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Brittney Guyer

My Philosophy for Education: Essentialism


In a classroom that focuses on respect, high standards, and mastery of skills, their attention
is on the philosophy of essentialism. In my classroom, this philosophy will be applied. It is
important for students to learn the critical, basic knowledge they need to know in a structured
environment. I believe that an emphasis should be put on the basic subjects and that students
should master the basics before moving on to harder more complex things. The more challenging
material will be more easily learned and understood in the basic concepts are first grasped by the
student. Essentialism is a practical philosophy that should be incorporated into every classroom.
As applied in the classroom, there are many parts to make an essentialist teacher successful.
These consist of high expectations, heavy curriculum, respect, mastering skills, and non-adequate
content. It is important for students to learn and excel in these basic expectations to thrive in an
essentialist classroom. I believe that without these fundamentals of behavior, a child will not be
prepared to enter the real world or the work force. I, as a teacher, must be the primary example of
these behaviors in order for my students to learn by example.
Essentialist curriculum for elementary education includes computer, writing, measuring,
and reading. Essentialist curriculum for secondary education includes math, science, foreign
language, literature, and history. This ensures a well-rounded education and makes sure the
children are prepared for the next level (Kauchak). Students are expected to master skills that start
off easy and slowly move towards more advanced skills and knowledge. If the students do not
master these skills, they will not move to the next level (Albear). I see the core, basic subjects as
essential. Without complete mastery of these skills, students will struggle in higher level courses.
Classroom management means having strong core values of discipline and great morals.
The strict environment of an essentialist classroom causes students to learn to be well-behaved.
Respect is especially a very important aspect for the classroom. Without respect in the classroom, it
would create a challenging environment for both the teacher and the student. Essentialists have
high expectations of excellent behavior. They try to implement traditional morals and qualities such
as respect for authority, determination, loyalty, consideration of others, and realism. Schools that
use essentialism are academically challenging for fast and slow learners. Without a challenge,
students are not taught to over achieve and set goals for themselves. Challenging a student shows
them what they are capable of achieving when they set their mind to it.
Essentialist teachers believe that teachers are students role models both intellectually and
morally. They believe that students should sit quietly and listen respectfully while they teach.
Usually teachers will not use any class discussion or any kind of projects. Essentialism classrooms
are best suited for the student who learns best by independent work. Group projects are not
encouraged in the essentialist classroom. For students like myself, they will enjoy the independent
work and make better grades my challenging themselves and setting personal goals.
The philosophy of essentialism has many advantages that help better the students. Because
of the focus on learning core subjects and the vigorous work load, students learn the value of hard
work. Students are taught to be disciplined when it comes to completing their assignments. Also, in
the classroom, students are taught respect through obeying their teacher and having proper
manners. Students are placed in an organized, non-chaotic learning atmosphere (Philosophical).
They also learn to have motivational attitudes through the emphasis on essentialism.
The essentialist classroom focuses on the individual mastery of each student. No matter
what the students ability, every student will have a core curriculum at a mastery level before
moving on to new subjects. The philosophy teaches morals and qualities to guide students through
their life which includes respect towards authority, loyalty, and determination. The teacher is
viewed as a role model for the students. The philosophy of essentialism teaches the basic core
subjects and allows students to learn them at a mastery level. Though this philosophy may have
some flaws such as no group work and hands on work, for many students, it is a challenging
philosophy. If children master the basics and build their morals and character, they will have the
tools needed to establish themselves in their future lives and careers. Aspects of essentialism will
always taught to my students and be seen through my teaching philosophy.
















Works Cited
Albear, G.D.. "Essentialism ." Essentialosm Educational Powerpoint. Eastern Illinois University , n.d. Web.
5 Apr. 2013. www.library.eiu.edu/ersvdocs/4458.pdf.

Kauchak, Don , and Paul Eggen . "Educational Philosophy: The Intellectual Foundations of American
Education." Introduction To Teaching . fourth addition ed. Boston: Pearson, 2011. 203-204.
Print.

"PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION." Oregon State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
<http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/ed416/PP3.html>.