Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Philosophy


Published on

Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Philosophy

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Philosophy

  1. 1. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 1 1. Ways of Knowing through the Realms of Meaning Implementation of The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning as a Conceptual Framework in Professional Leaning Communities as they Impact/Influence Strategic Planning in Education on a National Level Introduction The six realms of meaning cover the range of possible meanings and comprise the basic competencies that general education should develop in every person. A 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 possessed of an integral outlook (synoptics). Purpose of the Essay The purpose of this essay 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 essay will also discuss professional learning communities while examining how they impact school improvement and their place in strategic planning in education nationally. Professional Learning Communities (PLC over the last few years have been common among educators of all levels. In fact, the term has been used so ubiquitously that it is in danger of losing all meaning. Each word of the phrase "professional learning community" has been chosen epistemologically and aesthetically purposefully. Implementing “Symbolics” in Professional Learning Communities The first realm of meaning is symbolics. “These meanings are contained in arbitrary symbolic structures, with socially accepted rules of formation and transformation, created as instruments for the expression and communication of any meaning whatsoever (Kritsonis, 2007,
  2. 2. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 2 p. 11). Professional Learning Communities use communication as the backbone in which its purpose is fulfilled. Within professional learning communities this first realm is evident with the “ordinary language” that is required for effective communication to take place. Without the epistemological background of this language and of its meaning, educators within these communities cannot make progress in their journey to student improvement. Teachers must model by stating clearly the objectives to the students, and make frequent use of formative assessments, using graphic organizers whenever possible The Implementation of “Empirics” in Professional Learning Communities The second realm empirics, includes the sciences of the physical world, of living things, and of man. These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind, and society (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). As educators collect and analyze data from students to produce better results they are functioning in the empirical realm. The educators involved in professional learning communities essentially become scientific researchers for what is effective and what is not effective in the instructional setting. By becoming researchers their scientific inquiry is aimed at bringing some order and ontological intelligibility out of what appears to be a miscellaneous and unrelated profusion of phenomena (Kritsonis, 2007). As teachers gather data, it is important for them to remember that principles, generalizations, and laws are not directly inferred from data of observation and observations do not test the truth or falsity of hypotheses, but rather their scope and limitations. The Implementation of “Esthetics” in Professional Learning Communities “The third realm esthetics, contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the arts of movement, and literature” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). Esthetics looks at not only knowledge
  3. 3. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 3 in a mathematical and empirical manner, but explores understanding that may be used for the arts and other non-empirical fields. Esthetics can be beauties that occur in the learning of all students that can only be understood in the wholeness of the student both empirically and non- empirically. By understanding the whole student and the varieties present in each student, professional learning communities can have a more holistic view and dialogue on what is working for different pieces of beautiful artwork (student). The Implementation of “Synnoetics” in Professional Learning Communities The fourth realm is synnoetics. Synnoetics refers to meanings in which a person has direct insight into other beings (or oneself) as concrete wholes existing in relation (Kritsonis, 2007). Engagement is a crucial part in having an effective professional learning community. It is the engagement between team members within the professional learning community as well as the engagement between the teacher and the student that drives the collaboration effort that in turn promotes student achievement. Kritsonis (2007) says that synnoetic meaning requires engagement and that there is no such thing as absolutely solitary existence. The very concept of isolation has significance only against a background of other from whom one is separated (Kritsonis, 2007). People may differ about how to ensure “quality,” but most would agree that quality teachers know how to craft engaging and effective learning experiences, despite constant changes in student populations. The Implementation of “Ethics” in Professional Learning Communities Ethics, according to Dr. William A. Kritsonis, is that which “includes moral meanings that express obligation rather than fact, perceptual form, or awareness of relation” (Kritsonis, 2007, pg. 13). Morality is simply that “which reflects inter-subjective understanding. Morality, has to do with personal conduct that is based on free, responsible, deliberate decision” (Kritsonis,
  4. 4. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 4 2007, p. 13). As educators ethics and morality should be the ordinary language and the business of everyone. Each day parents entrust us with the lives and futures of their children. Any act or decision made for our students from the smallest of them such as school materials used to the biggest such as assessment choices should be the most moral and an axiological ethical one. The Implementation of “Synoptics” in Professional Learning Communities Synoptics refers “to meanings that are comprehensively integrative” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). Synoptics covers the realms of “history, philosophy, and religion” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). Professional learning communities implement this realm of meaning with its integrative characteristics of guiding, teaching, and learning as educators. In professional learning communities, educators must also look at the history of what has been successful in obtaining student achievement for all students. Along with looking at the past, professional learning communities should frequently reference the vision that the school is attempting to bring to realization. At the very least, faith refers to an ideal and a hope for maximum completeness, depth, and integrity of vision (Kritsonis, 2007). Concluding Remarks In conclusion strategic planning is imperative for school leaders to obtain gains in student achievement. This process can and will be enhanced through quality professional learning communities where teachers and leaders can begin effective and action oriented dialogue about student achievement and what works and what is not working in classrooms all across the nation. The continued implementation of the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning will produce more coherent results when seeking holistic achievement of students. References Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX: National Forum Journals.
