Foundation of Education


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Foundation of Education

  1. 1. TOPIC 1: THE PROMISES AND LIMITS OF EDUCATION: TOWARDS REFLECTIVE PRACTITIONERS (MID-SEM TEST)1.1 The Promises of Education • Education can be defined as “the growth process of the individuals and society”. “The promises of education” means what education can do to individuals of all ages, from children to adults to senior citizens, in a particular country. The growth of individuals can be divided into four basic domains: • (1) cognitive domain (knowledge), • (2) psychomotor domain (skills), • (3) affective domain (attitudes), and • (4) social domain (social interactions). • Other domains of growth include: • (5) productive domain (knowledge and skills for job, home, citizen and member of society), • (6) physical domain (development & maintenance of strong & healthy body), • (7) aesthetic domain (values and appreciation of the arts), • (8) moral domain (values & behaviours), and • (9)spiritual domain (recognition & belief in the divine & the view of transcendence). • Education helps young citizens so that they can function more effectively in their current and future times. These functions are determined by the aims of education. The aims of education are the general statements of the functions to be transferred to the learners through education, or simply the general purpose of education. • Ralph Tyler summarized the aims of American education as: • (1) developing self-realization, • (2) making individuals literate, • (3) encouraging social mobility, • (4) providing the skills and understanding necessary for productive employment, (5) furnishing tools requisite for making effective choices regarding material and nonmaterial things and services, and • (6) furnishing the tools necessary for continued/life-long learning.1.2 The Limits of Education • “The limits of education” means the factors that become hindrance/obstacle to education. As we are all aware, education needs infrastructures such as buildings, classrooms, laboratories, libraries; others than the human capital such as administrators, teachers and supporting staff. The provisions of these facilities require financial support, which may become the limitation to education. 1
  2. 2. • School location can be another limitation to education, with some schools are nicely located in towns and cities, while others are located in the villages or far in the mountains. The access to schools could be a problem to some children, other than lack of teaching and learning materials available at such schools. Hence, school location can be a limit of education. • Mental and physical abilities of students differ in many ways. Some of them are mentally retarded, or physically handicapped, blind, or deaf and dumb. These students cannot learn as much as the normal students. They need special learning aids, for example, the Braille materials for blind students, and sign language for deaf and dumb students. All these become limits of education. • There is a large amount of knowledge and skills that students need to learn. With the limited time and resources available to students and teachers; teachers face the problem of selecting what subjects the students should take to equip them for their future life. There are at least nine domains of growth that are important to students. Can they learn all of them? Hence, time can be another limit of education.1.3 Towards Reflective Practitioners • Reflective practitioners mean those who look back at what they are doing, making evaluation as to the quality of the processes and think of how to improve those processes. With the above promises and limits of education, teachers as practitioners in education, should be more reflective in their profession. That is, for example, they should look back at how they teach, evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching process, and think of how to improve this process. • As an example of teaching process, assume that you are a teacher in a secondary school, and you are given a class with mixed abilities students to teach, i.e. some of them are very bright, some are moderate, and the rest are weak students. What would you do to make sure each one of your students in your class understand what is taught to them, though they have different academic abilities, background, interest, and motivation? • Would you have all of them in the same class, and give more attention to the weak students? Or, would you divide them into three groups according to their abilities and teach them differently? Or, would you use the cooperative-learning strategy such that the good students will teach the moderate students in groups of five, while you teach the weak students? Can we separate teaching objectives for these different group of students? • Or, would you separate your students into three classes, i.e. Class A for good students, Class B for moderate students, and Class C for weak students, and teach them different syllabus using different approach? Can you reflect back, as a student, by recalling what your teacher did to you when you were a student in school? Let us share these experiences and do some reflection on them, and suggest the better teaching approach for these students. 2
