The Different Schools of Philosophy Which Affect Education

Categories: Treatise

Philosophy and education are closely related for philosophy is the basis of education. The strengths and weakness of philosophical system are explored in terms of their relations to education. Philosophy is made of two major divisions, namely; metaphysics and epistemology. Metaphysics is a subdivision of philosophy which systematically analyzes the question of the ultimate reality. During the middle ages, metaphysis became the most important branch in philosophical concerns. Reality is determined by the individual experiences. All reality is reducible to one fundamental substance- “spirit”.

Epistemology is the branch in philosophy that is basic to the major difference between systems of philosophical thought. It is derived from the Greek word for knowledge and theory. Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. Epistemology is that part of philosophy that asks "what can we know? " "What can we be sure of? " "How do we get beyond mere opinion to real knowledge? " The different schools of Philosophy which affect education are the following: Idealism is perhaps the oldest system of philosophy.

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From ancient times until the modern era, idealism has been a dominant philosophical influence, and even though that influence has waned at times, it is still a major philosophy and stands as an alternative to our contemporary materialist culture. Generally, idealists believe that ideas are the only true reality. Idealist starts with idea and ends with a thing. Idealism deals with ‘mind and self. Idea is the real thing. Idealism applies to any theory which sees the universe as being made of mind or reason.

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Realism is an attempt to portray life as it is. Realist believes that world is made of real, substantial material entities.

It also believes that there is an objective reality apart from that which is presented to the consciousness. It starts with a thing and end up with the idea. In short, thing is more important than idea. For the realist, the world is as it is, and the job of schools would be to teach students about the world. Goodness, for the realist, would be found in the laws of nature and the order of the physical world. Truth would be the simple correspondences of observation. Realism can be defined as the opposite of Idealism. Humanism idea has been a life and thought as expressed by the Greek philosophers.

It is an enormous term encompassing various movements in the arts, philosophical stances, and broad applications to disciplines like psychology and education. It is a philosophy that asserts the worth of the individual, the human, essentially. Each human is gifted with the ability to think (rationality) and to make rational determinations, like differentiating bad from good, so that each person may become a more moral self. It also teaches that all persons have dignity and worth. True humanism must concern itself with the achievement of the highest concept of human welfare, freedom and dignity.

In the school of philosophy, the objective of teaching and learning of humanism is to discover the emotional order of subject- matter and the order of learning starts with the child’s experience. Experimentalism and Pragmatism in learning is always considered to be an individual matter. Teachers ought not to try to pour the knowledge they have into the learners, because such efforts are fruitless. What each learner learns depends upon his own personal needs, interests, and problems. Singh (2007) says the word pragmatism is derived from the Greek word “Pragma” which means activity or the work done.

Pragmatists firmly hold that first the activity or experiment is done and then on the basis of result, principles and ideas derived. Hence pragmatism is also known as Experimentalism. It is called experimentalism because pragmatists believe experiment as the only criterion of truth. Experimentalism and Pragmatism are closely related. They supplement and complement each other. To both schools of philosophy, reality is determined by individual experiences. It does not believe in fixed, eternal and absolute values of life to be followed in all times, places and circumstances.

To them only those ideals and values are true which result in some utility to mankind in a certain set of times. For them, the world is an ever-changing place. Reality is what is actually experienced. Truth is what presently functions. Goodness is what is accepted by public test. Scholasticism is a tradition or school of philosophy, originating in the Middle Ages, that combines classical philosophy with Catholic theology . It stresses the idea that man is a national being possessing a body and soul. This school of philosophy believes that not all truth can be known by reason because of restrictions present in sense of knowledge.

The follower of Scholasticism believes that every man is inclined toward good by nature. It is within his natural potentials to choose good rather than evil because God is the ultimate good and final end of every man. It aims to direct man whole development. The total aspect of man life must be developed. Religion should be part of the school curriculum to developed virtue of wisdom. Progressivism believes 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. The Progressive education philosophy was established in America from the mid 1920s through the mid 1950s. John Dewey was its foremost proponent. 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. Existentialism is said to be subjective, and lies within the individual. Individual choice and individual standards rather than external. Existence comes before any definition of what we are. We define ourselves in relationship to that existence by the choices we make. Existentialists are opposed to thinking about students as objects to be measured, tracked, or standardized. Such educators want the educational experience to focus on creating opportunities for self-direction and self-actualization.

They start with the student, rather than on curriculum content. Education and philosophy are closely tied together; both are associated with teaching, learning, and discovering. Philosophy is more of an all-encompassing part of life, whereas education is a more specific form of it. Due to the contributions of philosophers over the centuries, education has developed into the powerful tool that it is today. Without philosophy, education would essentially not exist. It is said that, the importance of philosophy in education is it is the foundation in which all academic teaching and intellectual learning is built off.

This topic reminds us the importance of knowing these different philosophies that affects our educational systems. It defines the purpose and focus of an educational institution. It becomes a part of our mission which in turn defines what subjects are taught, how they are taught and, perhaps more importantly, the values that are taught along with the subjects being covered. Knowing each schools of philosophy puts us forward and provided us means to keep up with the time. Educational philosophy is no doubt a matter that has changed over the decades, and still today not everyone is in total agreement on the subject.

It is because no such school of philosophy is the best. One philosophy may be effective on a group of students but not on others. The school of philosophy asserts that the aim or purpose of education is to promote the intellectual and social development of an individual. As an educator, it is our duty to utilize the training we have experienced and project it to the best of our ability and at the same time plant the seed elsewhere by being a role model to others and giving back to the communities. Likewise, the teacher must encourage the scientific open-mindedness and objectivity in each student.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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The Different Schools of Philosophy Which Affect Education. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from

The Different Schools of Philosophy Which Affect Education essay
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