  5. 5. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 5 2. Atlas Shrugged A Comparative Character Analysis of Dagny Taggard in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and the Woman Superintendent Introduction Ayn Rands’ great novel Atlas Shrugged presents many challenges and opportunities that humankind must face during his/her existence relative to life, ethics, morals, values, and spirituality. Dagny Taggart, protagonist, possesses qualities that many women who hold high positions within their designated careers such as beautiful, talented, determined, and highly intelligent. Her independent spirit leads her to trust her own axiological views over public opinion. Though calmly rational, she is also tremendously passionate about her work and love. Purpose of the Essay The purpose of this essay is to discuss and compare the qualities, characteristics, metaphysics, and barriers faced for Ayn Rand’s character Dagny Taggard as “second” in charge, Vice-President in Charge of Operations at Taggart Transcontinental and that of the woman superintendent in the U.S. educational system. This essay will summarize the novel Atlas Shrugged, explore the woman’s place in a man’s world, look at roles generally played by traditional women and career women, and their struggle for balance. Atlas Shrugged Atlas Shrugged was one of Ayn Rand’s best selling novels which was very controversial about heroine Dagny Taggart's fight to save her transcontinental railroad from collapse. Dagny's efforts lead her to find the man who stopped the motor of the world and to hunt down the destroyer who's leading a strike of the great minds. This man ends up being one in the same, John Galt. Dagny then decides to start her own company to rebuild the line with Rearden Metal
  6. 6. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 6 and it is a great success. She receives a letter from the scientist she had hired to help rebuild the motor, and fears he will be the next target of the destroyer. In an attempt to stop him from disappearing, she follows him in an airplane and crashes in the mountains. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a remote valley where all the retired industrialists are living. They are on strike, calling it a strike of the mind. There, she meets John Galt, who turns out to be both the destroyer and the man who built the motor. In desperation, the government seeks Galt to make him their economic dictator. Dagny inadvertently leads them to him, and they take him prisoner. Finally, Dagny and the strikers rescue him in an armed confrontation with guards. They return to the valley, where Dagny finally joins the strike. Soon, the country's collapse is complete and the strikers prepare to return. A Man’s World In the book Atlas Shrugged, Dagny unsurprisingly was the only woman that did not operate in the world of women, yet set a presence in the world of men. Today this is a growing phenomenon where women are becoming more visual, productive, and crucial to a world that once denied women of this privilege. Like many women today, Dagny Taggart, infused and impacted a world where men generally ruled and made all of the decisions. In the 1950’s women did not generally work outside of the home, let alone hold positions of power especially in the industrial business. Today, in the nation’s 14,000-odd district superintendents are overwhelmingly white and male. The most recent data from the American Association of School Administrators show that in 2000, 15 percent of superintendents were women and 5 percent were members of racial or ethnic minorities of either sex. A forthcoming book on women superintendents reports that they now make up 18 percent of the pool (Gewertz, 2006).
