Dr. W.A. Kritsonis, Educational Philosophy


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Dr. W.A. Kritsonis, Educational Philosophy

  1. 1. 10114473 Page 1 of 11 Question 4 Framing educational leadership, learning and school discipline the postmodern way Introduction Change leadership with school effectiveness as a goal must embark on challenging of conventions and status quo, critical pedagogy, the mixing of styles, tolerance of ambiguity, emphasis on diversity, implementation of innovation and change, and demands on the societal norm construct of realism. Postmodernism’s most central force is its legitimacy to challenge the validity of some basic assumption of modernism. Postmodernism as a perspective focuses upon the disagree-ability of language, the ordinariness of discourse, the de-centering and disintegration of the conception of self, the importance of the "other," a recognition of the unyielding, unbreakable knowledge / control union, the dwindling of a belief in meta-narratives, and the rebuff of dependence upon rationalism. Postmodernism embraces leadership that is dedicated to a just and equitable school. Schools are not just bureaucratic establishments but places of character building for the different social and cultural groups whose children are educated there. If schools are places of possibility and opportunity rather than simple preservers of the status quo, then leaders must immerse in social and cultural change as Henderson (2004) suggests. Purpose of the article The purpose of this article is to illustrate how postmodernism can positively impact educational leadership, reform and change in schools. More school administrators’ roles have changed as they grasp the benefits from the impact of post-modernism on school transformation. Postmodernism and change The chief obstacle to “change” is not changes to technologies and work procedures but changes involving people. A postmodern epistemology on educational leadership requires a inherent paradigm shift but will bring epistemological, bureaucratic, and rigid issues to the fore on how schools (especially high schools) educate. Marzano (2003) posits that schools must also give teachers time to analyze and discuss state and district curriculum materials (DuFour, 2004). Postmodernism will change “dumbing down” curriculums and replace it with one engrossed in pragmatic constructivism as an embrace to good discipline. It necessitate high teacher efficacy to reach all children without teaching to low expectation. Post modern implementation s does not just lead through structures and systems but enroll the entire school community to ‘feel’ the leadership. Acuity forms the development of existence of knowledge and experience within the school curriculum. Educational leaders should understand that students' learning can develop by connecting them to emperical learning. The task of administrators is to encourage student success by facilitating the creation and implementation of a common vision shared by all members in the community (English, 2003). Researchers 1
  2. 2. 10114473 Page 2 of 11 think knowledge is discovered. In other words, the ideas teachers teach and students learn do not correspond to "reality," they are just human constructs. The student's language and culture shape this awareness of reality. Postmodernism matting with transformation A new vision influenced by a postmodernist approach will consider learning and instruction as part of a complete process. There is surprisingly a paucity of literature in higher education on postmodernism, because the postmodern debate has been in the forefront for many education scholars primarily in curriculum studies, school administration, and educational theory. This is worth mentioning because higher education is the source of teacher and leader preparation. Since postmodernism is a set of strategic practices that remove limits or norms placed upon people in society (Kritsonis 2008), the time is now for educators to be recognizant of rapid changes occurring in the school system. It brings to the fore the idea that no one method or teaching/ administrative style appeals to all students or staff. Every child is unique and thus has unique learning styles. Individual education plans (IEP) will in due course be implemented for each child in the school system. Postmodernism challenges, according to English (2003) the main ideas of how people, in general, function within their world. It values universal models for organizations and is not based upon science or empirical facts and data. Persons living and working within this capacity must be able to multi-task and be inclined to continual learning. With postmodernism, schools do not need to be based upon business frameworks. Numerous school districts accept that schools should be run like successful businesses. Schools need to be seen as they really are - thriving centers of changing demographics, diverse cultural and social needs, and a multitude of technological advances (English 2003). Students learn best by being getting authentic knowledge in a format that allows them to critically manipulate it. Postmodernism achievement in secondary education involves metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology. Diverse personal philosophical beliefs are always brought into the school system. Epistemology as the nature of knowledge processes how students and staff arrive at gaining a complete understanding of that knowledge while axiology examines the values imparted by educators and defines what constitutes proper conduct. Administrators must help teachers to see the importance of value type instruction (Chapman, 1998). Concluding remarks In conclusion, postmodernism is a broad cultural occurrence, with such features as the challenging of convention, critical pedagogy, the mixing of styles, tolerance of ambiguity, emphasis on diversity, implementation of innovation and change, and demands on the status quo construct of realism. The hub of the classroom in postmodern education becomes the student's construction of knowledge. They move away from a teacher-centered classroom to a more student-centered environment. As an alternative to identifying the set of 2