  3. 3. 1.4 Tutorial Activity • There are five steps for teachers to follow in reflective teaching process (p 25): (1) PERCEIVE (Identify issues, problems, dilemmas, and opportunities); • (2) VALUE (Consider different relevant perspectives or take into account the values underlying individuals’ actions); • (3) KNOW (Call up professional from academic preparation, educational theory and research, and practical experience); • (4) ACT (Applying knowledge and skills to make decisions); and • (5) EVALUATE (Assess the consequences of decisions and outcomes of actions). • Reflect teaching and learning when you were a student in school. • Identify one issue, problem, dilemma, or opportunity in the teaching and learning process. • Explain what you would do in the remaining four steps of the model in order to improve the teaching and learning process. • Form groups of five students. A representative from each group should present the answers during tutorial session next week. 3
  4. 4. TOPIC 2: UNDERSTANDING EDUCATION: THE FOUNDATIONS PERSPECTIVE; A MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH (MID-SEM TEST)2.1 Introduction This topic will discuss the understanding of education through foundations of education perspective. The topics covered in the foundations of educations course (see Study Guide) are the purpose of schooling, philosophy of education, sociology of education, history of education, politics of education, curriculum and pedagogy, transmission of knowledge, schools as organization, teacher professionalism, equality of opportunity, educational outcomes, educational inequalities, educational reforms, school improvements, current issues and trends in education, and the future of education. Which of these topics do you think are multidisciplinary, and which of them are interdisciplinary?2.2 The Multidisciplinary Approach “Multidisciplinary approach in understanding of education” means “understanding of education through many separate disciplines of knowledge”. For example, the sociological foundations of education, and teacher professionalism. These two disciplines of knowledge are different, with little or no overlapping contents. The theories and/or principles that made up the two disciplines come from two different disciplines of knowledge (sociological foundations of education & teacher professionalism). (a) The Social Foundations of Education • “Sociology” is defined as “the branch of knowledge that deals with the origin, development, organization and functioning of human society”. Education develops within, not a part from, social contexts. Schools influence the cultures of the people that the schools serve. Likewise, the surrounding cultures shape the schools and their curricula. • Other than the dynamic nature of our local cultures, we have the technology (such as internet and other electronic technologies) that exposes global cultures to our community. Can we provide relevant education to cater for these dynamic cultures? This is actually part of the social foundations of education. We have to study the present and perhaps future cultures to determine the direction of our present education. • In trying to understand education, we need to understand the sociology of a particular country. We than try to relate the life and cultures of this country to its education system, particularly to the philosophy, aims, goals and objectives of education. Since we can study sociology of a country as a separate discipline, we can study social foundations of education through a multidisciplinary approach. (b) Teacher Professionalism • “Professionalism” is defined as “professional character, spirit, or methods of professionals, as distinguished from an amateur”. Hence, “teacher professionalism” means “professional character, spirit, or methods of a teacher, as distinguished from non-teachers”. Good teachers are not just born with the professional character, spirit, or methods; but they acquire them through trainings and experiences. They gain their knowledge from successful and unsuccessful experiences. • Teachers differ from others at least in five aspects of teaching and learning: (1) they have the content knowledge of the subject-matter they teach; (2) they have the knowledge and skills of how best to deliver/teach a particular content; (3) they can understand learners’ needs in teaching and learning; (4) 4
  5. 5. they know how to handle students with discipline problems; and (5) they know various methods/techniques to evaluate students’ academic achievement, skill performance, attitudes and social interaction. • In trying to understand education of a particular country, we need to understand, partly, the teaching and learning process and teacher professionalism that are being practiced in the country. We can also look at the character, spirit, or methods of other professionals; and compare them with those for the teachers. Since we can study teacher professionalism as a separate discipline, therefore it can be studied through a multidisciplinary approach.2.3 The Interdisciplinary Approach “Interdisciplinary approach in understanding of education through foundations perspective” means “understanding of education through related disciplines of knowledge”. For example, the philosophical foundations of education and the historical foundations of education are interdisciplinary knowledge. We use the theories and principles from other disciplines (philosophy & history) and create theories and principles for