Van Brummelen, 2009). Each student may come from a different religious background. Depending on the missions and goals of the school, the teacher needs to be sensitive to each student’s background (Gutek, 2011). Inviting parents to visit the school and share their culture is an effective way to promote successful student engagement.
Instruction needs to relate to students’ background knowledge (Knight, 2006). For example, if a student is from Guatemala, the teacher could invite the parent to participate in a class discussion related to what is being taught. For example, if it is a writing lesson, the parent could share a story from his or her country, and students could retell the story in an essay. Additionally, communication with parents and school stakeholders is very important for teachers and school administrators. When aspects of students’ culture are incorporated into each lesson, then student diversity can positively impact instruction.
My Christian worldview is that as a school administrator, I realize that for students to have effective results in their educational experience, it is important that I model ethical and Christian values to them (Buehrer, 2014; Van Brummelen, 2009). Education is the vehicle to teach students to be effective citizens who treat one another ethically. When students can understand how to make decisions by constructing positive answers to different ethical dilemmas, then students will become effective citizens. By being an effective role model, I can show students how to be successful in school and beyond. As a role model and administrator, I strive to listen, empathize, and communicate effectively with individual students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. As a school leader, I assure that diversity is addressed in each classroom regarding each student’s background, ethnic group, race, language of origin, gender, ability and disability levels, and socioeconomic status.
Buehrer, E. (2014). Faith, freedom, and public schools (Eight online instructional modules). Lake Forest, CA: Gateways to Better Education.
De Muynck, B., Hegeman, J., & Vos, P. (Eds.). (2011). Bridging the gap: Connecting Christian faith and professional practice in a pluralistic society. Proceedings of the European Conference of the European Chapter of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education. Sioux City, IA: Dordt College Press.
Gutek, G. L. (2011). Historical and philosophical foundations of education: A biographical introduction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Knight, G. (2006). Philosophy & education: An introduction in Christian perspective. (4th ed.). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.
Moreland, J. P. (2007). Kingdom triangle: Recover the Christian mind, renovate the soul, restore the Spirit’s power. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Van Brummelen, H. (2009). Walking with God in the classroom: Christian approaches to teaching and learning (3rd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications.
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