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Philosophies of Education Essay

There are many different educational philosophies that have developed over the years. Some of these philosophies are teacher-centered and some are student-centered, but they all have the same goal, and the goal is to provide students with the best education possible. The following is a list of educational philosophies and their basic ideas. 1. Perennialism- is a teacher centered philosophy that focuses on the values associated with reason. It considers knowledge as enduring, seeks everlasting truths, and views principles of existence as constant or unchanging.

For Perennialists, the aim of education is to ensure that students acquire understandings about the great ideas of Western civilization. These ideas have the potential for solving problems in any era. The focus is to teach ideas that are everlasting, to seek enduring truths which are constant, not changing, as the natural and human worlds at their most essential level, do not change. Teaching these unchanging principles is critical. Humans are rational beings, and their minds need to be developed.

Thus, cultivation of the intellect is the highest priority in a worthwhile education. The demanding curriculum focuses on attaining cultural literacy, stressing students’ growth in enduring disciplines. 2. Essentialism- is a teacher centered philosophy that believes there is a common set of skills and knowledge that educated people should have. It focuses on respect for authority, developing sound habits of the mind, and training in fundamentals. Essentialism is similar to perrenialism. Schooling should be practical, preparing students to become valuable members of society.

It should focus on facts-the objective reality out there–and “the basics”or “ back to the basics,” training students to read, write, speak, and compute clearly and logically. Schools should not try to set or influence policies. Students should be taught hard work, respect for authority, and discipline. Consisting of discipline subject. Teachers are to help students keep their non-productive instincts in check, such as aggression or mindlessness. Early in the 20th century, essentialism was criticized as being too rigid to prepare students adequately for adult life.

3. Progressivism- is a student centered philosophy that believes that ideas should be tested by experimentation, and learning comes from finding answers from questions. This philosophy values the scientific method of teaching, allows individuals to have their own beliefs, and promotes the interaction of students as valuable to the learning process. (learning by doing things). Create independent thinking,self expression and activity in the learner. Progressivists believe that education should focus on the whole child, rather than on the content or the teacher.

This educational philosophy stresses that students should test ideas by active experimentation. Learning is rooted in the questions of learners that arise through experiencing the world. It is active, not passive. The learner is a problem solver and thinker who make meaning through his or her individual experience in the physical and cultural context. Effective teachers provide experiences so that students can learn by doing. Curriculum content is derived from student interests and questions. The scientific method is used by progressivist educators so that students can study matter and events systematically and first hand.

The emphasis is on process-how one comes to know. One of his tenets was that the school should improve the way of life of our citizens through experiencing freedom and democracy in schools. Shared decision making, planning of teachers with students, student-selected topics are all aspects. Books are tools, rather than authority. 4. Reconstructionism/Critical Theory- is another student centered philosophy that promotes world social progress, focuses on world events, controversial issues, and developing a vision for a new better world. This philosophy is associated with pragmatism and essentialism.

Social reconstructionism is a philosophy that emphasizes the addressing of social questions and a quest to create a better society and worldwide democracy. Reconstructionist educators focus on a curriculum that highlights social reform as the aim of education. Critical theorists, like social reconstructionists, believe that systems must be changed to overcome oppression and improve human conditions. Paulo Freire (1921-1997) was a Brazilian whose experiences living in poverty led him to champion education and literacy as the vehicle for social change.

In his view, humans must learn to resist oppression and not become its victims, nor oppress others. To do so requires dialog and critical consciousness, the development of awareness to overcome domination and oppression. Rather than “teaching as banking,” in which the educator deposits information into students’ heads, Freire saw teaching and learning as a process of inquiry in which the child must invent and reinvent the world. For social reconstructionists and critical theorists, curriculum focuses on student experience and taking social action on real problems, such as violence, hunger, international terrorism, inflation, and inequality.

Strategies for dealing with controversial issues (particularly in social studies and literature), inquiry, dialogue, and multiple perspectives are the focus. Community-based learning and bringing the world into the classroom are also strategies. 5. Eclecticism- is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.