  7. 7. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 7 The Traditional Women According to the Associated Content, from an evolutionary point of view, before technology empowered women with the ability to survive independent of men, the role of the man and woman was well defined. This is no longer true. The United States is founded on stories of white women and women of color whose work to manage a home and family affairs has never been described as leadership, though it was crucial to the survival and success of all (Grogan, 2005). Most times, the traditional woman takes great pride in her home, her family (husband and children), her appearance and often social event, status, and prestige. She makes voluntary sacrifices for the benefit of her home, irrespective to her own personal wants, needs, or desires. The Career Woman U.S. women have a history of leading in ways that have not always been labeled “leadership”. The women who were instrumental in managing their families and property while their men folk went to war or while their husbands and fathers learned how to govern the country, are excellent examples of this (Grogan, 2005). As the times changed, and society shifted with this change more traditional women began to emerge from the home front to the outside working world. This transition was difficult for some, yet for others it was an easy transition. Margaret Grogan argues that U.S. women have always been ‘leaders’ in the sense that their managing of diverse people and unpredictable events is leadership just as it is leadership for men to navigate the unknown and often treacherous waters of settling in strange lands and dealing with conditions of war. Like Dagny Taggard and that of many women superintendents
  8. 8. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 8 in U.S. education they have distinct characteristics and qualities that make them and other real life individual great heroines within their field of work. The Struggle for Balance Some say that women are blessed with the ability to multi-task in many things that they do. While this may hold some truths, this can be difficult for women who are trying to attempt balancing both home and career. More women than most are faced with this problem not only in the position of superintendent but also in other high offices in school administration. Dagny was a pure intellect and produced results faster and better than any man in her field including her brother, she was still in fact a woman, and a beautiful woman. Though her romantic liaisons with the three men of ability Francisco d’Anconia, Hank Rearden, and John Galt she was able to tap into this component of herself. Dagny while otherwise invariably strong and assertive seems, in some scenes, to have a submissive attitude to the men in her life Concluding Remarks In conclusion women of the world are continuously wearing different hats but at the end of the day, it is balance that is most important. Dagny Taggart and the woman superintendents share similar fundamental qualities that have resulted in high positions of power within their line of work and successful reigns. Like Dagny, women superintendents represent a very small percentage of all district superintendents. Like Dagny, these same women often need to prove their abilities more because of the fact that they are women. Finally, like Dagny, these women struggle to find balance between their traditional self and career self. While this struggle looks different for all women, it is still in fact a harsh reality. References Gewertz, C. (2006, February 22). Race, gender, and the superintendency. Education Week, 25(24), 1-24.
  9. 9. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 9 Grogan, M. (2005, June). Echoing their ancestors, women lead school districts in the united states. International Studies in Educational Administration, 33(2), 21-30. 3. Virtue of Selfishness – Ayn Rand To be Selfish is to be Ethical as Oil is to Water! A discussion on the “conflicts” between ethics and selfishness based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Introduction According to the teachings of Ayn Rand (1961) in her book The Virtue of Selfishness, to be genuinely selfish is a moral achievement for man kind. Yet, what occurs when the selfishness of man kind conflicts with what the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning defines as, the moral knowledge, right deliberate actions, or what a person ought voluntarily do, human ethics? While selfishness may be a virtue, unfortunately there will always come a time in one’s life where a choice of self or ethics must be made. By what is man motivated: Selfishness or Ethics? Purpose of the Essay The purpose of this essay is to discuss certain situations where being ethical and being selfish cannot occupy the same space. At times being selfish and being concerned with the desires of ones individual wants will not coincide with ethical morals. Simultaneously making ethical decisions based on the universal and societal moral norms often take no consideration of what would be best for the individual. The Virtue of Selfishness When one hears the word “selfish” a negative connotation is oft times automatically associated with it. The word “selfish” is pregnant with meaning. Some would be willing to
