Developing a Philosophy

One of the first steps in curriculum development, regardless of the type of approach one takes, is the development of a philosophy or mission statement. A school’s philosophy/mission provides a framework for the purpose of the school and what the stakeholders believe is important.

The philosophy comes from the stakeholders in the local community. One way to develop a concise philosophy is to develop several different aims for the school. Aims are in many ways statements that provide direction and reflect the values of the stakeholders. Several aims in a paragraph can be used to develop a philosophy/mission statement of a school.

There are several types of aims such as intellectual, social-personal, productive, physical, moral, and spiritual.   Intellectual aims focus on the development of the mind. Social-personal aims focus on relationships. Productive aims center on functioning in the workplace. Physical aims are about the development of the body. Moral aims are about deciphering right and wrong.  Lastly, spiritual aims relate to relating to God.

Which types of aims to use to develop a philosophy depends on the local context. Aims should be exceedingly broad and vague intentionally as the details of the curriculum come at the goals and objectives level. An example of an aim is the following.

  • Provide the tools needed for continuous learning (intellectual aim)

What this means would be hashed out in further details in another part of the curriculum.

An example of a philosophy statement would be the following

School A supports that students need to be provided with the tools necessary to learn continuously (intellectual aim) through a stimulating social environment that encourages collaboration (social-personal aim), which prepares students to be active members of the workplace and society (productive aim)

In this statement, you can see three aims spliced together in one statement on what the school values. This is not the only way to approach this process but it serves as an example of how this could be done

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