The idea of a teaching philosophy may be somewhat abstract. It goes beyond a teacher simply desiring help their students receive the education necessary to be successful later in life, although that is certainly a core component of it. Some educational institutions require that teachers develop a teaching philosophy and put it in writing as part of the application process. In this form it may include such things as the skills and unique abilities of the teacher as well as a profile of their personal life. Even if a prospective employer does not require a written philosophy, it is good for every teacher to develop one in order for them to put their abilities to use.
The way in which a teacher will approach a particular subject or a group of students will depend not only on the subject but also the age of the students and the personality of the teacher. Some experts believe that there are five basic teaching philosophies. While they are by no means mutually exclusive, most teachers may find that they fall primarily into one of these categories. A teacher may also utilize different approaches for different courses since the methods to teach history may not be 100% applicable to a subject like science.
The first of these is the liberal philosophy which is used by teachers when their primary goal is to help students develop their overall intellect. A behavioral philosophy will help a teacher to focus on the skills that a particular subject can help students to develop. A teacher that puts more emphasis on the way that the curriculum will help a student develop in terms of their individual personality and characteristics may fall into a more humanistic philosophy. A teacher with a radical philosophy will probably put more emphasis on the societal changes that result from education, such as the sociopolitical and economic effects of education.
A teacher with a well rounded teaching philosophy can develop a means of delivering information that can more permanently affect the lives of his or her students. A solid and well rounded teaching philosophy will help a teacher be more effective at every aspect of their career, from developing class activities to how they discipline students. The effect that this comprehensive approach to teaching can have is evident not only in students but in the constant strive for excellence and professionalism that is seen in teachers everywhere.