  3. 3. 10114473 Page 3 of 11 skills and knowledge in the child's mind, attention shifts to fortify learning environments favorable to children constructing content and instruction in group settings (Fogarty, 1999). Postmodernism believes a student- centered classroom has minimal structure. It typically involves opportunities for social interaction, independent investigations and study, and the expression of creativity, as well as stipulations and adjustments for different learning styles. There, students generate knowledge, and are no longer told what to learn and how to learn it. 3
  4. 4. 10114473 Page 4 of 11 Question 1 The realms of meaning: A philosophy for selecting curriculum for general education by William A. Kritsonis Introduction The perspective of a philosophy in education must be concerned with how truth is really taught, the curriculum, the role of the teacher, student, and the schools attitude toward change. The six realms of meaning span the range of possible meanings and comprise the basic competencies that general education should expand in every person. A usefully complete person should be skilled in the use of speech, symbol, and gesture (symbolics), factually well informed (empirics), capable of creating and appreciating objects of esthetic significance (esthetics), endowed with a rich and disciplined life in relation to self and others (synnoetics), able to make wise decisions and to judge between right and wrong (ethics), and be passionate about an integral outlook (synoptics). These are aims of education for development of the complete individual (Kritsonis, 2007). Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss six philosophical strategies for implementing the realms of meaning as a process for selecting curriculum for the development of the complete person. The article will examine the six realms of meaning from a pragmatic leadership point of view and indicate how its lessons can help us to be better educational practioners by developing an understanding of the realms, balancing state and student needs, integrating community ideals, aligning the curriculum, teacher teamwork, and entrancing students interest. Symbolics The symbolics realm consists of three sub-realms: ordinary language, mathematics, and non-discursive symbolic type (Kritsonis, 2007). Language the foundation of education can be found in the symbolics realm. Language is most critical to effective communication which is fundamental to every aspect of any curriculum. Symbolics allows individuals to be to commune based on the structure of meaning derived from vocal sounds that are assimilated in an intelligible manner. Schools normalize speech into wide-ranging patterns, which are understood and become socially acceptable to the world. Mathematics needs to be built on basic information and gradually thrive toward what is to be mastered. Understanding non discursive forms is much like normal language, which allows knowledge to be conveyed and received to facilitate outcomes desired. Given the nationwide difficulties with mathematics attainment the metaphysics of transformational leadership in this area could help with student outcomes. 4
  5. 5. 10114473 Page 5 of 11 Empirics Empirics are the second realm of meaning, it deals with facts. This realm includes the sciences of the physical world, of living things, and of man (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). Empirics describe factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). The theoretical formulations and explanations are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind and society (Kritsonis 2007). Empirical meanings require everyday language and mathematics for their expression. To know a skill is to be able to put together valid general description of matters of fact. A clear, simple process is needed to communicate rationales, vision and goals even at the curriculum leadership level (Kritsonis, 2006). Esthetics In the esthetic realm the object of knowledge is the singular form (Kritsonis, 2007). You can in all your endeavors demonstrate the beauty and usefulness of esthetics in smart thinking, proper decorum, vocabulary development and positive constructive disposition. By implementing these thoughts you are engaging in esthetics of purpose and values. Whether in your home, church, community, school or office enrolling others in a vision that inspires them to be supportive involves creating a sense of admiration and respect. Establishing a learning environment of unity, stability, cultural continuity and contentment culminates the esthetic realm. Synnoetics According to Kritsonis (2007), the fourth realm synnoetics, surround personal knowledge. Synnoetics signifies relational insight or direct awareness (Kritsonis, 2007). In one’s professional life a lucid understanding of all circumstances is necessary in order to make educated decisions. Synnoetics therefore guide engagement and procedure, practice and execution to produce change. This is almost like symbolics in some way - you engage people to envision themselves in success. Teachers are obliged to make learning relevant so that the students are engaged but leadership can see to it that the structure of the curriculum is designed to produce that engagement. Ethics Ethics, the fifth realm, can be the foundation of our conduct and free conscience. Consistent ethical practice is an intricate endeavor and there is no clear-cut path to ethical mastery. Ethics should guide a professional to behave in a manner consistent with integrity. By far the most significant sources of such influence are the laws and customs of society (Kritsonis, 2007). You must be informed enough to judge between right and wrong and consider the moral soundness of your decision. The ethical domain is not defined 5