  10. 10. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 10 characterize any instance of desire-satisfaction in these circumstances as "selfish," no matter what its metaphysical components. People arrive at the following composite image: selfish people are brutish people who are oblivious to the negative consequences of their actions for their friends and loved ones and who abuse the patience, trust, and good will of all comers to satisfy their petty whims. To be selfless is having or showing no concern for self. In her book The Virtue of Selfishness (1961), Ayn Rand challenges this definition of selfishness with the idea that to be rationally selfish is a moral achievement for man kind. She believes that selfishness is serious, rational, principled concern with one's own well-being; it turns out to be a prerequisite for the attainment of the ultimate axiology. For this reason, Rand believes that “selfishness” is a virtue. Nathaniel Branden (as cited in Rand, 1961) asks the question “Isn’t Everyone Selfish?” Ethical Responsibility The issue of “selfishness” versus “self-sacrifice” arises in an ethical context. Ethics is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions – the choices and actions that determine the purpose and course of his life (Rand, 1961). Ethics are the principles of moral conduct governing an individual or a group. According to the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning ethics can also be referred to as moral knowledge. There are five main areas of moral concern dealing with ethics: Human rights, sex and family relations, relationships among and within class, ethnic, racial, religious, and vocational groups, economic life and political life (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 454-446). While ideally ethics should be clear concise universal principles understood and practiced by all individuals, metaphysically ethics are subjective because not everyone has equal conceptions of good and right. Selfishly Unethical
  11. 11. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 11 What does it mean to be “selfishly unethical”? Ayn Rand believes under the objectivist principle that there are no conflicts of interests among rational men. While this theory does not prove true in all circumstances, let’s consider a situation where being selfish and choosing ones own personal interest does in fact conflict with the more ethical and moral choice. Consider Hank Rearden and his relationship with Dagny Taggard in Atlas Shurgged. Hank has been married to Lillian Rearden for years, yet lives in a state of misery. Lillian is generally regarded as a beautiful woman, yet produces no pleasure or happiness in the life of Hank Rearden. The two of them are definitely as oil and water, a perfect mixture impossible. He then selfishly but unethically gives in to his desires and begins his affair with Dagny Taggart, a woman with whom he is equally yoked with intellectually, physically, and emotionally. Selflessly Ethical In the case of Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart, an affair was the most unethical decision in which he could have made. Ethically, he should have sacrificed his wants and desires and stayed true to the commitment and vow that he had made to his wife and to God. One of the best examples of selfless ethical behavior is that of Dagny Taggart in Rand’s book Atlas Shurgged. In the name of that which was considered “ethical” she sacrificed her beliefs, her talents, and desires for the “well being” of society. She selflessly and ethically gave her all. Ethics vs. Selfishness Ayn Rand (1961) believes that before one can value the life of others, one must first value his or her own life. Depending on the premises selected by an individual, his or her values differ making subjective the choice between self and ethics. Ideally following the “objectivist” principle, self and ethics should naturally coexist with one another. “I want it because it is right” (Rand, 1961, p.58). Metaphysically it is impossible for this statement to hold true in all
  12. 12. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 12 situations even for the most rational man. If man has a limited epistemological grasp on societies axiological foundations, they most often then not selfishness will naturally prevail, because ethics will not hold much ground. The choice between ethics and selfishness is most often made from a state of emotion rather than logic. It is often time the evasion of logic that makes this choice between ethics and selfishness a difficult task. Concluding Remarks In conclusion the choice of self over ethics or vice versa could be a very difficult but necessary choice to make. What is right and good for self and what is right and good for society sometimes are not parallel entities. This choice should not be made merely based on whims and emotions, but on logic and genuine consideration of all parties involved, but first to thou own self be true. References Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Oxford, England: National Forum Journals. Rand, A. (1961). The Virtue of selfishness. New York: Penguin Putnam, Incorporated.
