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6. Education as a ProfessionEducational Philosophy FED 300 Foundations of Education
The major kinds of educational Philosophy • Idealism --- Reality is spiritual or mental and unchanging (Plato): In education, it emphasizes exploring truth, and spiritual principles, thinking and learning, Socratic method of inquiring pedagogy in which the teacher stimulates the learner’s awareness of ideas by asking leading questions. Safeguard high quality of education and standards. Encourage highly talented students staying on top (use the same scale to screen between good and lower students). Educational competition is valused. • Realism --- Reality is objective and is composed of matter and form; it is fixed based on natural law; stress on objective knowledge and value (Aristotle): Realism values scientific method regarding knowing about the objective world. Theories are the guide to knowing about the world and could be refined/revised to conform most accurately to reality. Knowing the world is two folds --- sensation and abstraction (sensory input and higher order thinking). Concepts of reality are based on experience, the interaction with environment; it is always changing. (in the areas of science, engineering, math, etc.). Subject-based learning is the center of instruction.
educational Philosophy, Cont’d • Existentialism --- Reality is subjective, with existence preceding essence . It values individual existence. Emphasizing imagination as a way of knowing and feeling. Humans make their own definition and make their own essence by making personal choice. The teacher encourages individual creativity and uniqueness, with freedom of choice (learning diversity), but oppose standardized curriculum and standardized tests because they ask everybody to meet at the same level/standard of learning outcome in the same subject matter and limits individual creativity and uniqueness. Student-centered learning is often used. Respect students’ own freedom of choice in learning. Use more of the student-centered discussion and analysis. Allow individualized learning and set goals according to different students’ preferences.
educational Philosophy, Cont’d • Essentialism --- viewing the school’s primary function as maintaining the basic elements of human culture by transmitting them to students as skills and subjects in a well-organized curriculum. Professor Bagley stated that school should provide all students with the knowledge they need to function in a democratic society. The essential knowledge includes the skills of literacy (reading and writing) and computation (algebra) and the subjects of history, math, science, language arts, and literature. Encouraging standardized tests on the basic knowledge and skills which reflect both students’ outcome and teachers’ teaching effectiveness. This outlook reflects in the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) by standardized test/assessment. If a school or district failing to make adequate yearly progress are to be identified and helped. If the schools fail to meet standards for three years, their students may then be transferred to a higher-performing public or private school. (The primary educational goal is most important and must be met.) the Subject-based, teacher-centered learning is often used to reach this goal.
educational Philosophy, Cont’d • Perennialism--- (a traditional educational philosophy) It emphasizes a permanent or perennial subject-matter curriculum to cultivate intellectual development, such as English, history, math, logic, literature, the humanities, and science. It also advocate the cultivation of rationality, and the study of moral, aesthetics, and religious principles to develop ethical behavior and civility (Maritain). It is against the enriched curriculum like vocational, professional skills and competencies in curriculum. They think those added curriculum would take student’s time and attention from the main subject-matter. A teacher should be well-equipped with knowledge and competency to be the intellectual mentor and model for the students. Education should focus on the primary knowledge and skills to teach students to be ready for the lifelong quest for truth.
educational Philosophy, Cont’d • Postmodernism --- (a social democratic inclusive view) Rejects metaphysics as historical constructions used for socio-economic domination. It differs from the pre-modern idealism and realism. They contend what experts pronounce to be objective truth is really a disguised rationale for the elites who hold power and want to use it over others, especially the poor, minorities and women. It emphasizes educational democracy and equity. They argue that the contribution of the underrepresented groups like Africans, Asians, Latinos, native Americans, feminists, the economically disadvantaged, and gays and lesbians---should be included in the curriculum. A culturally diverse curriculum should reach all children. The postmodernist curriculum could be modifying the current mainstream curriculum into one that voice the minorities’ impact and contribution in this society historically and reveal the marginalization of the underrepresented.
educational Philosophy, Cont’d • Pragmatism --- John Dewey, etc. Pragmatism emphasizes the need to test ideas by acting on them; using the scientific method as a means to validate ideas empirically. Education is a process of creating a learning environment to promote experiences for optimum human growth. Whereas idealism and realism emphasized the content of subject-matter disciplines, while Dewey stressed the process of thinking and learning as problem solving. For Dewey, the problem-solving method transfers to a wide variety of situations. Learning is an experience-based intellectual growth. Experience is defined as the interaction of the person with the environment, that is, the person’s interaction with the social, cultural and natural environments constitutes the process of living, growing, and developing. The learning methods associated with the Pragmatism constitute a variety of social learning, cooperative learning, hands-on learning, observational learning, experimental learning, field experience, etc.
educational Philosophy, Cont’d • Progressivism Progressivism views nature as ever-changing, so knowledge must be continually redefined and rediscovered. Progressive education views learners as problem solvers who naturally develop by exploring questions of interest to them. Progressives contend that no knowledge is privileged over another and that the knowledge of the most value is the knowledge that the learner wants to know. Against the traditional schools, Progressives oppose essentialism and perennialism. They rebelled against rote memorization and authoritarian classroom management. They adopt child-centered progressive education (Organic School at Fairhope, AL by Marrietta Johnson), believing that childhood for learning should be prolonged instead of following the adult scheduled learning, possessing their own stages of readiness, children should not be pushed by teacher or parents to do things for which they are not ready. Children learn most successfully and satisfyingly when engaged in the active exploration of the environment and when constructing their own meaning of reality based on their direct experiences. Teaching methods: Constructivist learning: “Project Method” (West Tennessee by Kilpatrick) with collaborations in a democratic (vs. authoritarian) learning environment; activity-based learning physical exercised, nature study, crafts, field geography, story telling, music, dramatization, and games at first, students were motivated by their own interests would be engaged in wholehearted purposeful open-ended problem solving activities in which they designed and completed a project. not until 9 or 10 years old children began to learn reading and writing. Free children from conventional restraints and repression.