My Philosophy and My Context

John Spencer, Distance Learning (IRRODL), Jan 18, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

John Spencer writes about his philosophy of education. He writes, "As a teacher, I become a guide to help them become the connective, critical, creative problem-solvers that a democratic society needs in order to flourish." It makes me think about what my own philosophy of education might be - an especially pertinent question, given that I'm a real philosopher and all. My philosophy, though, has nothing to do with what I am (teacher, researcher, whatever) not does it have anything to do with 'what society needs' (because, really, who cares?). It is, rather, to view each person as an end in him or her self, as inherently valuable (and not valuable as this or that) and thus to see my own role is flowing whatever skills and capacities I have into their needs, empowering them to live their lives to the greatest and happiest (as they see it) extent possible. This is not about self-sacrifice; it's about finding meaning and purpose in life. I guess that's not really a philosophy of education - but if not, it's only because it makes a philosophy of education redundant.

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