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Four Families Philosophy Survey

This test is originally from the WebPages of Dr. Terry Armstrong and used with his permission.

Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun's text, Models of Teaching, provides readers with samples of some of the excellent models available for instructional use, as well as comprehensive overviews of the rich variety of teaching strategies available. In their text instructional methods (models) are categorized into four generic "families," or approaches. Each focuses on the attainment of a different set of outcomes or objectives, each is reflective of a distinctive existing educational philosophy. The four families are:

Weighing the statements below will allow you to determine the combination of the four families you prefer. An analysis of the specific questions will provide you with insight about the compatibility of your beliefs with each of the four families.

Carefully read each statement below. Using this sheet, and the rating contiuum of 0-5 provided below each statement, indicate your agreement or disagreement with the statement made. Check the "0" if the statement is not at all in agreement with your teaching philosophy, or the "5" if it is very much in agreement with your teaching philosophy, or somewhere in between. You may use the statement's sheet to mark if you are completing the survey in your packet, or simply print the sheet and mark it if you are using it off the internet.

After you have read and responded to each statement, use the scoring sheet to tally your answers and determine your four families' philosophy profile. Your higher scores will indicate your areas of preference. Don't try to second guess the responses or read too much into them, just react.

Remember, 0 is no agreement and 5 is strong agreement.


  1. Students should have control over the selection of activities so that he/she selects his/her own instructional outcomes.
  2. Education should emphasize the importance of group problem solving.
  3. Concepts are the basis of knowledge.
  4. The teacher's task is one of establishing behaviors and then bringing those behaviors under the control of the environment.
  5. Instruction should emphasize the maximization of unique personal development.
  6. The social involvement of group investigation is a route to academic inquiry.
  7. Instruction should improve the student's ability to process information.
  8. Effective reinforcement should immediately follow a response.
  9. The teacher should recognize that the individual is capable of handling his/her own learning in constructive ways.
  10. The teacher should take a role as a part of the group and be an active inquirer with the students.
  11. Students should recognize the tentative and emergent nature of their own knowledge as well as that of the discipline.
  12. The sequence of learning should be broken down into small units to assure success at each step.
  13. Teachers should provide environments which are likely to increase the student's capacity to develop himself/herself.
  14. The school has to be an active participant in the continuing development of culture.
  15. The academic disciplines have a structure of concepts which form the information-processing system of the discipline.
  16. Both positive and negative reinforcement can increase response probability.
  17. Teachers should keep the students' feelings and problems at the center of the teaching process.
  18. In a complex, interdependent world, the individual's well being is closely related to the larger social structure.
  19. The task of the school is to identify clear, stable, and organized bodies of knowledge within the disciplines.
  20. Teachers are able to define all goals and objectives in terms of observable behavior.
  21. The student must take responsibility for initiating and maintaining learning activities.
  22. Instruction should emphasize the relationships of the person to society.
  23. Good lectures and demonstrations can lead to meaningful learning.
  24. Programmed instruction can be successfully used with any subject area, grade level, and behavior.
  25. The teacher must be acceptant of all responses in order to insure that students feel no external judgments on their creative expression.
  26. Intellectual operations are learned when students are engaged in active dialogue.
  27. The role of the teacher is to retain control of the intellectual structure of the classroom.
  28. Behavior modification can be used to extinguish objectionable behavior as well as to establish behavior responses in subject matter areas.