Philosophies & Education


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Descriptions of 5 Philosophies and what they entail; includes reasoning behind educators both needing philosphies of their own and understanding the most widely known philosophies

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Philosophies & Education

  1. 1. Philosophies & Education<br />5 Philosophies of Education<br />“Philosophy begins with wonder.”<br />~ Socrates<br />By Joanna Stiner<br />Bible References from KJV<br />
  2. 2. What is Philosophy?<br />2 Greek words: philos + sophos = love of wisdom<br />Helps teachers reflect on key issues and concepts in education<br />Usually uses questions:<br />What is being educated?<br />What should be learned?<br />Your educational philosophy:<br />Why you teach<br />What and how you teach<br />Whom you teach<br />The nature of learning<br />
  3. 3. Philosophies & -isms<br />“In spite of itself, any movement that thinks and acts in terms of an ‘ism becomes so involved in reaction against other ‘isms that it is unwittingly controlled by them.”<br />~ John Dewey<br />Believe nothing because a so-called wise man said it.<br />Believe nothing because a belief is generally held.<br />Believe nothing because it is written in ancient books.<br />Believe nothing because it is said to be of divine origin.<br />Believe nothing because someone else believes it.<br />Believe only what you yourself judge to be true.<br />~ Gautama Buddha<br />That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you…” <br />~ 1 John 1:1, 3a ~<br />
  4. 4. Perennialism: 1st Traditional Philosophy<br />Focuses on 7 liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy) <br />The foundation of western education since the Middle Ages and still dominate the secondary education curriculum to some extent.<br /><ul><li>Reflects Plato’s belief that Truth (capitalized to reflect eternal nature) and values are absolute, timeless, and universal</li></ul>I am the way, the truth, and the life: <br />no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. <br /> ~ John 14:6b ~<br />
  5. 5. Perennialism: 1st Traditional Philosophy<br />Goal of Education: to help all students discover and understand these Truths<br />Accomplish goal by studying mankind’s accumulated knowledge<br />Concerned with curricular integration (interdisciplinary studies)<br />Proponents of Perennialism: <br />Robert Maynard Hutchins – Great Books (1963)<br />Mortimer Adler – 100 great books of Western Civ.<br />
  6. 6. Perennialism: 1st Traditional Philosophy<br />Distinguishing Characteristics in its Pure Form:<br />Role of Education: to help students understand perennial Truth rather than contemporary, transitory needs<br />A single curriculum should exist for all students<br />Curriculum should consist of separate courses but emphasize the integration of knowledge<br />Curriculum should include study of original sources<br />
  7. 7. Essentialism: 2nd Traditional Philsophy<br />Philosophy which underlies most of today’s secondary school education<br />Traditional = Essential to most people<br />One of the main goals: pass on the cultural and historical heritage to each new generation of learners, beginning with the “basics”<br />“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” ~ Deut. 6:6-9 <br />
  8. 8. Essentialism: 2nd Traditional Philsophy<br />Primarily subject-centered<br />Teacher is the master of the subject field<br />1st :Emphasizes clear, measurable goals<br />One is to ensure students develop a strong knowledge base (English, math, history, science)<br />Students build on what others learned (not trial/error)<br />Students must trust elders because of their lack of experience<br />
  9. 9. Essentialism: 2nd Traditional Philsophy<br />2nd: Competition is inherent in humans<br />Prepare students to compete in global economy<br />Therefore cooperative learning not highlighted<br />Must study a certain number of history, math, English, and science courses to graduate<br />Leading Proponents:<br />William Bagley: 1934 anti-progressivist journal<br />H.G. Rickover: Polish Jew; Admiral; founded Center for Excellence in Education in 1983<br />Arthur Bestor: Educational Wastelands, 1953<br />
  10. 10. Essentialism: 2nd Traditional Philsophy<br />Distinguishing Characteristics:<br />Roles of Ed to perpetuate culture and teach children basics so they become contributors<br />Subject-centered curriculum learning what is known and then exploring unknown via scientific investigation<br />Non-academic subjects (PE, fine arts, vocational) excluded or at least very minor<br />Measurable progress and use of standardized tests<br />
  11. 11. Progressivism: 1st Nontraditional<br />Most often cited as contrast to Perennialism and Essentialism<br />John Dewey – Students have innate desire to learn & grow; give them tasks and materials they see as relevant to their needs. Interdisciplinary curriculum. Students solve relevant problems. <br />Curriculum STUDENT-CENTERED <br />
  12. 12. Progressivism: 1st Nontraditional<br />Distinguishing Characteristics:<br />Role of Ed is to prepare students to live in a democratic society<br />Curriculum should be interdisciplinary & structured so students work at solving relevant problems, acquiring skills & understandings while learning HOW vs. WHAT to think<br />Textbooks, memorization, & other traditional tools/techniques replaced with actual experiences and problem-solving<br />
  13. 13. Existentialism: 2nd Nontraditional<br />Built on Protragoras’s idea that man is the measure of all things<br />All people are individual and must define & find happiness for themselves<br />Ivan Illich – (Deschooling Society) Education should take place in society vs. schools<br />John Holt – “School should be a great smorgasbord of intellectual, artistic, creative, and athletic activities, from which each child could take whatever he wanted, and as much as he wanted, or as little.”<br />
  14. 14. Existentialism: 2nd Nontraditional<br />Distinguishing Characteristics:<br />Each person should have freedom & responsibility to choose what, when, and how to learn<br />Any planned curriculum will infringe on individuals’ freedom to make choices<br />
  15. 15. Cognitivism/Constructivism: the 5th<br />Gestalt psychology – making wholes of bits and pieces of what is known about the world<br />Meaning = construction in the brain of patterns from the pieces<br />Motivation to learn = experiencing conflict with what is known<br />Piaget – intelligent behavior = adaptation<br />Vygotsky – emphasized shared, social construction of knowledge<br />
  16. 16. Cognitivism/Constructivism: the 5th<br />Distinguishing Characteristics:<br />1) Students construct understanding of reality through interaction with objects, people, or events in the environment and reflecting on these interactions <br />2) Learning occurs by conflicting with what is already known; previous experiences determine what is learned<br />3) Teachers act as facilitators in a social learning environment in which students interact with experts (teachers) to facilitate learning<br />
  17. 17. Why Write a Philosophy?<br />Your beliefs about what students should learn and be able to do, and how they can be best helped to learn, will largely determine what you do in your classroom<br />By understanding philosophic starting points, you can better understand where educators are headed & if you want to join them<br />Ultimately, you must determine what you want your students to know, be able to do, & have a valid way of determining if they know and can do what you teach them<br />