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Philosophy of education

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  • 1. The Philosophy of Education
  • 2. What is Philosophy of Education Philos + Sophos = love of wisdom All teachers have a personal philosophy that colors the way they teach. Your educational philosophy consists of what you believe in about education – the set of principles that guides your professional action.
  • 3. What is Philosophy of Education Your beliefs and your own philosophy of education will influence all your activities in the classroom from how you teach, what you teach, how you manage your classroom, how you relate to students, parents, and colleagues, and how you conduct your professional life.
  • 4. Beliefs About Teaching and Learning What will be your primary role as a teacher? Will it be to transmit knowledge to students and then guide their practice as they develop skills in using that knowledge? Or will it be to develop self-directed learners by building on students’ interests, prior experiences and current understandings?
  • 5. Beliefs About Students Every teacher formulates an image in his or her mind about what students are like – their dispositions, skills, motivation levels and experiences. Negative views of students may promote teacherstudent relationships based on fear and coercion rather than on trust and helpfulness. It is important that teachers convey positive attitudes toward their students and a belief that they can learn.
  • 6. Beliefs About What Is Worth Knowing Teachers have different ideas what should be taught.
  • 7. The Purpose of Education What do you think is the purpose of education? To give knowledge To transmit culture To help people adapt to society To give religious education To provide practical/hands-on experience/training To provide learner/human-centered education
  • 8. What are the branches of philosophy? Metaphysics – what is real to you Epistemology – how do we know Axiology – values Ethics – morality, behavior  Aesthetics – beauty, comfort 
  • 9. Metaphysics Concerned with the questions about the nature of reality. The very heart of educational philosophy. What is reality? What is the world made of? What does it mean to exist? The school curriculum is based on what we know about reality.
  • 10. Epistemology Concerned with the nature of knowledge. What knowledge is true? How does knowing take place? How do we decide between opposing views of knowledge? What knowledge is most worth? As a teacher, you need to determine what is true about the content you will teach, then you must decide on the most appropriate means of teaching this content to students.
  • 11. Epistemology (ways of knowing about the world) Knowing based on authority Knowing based on divine revelation Knowing based on empiricism (experience) Knowing based on reason and logical analysis Knowing based on intuition
  • 12. Axiology Concerned with values. What values should teachers encourage students to adopt? What values does a truly educated person hold? Highlights the fact that the teacher has an interest not only in the quantity of knowledge that students acquire but also the quality of life that becomes possible because of that knowledge.
  • 13. Educational Philosophies
  • 14. Schools of Thought
  • 15. Perennialism The most conservative, traditional, or inflexible of all philosophies Reflects Plato’s belief that TRUTH and values are absolute, timeless and universal Develop the students’ rational and moral powers; reasoning skills Reality is a world of reason Teaches concepts and focuses on knowledge and the meaning of knowledge All human beings possess the same essential nature
  • 16. Perennialism Man and his existence are virtually permanent therefore the teaching style should not change Emphasize the importance of transferring knowledge, information, and skills from the older generation to the younger one The teacher is not concerned of student’s interest (teacher-centered) Students acquire knowledge of unchanging principles or great ideas Less emphasis on vocational and technical education
  • 17. Perennialism Stress on general education The student is a passive recipient Robert Maynard Hutchins and Mortimer Adler Teacher’s role: instill respect for authority, deliver clear lectures; interprets and tells; coaching in critical thinking skills; apply creative techniques and other tried and true methods which are believed to be most conducive to disciplining the student’s minds
  • 18. Perennialism: Application to teaching Education should be the same for everyone A single curriculum should exist for all students Curriculum should include study of original sources Since man is basically the same, there is no need to sway material to the lowest student Children must be challenged and educators must expect REASON from them Education is a tool that prepares one for life Great emphasis is placed upon the great classics – literature, history, philosophy, science
  • 19. Perennialism: Application to teaching A high school English teacher would require students to read Melville’s Moby Dick or any of Shakespeare’s plays rather than a novel on the current best-seller list. Science students would learn about the three laws of motion or three laws of thermodynamics rather than build a model of space shuttle.