It can be inelegant, and eclectics are sometimes criticized for lack of consistency in their thinking, but it is common in many fields of study. For example, most psychologists accept parts of behaviorism, but do not attempt to use the theory to explain all aspects of human behavior. A statistician may use frequentist techniques on one occasion and Bayesian ones on another. An example of eclecticism in economics is John Dunning’s eclectic theory of international production. 6. Existentialism – Student centered. If you are existentialist, subject matter is a personal choice.

They focus on the importance of the student than the subject matter or curriculum. Man’s freedom. Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism. ‘ ‘ • Jean Paul Sartre Existentialism as an Educational Philosophy Existentialism rejects the existence of any source of objective, authoritative truth about metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Instead, individuals are responsible for determining for themselves what is “true” or “false,” “right” or “wrong,” “beautiful” or “ugly.

” For the existentialist, there exists no universal form of human nature; each of us has the free will to develop as we see fit. In the existentialist classroom, subject matter takes second place to helping the students understand and appreciate themselves as unique individuals who accept complete responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions. The teacher’s role is to help students define their own essence by exposing them to various paths they may take in life and creating an environment in which they may freely choose their own preferred way.

Since feeling is not divorced from reason in decision making, the existentialist demands the education of the whole person, not just the mind. Although many existentialist educators provide some curricular structure, existentialism, more than other educational philosophies, affords students great latitude in their choice of subject matter. In an existentialist curriculum, students are given a wide variety of options from which to choose. To the extent that the staff, rather than the students, influence the curriculum, the humanities are commonly given tremendous emphasis.

They are explored as a means of providing students with vicarious experiences that will help unleash their own creativity and self-expression. For example, rather than emphasizing historical events, existentialists focus upon the actions of historical individuals, each of whom provides possible models for the students’ own behavior. In contrast to the humanities, math and the natural sciences may be de-emphasized, presumably because their subject matter would be considered “cold,” “dry,” “objective,” and therefore less fruitful to self-awareness.

Moreover, vocational education is regarded more as a means of teaching students about themselves and their potential than of earning a livelihood. In teaching art, existentialism encourages individual creativity and imagination more than copying and imitating established models. Existentialist methods focus on the individual. Learning is self-paced, self directed, and includes a great deal of individual contact with the teacher, who relates to each student openly and honestly.

Although elements of existentialism occasionally appear in public schools, this philosophy has found wider acceptance in private schools and ill alternative public schools founded in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 7. Naturalism- ‘’Back to Nature” slogan. Naturalism emphasizes ‘Matter and Physical world. Aim to unfold the child potential. We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man’s estate, is the gift of education. ~Jean Jacques Rousseau Naturalism as a philosophy of education was developed in the 18th century.

It is based on the assumption that nature represents the wholeness of reality. Nature, itself, is a total system that contains and explains all existence including human beings and human nature Education must conform to the natural processes of growth and mental development. This root principle, already touched upon, stems from a concern to understand the nature of the child and follows from naturalism’s conception of the pupil. It is the make up of the learner that determines the character of the learning process, not the designs of teachers of the learner or there simply will be no learning.

Education should be pleasurable; for children have a good time when they are doing things which the present development of their physical and mental equipment makes them ready to do. This readiness for specific kinds of activity is evidenced by their interest. Consequently, interest in a subject and interest in ways of doing things are guides to parents and teachers, both as to subjects of study and methods of teaching for which children have a natural readiness at any given stage of development. Education should engage the spontaneous self-activity of the child.

As already noted, the child educates himself in great measure, most of his knowledge is base on what he discovers in his own active relations with things and people. Especially is this the case with our perceptions, developed almost completely by our own unconscious efforts in early childhood but constituting the machinery for a high percentage of our adult experiences. Adults are foolish, therefore, if they do not use this native self-activity as an ally in their teaching. The way to do this, Spencer advised, is to tell the learner as little as possible and induce him to discover as much as possible.

