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Educational Philosophy. Presented by: Prof. Danielle Zimecki. What is philosophy?. Literally means love of wisdom An activity Noting what philosophers do Examining, synthesizing, analyzing, speculating, prescribing, and evaluating A set of attitudes

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Educational philosophy

Educational Philosophy

Presented by:

Prof. Danielle Zimecki

What is philosophy
What is philosophy?

  • Literally means love of wisdom

  • An activity

    • Noting what philosophers do

    • Examining, synthesizing, analyzing, speculating, prescribing, and evaluating

  • A set of attitudes

    • Self aware, comprehensiveness, flexibility, penetration

  • Body of content

    • Reality, truth, value

  • Metaphysics

    • Deals with the nature of reality

    • What is real?

    • Example: Floor

      • Solid, flat, smooth, color, wood or concrete, supports weight

      • Physicist

      • Chemist

  • Categories:

    • Cosmological

      • Origin, nature, and development of the universe in an orderly system

    • Theological

      • Religious theory that has to do with concepts of and about God

    • Anthropological

      • Study of human beings

    • Ontology

      • What it means for anything to be

  • Epistemology

    • Studies nature, sources, and validity of knowledge

    • What is true? How do we know?

    • Dependability of knowledge

      • Can reality be known?

      • Is truth relative or absolute?

      • Is knowledge subjective or objective?

      • Sources of knowledge – senses, revelation, authority, intuition, variety of resources

  • Propriety of various methods of researching warrantable truth

  • Axiology

    • What is of value?

    • Rational individual and social life is dependent on values

    • What society conceives of being good or preferable

    • Ethics

      • Moral values and conduct

      • Are ethical standards and moral values absolute or relative?

      • Do universal moral values exist?

      • Does the end ever justify the means?

      • Can morality be separated from religion?

      • Who or what forms the basis of ethical authority?

  • Aesthetics

    • Principles governing the creation and appreciation of beauty and art

    • Should art be imitative and reprehensive, or should it be the product of private creative imagination?

    • Should the subject matter of artistic forms deal with the good in life only, or should it also include the ugly and grotesque?

    • What is good art?

    • Should art have a social function or message?

    • Can there be art for art’s sake, or must it have a practical significance?

  • Idealism

    • Idealism asserts that, since the world is constantly changing, ideas are the only reliable form of reality.

    • Idealists

      • William E. Hocking, Plato

  • Idealism and education

    • The learner

      • Process of becoming more like the absolute self

      • Strives for perfection

    • The teacher

      • Serve as a living example of what students can become

  • Realism

    • Realism suggests that the features of the universe exist whether or not humans are there to perceive them.

    • Realists – Aristotle, Francis Bacon, John Locke

    • Realism and Education

      • The Learner

        • Functioning organism that can through sensory and experience, perceive the natural order of the world and thereby come into contact with reality

        • Not free in their choices

      • The Teacher

        • To give accurate information to the student

        • Teacher’s biases and personality muted

    Neo scholastism thomism
    Neo-scholastism/ Thomism

    • Intellectual movement that developed in the 1300’s

    • Faith by reason

    • Combination of realism and idealism

    • Thomists – Thomas Aquinas, The teacher

      • Mental disciplinarians that can develop reason, will power, and memory

    • The student

      • Rational being that is capable of acquiring Truth and knowledge


    • Pragmatism rejects the idea of absolute, unchanging truth, instead asserting that truth is “what works.”

    • Pragmatists – Charles S. Pierce, William James, John Dewey

    • Pragmatism and education

      • The students

        • Students have experiences

        • Learn from their environment and react to their environment and consequences

      • The teachers

        • Seen as fellow learners

        • Guides


    • Existentialism suggests that humanity isn’t part of an orderly universe; instead, individuals create their own realities.

      • Refusal to belong to any school of thought

      • Dissatisfaction with traditional philosophy

  • Existentialists – Walter Kaufmann, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, John Paul Sartre, Albert Camus

  • Existentialism and Education

    • The teacher

      • Willing to help students explore possible answers

      • Concerned with the individual learner

    • The learner

      • I am a choosing agent.

      • I am a free agent.

      • I am a responsible agent.

  • Perennialism

    • Perennialism suggests that nature, including human nature, is constant.

    • Return to classics – mind, reason,

    • Perennialists - Mortimer J. Adler, Robert M. Hutchins, St. John’s College

    • Beliefs

      • People are rational animals

      • Knowledge is universally consistent

      • The subject matter, not the child, should stand at the center of the educational endeavor.

      • The great works are relevant today.

      • The educational experience is preparation for life, rather than real-life situations


    • Essentialism emphasizes a critical core of knowledge and skills that all students should learn.

    • Combination of realism and idealism

    • Revamping of the school

    • Essentialists – Mortimer Smith, Arthur Bestor

    • Beliefs

      • The school’s first task is to teach basic knowledge.

      • Learning is hard work and requires discipline.

      • The teacher is the locus of classroom authority.

  • Report from government in 1983 – “A Nation at Risk”

    • Minimum standard for graduation

      • Four years English

      • Three years Math

      • Three years Science

      • Three years Social Studies

      • 1 and ½ years Computer Science

      • 2 years of Foreign Language for College Bound Students

  • Progressivism

    • Progressivism focuses on real-world problem solving and individual development.

    • Progressivists– John Dewey, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    • Beliefs

      • The process of education finds its genesis and purpose in the child.

      • Pupils are active rather than passive.

      • The teacher’s role is of advisor, guide, fellow traveler, rather than that of authoritarian and classroom director.

      • The school is a microcosm of the larger society.

      • Classroom activity should focus on problem solving rather than on artificial methods of teaching subject matter.

      • The social atmosphere of the school should be cooperative and democratic.


    • Postmodernism contends that many of the institutions in our society, including schools, are used by those in power to marginalize those who lack power.

    • Rejection of the modern view of things

    • Postmodernists – Hume, Kant

    • Education

      • Very undeveloped

    Developing your philosophy of education
    Developing Your Philosophy of Education

    • Philosophy can guide practice and help you explain and defend your educational goals.

    • The process of developing a philosophy begins with examining your own beliefs about teaching, learning, and students.

    • An analysis of educational philosophies can assist teachers in forming their own personal, and probably eclectic, personal philosophy.

    Philosophies of education in urban environments
    Philosophies of Education in Urban Environments

    • Because of the challenges involved in urban teaching, developing a coherent philosophy of education is even more important.

    • Beliefs, both positive and negative, about urban learners can have profound influences on urban teachers and the way they teach.