Foundations of Education – Part 2

In our previous article on Education Foundations we covered the interdisciplinary relations focusing on the basis, the different perspectives, and started the evolution of the Educational Schools of Thought from the Greeks, The Eastern, The Classic and up to the modern, please refer to that article as a introduction or complement to this continuation, in which the remaining of the Evolution of the Foundations of Education and School of thoughts

Education Foundations has all the angles and study disciplines entangled in it, from the Philosophical perspective, the following Major Schools of Philosophical Thought have shaped the Philosophy Behind Education and the whole of Education after all.

First, the Idealism, where ideas are believed to be enduring and the center of lives, where all existed within the mind of God and Man and none out of it. Its objective is to develop the spirit, mind and moral discovering and developing each person’s abilities and moral excellence through the Lecturing, Critical Discussions, Socratic Method, introspection, reflection on content such as literature, history and philosophy.

In this methodology the learner imitates the ideal of the teacher, striving towards his perfection, while The Teacher is the example of an excellent role model for the student- intellectually and morally. And to exercise great creative skills in providing opportunities for the learners’ minds to discover, analyze, synthesize and create, encouraging logical thinking to train future leaders, develop morality and values emphasizing on mind, character and discipline development.

Then came the School of Realism. Realism highlights that the world is made up of substantial and material real entities, so the sensory experience is where knowledge is derived, aiming to give students resources to survive the natural world, besides the lectures and inductive logic the sensory input was central, as were sciences and mathematics.

The learning or studying process has always been evolving, though not so many changes came after postmodernism, The Teacher is presented as a guide with mastery of the knowledge and expert in life reality who requires from the student to explain, compare and recall facts. Eventually interpreting relations and inferring new meanings.

Following the clash of the idealism and realism schools logically derived in the Pragmatism School of Education, also denominated Experimentalism. In it pragmatists believed teaching students to adjust to the demands of an ever changing world. The syllabus showed utilitarian and practical content. The teaching techniques at the time were the open discussion, individual problem-solving, research and Project Methodologies.

While the student found the experimental practical from experiencing interaction to the environment, capturing their own interests to build on them with the natural motivation, each learning style was accommodated. The main proponent of Pragmatism was John Dewey.

Afterwards came the Modern Philosophical School of Thoughts:

The Perrenialism who believed students are immersed in the study of profound and enduring ideas, that knowledge, those experiences which has endured time and space and should be the foundation of education.

Perrenialists will learn for its own sake to be true intellectuals aiming to develop the thinking power.One of it main proponents was Robert Hutchins. While the teacher is seen as interpreters of eternal truth the students are passive recipients. Time is spent teaching about concepts rather than in explaining how these are useful to students

The School of Essentialism was based on teaching the essential knowledge and basic skills to promote students’ intellectual growth. The main proponent was William Bagley. The teacher students dynamics was to receive instructions in skills as reading arithmetic and writing (3Rs) while the teacher focused on test score achievements to evaluate progress

The Progressivist School of Education is in the development process mainly. Progressivists focus on cultivation of individuality, experiences, abilities and interests. Progressivists aim at making school interesting and also useful. As well its aim is similar, trying to provide students with necessary skills to interact with and update the environment. Originally proposed by John Dewey and Johann Pestalozzi.

The Existentialism derived from the lack of perception of the presence of God after the World Wars where the Idea was to shape human life as it was being lived, in the existentialist philosophy knowledge is subjective and persons decisions make it up into experiences, varying from one person to another but always trying to find significance and meaning in our existence. The most famous proponent was Jean Paul Sartre. For the first time the trust of the teaching philosophy was fully deposited in the experimenting of the Learner where he/she determined their own rule, and the teacher works more as an aid assisting students in their own journeys.

The school of Social Reconstructionism which focussed on addressing social questions to construct a better society by improving human conditions and overcoming oppression. It’s main proponent was George Counts. Finally real and social problems such as international terrorism, hunger, inflation, discrimination, inequality and environmental problems are concerns.

These are up to now the main tendencies in philosophies of education. There are other instances at times when a different mechanic rules over the classroom experience. Take for instant these relevant philosophies which operate as philosophies of education in many classroom situations and historical social contexts. Some of these can be Reconstruction Existentialism Democracy Idealism Realism Humanism and Pragmatism, all are also different Philosophies applied in Education which will be discussed in another blog article.

There are plenty of other Authors who have studied, written and modified Educational Foundations and Philosophies, take for instance within the Liberal Philosophy of Education all renown proponents as are Plato, Buther, Froebel, Hegel, Herbart, Aristotle, Broudy, Berckeley, Aquinas, Martin, James, Pierce, Brameld, Peztalozzi, Dewey, Janes, Perce, Sartre, Marcel, Mowes, Soderquist among many others.

A note on Eastern Philosophies and Eastern Philosophies of Education must be made. Within these scope we will find: The Hinduism by world renowned pacifier Mahatma Gandhi, which enhance the commitment to an ideal life of honesty, self-control, purity, non- violence, courage, service and faith. This philosophy affected Education in that the knowledge is imparted by the teachers own life example and is as a Mahatma, responsible for the spiritual welfare of the learners. Thus, the teaching methods are memorizing and oral discussion and debates.

Buddhism , also a eastern religion based philosophy, believes in the law of karma and in the four noble truths. Its main proponent was Siddharta Gautama

The Confucianism is based on the teachings of Confucius, focussing on benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and sincerity as the five cardinal virtues. Also the Taoism by advocating simplicity, frugality, Let things come naturally (Wu Wei) of its main proponent who was Lau-Tzu. His ethics emphasized moderation, humility and compassion.

The Japanese Zen Buddhism which introduced the Third eye, to see the invisible around us by the mind awakening achieved through meditation.

Finally, in the middle east and part of the far east the Islam, which beleive in Allah thorugh its prophet Mohammed. The Islam in Education looks mostly at knowledge is necessary for the self and humanity promoting the adequate citizen.

All these schools of thoughts have built over the previous and tackling the new needs of society and history and those times. The fusion of all these is what we have today as the underlying basis for our modern contemporary philosophy of education.