The Most Popular Teaching Philosophy: Insights into Educational Approaches

Choose the Pedagogy you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 2, 2023 09:26)
Unlock the wisdom of the crowd and explore the world's most popular teaching philosophies with our latest interactive ranking! At StrawPoll, we've curated a dynamic list of educational approaches that have shaped generations of learners and sparked countless spirited debates. Now, it's your turn to join the conversation and cast your vote for the ultimate teaching philosophy. Will it be hands-on experiential learning, student-centered inquiry, or something entirely different? Don't see your favorite on the list? Fear not, dear educator, you can easily suggest a missing option and rally support for your cause. So, are you ready to dive into this pedagogical adventure and see where your preferred philosophy stands among the rest? Click further, and let your voice be heard on this crucial topic that shapes the minds of tomorrow!

What Is the Most Popular Teaching Philosophy?

  1. 1
    Constructivism - emphasizes the importance of active learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. It also prioritizes collaboration and interaction between learners and teachers.
    Constructivism is a teaching philosophy that emphasizes active learning and the construction of knowledge through personal experiences and reflection. It proposes that learners actively build their own understanding of reality rather than passively receiving information from the environment.
    • Active learning: Encourages learners to actively engage with the subject matter.
    • Knowledge construction: Stresses the importance of learners constructing their own knowledge.
    • Personal experiences: Recognizes the significance of learners' prior experiences and background.
    • Reflection: Promotes critical reflection and metacognition.
    • Scaffolding: Supports learners' progress through guidance and support.
  2. 2
    Progressivism - emphasizes the importance of student-centered learning, experiential learning, and hands-on activities. It also focuses on the development of social skills and values.
    Progressivism is a teaching philosophy that emphasizes hands-on learning, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. It advocates for a student-centered approach to education, where the curriculum is derived from the interests and experiences of the learners. The primary goal of progressivism is to prepare students for active participation in a democratic society.
    • Student-centered approach: Focuses on the interests and experiences of the learners
    • Hands-on learning: Encourages active engagement and practical application of knowledge
    • Problem-solving skills: Emphasizes critical thinking and finding solutions
    • Cooperation: Promotes collaboration and teamwork among students
    • Democratic values: Aims to prepare students for active participation in society
  3. 3
    Behaviorism - emphasizes the role of conditioning and reinforcement in shaping behavior. It also values structured and repetitive learning activities.
    Behaviorism is a school of thought in psychology that focuses on observable behaviors as the key to understanding human and animal psychology. It suggests that behavior can be effectively studied, measured, and modified through observable stimulus-response relationships.
    • Emphasis on observable behaviors: Behaviorism emphasizes the importance of studying observable behaviors rather than internal mental processes.
    • Stimulus-response relationships: Behaviorism suggests that behaviors can be explained in terms of stimulus-response relationships, where a specific stimulus elicits a particular response.
    • Environmental factors: Behaviorism believes that behaviors are largely influenced by environmental factors, such as rewards, punishments, and reinforcement.
    • Learning through conditioning: Behaviorists propose that learning occurs through various forms of conditioning, such as classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
    • Focus on objective measurement: Behaviorism emphasizes objective and measurable data, focusing on observable behaviors that can be quantified.
  4. 4
    Humanism - emphasizes individual needs, interests, and experiences. It also values the development of self-esteem, creativity, and emotional intelligence.
    Humanism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes the inherent value and agency of human beings. It focuses on human interests, values, and dignity, while rejecting supernatural beliefs. Humanism celebrates reason, ethics, and compassion as distinctly human qualities, promoting human flourishing and well-being. It encourages individuals to take personal responsibility for shaping their own lives and society, advocating for equality, justice, and the pursuit of knowledge.
    • 1: Emphasizes the value and agency of human beings.
    • 2: Rejects supernatural beliefs.
    • 3: Focuses on reason, ethics, and compassion.
    • 4: Promotes human flourishing and well-being.
    • 5: Encourages personal responsibility.
  5. 5
    Essentialism is emphasizes the importance of teaching essential knowledge and skills that are relevant to real-life situations. It also values a structured and disciplined learning environment.
    Essentialism is a traditional teaching philosophy that emphasizes the importance of the core knowledge and skills that students should acquire. It focuses on a rigorous curriculum and structured learning environment to develop essential skills and content knowledge.
    • Subject-Centered: Focuses on core subjects such as mathematics, science, literature, and history.
    • Back to Basics: Emphasizes the fundamental principles and skills that all students should learn.
    • Teacher-Led: Teachers are the authority figures who lead the instruction and provide guidance.
    • Direct Instruction: Involves structured and teacher-led lessons with clear goals and objectives.
    • Rigorous Curriculum: Focuses on a structured and standardized curriculum to ensure students acquire essential knowledge.
  6. 6
    Cognitivism is emphasizes the importance of mental processes such as perception, memory, and reasoning in learning. It also values the use of technology and multimedia in education.
    Cognitivism is a teaching philosophy that focuses on understanding and interpreting information. It emphasizes the active involvement of learners in constructing knowledge and emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Cognitivism views learning as a mental process involving the acquisition, organization, and manipulation of information.
    • Emphasis: Understanding and interpretation of information
    • Learner Involvement: Active construction of knowledge
    • Skills: Problem-solving and critical thinking
    • Learning Process: Mental acquisition, organization, and manipulation of information
    • Focus: Internal mental processes
  7. 7
    Pragmatism - emphasizes the practical application of knowledge and skills in real-life situations. It also values the importance of experimentation and problem-solving.
    Pragmatism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes the practical consequences of beliefs and ideas. It focuses on the application and usefulness of concepts, theories, and actions rather than their abstract or theoretical coherence. Pragmatism promotes the idea that the value of any belief or doctrine lies in its ability to produce practical results and solve real-world problems. It emphasizes thinking in terms of practical consequences and the practical effects of our actions.
    • Instrumentalism: Pragmatism advocates viewing theories, concepts, and ideas as instruments or tools for achieving practical outcomes.
    • Fallibilism: Pragmatism acknowledges the fallibility of knowledge and promotes a willingness to revise beliefs and ideas based on new information and experiences.
    • Experimentalism: Pragmatism encourages experimentation and empirical testing as a way to validate theories and ideas.
    • Anti-dogmatism: Pragmatism rejects the notion of absolute or universal truths, emphasizing that beliefs and ideas should be evaluated based on their practical consequences.
    • Meaning as arising from experience: Pragmatism centers on the idea that the meaning of concepts, ideas, and theories is derived from their practical consequences and experiential verification.
  8. 8
    Eclecticism is combines elements of different teaching philosophies to create a flexible and adaptable approach to education. It also values the recognition of individual differences among learners.
    Eclecticism is a teaching philosophy that emphasizes the incorporation of various methods, techniques, and theories in education. It promotes the adoption of diverse instructional approaches based on the needs and characteristics of the learners.
    • Flexibility: Eclecticism allows for flexibility in selecting teaching methods and approaches, enabling educators to adapt to different learning styles and preferences.
    • Practicality: It focuses on practicality by encouraging the use of teaching strategies that have proven effective in different contexts.
    • Individualization: Eclecticism recognizes the importance of individual differences and promotes tailoring instruction to meet the unique needs of each learner.
    • Holistic Approach: It promotes a holistic approach to education, considering not only intellectual development but also social, emotional, and physical aspects of learners.
    • Integration: Eclecticism emphasizes the integration of different educational theories, methods, and concepts rather than adhering to a single ideological framework.
  9. 9
    Existentialism - emphasizes the importance of individual freedom, choice, and responsibility. It also values the development of identity and meaning in life.
    Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual existence, freedom, and choice. It explores the nature of human existence and the meaning of life in a subjective and personal manner. Existentialists believe that individuals create their own meaning and purpose in life through their actions and experiences.
    • Existential angst: Existentialism often focuses on the anxiety and despair that arises from the human experience of confronting the meaninglessness and absurdity of existence.
    • Freedom and responsibility: Existentialism emphasizes the importance of individual freedom and the responsibility individuals have in making choices and taking action.
    • Authenticity: Existentialists encourage individuals to live authentic lives by embracing their freedom, making meaningful choices, and accepting the consequences of their actions.
    • Existence precedes essence: Existentialism rejects the idea that humans possess an innate essence or predetermined purpose. Instead, individuals define themselves through their actions and choices.
    • Subjectivity: Existentialism values subjective experience, emphasizing individual perspectives and personal interpretations of reality.
  10. 10
    Feminism - emphasizes the importance of gender equality and the recognition of diverse perspectives in education. It also values the empowerment of women and girls in all aspects of life.
    Feminism is a social and political ideology that advocates for the rights and equality of women. It seeks to challenge and dismantle societal norms and structures that perpetuate gender-based inequalities. Feminism aims to promote women's empowerment, eradicate gender discrimination, and ensure equal opportunities in all aspects of life.
    • Equality: Feminism strives for equal rights, opportunities, and treatment for all genders.
    • Gender Discrimination: Feminism seeks to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination, including sexism, gender stereotypes, and biases.
    • Intersectionality: Feminism recognizes that different forms of oppression intersect, and advocates for an inclusive approach that addresses the intersecting systems of discrimination.
    • Reproductive Rights: Feminism supports a woman's right to make reproductive choices, including access to contraception and safe abortion.
    • Wage Gap: Feminism highlights and works towards closing the gender wage gap, advocating for equal pay for equal work.

