Philosophies of Education Philosophical positions and statements of purpose
Tools of Philosophers (1 0f 3) • Axiology is the study of values; it asks the question of “What is good?” From axiology, we arrive at an understanding of “What is good?” • We get ethics from the study of axiology
Tools of Philosophers (2 of 3) • Epistemology—”How do we know what is true?” • This is a live question today—Do we listen to standardized test results to determine how much students know, or read their portfolios?
Tools of Philosophy(3 of 3) • Metaphysics is somewhat related to epistemology and asks the question “What is real?” • Are the things that are real only the things that can be touched and measured? • Behaviorists vs. existentialists
Purposes for Education • Hilda Taba, 1962-- • Transmit the cultural heritage • Transform the culture • Maximize human potential
The Seven Cardinal Principles (1 of 2) The Seven Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education Commission on Re-organization of Secondary Education (1918). 1. Health 2. Command of fundamental processes 3. Worthy home membership 4. Vocational competence
The Seven Cardinal Principles (2 of 2) The Seven Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education Commission on Re-organization of Secondary Education (1918). 5. Citizenship 6. Worthy use of leisure time 7. Ethical character
But what do these mean? • Meaning comes from at least six philosophical positions that “filter” or influence how people perceive educational events.
Essentialism • Almost an entire generation in America has grown up under essentialism. • Essentialism is a conservative view of curriculum that holds schools responsible for only the most immediately needed instruction.
Essentialism (2) • Essentialism avoids some of the waste inherent with experimentalism • But it can become so conservative that it fails to truly educate
What is Essentialism? • Emphasis on a traditional education • Development of the mind • Core curriculum • Reality is based in the physical world • Teacher-directed learning
What would essentialists teach? • Reading, spelling, language arts • Mathematics, U. S. & World History • No vocational education!
How essentialists would evaluate student's learning? • Standardized tests • Criterion referenced tests • Not as likely to require portfolios
Classroom management • Using only text books • Seated row by row • Teacher lecture, students listen • Punishment--attempted behaviorism but without expertise
Orientation of Essentialism • Teach the basic civilized skills of reading, spelling and measuring. • Limit education’s responsibility--let industry teach vocational subjects
Reality testing • Writing test • Multiple choices • True/False • Binary-Choice • Matching
Future orientation • All students will remember the basic information. • All students will learn how to pass the test.
Experimentalism • Experimentalism is associated with a very broad but shallow curriculum. Many electives, few required subjects. • Experimentalism is friendly to educational research, and many new ideas come from it.
Experimentalism (2) • But experimentalism can be wasteful of resources • It can also fail to follow through • Accommodates fads too easily
Experimentalism • Experimentalist teachers like to tinker or experiment • They don’t like to leave things the same all the time.
Classroom Management for Experimentalists • Don’t like bmod or assertive discipline • Prefer more constructivistic approaches such as Discipline with Dignity
What experimentalists would teach • Everything--anything that had any relation to students’ possible futures • Has been accused of trying to do the home’s job
Where experimentalism shines • When essentialism or perennialism have been in power for so long, school programs have become stagnant • When school has become all work and no play • When traditional methods have become ineffective
Perennialism • Perennialism was prevalent in the early seventies in U. S. • Perennialism reveres the experience of teachers who have been there. • Heavy orientation to the past 20 years--almost nil attention to the future
Perennialism • Perennialists like to teach time-honored curricula, including the classics such as Plato an Aristotle • They don’t like change.
Perennialism • Algebra • Trigonometry • Ancient Geography • World history • U.S. History • Bookkeeping • They would include subjects such as: • Geometry • English literature • World Geography
Perennialist Evaluation Methodology • Teacher-made tests • Standardized test • Memory work (“mind is a muscle”) • Spelling bees
Classroom Management • Assign seats in rows. • Be strict, but not necessarily expert, with punishment and reward. • Set up classroom rules.
Orientation Expected • Self-contained knowledge--teacher is supposed to know all the answers • Teacher is the “fountain of all knowledge.” • Students are passive listeners
Reality Testing for Perennialists • Paper-pencil test • Recitation • Standardized test
Future Orientation for Perennialists • Expect future to continue in the same vein as the present • Belief that knowing the classics of the past will equip students for the future
Where Perennialism Shines • Perennialism does help to dampen the uncertain effects of the fads that come to education • Not every new idea is a good one, or one that will even be effective. • Perennialism plays well to traditional communities
Behaviorism • Behaviorism believes in a science of behavior that would shape the world into a better place to live • Behaviorists to some degree rightfully claim that behaviorism naturally occurs in the world whether people acknowledge it or not
What behaviorists believe • Behaviorists believe in a science of behavior\ • They rely heavily on scientific studies of behavior and how behavior is influenced by its consequences
What behaviorists would teach • Behaviorists are at least as concerned about how people behave as what they know • They do not tend to be big innovators in curriculum • They will however give a fair trial to any new curricula that someone else might write
Where Behaviorism shines • Special ed situations, where students do not pick up on subtle cues about learning or behavior • Alternative and problem schools
Where behaviorism will come short • Situations where behavior is not so much the need as the learning of academic content • Situations where students have internalized appropriate behavior and behavior does not need to be emphasized at the expense of scholarship.
Reconstructionism • Reconstructionists point to a time in the past when they believe that things were better • They would re-create education to be like things were back during that time • They cite research, particularly historical, to show that things are not going well now.
What reconstructionists believe • Reconstruction-ists point to a time in the past when they believe that things were better • They would re-create education to be like things were back during that time
What reconstructionists would teach • Reconstructionists would teach the subjects that were taught during that “golden age.” • The subjects would be those that were taught during that time. • If the 1960s, for instance, they would teach usage of the slide rule.
One example of Reconstructionism • 1946—right after the Second World War • GIs wanted schools and society to return to what they were before Pearl Harbor
Reconstructionists and technology • Their orientation is very much to the past • They and perennialists do not react immediately and positively to new technology
Existentialism • Existentialists celebrate the human existence • Very subjective • Emphasis on meaning within each individual • May doubt external reality • Emphasis on present
What existentialists believe • Existentialists believe in the consciousness of the self • They are very concerned with whether students find school to be a satisfying experience
Not the same subjects to everyone, since not everyone would enjoy the same things They would emphasize self-esteem and a feeling of self-worth They would include topics such as values clarification and . . . . What existentialists would teach
An example of existentialism • 1960—Summerhill School in England • 1970s in some parts of America—self esteem, values clarification
A healthy balance • Each of the six philosophies has something to offer • The only hazard happens when one philosophy rules for a long period of time