  • 20. Portrait of a Perennialist teacher Mrs. Bernstein has been teaching English at the high school since mid-1980s. Among students and teachers as well, she has a reputation for demanding a lot. As one student put it, “You don’t waste time in Mrs. Bernstein’s classes.” During the early 1990s, she had a difficult time dealing with students who aggressively insisted on being taught subjects that they called relevant. As a graduate of a top-notch university in the East,
  • 21. Portrait of a Perennialist teacher where she received a classical, liberal education, Mrs. Bernstein refused to lessen the emphasis in her classes on great works of literature that she felt students needed to know, such as Beowulf and the works of Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare. As far as her approach to classroom management is concerned, one student sums it up this way: “She doesn’t let you get by with a thing; she never slacks off on the pressure. She lets you know that she’s there to teach and you’re there to learn.”
  • 22. Portrait of a Perennialist teacher Mrs. Bernstein believes that hard work and effort is necessary if one is to get a good education. As a result she gives students very few opportunities to misbehave, and she appears to be immune to the grumblings of students who do complain openly about the workload. She becomes very animated when she talks about the value of the classics to students who are preparing to live as adults in the 21st century.
  • 23. Essentialism Learners need to acquire basic knowledge, skills and values necessary to understand the real world outside. Instill students with the “essentials” of academic knowledge, enacting back-to-basics approach. The essence of education is knowledge and skills needed in preparation for adult life. Pass on the cultural and historical heritage to each new generation of learners, beginning with the “basics”.
  • 24. Essentialism Emphasis on academic content for students to learn the fundamental r’s – reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, right conduct Accumulated wisdom of our civilization as taught in the traditional academic disciplines is passed on from teacher to student. Math, Natural Science, History, English Students build on what others learned (not trial/error) Essentialists accept the idea that core curriculum may change
  • 25. Essentialism Subject-centered Mastery of subject matter Cover as much academic content as possible Non-academic subjects (PE, vocational) excluded William C. Bagley Teachers role: to transmit traditional moral values and intellectual knowledge that students need to become model citizens; deliver clear lectures; stress on memorization and discipline
  • 26. Portrait of an Essentialist teacher Mr. Samuels is known around the school as a hardworking, dedicated teacher. His commitment to children is especially evident when he talks about preparing “his” children for life in high school and beyond. “A lot of teachers nowadays have given up on kids,” he says with a touch of sadness to his voice. “They don’t demand much of them. If we don’t push kids now to get the knowledge and skills they’re going to need later in life, we’ve failed them. My main purpose here is to see that my kids get the basics they’re going to need.”
  • 27. Portrait of an Essentialist teacher Mr. Samuels has made it known that he does not approve of the methods used by some of the younger, more humanistic-oriented teachers in the school. At a recent faculty meeting, for example, he was openly critical of some teachers’ tendency to “let students do their own thing” and spend time “expressing their feelings.” He called for all teachers to focus their energies on getting students to master subject-matter content, “the things kids will need to know,” rather than on helping students adjust to the interpersonal aspects of school life. He also reminded everyone that “kids come to school to learn.” All students would learn, he pointed out, if “teachers based their methods on good, sound approaches that have always worked—not on the so-called innovative approaches that are based on fads and frills.”
  • 28. Portrait of an Essentialist teacher Mr. Samuels’s students have accepted his no-nonsense approach to teaching. With few exceptions, his classes are orderly and businesslike. Each class period follows a standard routine. Students enter the room quietly and take their seats with a minimum of the foolishness and horseplay that mark the start of many other classes in the school. As the first order of business, the previous day’s homework is returned and reviewed. Following this, Mr. Samuels presents the day’s lesson, usually a 15- to 20-minute explanation of how to solve a particular kind of math problem. His minilectures are lively, and his wide-ranging tone of voice and animated, spontaneous delivery convey his excitement about the material and his belief that students can learn. During large-group instruction, Mr. Samuels also makes ample use of a whiteboard, software such as Geometer’s Sketchpad, and manipulatives such as a large abacus and colored blocks of different sizes and shapes.