Missing your favorite Pedagogy?


Ranking factors for popular teaching philosophy

  1. Effectiveness
    The philosophy's effectiveness in achieving its intended educational goals should be considered.
  2. Relevance
    The philosophy's relevance to the educational and cultural contexts in which it is being practiced should be considered.
  3. Flexibility
    The philosophy's flexibility in adapting to the changing needs and demands of the learners should be taken into account.
  4. Consistency
    The philosophy's consistency in providing a coherent approach to teaching and learning should be considered.
  5. Acceptability
    The philosophy's acceptability to the educational community should be considered, including both teachers and students.
  6. Evidence base
    The degree to which the philosophy is supported by research and evidence should be taken into account.
  7. Impact
    The philosophy's impact on the learners' cognitive, social, and emotional development should be considered.
  8. Accessibility
    The ease of implementation of the philosophy and the availability of resources should be taken into account.
  9. Practicality
    The philosophy's practicality and feasibility in real-life educational settings should be taken into account.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular teaching philosophy. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Pedagogy is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 214 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Pedagogy once every 24 hours. The rank of each Pedagogy is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular teaching philosophy

Teaching philosophy is the foundation of any educator's approach to teaching and learning. It refers to the set of principles and beliefs that guide a teacher's methods and techniques in the classroom. Over the years, various teaching philosophies have emerged, each with its unique attributes and perspectives. Some of the most popular teaching philosophies include Essentialism, Perennialism, Progressivism, and Constructivism. While these philosophies differ in their approaches, they all share the common goal of promoting student learning and development. In this article, we'll explore the most popular teaching philosophies and examine their benefits and drawbacks.

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