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Essentialism PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Essentialism. Lindsay Lane. Philosophy. Essentialism is an American philosophy of education which began in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The two origins of essentialism is from idealism and realism.

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Lindsay Lane



  • Essentialism is an American philosophy of education which began in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

  • The two origins of essentialism is from idealism and realism.

  • Essentialist believe that there exist a critical core of information and skill that an educated person must have.

  • Essentialists believe in teaching the basic subjects.



  • William Bagley introduced the philosophy of essentialism in education in the 1930’s.

  • William Bagley was an American philosopher.

  • When the Idea of Essentialism was first introduced, people thought it was too harsh of an idea to prepare students for adulthood.

  • 1957- Sputnik: After Sputnik was launched, people took an interest with Essentialism.

Essentialists beliefs

Essentialists Beliefs

  • Essentialism tries to instill all students with the most basic knowledge, skills, and character development.

  • Essentialists believe that students should be taught to be a model citizen.

  • Essentialists believe that teachers should teach traditional moral values and virtues.

  • Essentialists believe in mastery learning.

  • Essentialism requires that students master the skills required before moving on to more difficult material in another grade.

Purpose of schooling

Purpose of Schooling

  • Prepare students to be productive, contributing members of society.

  • For essentialist, the aim of education is to teach the young the essentials they need to live well in the modern world.

  • Essentialists teach the basic subjects.

Teacher s role

Teacher’s Role

  • The teacher teaches discipline and hard work.

  • The teacher is an expert of content knowledge.

  • Teaches essential knowledge.

  • Maintains task-oriented focus.

  • The teacher is accountable for student learning.

  • Teach the basic subjects

    • Essentialists believe that these subjects should be taught thoroughly.

Teaching strategies

Teaching Strategies

  • Use proven instructional strategies

  • Lecture

  • Memorization

  • Homework

  • Teacher and subject centered

  • Mastery learning

Role of the student

Role of the Student

  • Students should be passive and be ready to learn what the teacher presents to them.

  • Students should listen and learn.

    • The student is to sit still and take in what the teacher is teaching.



  • Strong emphasis on basic skills in elementary schools and on disciplined knowledge and scholastic achievement in secondary schools.

  • There should be a common core curriculum that is taught to all students.

  • Essentialists believe that the core knowledge could change.

Common core standards

Common Core Standards

English Language Arts:

They build strong content knowledge.

Students establish a base of knowledge across a wide range of subject matter by engaging with works of quality and substance. They become proficient in new areas through research and study. They read purposefully and listen attentively to gain both general knowledge and discipline-specific expertise. They refine and share their knowledge through writing and speaking.



  • Have you ever seen Essentialism used at a school?

  • Does your teaching style reflect any of the beliefs of Essentialism?








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