What are the philosophical

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What are the philosophical

  1. 1. What are the Philosophical Foundations of American Education? Dr. Paul A. Rodriguez
  2. 2. <ul><li>Philosophical knowledge has a fundamental role in clarifying questions in education </li></ul><ul><li>Four branches of philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphysics </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemology </li></ul><ul><li>Axiology </li></ul><ul><li>Logic </li></ul><ul><li>Four philosophies of education </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological theories—and particularly constructivism—influence modern educational thought </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy—one of the foundational subjects in education forms the intellectual underpinning on which the practice of education rest. The study of philosophy helps the teacher systematically reflect on issues that are central to education, including such basic concepts as learning, teaching, being educated, knowledge and the good life. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Love of wisdom—the word philosophy is made up of two root words: “love” (philo) and “wisdom” (sophos). Philosophy is the love of wisdom. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy represents a human attempt to sort out by reason the fundamental questions of existence. Because education has always been a central human concern, philosophers have thought and written a great deal about education and the questions surrounding it. </li></ul><ul><li>The Nature of Philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of philosophy on our lives—only a few people in our society are professional philosophers who earn their daily bread by pursuing answers to the fundamental questions of life. Our choices in life have their roots in a person’s philosophy of life, whether that person knows it or not. </li></ul><ul><li>Factors that influence our philosophies—philosophy is an extremely pure and abstract science. The method or process of philosophers is questioning and reasoning; their product is thought. </li></ul><ul><li>Concern with meanings of words—philosophers are concerned with the meanings of things and the interpretation of those meanings. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Four branches of philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphysics </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemology </li></ul><ul><li>Axiology </li></ul><ul><li>Logic </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphysics—involves the attempt to explain the nature of the real world or the nature of existence. It attempts to answer the question “What is real?” </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of education is to explain reality to the young. </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemology—deals with questions regarding knowledge and knowing. The epistemologist, seeking the true nature of knowing, asks such questions as “What is true knowledge (as opposed to false ideas)?” and “Is truth elusive, always changing and always dependent on the truth seeker’s particulars of time, place, and angle of vision?” Epistemology deals not only with the nature of truth, but also with the ways in which we can know reality. Questions such as “How do we come to know the truth?” and “What are the sources for gaining knowledge?” are part of the conversation. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Impact on teaching methods—the student who has only read about democracy “knows” it in an epistemologically different way than a student who has been bullied and harassed for several days by a teacher-appointed dictator. </li></ul><ul><li>Creationist controversy—many people hold strong beliefs about what the true origin of humankind is and how one knows it. This issue, which is sometimes called the creationist controversy, reflects a sharp and fundamental argument over the questions “Who are we?” and “How did we get here?” </li></ul><ul><li>Axiology—focuses on the nature of what we value and how we value it. As human beings, we naturally search for the correct and most effective way to live. In doing so, we inevitably encounter questions of values. </li></ul><ul><li>The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education </li></ul><ul><li>--Martin Luther King, JR., Minister and Civil Rights Leader </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Most people would agree with Socrates that schools have a dual responsibility: to make people smart and to make them good. To the degree that teachers accept the second function—that is, to assist their students to become good people—they are grappling with an axiological issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics and Aesthetics </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics—takes us into the realm of values that relate to “good” and “bad” behavior, examining morality and rules of conduct. </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetics—deals with questions of values regarding beauty and art. </li></ul><ul><li>Logic </li></ul><ul><li>Logic is the branch of philosophy that deals with reasoning. One of the fundamental qualities that distinguishes human beings from animals is that humans can think. </li></ul><ul><li>Deductive Reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>The teacher presents a general proposition and then illustrates it with a series of particulars. The most highly developed form of this approach is the classic method of the syllogism. In a syllogism, one makes two statements, and a third statement, a conclusion, is deduced or drawn from them. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>All human beings are mortal </li></ul><ul><li>I am a human being </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, I am mortal </li></ul><ul><li>The general proposition—an abstract concept—is followed by a factual statement, which in turn leads to a new factual statement and the creation of new knowledge, at least for the learner. </li></ul><ul><li>Inductive Reasoning—works the opposite fashion. The teacher sets forth particulars, from which a general proposition is derived or induced. An example, the teacher may wish to lead the students to the discovery that water is essential to plant growth. </li></ul><ul><li>While the deductive and inductive forms of reasoning are opposites, both are essential to logical thought and, therefore, need to be developed in learners. Logic is not confined to inductive and deductive reasoning. To think logically means to think clearly, in many different ways. Teachers need to model clear, logical thinking to their students. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Perennialism—is derived primarily from the writings of Plato, views truth and nature—in particular, human nature—as constant, objective and unchanging. Perennialists view education as crucial because it develops a person’s mental discipline and rationality, which are necessary to the search for truths that will help humans avoid being dominated by the instinctual (that is, animal-like) side of human nature. </li></ul><ul><li>For perennialist, the purpose of education is to find the changeless “truth” which is best revealed in the enduring classics of Western culture. Perennialist believe that schools should teach disciplined knowledge through the traditional subjects of history, language, mathematics, science and the arts. They place particular emphasis on literature and the humanities, believing that these subjects provide the greatest insight into the human condition. </li></ul><ul><li>One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time </li></ul><ul><li>--Carl Sagan, Astronomer </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Controversy about Eurocentrism </li></ul><ul><li>Scholars and students have criticized colleges and high schools for promoting a “Eurocentric” view of knowledge and culture, one that ignores the contributions of everyone except “dead, white, male writers and thinkers.” </li></ul><ul><li>The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives </li></ul><ul><li>--Robert Maynard Hutchins, Educational Practitioner and Theorist </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism </li></ul><ul><li>An American philosophy of education that began in the 1930s and 1940s as a reaction to what was seen as an overemphasis on a child-centered approach to education and a concern that students were not gaining appropriate and adequate knowledge in schools </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism </li></ul><ul><li>Plato’s Idealism, it takes the view of the mind as the central tool for understanding an objective and unchanging reality, as well as the learning those essential ideas and knowledge that we need to live well </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Aristotle’s realism, it takes the tenet that the mind learns through contact with the physical world; according to this view, to know reality, we must learn to observe and measure the physical world accurately. From our observations, we use our reasoning ability to gain new knowledge. This contrasts with the perennialist view that reasoning alone can lead to truth. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to think straight some knowledge of the past, some vision of the future, some skill to do useful service, some urge to fit that service into the well-being of the community—these are the most vital things education must try to produce </li></ul><ul><li>--Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, Statesman and Scholar </li></ul><ul><li>For essentialists, the aim of education is to teach youth the essentials they need to live well in the modern world. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence </li></ul><ul><li>--Abigail Adams, Wife of John Adams, 2 nd President of the United States </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Romanticism </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as naturalism, is based on the writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau, an eighteenth-century Swiss-French philosopher. Rousseau believed that children are born good and pure. Once exposed to the evils of society, however, they become corrupted. To keep children good, they need to be isolated for as long as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>The Romantics consider the individual more important than the needs of society. The purpose of education is individual self-fulfillment—that is, education must help the students develop physically, intellectually, socially and morally (usually in that order). </li></ul><ul><li>A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education </li></ul><ul><li>--Smiley Blanton, Psychiatrist </li></ul><ul><li>Influence on early childhood education—some schools have no set curricula, no formal classes and no tests. Students decide what they want to study and, in some cases, are expected to take responsibility for their learning </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Progressivism </li></ul><ul><li>This school of thought drew from some of the ideas of Rousseau and from the work of John Dewey. People are naturally exploring, inquiring entities. When faced with a question, people try to find an answer. For progressives, education aims to develop this problem-solving ability </li></ul><ul><li>Progressive educators believe that the place to begin an education is with the student rather than with the subject matter </li></ul><ul><li>School as Democracy—the school should be democratic in structure so that children can learn to live well in a democracy and become good citizens. Children must not only learn to solve their own problems, but also help to solve the problems of their neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave </li></ul><ul><li>--Henry Brooks Adams, American Novelist and Historian </li></ul><ul><li>Project method—students work in groups on a topic of interest to them. Students learn only what is of interest to them, they should be the ones to determine topics of study </li></ul><ul><li>Children are molded by environment, learn through direct experience and focus on current and future problems </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>B.F. Skinner—learning by rewards and punishments. In planning for teaching, the behaviorist: </li></ul><ul><li>Uses clear objectives, spelled out in terms of behaviors to be learned </li></ul><ul><li>Establishes a learning environment which will positively reinforce desired behaviors and eliminate undesirable behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Closely monitors and gives the learner feedback on progress until the goal is achieved </li></ul><ul><li>What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child </li></ul><ul><li>--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playright </li></ul><ul><li>Constructivism—knowledge cannot be transmitted directly from the teacher to the learner, but rather is constructed by the learner and, later reconstructed as new information becomes available. Instead of seeing students as partially full vessels waiting to filled, as some essentialists do, constructivist teachers view students as actively engaged in making meaning. Constructivists view individuals as having an aversion to disorder. Individuals are continually trying to sort things out, to find clues and patterns amid our impressions that will help us to make sense of the world around us. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Cognitive psychologists suggest that we organize our knowledge in ways that allow us easy access to knowledge we use regularly. These cognitive structures, which are called schemas or schemata, change constantly as new information is taken in, hypotheses are develop, and theories are tested. </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphysics —What is real? Does it have meaning? </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—the meaning of life is the search for unchanging truth found in the collective wisdom of Western culture </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—what is relevant is what helps an individual live well & what benefits humanity </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—reality is stable; the meaning of life is derived primarily through self-development away from society </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—Reality is in flux and ever-changing, so meaning is the context of the individual, who is a “problem solver.