  • 29. Progressivism Believe that individuality, progress and change are fundamental to one’s education Teachers teach so they may live life fully NOW not to prepare them for adult life Curriculum is centered on the needs, experiences, interests and abilities of students not on academic disciplines Textbooks, memorization, & other traditional techniques are replaced with actual experiences and problem-solving Emphasis on life-long learning and social skills Students are active learners Student-centered
  • 30. Progressivism Skills are taught to cope with change Problem-solving methods; scientific method Natural and Social sciences Learning by doing; book learning is no substitute for actual experience Progressive teachers begin with where students are and through daily give-and-take of the classroom, lead students to see that the subject to be learned can enhance their lives John Dewey
  • 31. Progressivism Teacher role: facilitate student learning, provide students with experiences that replicate everyday life as much as possible, cooperative learning activities, hands-on activities
  • 32. Portrait of a Progressive Teacher Mr. Barkan teaches social studies at a middle school in a well-to-do part of the city. Boyishly handsome and in his mid-thirties, Mr. Barkan usually works in casual attire—khaki pants, softsoled shoes, and a sports shirt. He seems to get along well with students. Mr. Barkan likes to give students as much freedom of choice in the classroom as possible. Accordingly, his room is divided into interest and activity centers, and much of the time students are free to choose where they want to spend their time.
  • 33. Portrait of a Progressive Teacher One corner at the back of the room has a library collection of paperback and hardcover books, an easy chair, and an area rug; the other back corner of the room is set up as a project area and has a worktable on which are several globes, maps, large sheets of newsprint, and assorted drawing materials. At the front of the room in one corner is a small media center with a computer and flat screen monitor, laser printer, and DVD/VCR. Mr. Barkan makes it a point to establish warm, supportive relationships with his students. He is proud of the fact that he is a friend to his students.
  • 34. Portrait of a Progressive Teacher “I really like the kids I teach,” he says in a soft, gentle voice. “They’re basically good kids, and they really want to learn if we teachers, I mean, can just keep their curiosity alive and not try to force them to learn. It’s up to us as teachers to capitalize on their interests.” The visitor to Mr. Barkan’s class today can sense his obvious regard for students. He is genuinely concerned about the growth and nurturance of each one. As his students spend most of their time working in small groups at the various activity centers in the room, Mr. Barkan divides his time among the groups. He moves from group to group and seems to immerse himself as an equal participant in each group’s task. One group, for example, has been working on making a papier-mâché globe. Several students are explaining animatedly to him how they plan to transfer the flat map of the world they have drawn to the smooth sphere they have fashioned out of the papier-mâché.
  • 35. Portrait of a Progressive Teacher Mr. Barkan listens carefully to what his students have to say and then congratulates the group on how cleverly they have engineered the project. When he speaks to his students, he does so in a matter-of-fact, conversational tone, as though speaking to other adults. As much as possible he likes to bring textbook knowledge to life by providing his students with appropriate experiences—field trips, small-group projects, simulation activities, role-playing, Internet explorations, and so on. Mr. Barkan believes that his primary function as a teacher is to prepare his students for an unknown future. Learning to solve problems at an early age is the best preparation for this future, he feels.
  • 36. Existentialism Focuses on the experiences of an individual Rejects the existence of any source of objective, authoritative truth about metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics “Existence precedes essence. . . .” Individuals are responsible for determining for themselves what is "true" or "false," "right" or "wrong," "beautiful" or "ugly.” There exists no universal form of human nature; each of us has the free will to develop as we see fit.
  • 37. Existentialism Education of the whole person, not just the mind. Helping the students understand and appreciate themselves as unique individuals who accept complete responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Subject matter takes second place Learning is self-paced; self-directed Emphasis on HUMANITIES Yes to vocational education Existentialists judge the curriculum according to whether it contributes to the individual’s quest for meaning
  • 38. Existentialism Encourages individual creativity and imagination Offers the individual a way of thinking about my life, what has meaning for me, what is true for me. Teachers employ values clarification strategy – teachers remain non-judgmental and take care not to impose their values on their students since values are personal. Jean-Paul Sartre Teacher’s role: help students define their own essence by exposing them to various paths they take in life and by creating an environment in which they freely choose their own preferred way
  • 39. Portrait of an Existentialist teacher After he started teaching English eight years ago at a suburban high school, Fred Winston began to have doubts about the value of what he was teaching students. Although he could see a limited, practical use for the knowledge and skills he was teaching, he felt he was doing little to help his students answer the most pressing questions of their lives. Also, Fred had to admit to himself that he had grown somewhat bored with following the narrow, unimaginative Board of Education curriculum guides. During the next eight years, Fred gradually developed a style of teaching that placed emphasis on students finding out who they are. He continued to teach the knowledge covered on the achievement test mandated by his state, but he made it clear that what students learned from him, they should use to answer questions that were important to them.
