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Philosophies of Education Essay

There are different theories that govern the procedure of learning among students today. Likely, because of the modern culture learning, the said theories are now changed towards the possibility of supporting the modern needs and demands of the students today. Such theories include the philosophies of idealism, realism, neo-thomism, experimentalism and existentialism. Each philosophy addresses different aspects of an individual’s learning and also presents different ways of approaching the subject of education.

Idealism The philosophy of idealism stresses the belief that ideas are the sole truth and the only real things that are worth knowing. Everything that is in this world are mere shadows and distorted images of a more genuine, a more real world. There is a world of ideas on which this world is based and it is only that world which is worth knowing. Proponents of this philosophy focus on the mind and intellectual mechanisms of students. The world of ideas, in the educational setting, becomes the world of the mind. This means an emphasis on fields dealing with symbols and ideas such as history, literature, art, and the like.

Realism The philosophy of realism espouses the belief not in a world of ideas but rather in a world of things and beings. Truth, for the realist, is found in observable facts. This means that the realist believes in the world as we see it. The strength of the laws of nature are emphasized. The realist student relies on his or her senses. Learning is thus geared towards fields like math, chemistry, physics, biology, and the like. Neo-Thomism Neo-thomism believes that reality is the universal truth of God. Reality is something that is eternal and unchanging to the neo-thomist.

Reality, or universal truth, is only revealed through holy text, such as the Scriptures or through revelations of a divine nature. Although it is only through these two mechanisms that reality can be learned, neo-thomists assert that truth is always supported by human reason. Experimentalism Experimentalism believes in a continuously changing world. Reality, for experimentalists, is what an individual experiences at every precise moment. Experimentalists discover reality through testing and group decisions.

An experimentalist student would thus be viewed as an individual who is able to experience different things and coming into contact with other individuals who either add, do nothing, or detract from the said experiences. Emphasis is placed on fields such as sociology, political science, psychology, and other such socially driven fields as well as fields that deal with problem-solving. Existentialism Lastly, existentialism is discussed. This philosophy, originating from the likes of Sartre and Kierkegaard, believes in one’s own interpretation of everything that is around him or her.

An individual is able to set for himself or herself a standard for reality and truth. Also, because the individual has this freedom, he or she also has the responsibility over his or her decisions and actions. Reality is, for the true existentialist, subjective. There is no one truth because everyone has their own version of truths and realities. Existentiallist students are free to learn what they want. Discussion is not structured in an existentialist school. Educational Implications of other Philosophies of Education

It is undeniable that many of the philosophies of education have had varying impacts and implications on education as a whole. Some of the many theories that have done so include existentialism, behaviorism, perennialism, essentialism, and reconstruction. Existentialsim Existentialism believes in a relative world where every individual is free to create his or her own standards of truth and reality. Because of the propagation of this belief, education has expanded. Curricula are no longer based solely on the scientific method, in symbols, or in the words of a few significant individuals in history.

Rather, learning has also become about dialogue between the student and the teacher. It is no longer rare to find teachers believing that they too have learned something from their students. This development is rooted in the principles of existentialism. Teachers are able to see that students are not merely empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge. Rather, they are also capable of setting their own versions of reality and of creating their own truths. This is why there are now many classrooms encouraging discourse and free expression. Behaviorism

The philosophy of behaviorism emphasizes an individual’s nature to be conditioned, at an early age, to act in particular ways. Students are viewed through the mechanisms of stimulus-response. Behaviorism is behind the educational system’s drive of teaching through modeling and of teaching through a strict implementation of schedules. Rules and regulations in education as well as punishments that come from not following them are based on stimulus-response mechanisms. The most popular impact behaviorism has had on education is the use of grades as a form of reward for those who achieve well in school.

Perennialism, as an educational philosophy, espouses a strict and inflexible form of education. It is the philosophy of perennialism that espoused the importance of rational thinking and reasoning. The structure of education, today, is based on the rigidity and conservatism of perennialism. Disciplining of the learner’s behavior in order to achieve reason is a common practice in today’s education and is based on perennialist form. Teaching through structured lessons, controlled teacher-led discussions and class drills are also a few examples of the palpable impacts perennialism has had on education.

Essentialism Essentialists believe that there are certain specific skills that an individual must gain in order to have a rational life. The impact of essentialism is clear in today’s educational curricula. There are set subjects for students to learn and basic topics that are believed to be essential in rational living. The basics of reading, writing and math, for example, are never left out of learning. The emphasis education has had on such fundamental concepts are all a result of the teachings of the essentialists. Reconstruction Finally, education has also been impacted by the philosophy of reconstruction.

This philosophy revolves on the concept of constant change. The world is constantly changing and humans have to constantly change in order to keep up. The greatest impact it has had on education is the way educators have handled other aspects of the field. Intelligence, for example, is now studied through a multi-dimensional eyepiece. There are now alternative learning procedures developed for the purposes of learners that fall outside the norm. There is more freedom to change educational machinations because of the concepts espoused by reconstruction.


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