  6. 6. 10114473 Page 6 of 11 by what conduct is about, but by the fact of its being deliberate and subject to the judgment of right and wrong (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 453). The sincerity of intentions must at heart in the delivery of the curriculum. Synoptics Synoptics is a term that comprises meanings having an integrative function, uniting meanings from all the realms into a unified perspective (Kritsonis, 2007). The synoptic realm of meaning includes the areas of history, religion, and philosophy. This sixth realm of meaning can reveal what man by his deliberate choices has made of himself within the context of his given circumstances (Kritsonis, 2007). If synoptics as a philosophic discipline is to provide a common basis for interpreting the several realms of meaning, then a single language system must be applied to the entire range of meanings to be interpreted (Kritsonis, 2007). A synoptic outlook enables you to be measured against the integration of all the realms of meanings each in a different way for sufficient reflection that brings history and your life and lifelong learning into perspective. Metaphysical epistemological axiological and ontological perspective of realms of meaning In terms of Metaphysics as Synnoetics and Synoptics, English (2003) opined that the talk of innovation and change thoroughly shapes his depiction of the conceptual behavior in education administration. Metaphysically then, Kritsonis’s realms of synnoetics and synoptics is greatly relevant. Leaders with a disciplined and holistic outlook can influence these attributes. With Epistemology as Ethics and Empirics, Epistemology, or validity of knowledge, beliefs and limits, encompasses meaning related to ethics and empirics. Knowledge tested and tried that represents truth as it relates to the education of students must not be slanted. Truth is truth and must be presented in all honesty. Leaders must be well-versed on culture and teaching and learning in order to provide effective school leadership. From a pint of view of Axiology as Symbolics and Esthetics, Transformational leaders do whatever it takes to bring change. Symbolics and esthetics realms are of high value to this. Axiology is practiced at its best when a leader praises his team for making progress towards a goal further instilling the value of that goals importance. Symbolics and esthetics are often used as measurement of value and quality. Concluding remarks In conclusion, symbolics through ordinary language empowers to communicate effectively. The second realms, empirics, provide factual descriptions and give soundness to decision making. The third realm, esthetics, contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, and the arts of movement, which can also promote the beauty in health. The fourth realm, synnoetics, embraces personal knowledge. The fifth realm, ethics, gives life moral meaning that expresses obligation and awareness of who you are, what you are, why you are and how these shape your destiny. The sixth realm, synoptics, refers to meanings that are comprehensively integrative. a meaningful and considerable way (Watkins, 2008). 6
  7. 7. 10114473 Page 7 of 11 Question 3 Challenging times - Objectivism revisited: Introduction “The concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute” is a philosophy purported by Ayn Rand (1964) to justify an objectivist ideology. Like in other spheres, meaning in leadership comes from desire to discern, reflect, accept as true, reason, create or transform through words, symbols or action. In so doing, when you originate and innovate for school effectiveness it will be void of doubt, prejudiced complexities and can withstand sound analysis. This article will attempt to present a practical view on morality, rationality, value, ethics and objectivism as put forward by Ayn Rand’s The Virtues of Selfishness (1964). Purpose of the Article The purpose of this article is to analyze Ayn Rand’s concept of man as a heroic being and assess her ideology on morality, rationality, value, and ethics for merits to educational leadership, innovation and change, and intellectual usefulness. Epistemological and Metaphysical way of thinking Epistemologically, the concept of value is genetically dependent upon and derived from the precursor concept of life. The epistemology that grounds Rand’s convictions that – “human beings are able to know reality and as such his own happiness is his moral purpose” – It would appear that these two arguments are intertwined with one another with awareness that they are dissimilar. It could be though that this is fitting because epistemological considerations will have no eventual independence from what is correct metaphysically. The course of knowing should end with informed professional judgment and as a result objectivity, but, there has to be a given. The standard for objectivity is the pure forward push of a strong conviction. Where there is a knowledge process there is beginning and ending. Ethical behaviors are very important in school leadership. Rand (1964) surmised that, the metaphysical part of ethics entails discovering explicitly whether moral values are eternal truths that exist in a spirit-like realm or simply human conventions. Although Rand affirm the impossibility of rational moral judgments her epistemology of ethics has some relevance to roles and responsibility. Morals and heroism Rand's (1964) abhors the use of force against others. Morality is a system of values to direct man's choices and dealings that determine the rationale and the course of his life. Some academics and skeptic argue 7