  • 40. Portrait of an Existentialist teacher Now, for example, he often gives writing assignments that encourage students to look within in order to develop greater self-knowledge. He often uses assigned literature as a springboard for values clarification discussions. And whenever possible, he gives his students the freedom to pursue individual reading and writing projects. His only requirement is that students be meaningfully involved in whatever they do. Fred’s approach to teaching is perhaps summed up by the bumper sticker on the sports car he drives: “Question authority.” Unlike many of his fellow teachers, he wants his students to react critically and skeptically to what he teaches them. He also presses them to think thoughtfully and courageously about the meaning of life, beauty, love, and death. He judges his effectiveness by the extent to which students are able and willing to become more aware of the choices that are open to them.
  • 41. Behaviorism Behaviorism is a theory of animal and human learning that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior. Modification and shaping of students’ behavior by providing for a favorable environment.
  • 42. Behaviorism Teachers teach to students to respond favorably to various stimuli in the environment Teachers provide incentives to reinforce positive responses and weaken or eliminate negative ones B.F. Skinner
  • 43. Idealism Asserts that because the physical world is always changing, ideas are the only reliable form of reality The focus is on conscious reasoning in the mind. The aim of education is to discover and develop each individual's abilities and full moral excellence in order to better serve society. The curricular emphasis is subject matter of mind: literature, history, philosophy, and religion.
  • 44. Idealism Lecture, discussion, and Socratic dialogue (a method of teaching that uses questioning to help students discover and clarify knowledge). Truth is perfect and eternal, but not found in the world of matter, only through the mind The only constant for Plato was mathematics, unchangeable and eternal
  • 45. Idealism Plato: The first is the spiritual or mental world, which is eternal, permanent, orderly, regular, and universal. There is also the world of appearance, the world experienced through sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound, that is changing, imperfect, and disorderly.
  • 46. Idealism Plato believed education helped move individuals collectively toward achieving the good. The State should be involved in education, moving brighter students toward abstract ideas and the less able toward collecting data…a gender free tracking system Those who were brighter should rule, others should assume roles to maintain the state The philosopher-king would lead the State to the ultimate good
  • 47. Idealism Evil comes through ignorance, education will lead to the obliteration of evil More modern idealists: St. Augustine, Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Georg Hegel Goal of Education: interested in the search for truth through ideas…with truth comes responsibility to enlighten others, “education is transformation: Ideas can change lives.”
  • 48. Idealism Role of the Teacher: to analyze and discuss ideas with students so that students can move to new levels of awareness so that they can ultimately be transformed, abstractions dealt with through the dialectic, but should aim to connect analysis with action Role of the teacher is to bring out what is already in student’s mind: reminiscence
  • 49. Methods of Instruction Lecture from time to time, but primary method of teaching is the dialectic… discuss, analyze, synthesize, and apply what they have read to contemporary society Curriculum…importance of the study of the classics…many support a back to the basics approach to education
  • 50. Realism Aristotle was the leading proponent of realism, started the Lyceum, the first philosopher to develop a systematic theory of logic Reality exists independent of the human mind The ultimate reality is the world of physical objects The aim is to understand objective reality through "the diligent and unsparing scrutiny of all observable data."