The teacher’s role is to remain in background. The natural development of child should be stimulated. Since, Nature is considered to be best educator, According to naturalists the teacher is the observer and facilitator of the child’s development rather than a giver of information, ideas, ideals and will power or a molder of character. 8. Realism – Teacher centered. Slogan,“Things rather than words”. And according to Realism the external world of objects is not imaginary. It really exists, “Our experience is not independent but determines reaction to the external objects.

Experiences are influenced by the external world which has real existence. ” (Dr. Pandey Ram Shakal. The teacher is more focus to the lesson rather to the child. ( That’s the reality). Subject: Math and Science. 9. Idealism- is a philosophical approach that has as its central tenet that, ideas are the only true reality, the only thing worth knowing. In a search for truth, beauty and justice that is enduring and everlasting, the focus is on conscious reasoning in the mind. The aim of education is to discover and develop each individual’s abilities and full moral excellence in order to better serve the society.

Deals with “mind and self”. Developing child potential. Ex. If a child is good in reasoning encourage him/her to develop that. In idealism, no comparison only encouragement. 10. Pragmatism- “Pragmatism is a temper of mind, an attitude, it is also a theory of the nature of ideas and truth and finally it is a theory about reality. ” William James “. Pragmatism is essentially a humanistic philosophy, maintaining that man creates his own values in the course of activity that reality is still in the making and awaits its part of completion from the future, that to an uncertain able extent our truths are manmade products.

Method of teaching: This school of philosophy favours project method and consider it active and dynamic. Through this method the child learns by his own activities and experiences. The teacher only guiding and suggesting wherever and whenever there is necessity for such help. They believe learning by doing. They oppose bookish knowledge and condemn those methods which promote knowledge which is not useful. Teacher: works as a friend and guide to the children. The teacher comes in close contact to the children to know their interest and understanding regarding the conditions of changing society.

The teacher puts in front of the students problems which are interesting and students are expected to solve it. 11. Constructivism- is a student centered philosophy that emphasizes hands on learning and students actively participating in lessons. Constructivists believe that students should be able to discover lessons on their own through hands on activity because it is the most effect way of learning and is considered true learning. Von Glasersfeld describes constructivism as a “theory of knowledge with roots in philosophy, psychology and cybernetics”.

In the constructivist perspective, knowledge is constructed by the individual through his interactions with his environment. Learning is an active process. Students are actively engaged and are responsible for their learning. 12. Humanism- is a student centered philosophy that focuses on enhancing ones innate goodness, rejects the idea of group-oriented education, and upholds the idea of enhancing individual development. This philosophy also believes that students should be actively involved with their education on all levels, and students should be able to make choices about what they will be learning.

To live life to the fullest Humanism focused on creating people who would be ideal citizens in whatever domain their work lay and would be able to speak persuasively to encourage those around them to a moral life; thus, students pursuing humanist studies were instructed from historically important works of poetry, history, grammar and rhetoric. 13. Behaviorism – is a teacher centered philosophy that is closely related to realism. This philosophy focuses on human behavior as a reaction to external stimuli, and believes that changing the environment can change misbehavior.

Educational behaviorists are more interested in managing behavior in an attempt to better educate students and maintain a classroom environment conducive to the learning of each individual student. Educational behaviorists have developed systems of rewards and punishments in order to achieve academic success. He found a very strong effect from rewards but also discovered that punishment was a less effective means for control of behavior (Pulliam & Patten ). Teachers began to rapidly accept these laws of learning, and found them to be highly useful devices for classroom instruction Watson made the following statement:

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, to bring them up in any way I choose and I’ll guarantee you to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors. Watson made it very clear that he believed that behavior could be altered, modified, and controlled by using forms of reinforcement. Reinforcement was one of Skinners most important behavioral concepts.

Reinforcement is the affect of reward on a response that the strengthening produces it, to the reduction of physiological need. Often times the word reinforcement is mistakenly substituted by the word reward. It is important to realize that these two words are not the same. Rewards may or may not strengthen behavior. Robert Nye, author of The Legacy of B. F. Skinner, gives the following example to clarify this misconception: A teenager may behave contrary to his parents, wishes despite the fact that they heap rewards (a car, money, freedom, and so on) on him.