  8. 8. 10114473 Page 8 of 11 that Rand’s Virtue of Selfishness (1964) doesn’t answer many of life’s important questions, but she in fact does. Example- a brief mention of critical theory is needed here because of a renewed interest in multicultural education and an agenda that would transform schools and society. Critical theorist sees schools, curriculum, teaching and learning as agencies and activities that transcend the exclusive academic and have significant political economic social and educational meanings and implications. Guttek (2003) opined that children of economically disadvantaged families and politically disorganized groups are taught that they live in a society where economic social and political institutions are functioning properly giving legitimacy to the dominant groups and preserving the hegemony over the subordinate groups. Guttek (2003) further argues that schools are political agencies that empower some and not others and call for an educational experience that encourage cultural diversity with a curriculum that uses the students unique multicultural experiences to academically empower them. Virtue manifests itself in action. An action counts as virtuous when one holds oneself in a stable equilibrium of the spirit, in order to choose the action knowingly and for its own sake. This stable equilibrium of the soul is what constitutes character (Sachs, 2006). Rand says, ‘That which is required for man’s survival man qua man is the standard of value for a human being’ (Rand, 1964). It is this standard which determines what is good or bad for a human being. That which his survival requires is set by his nature and is not open to his choice. It appears she is saying that choice is the cause of the ultimate value of life. Rand explains how reason is our basic tool of continued existence. I entirely agree with this point, the lack of reason is part of mans self ruin because he lacks confidence, knowledge, esteem and in general objectivity. According to Campbell and Fodis (2003), there is a deeper understanding of self-esteem as it pertains to objectivism. Genuine self-esteem has two dimensions of self-evaluation: one is competence belief to deal with life's essential challenges (self-efficacy) and an evaluation that one is worthy of happiness (self- worth).Campbell and Fodis believe that the standards for adult self-esteem include self-reflective and independent thought. This means that one must take responsibility for one's thoughts, beliefs, values, and actions. One must pursue meaningful life goals and adhere to moral values that are based on reason. Concluding Remarks In conclusion, Ayn Rand’s philosophy fortifies a position that asserts her strong beliefs. Realistically, there cannot be full objectivism across all open social action systems like schools because diversity and student centeredness is needed for balance and sustainability. The perspective of a philosophy in education must be concerned with how truth is really taught, the curriculum, the role of the teacher, student, and the schools attitude toward change.For educational leaders, Ayn Rand philosophy reaches across old and new paradigms to 8
  9. 9. 10114473 Page 9 of 11 offer suggestions original and useful. It is important for teacher leaders to use cognitive processing and not let others to convince them of falsehood because all curricula must represent truth. Question # 2 Philosophy, Life and Education: The Atlas Shrugged viewpoint Introduction Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (1957) is a mixture of genres and literary metaphors and symbols that combine a fluid story of romance, human action, values, purpose, productivity, political corruption, and the integration of values, action and power of mind and body. Rand depict men as beings with free will who have the ability to form their own purposes and aims. She opined that human action involves purposeful, deliberate behavior. Atlas Shrugged assumes man's free will, freedom of choice, and ability to attain a purpose. Human can initiate and make choices about what he will do. His free will choices will cause certain end results. Actions reflect fundamental principles because men can think, choose, act, and cause. Purpose of the article The purpose of this essay is to discuss challenges and opportunities that humankind must face during his/her existence relative to life, ethics, morals, values, and spirituality. Education, self belief and resiliency Decision making is a significant part of living. Decisiveness in decision making reflects determination, self-confidence and intelligence. Dagny demonstrates a level of optimism and independence that leads her to rely on her own judgment over others. She is immeasurably fervent about her work demonstrated too by her achievement as a woman in a man's world showing too that attainment in skills and leadership is not gender-specific. In terms of self efficacy she seems very much aware of her own ability and generally knows the right thing to do. As an engineer, she respects the facts. She makes business and technical decisions based on facts and commits to taking full responsibility for the outcome of those decisions. In many spheres of life this could aptly be seen as informed professional judgment. Individuals and organizations all have goals as postulated by Maslow (1943). Based on rationality and reason, one should seek to be as educated as is reasonably possible to be in command of knowledge, skills and abilities that allows you to be a functional citizen with an understanding of your rights and responsibilities. In the very same way that Dagny faced and dealt with crooked government agencies, as well as the methodical loss of her premium skilled workers and she works to overcome each obstacle, 9