  13. 13. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 13 4. The Postmodern Challenge to the Theory and Practice of Educational Administration Relationships Matter: A Postmodern View of Building Student Relationships and its Impact on School Improvement on a National Level Introduction Education is not business as usual. Educators all over the world are now faced with educating and meeting the needs of the postmodern student. Ontologically, the students that fill the seats of classrooms across the nations do not live or subscribe to traditional modernistic ways of life or thinking. Educators, administrators, researchers, and other educational professionals have focused their sights more on testing standards and school performance levels that somewhere we have forgotten about the clients that we serve. Purpose of the Essay The purpose of this essay is to discuss the new postmodern student of this millennium and examine the power that building student relationships has on making a drastic impact on student learning and academic achievement. Identifying the aspects of the teacher-student relationships that enable it be such a powerful force in our journey as educators to taking our students to the next level of excellence not only academically, but comprehensively as a whole person. Postmodernism According to Fenwick W. English, postmodernism is a-theoretical which means that it offers no theory to center any specific practice but is open to all claims and the theories that define them. Within postmodernism exclusivity is rejected and there is no one right answer. The epistemology of postmodernism is concerned with the questions that are asked rather than the
  14. 14. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 14 answers. Postmodernity expands the idea of community, taking into account all stakeholders. Postmodernism is open, ambiguous, and accepts forms of reductionism. Postmodernism ruptures boundaries, premises, or assumptions by which doubt has come into being. The postmodernist knows that “right” is based on the context by which it functions. Postmodernism is in the business of collapsing the boundaries, it challenges boundaries, and challenges the standards by which boundaries are created. Postmodernism complies with the time or occasion; yield temporarily or ostensibly to prevailing opinion or circumstances. To the postmodernist the displacement or the disruption of nature is essential for progression. Without a break in the norm, how can one discover new ways of doing things? Postmodernism, metaphysically, is simply put a pursuit of difference. The Postmodern Student As generations have evolved and changed, the face of the traditional student has made an enormous axiological shift. From clothing style, to entertainment choices, to the type of food that students eat, every facet of our student’s life has ruptured the walls of modernism and traditional thinking in plethora of ways. Students today are faced with so many challenges that change the stock from which our students are made. This phenomenon of students breaking barriers and emerging into the sphere of postmodernism is present in many facets of the postmodern student’s life. Different societal changes directly impacts student’s developmental progress mentally, physically, and emotionally. These changes affect their axiological, metaphysical, and epistemological position and place of reference. Therefore as educators we have to alter and develop our way of thinking from individualistic, constraint creating boundaries, and hierarchal thinking to be able to meet these postmodern students where they are and in the manner in which we are needed.
  15. 15. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 15 The Power within Teacher-Student Relationships Relationships are often treated as secondary to test scores, policy prescriptions, and budgeting priorities. When tests become high-stakes, teachers naturally focus their attention on the knowledge and skills the tests measure — leaving less time to engage students in conversation about personal issues or make them feel valued and supported(Stipek, 2006). The relationship that is established between student and teacher can positively or negatively impact student achievement. Therefore our focus should be on building positive relationships that are appropriate and substantive with each and every student we are afforded the opportunity to have contact with. It is the time investment that will yield us as educators our biggest return from our students. The power that relationship building has on our students achieving success should be handled delicately but taken very seriously. In essence we as educators have to power to make or break the lives that have been entrusted in our hands. Meaningful Relationships = Meaningful Work Meaningful Relationships = Meaningful Work. This saying implies that we cannot reach a child’s mind until we are able to reach his or her heart. We are then unable to reach the child’s heart without establishing solid and trustworthy relationships with the students in which we teach. These relationships look different for different students. No one relationship is the same, because like our students they are unique to fit the two individuals involved. The key component that can’t be compromised is that the relationship must be meaningful and genuine. Teacher-student relationships are formed to promote learning and academic growth within students. Relationships formed for the purpose of affecting change in one party are called influential relationships (Deiro, 2003). Educators play a major role in the development of resilience in students. With this resilience students are more inclined to combat hard times when
  16. 16. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 16 conflict arises and are more equipped to complete academic task in the midst of it all, because of the anchor they have in that one adult that took the time. Conclusion In conclusion, without strong foundational relationships with our students, we will not lose one or two, but an entire generation of students. A famous singer, Whitney Houston, once sang that “our children are our future”. This statement is indeed a true fact, if we as educators do not reach the hearts of our students who are fragile and in need of someone to just take a bigger interest in who they are, and not only what they know, we will become catalyst of the destruction of our society as we know it. Relationships are the core and center of who we are, and without them, we are no more than empty shells. Relationships birth hope, hope that things will work out, hope that the world can be a better place, hope in each other. References Deiro, J. (2003, March). Do your students know you care?. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 60. Deiro, J. (2003, March). Do your students know you care?. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 60. Gewertz, C. (2006, February 22). Race, gender, and the superintendency. Education Week, 25(24), 1-24. Grogan, M. (2005, June). Echoing their ancestors, women lead school districts in the united states. International Studies in Educational Administration, 33(2), 21-30. Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Oxford, England: National Forum Journals. Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX: National Forum Journals.
  17. 17. Section III: Educational Philosophy 10152131 17 Rand, A. (1961). The Virtue of selfishness. New York: Penguin Putnam, Incorporated. Stipek, D. (2006, September). Relationships matter. Educational Leadership, 64(1), 46-49.