This example exhibits parents who are giving rewards to their son, but they are not reinforcing his desirable behaviors. Skinners definition affirms that reinforcement does strengthen behavior, and reinforcement occurs only if what is being done has that effect. Therefore, rewards may or may not strengthen behavior. In operant conditioning there are two types of reinforcement: positive and negative. Positive reinforcement is a response strengthened by the addition of something (positive reinforcer) to the situation. A child behaving to earn parental approval is an example of the effects of positive reinforcement.

The parental approval is the positive reinforcer. Behaviors can also be strengthened by negative consequences. Negative reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened by the removal of something (negative reinforcer) from the situation. Negative reinforcement should not be confused with punishment; it does refer to a process in which behavior is strengthened. Without even realizing it, teachers condition students to do things, such as stand in a straight line or to be quiet, by giving looks and/or punishments.

Teachers often use the theories behind behaviorism to drive behavior plans for emotionally disturbed students. These step-by-step plans include rewards (or punishments), which condition students to achieve specific patterns of behavior. These plans are designed so that when the student performs a desired behavior, the student is rewarded with tokens or points. The students are then able to trade these tokens or points for prizes, food, playtime, or other rewards. Critics disagree with this type of extrinsic reward; however, Skinner believed that this may be necessary when other methods do not motivate the students.

Skinner also believed that since teachers are conditioning most of the time, they should learn how to do it more effectively (Ozman & Craver 213). 14. Analytic- The term “analytic philosophy” can refer to: A broad philosophical tradition[2][3] characterized by an emphasis on clarity and argument (often achieved via modern formal logic and analysis of language) and a respect for the natural sciences.

The more specific set of developments of early 20th-century philosophy that were the historical antecedents of the broad sense: e. g., the work of Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. E. Moore, Gottlob Frege, and the logical positivists. – is used to described philosophy that proceeds via analysis- broadly, by seeking to understand the composition of its subject matter (or concepts of that subject matter) out of simple (or simpler) components.

15. Positivism- is a teacher centered philosophy that rejects intuition, matters of mind, essences, and inner causes. This philosophy relies on laws of matter and motion as valid, and bases truth on provable fact.

It is also known as logical positivism. 16. Scholasticism- students were encouraged to face apparent contradictions in the things they were being taught, and find a consensus between teachings that seemed to oppose each other. They were expected to use their reason and experience — in combination with knowledge that was accepted on the authority of church fathers and teachers — to make their arguments. Scholasticism attempted to reconcile Christian teachings with one another, as well as with such philosophies as Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism. –(debate).

Scholasticism focused on training people who would work as theologians, lawyers or doctors, and thus used works of theology, philosophy, medicine and law as a basis for study. 17. Postmodernism- The heart of postmodernism is the view that reality cannot be known nor described objectively. This contrast to the modernist view that says reality can be understood objectively. Postmodernism seeks to correct the imbalances of modernism. It reminds us that we do not possess an unlimited potential to understand and change the world for our own purposes. Ex.

Under modernism, the prevailing theory of truth was known as the correspondence theory of truth. That is, something was felt to be true in so much as it corresponds to objective reality found in the world. The correspondence theory of truth caused people to believe that scientific truth equals absolute truth. Postmodernism corrects this by denying the equivalency between scientific truth and absolute truth. All scientific conclusions are now understood to be tentative simply because no one has ever made the infinite number of observations required to learn if there are any exceptions.

So, postmodernism corrects modernism by helping us to understand the limits of our reasoning ability and knowledge. But postmodernism then presses things too far. Postmodernism rejects certain ideas of history. Generally refers to a form of contemporary culture, such as art and architecture. It is a style of thought which is suspicious of classical notions of truth, reason, identity, and objectivity. According to Elkind, Postmodernism venerates language rather than thought and honors human diversity as much as it does human individuality.


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