Rebecca Mullaly – 20171361
What is the nature and purpose of education, in your considered view? What can it contribute to our lives as persons, citizens and professionals?
(Make sure you focus on philosophy not science or other disciplines).
The role of education in the life of all human being plays a significant role in the development and future of all walks of life. Education is the process of receiving or giving systematic instructions and enables the process of waking up to life. Education allows for a society to function normally as the standards of social and moral principles are set by human beings, a society that has a higher percentage of educated people will function and prosper, compared to a society with a low percentage of people with an education. The concept of waking up to life refers to the understanding of inter-dependencies of all things, whether it is the obstacles we face throughout life or the social and political barriers that prevent our awakening. Education in the broadest sense is the foundation of aiding a human being in their pursuit of wholeness.
The term philosophy, which translates to the term ‘the love of wisdom’, is the study of knowledge or ‘thinking of thinking’. Philosophy is the discipline concerned with ethics, relating to the moral principles of an individual in which leads to the questioning of how someone will live their life and what morally and ethical choices they make, metaphysics which is philosophy in its more absurd branches, for example, what sorts of things exist and what are their essential and epistemology for example, what counts as genuine knowledge and logic for example, what are the correct principles of reasoning.
Philosophical questions are foundational and abstract in nature. The way, in which philosophy allows us to think has contributed to the studies of politics, sociology, mathematics, science and literature, as philosophy allows the broader studies of nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
Philosophy and education are known as two different fields of study but are closely linked due to the rational thinking that is needed to become an educator. Philosophy has many branches; philosophy of education determines the nature of education and whether the educational aims are to be social, religious, moral or scientific. Education within every society can be seen as direct for specific aims and objectives. These aims and objectives are set by a philosophical approach. The method and curriculum throughout the educating spectrum is based upon specific teaching methodologies, philosophy is used as guidance in various areas, and educators ask such questions, what should be the teaching methodology? What makes a good educator? And lastly, what kind of curriculum should be taught to students? All these questions are based upon a philosophical approach.
“Civic education in the broadest term is the concept that all the processes that affect people’s beliefs, commitments, capabilities, and actions as members or prospective members of communities (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).” For years societies have been interested in the ways human beings prepare for society expectations of behaviour and citizenship. Civic education is considered a democracy in self-education, meaning human beings are self-governed and do not take demands off other people. “Civic education may not be intentional or deliberate, for example institutions and communities transmit values and norms without meaning to, it is certainly not limited to schooling and the education of children and youth (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).” “Families, governments, religions, and mass media are just some of the institutions involved in civic education, understood as a lifelong process (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).” The basis of civic education is to look closely into the habits formed within a human being, such as values, knowledge, habits, skills, and memberships within their community. “Civic education can occur in all kinds of regimes, but it is especially important in democracies, in such regimes, the excellence and virtues of the good man and the good citizen coincide, democratic societies have an interest in preparing citizens to rule and to be ruled (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).” There are several reasons for societies emphasis on the need to go to school and to also further your education with secondary schooling. “Evidence shows that civic habits and values are relatively easily influenced and changed while people are still young, therefore schooling can be effective when other efforts to educate citizens would fail (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).”
Education is a critical foundation to social and economic development. Studies have shown that education especially within the early years of an individual’s life has a profound impact on population health, as there is a greater knowledge of risks an enables the decision making of one to be more efficient. Education can impart a variety of benefits that improve the health trajectory of human begins. Access to education is a universal right; the means of education is to teach the knowledge needed to be successful in life. Education’s contribution to the lives of all persons is substantial. Education from our early years is very much important in helping develop the standards we live by when older, it allows us to live and act responsibly within a complex society.
Education has set the standards we follow today within every society; it shapes the way citizen’s act and their social manners. Studies have shown that societies with a higher population of people with higher levels of education have a higher standard of living, leading to advances in the goals set, less violence, and increase in the average income of a household, allowing for a greater economy which allows for a more prosperous society that is better off.
The concept of idealism, realism, pragmatism, existentialism, essentialism and progressivism are considered various ways an educator approaches teaching, and are based on a philosophical nature. Idealism is a philosophical approach that centers on the ideas that are true reality. “In idealism, the aim of education is to discover and develop each individual’s abilities and full moral excellence in order to better serve society (Dunham, Grant, Watson, 2010).” Realism as a philosophical approach focuses on the belief that reality exists as an independent of the human mind, in conjunction with the belief that ultimate reality is the world of physical objects. If an educator were to take a realist approach, the curriculum they would follow emphasises the subject matter of the physical world, along with teaching methodologies involving discipline and focus on mastery of facts and basic skills taught through demonstration and recitation. The philosophical approach of a pragmatist educator involves teaching methodologies focusing on, problem solving in an interdisciplinary way, and belief to achieve the best outcome work is best to be done in groups, involving hands on experimenting. “Being a pragmatist educator they believe that learners should apply their knowledge to real situations through experimental inquiry, this enables students to develop the social and moral standards that they are taught within their society and prepares students for citizenship and future careers (Schulkin, 2008).” The teaching method of an existentialism educator is subjective, and is dependent on the individual. The teaching method focuses on the individual standards rather than the external standards. “Teachers view the individual as an entity within a social context in which the learner must confront others’ views to clarify his or her own, existentialists are opposed to thinking about students as objects to be measured, tracked, or standardized (Koerrenz, 2017).” “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 (Koerrenz, 2017).” Essentialists emphasize on the teachings of the common core curriculum, which includes essential knowledge, skills and academic strictness and is communicated and taught to students in a systematic, disciplined way. The essentialists approach to educating children focuses the belief that schools should teach practical life lessons, preparing students to become valuable members of society. These life lessons should focus on the objective of training students to read, write, speak, and compute clearly and logically. “Progressivists educators believe that the nature of how a educator teaches their students should be focused on the whole child, rather than on the curriculum, this educational philosophy stresses that students should test ideas by active experimentation, progressivism is seen as active learning, not passive (Silcock, Ebrary)”. A progressivism learner is a problem solver and thinker and can base their understanding of knowledge through their individual experience of obstacles they have faced within a physical and cultural context. The teaching methodologies of a Progressivists educator provide experiences so that students can learn by doing.
In conclusion, the nature and purpose of education can be seen as a key factor within society, as it shapes the standards we live by and improve the standard of living. The six frameworks of teaching provide a basis for different educational philosophers; they enable an understanding of the education philosophy and break down the different teaching methodologies. The effect education has upon human beings within society is substantial. Whether it be an individual person, citizen, or professional there are numerous ways in which it has allowed human being to prosper and socialize within our global village.
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Crittenden, Jack and Levine, Peter, “Civic Education”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
Dunham, J., Grant, I. H., Watson, S., & ebrary, I. (2011;2010;). Idealism: The history of a philosophy. Durham: Acumen.
Koerrenz, R. (2017). Existentialism and education : An introduction to otto friedrich bollnow. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-48637-6
Schulkin, J. (2009;2008;). Cognitive adaptation: A pragmatist perspective. Cambridge;New York;: Cambridge University Press.
Sherrod, Lonnie R., Constance Flanagan, and James Youniss. (2002). Dimensions of Citizenship and Opportunities for Youth Development: The What, Why, When, Where, and Who of Citizenship Development, Applied Developmental Science.
Silcock, P., & ebrary, I. (1999;2002;). New progressivism (1st ed.). London: Falmer Press. doi:10.4324/9780203487440