I have been sharing my philosophy of vibrant learning for a while now in my classes and around the school. In fact, the Head of School asked me to develop and lead a faculty professional development seminar that could help us align this emphasis of “engage, equip, and empower” as part of a coherent, school-wide philosophy of education. The goal was to align this emphasis to the accreditation standards to which the school adheres. More importantly, though, was the desire to draft a foundational statement that represents what we believe about instruction and learning as a school community.
This was a big task that required everyone to think critically about their approach to teaching as well as their philosophical beliefs about schooling. We started by reviewing the initial standard of ‘community’ as a larger faculty, brainstorming the essential aspects of what we do successfully as a school. We also considered those qualities that make us special as a school of choice for the community, especially from the perspective of student engagement.
I then divided the faculty into common interest groups that were aligned to the three CSI standards of students, teachers and curriculum. Each group drafted a set of essential statements that were shared and fine-tuned later in the day. This process produced a draft school-wide philosophy of education that we could start to use in our deliberate attempts to revise curriculum and instruction.
I felt that the day went well and received some positive feedback, too. It reminded us of the importance to dwell on the “big picture” as well as the foundational beliefs that called us to teaching in the first place.