  • 51. Aristotle’s Systematic Theory of Logic Begin with empirical research, speculate or use dialectic reasoning, and culminate in a syllogism A syllogism is a system of logic that consists of three parts: (1) a major premise, (2) a minor premise, and (3) a conclusion For a syllogism to work, all the parts must be correct
  • 52. Realists Neo-Thomism…Aquinas affected a synthesis of pagan ideas and Christian beliefs…reason is the means of ascertaining or understanding truth, God could be understood through reasoning based on the material world…no conflict between science and religion The world of faith with the world of reason, contemporary Catholic schools
  • 53. Modern Realism From the Renaissance, Francis Bacon developed induction, the scientific method…based on Aristotle, developed a method starting with observations, culminating in generalization, tested in specific instances for the purpose of verification John Locke and tabula rasa, things known from experience… ordered sense data and then reflected on them
  • 54. Goal of Education for Realists Notions of the good life, truth, beauty could be answered through the study of ideas, using the dialectical method…for contemporary realists, the goal of education is to help individuals understand and apply the principles of science to help solve the problems plaguing the modern world Teachers should be steeped in the basic academic disciplines
  • 55. Pragmatism An American philosophy from the 19th century…Peirce, James, Dewey Pragmatism encourages people to find processes that work in order to achieve their desired ends…action oriented, experientially grounded
  • 56. John Dewey’s Philosophy Education starts with the needs and interests of the child, allows the child to participate in planning her course of study, employ project method or group learning, depend heavily or experiential learning Children are active, organic beings…needing both freedom and responsibility Ideas are not separate from social conditions, philosophy has a responsibility to society
  • 57. Dewey’s Role for the Teacher Not the authoritarian but the facilitator… encourages, offers suggestions, questions and helps plan and implement courses of study…has command of several disciplines Inquiry method, problem solving, integrated curriculum
  • 58. Empiricism Knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experiences Emphasizes the role of experience and evidence John Locke, David Hume, George Berkeley Empiricist thought stresses the need to eliminate assumptions about notions of how the world is supposed to work. The only truths are those that demonstrate how the world actually does work. One of the controversial aspects of empiricism is that it often conflicts with traditional views of religion.
  • 59. Empiricism Knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experiences Emphasizes the role of experience and evidence John Locke, David Hume, George Berkeley Empiricist thought stresses the need to eliminate assumptions about notions of how the world is supposed to work. The only truths are those that demonstrate how the world actually does work.
  • 60. Empiricism For example John Locke held that some knowledge (e.g. knowledge of God's existence) could be arrived at through intuition and reasoning alone. Similarly Robert Boyle, a prominent advocate of the experimental method, held that we have innate ideas
  • 61. Rationalism Pure Reason (i.e. Reason independent of Experience) can yield informative knowledge, knowledge of (some aspects of) the world rather than just of the relations between our concepts. "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive.“ Rational knowledge is labeled a priori, to indicate that it is prior to and independent of experience. The rationalist’s confidence in reason and proof tends, therefore, to detract from his respect for other ways of knowing.
  • 62. Social Reconstructionism Holds that schools should take the lead in changing or reconstructing the current social order. Schools should not only transmit knowledge about the existing social order; they should seek to reconstruct it as well. Social reconstructionism has clear ties to progressive educational philosophy
  • 63. Social Reconstructionism A social reconstructionist curriculum is arranged to highlight the need for various social reforms and, whenever possible, allow students to have firsthand experiences in reform activities. Schools should provide students with methods for dealing with the significant crises that confront the world: war, economic depression, international terrorism, hunger, natural disasters, inflation, and ever-accelerating technological advances. Theodore Brameld, George Counts
  • 64. Utilitarianism/Hedonism School of thought that argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good Strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain) Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. Aristippus of Cyrene (student of Socrates), Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill
  • 65. Epicureanism Epicurus believed that what he called "pleasure" is the greatest good, but the way to attain such pleasure is to live modestly and to gain knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of one's desires. Epicureanism emphasizes the neutrality of the gods, that they do not interfere with human lives. The emphasis was placed on pleasures of the mind rather than on physical pleasures.
  • 66. Postmodernism (Critical Theory) An educational philosophy contending that many of the institutions in our society, including schools, are used by those in power to marginalize those who lack power Criticized for using schools for political purposes
  • 67. Constructivism Students construct understanding of reality through interaction with objects, people or events in the environmental and reflecting on interactions Learning occurs by conflicting with what is already known; previous experiences determine what is learned Teachers act as facilitators Students interact with experts