  10. 10. 10114473 Page 10 of 11 similarly, Individuals and organizations must remain resolute to see to the achievement of there goals. Dagny was always unwavering and although it is arguable that independence of judgment may not always be prudent - it has its merit. Basically, her epistemology is grounded in a resiliency framework, such that leaves the strikers and rejoins the real world because she feels she can single-handedly save her railroad. Like Rand's Atlas Shrugged, life is also about the power of the mind - the creative mind. a creative mind can get you out of say poverty, for example if you refuse to accept that that is your fate. Principals can use this concept as motivation for their students. Patton (2007) in her analysis of Atlas Shrugged postulated that Great Minds Think Differently. Apply this thought to school leadership and you will see a principal who develops and sustains school-wide reform on creating thinkers (Patton 2007) and lead the critical thinking movement so desperately needed on many campuses. Who is John Galt? - Fixity of purpose in school achievement The dollar sign becomes the symbol of a strike of the mind led by John Galt. By each striker symbolically associating himself with the sign of the dollar, the strikers intuitively illustrate their belief that there is no shame weighted with the possession of money but just compensation for productivity and creativity. The bracelet Rearden created using his new metallurgical discovery was symbolic of Rearden’s life work and super accomplishments. The bracelet is beautiful, but unappreciated by his wife. Similarly, the development of the new metal Rearden has created is seen as a threat to those who do not care for or appreciate ingenuity, creativity, and invention. Despite the “coldness” that Rearden faced with his new discovery, the metal he invented is an awesome representation of the priceless esthetic feeling that can be found from one’s individual life work and commitment. Rand’s mystery mastermind John Galt is a brilliant character that blends imagination and intelligence. From ground-breaking inventor to grease-stained laborer to an ordinary ‘nobody’ in a local café to masterminding the strategic one at a time mind-strike and resignation of the best industrial minds in the country in order to crumple a seemingly corrupt government regime, and then only to have them all working for him later, Galt has demonstrated not just technical prowess, but an application of intellect and cleverness on a grand scale. Motors were also symbolic throughout the novel Atlas Shrugged. A caring but firm principal who keeps the focus on standards, and who is proactive, and confront rather than avoid can be successful (Mahoney (1990 as quoted by Patton 2007). A successful leader can “aim’ at something no else can see and hits it. Leaders of educational change are risk takers. Like Rearden, change must be initiated by leaders who are willing to take risk for the future benefit of their institution. Social justice and responsibility promote equity and leadership works because it is based on how people should be respected, treated, motivated and led. 10
  11. 11. 10114473 Page 11 of 11 Philosophical applications Philosophy analysis matters such as existence, rationality, knowledge, reality, beauty, values, morals, logic, reason, validity, mind, beliefs, and language. If you manage the quality of your experience, reflect, think without bias and adjust your circumstances you are in fact practicing philosophy. Knowledge must govern how we think and act. We must use knowledge to assist others and for critical thinking. As the psychology of knowledge develops issues of epistemology grow more numerous, and their solutions more varied. Metaphysics is concerned with the rational principles that account for all that exist and the common character of events. As long as you are alive events will happen. Metaphysics investigates principles of reality and attempts to find unity across the domains of experience and thought. The philosophical study of goodness and its significance is axiology. Fact symbolizes objectivity and value suggests subjectivity so it should follow that the relationship of value to fact is of fundamental importance in developing any theory of the objectivity of value and of value judgments which is important to decision making in life. Values are particularly needed in the contemporary age where vicious phenomena are covering the world. General poor conduct, the breakdown of the family, injustices, corruption and oppression, destruction of school purpose and neglect of personal human dignity gets among the mix. If you embrace sound philosophy, reason and desire will help you seek the values of trueness, goodness and beauty, and through these a society of trueness, an artistic society, and an ethical society will be actualized. Axiology, the science of human values, enables us to identify the internal valuing systems that influence our perceptions, decisions and actions - to clearly understand "why" we do what we do! Concluding remarks In conclusion, there are compelling lessons that can be learnt from the actions of some characters in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (1957). These lessons are useful and relevant in improving contemporary educational leaders ' adeptness, and for others simply give purpose and focus to goals they seek. The mind is the single most important 'tool', gateway and key to dreams, progress, achievement and sustainability. Prudent choices have to be made with the free will with which man is endowed. The world is depending on the minds of those individuals who are charged with preparing successive generations of thinkers. 11