the “Philosophical Foundations of Education” and the “Historical Foundations of Education”. (a) The Philosophical Foundations of Education • “Philosophy” is a combination of two Greek words, the “phil’s” which means “love”, and “sophia” which means “wisdom”. Hence, the word “philosophy” means “love of wisdom”, i.e. we need to “search for wisdom”. It involves searching for defensible values, clarifying our perceptions, beliefs and attitudes; formulating principles for making decisions; and finally implementing these decisions. • Philosophy of education focuses on the values, beliefs and attitudes related to education, i.e. the process of growth of individuals and society. These values, beliefs and attitudes determine the direction of our education, particularly the aims, goals, objectives, contents, delivery and assessment of education. We look at our life and problems in full perspective in deciding on our philosophy of education. • For example, the philosophy of “perennialism”, the oldest and most conservative philosophy, is based on “realism”. Realist views the world in terms of objects and matter. People come to know about the world through senses and reason. Everything is derived from nature and is subjected to its laws. American education, up to the late nineteenth century, was dominated by perennialist thinking. • Hence, in order for us to understand the philosophy of education, we need to know the general philosophies first, and then relate them to the aims of education of a country. That is, we have to combine the knowledge about “philosophy” and the knowledge about the “education” to form the knowledge about the “Philosophical Foundations of Education” of a particular country, which can be regarded as an interdisciplinary approach. (b) The Historical Foundations of Education • “History” is defined as “the branch of knowledge that deals with past events”. History involves searching for what had occurred within a particular time frame and context. All human activities, including those in the field of education, occur within time and context. The events that took place during a particular period of time in a country had influenced the education of that country. In Malaysia, can you recall an event that had changed our education? • In the USA, the historical foundations of education started with the colonial Massachusetts, which settled by Puritans (members of a sect of Protestant from England) who hold strictly to religious discipline. The earlier schools were closely related to Puritan church. The major purpose of school was to teach children to read the Scriptures (passages from Bible) and notices of civil affairs. The purpose of schooling at that time was to make sure children can read and understand the principles of religion and the laws of the Commonwealth. • Hence, in order for us to understand the history of education of a country, we need to know the events that had taken place at a particular time, and relate them to what had happened in education of a country. That is, we have to combine the knowledge about “history” and the knowledge about the “education” to form the knowledge about the “Historical Foundations of Education” of a particular country, which can be regarded as an interdisciplinary approach.2.4 Tutorial Activity Read the subtopic of: “How Can Schools Reduce Risks That Threaten Children’s Health and Safety?” on pages 43-53 of the textbook. Relate the social phenomena in the USA (the social foundations of 5
  6. 6. education) to the roles of schools (what schools can do to educate young children to reduce the risks that threaten their health and safety). PFB1004: FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION Course Leader: Prof. Dr. Abdul Razak Habib Lecture Notes TOPIC 3: THE PURPOSE OF SCHOOLING (MIDSEM TEST)3.1 Introduction Why did we go to school? Why do children go to school? The answer to these questions will probably help us to understand the purpose of schooling. What would have happen to us if we did not go to school? What was the purpose of schooling 300 years ago? What is the purpose of schooling now? This lecture will relate the philosophy, aims, goals and objectives of education to the purpose of schooling.3.2 The Philosophy, Aims, Goals and Objectives of Education • To understand the process of education, we need to understand curriculum development, content development, content delivery, and assessment of content learning. The curriculum (syllabus) development includes determining the philosophy, the aims, the goals and the objectives of education, as shown the figure below. The content development, delivery, and assessment will not be discussed here. Philosophy Aims Goals Objectives • Philosophy of education, as we know, focuses on the values, beliefs and attitudes in relation to the growth process of individuals and society. These values, beliefs and attitudes determine the direction of our education, particularly the aims, goals, objectives, contents, delivery and assessment of education. Some of the educational philosophies will be discussed in Topic 4. As an example, we will discuss pragmatism as a philosophy of education. • Pragmatism defines the truth and meaning of ideas (knowledge) according to their physical consequences and practical values (p. 154). It views the world as not fixed, but constantly changing; and views knowledge as process. It