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Epistemology —knowledge and knowing what is truth? </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—truth & knowledge are changeless, revealed through guided reflection & in classics of Western culture </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—truth exists in the classics & modern science. Students must learn process & content. Knowledge is gained through the interaction of experiences & rational thought </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—knowledge is gained through sensory experiences & interaction with one’s environment </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—knowledge is gained via individual experience. Truth is individually defined so that emphasis is on learning how to learn </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Axiology —values, ethics, aesthetics </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—changeless. Determined by the very nature of reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—determined by the natural order of things. Values exist in the best of culture </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—determined by the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—determined by each individual in interaction with his or her culture, based on the shared values of the community or culture </li></ul><ul><li>Logic —how we think, deductive & inductive </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—rationality, especially deductive thought, is developed by studying classics & through the Socratic dialectic </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—rationality is best developed through interplay of deductive & inductive thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism-emphasis is primarily on inductive thought, because learning starts with experiences & moves to hypotheses </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—emphasis is on inductive thinking & problem solving </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Purpose of Education/Schooling </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—educate the intellect; develop in learner rational thought & an understanding of the truths of humankind </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—prepare students to be productive, contributing members of society </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—make learner strong (physically, intellectually, morally) to resist the evils of society </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—help students become good citizens familiar with the workings of democracy & with good problem-solving skills </li></ul><ul><li>The Teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—teacher is expert of content knowledge. Passes on to next generation the accumulated wisdom of the past </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—teacher is expert of content knowledge. Teaches essential knowledge. Maintains task-oriented focus </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—teacher responds to the learners’ requests for knowledge; does not initiate learning in the learners </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—teacher is facilitator of student learning; provides resources for students’ problem-solving abilities. Helps children to what they want to do. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Teaching Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—cultivates rational powers through contact with the culture’s best & through imitation. For older students, Socratic dialogue is key to uncovering truths found in classics </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—avoids methodological frills & soft pedagogy & concentrates on sound proven instructional methods </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—creates productive learning environment for learners; individualized approach to learning, depending on students’ interests </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—stimulates students to plan & carry out activities & research projects using group processes & democratic procedures </li></ul><ul><li>The Child </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—is there to learn what is taught </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—is there to listen & learn </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—is naturally good & must be protected from the evils of society </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—learns by doing & by discovering </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Perennialism—in younger grades, focuses on basic skills to develop mental discipline & rational thought processes. Older learners study materials reflecting universal & recurring themes through which the truths of humanity can be revealed </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism—strong emphasis on basic skills in elementary schools & on disciplined knowledge & scholastic achievement in secondary schools </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism—depends on the interests of the learner. No set curriculum, no specific skills to be acquired </li></ul><ul><li>Progressivism—centered on the student’s interest in real problems & interdisciplinary solution seeking </li></ul><ul><li>Eclecticism: not an excuse for sloppy thinking. Embodies the idea that truth can be found anywhere, and therefore people should select from various doctrines, systems and sources. The eclectic teacher selects what he or she believes to be the most attractive features of several philosophies. Selecting eclecticism must not be an excuse for lazy thinking </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Never in my life have I been more convinced that it is our philosophy of life that dictates our philosophy of teaching, & that it is this “philosophical identity” (or lack of same) that we envelop ourselves in each day as we walk into our classroom that ultimately distinguishes those who find joy and passion in this profession from those who find drudgery and then just pick up a paycheck two weeks later </li></ul><ul><li>--John Perricone, from Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Key Terms </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetics inductive reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>Axiology logic </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviorism metaphysics </li></ul><ul><li>Constructivism perennialism </li></ul><ul><li>Deductive reasoning philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemology progressivism </li></ul><ul><li>Essentialism project method </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics romanticism </li></ul>

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