suggests education should focus on experiencing the process, for example, learning occurs as pupil engages in problem solving. Knowing is considered an interaction between the learner and environment, of which both are undergoing constant changes. • Aim of education (What education expects students will achieve) can be defined as “general statement of the functions to be transferred to learners through education, or simply the purpose of education”. The earlier aims of American education were to “ascertain the continuation and enforcement of democratic ideals, and to save the souls” (p. 94). These aims had been associated with the philosophy of pragmatism, which many people claimed to be the unofficial American philosophy (p. 154). • Goal of education (What students can do after completing education) can be defined as “statement of specific purpose with some outcomes in mind”. The aim gives the purpose of education, such as “Making individual literate”; while the goal gives more specific outcomes of education, such as “All Year-1 pupils should be able to read and write simple sentences in English”. Hence, the goal of education is the statement about what pupils should be able to do to achieve the aim/purpose of education. • Objective of education can be defined as “statement of specific learning outcomes at various levels of learning”; e.g. at program level, course level, topic level, or lesson level. An example of course level educational objective is: “At the end of this course, students should be able to write short stories in English”. The objectives are usually written in behavioural terms, such as “write, read, explain, 6
  7. 7. compare, compute, or draw” and so on. The curriculum is then developed based on the various objectives of a particular school subject.3.2 The Purpose of Schooling There are many classifications of the purposes/aims of schooling, for example those given by The Educational Policies Commission (USA) and those given by the Cardinal Principles of Secondary School Education. The Educational Policies Commission listed four purposes of American schooling: (1) self- realization, (2) human relationships, (3) economic efficiency, and (4) civic responsibility. • The purpose of self-realization is to encourage inquiry, mental capabilities, speech, reading, writing, numbers, sight and hearing, health knowledge, health habits, public health, recreation, intellectual interests, and character formation. • The purpose of human relationships includes humanity, friendship, cooperation with others, courtesy, appreciation of the home, conservation of the home, homemaking, and democracy in the home. • The purpose of economic efficiency includes work, occupational appreciation, personal economic, consumer judgment, efficiency in buying, and consumer protection. • The purpose of civic responsibility includes social justice, social activity, social understanding, critical judgement, tolerance, observance, conserving of resources, social application of science, world citizenship, economic literacy, political citizenship, and devotion to democracy. • The Cardinal Principles of Secondary School Education listed seven major areas of purposes of secondary schooling: (1) health, (2) command of fundamental processes (living skills), (3) worthy home membership, (4) vocational education, (5) civic education, (6) worthy used of leisure, and (7) ethical character.3.3 Tutorial Activity • Read Chapter 10 of the textbook about the Backward Design of Curriculum (p. 284). Explain “backward curriculum design”. Give one example of the design based on an educational objective. Ralph Tyler (1949) described the design as follows: “Educational objectives become the criteria by which materials are selected, content is outlined, instructional procedures are developed, and test and examination are prepared… The purpose of a statement of objectives is to indicate the kinds of changes in the student to be brought about so that the instructional activities can be planned and developed in a way likely to attain these objectives”. Sample Answer • Backward curriculum design starts with the learning objectives (backward) to derive/develop a curriculum (i.e. prepare lesson content, select materials, develop teaching procedures, prepare exercises, and prepare test/examination). A simple example is given below: • Learning objective: At the end of the lesson, the students will be able to find the area of a right-angle triangle. • Lesson content: Find the area of a rectangle and the area of the right-angle triangle by dividing the rectangle into two right-angle triangles. Derive the formula for the area of a right-angle triangle. • Materials: Use a manila card to make rectangles and use a ruler to measure the sides. • Teaching procedures: (a) Review on how to find the area of a rectangle. (b) Ask students to cut the manila card to make rectangles of various sizes. (c) Ask students to measure the sides of the rectangles and compute the areas. (d) Ask students to cut the rectangles into right-angle triangles and then compute the areas of each rectangle 7
  8. 8. (e) Deduce the formula for the area of rectangle and triangle.• Exercises: Students are asked to draw right-angle triangles of various sizes and are asked to compute the areas.• Assessment: Students are given a few figures of right-angle triangles and are asked to compute the areas. 8