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Laying the Groundwork: Philosophy

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1 Laying the Groundwork: Philosophy
Faculty of Education Laying the Groundwork: Philosophy Monday, January 9, 2012 EDUC 434 Contemporary Issues in Public Education

2 Today’s Objectives Clarify course rationale and review of syllabus
Explore the over-arching relevance of educational philosophy as it relates to pedagogy and practice.

3 The Rationale Always remember that Canadian education is an ongoing reflection of its philosophical and historical foundations. Developing an appreciation for the ideas and events that have shaped education is an important part of your progress towards becoming a professional.

4 Educational Philosophy
Simply put, educational philosophy consists of what you believe about education; it is a set of principles that guides your professional action.

5 Basic Components of Your Educational Philosophy
Beliefs about Teaching and Learning Beliefs about Students Beliefs about Knowledge Beliefs about What is Worth Knowing

6 The Branches of Philosophy:
A. Metaphysics Concerned with explaining the nature of reality. Information is just a way to remind ourselves of something we already knew, since on some level we have access to infinite intelligence and infinite wisdom.

7 The Branches of Philosophy:
B. Epistemology Focuses on questions of knowledge, i.e., of knowing based on: Authority (knowledge from the expert, textbook, teacher, etc.) Divine Revelation (supernatural revelations) Empiricism (experience) Reason and Logical Analysis (thinking logically) Intuition (gut-feeling)

8 The Branches of Philosophy:
C. Axiology Concerned with questions of values D. Ethics Focuses on questions of good and evil, right and wrong, etc.

9 The Branches of Philosophy:
E. Aesthetics Concerned with values related to beauty and art F. Logic Deals with reasoning Remember the Socratic method

10 Five Modern Philosophical Orientations to Teaching:
1. Perennialism Truth is constant Goal of education is to ensure that children acquire knowledge of unchanging principles or great ideas Learning to share and get along Shakespeare

11 Five Modern Philosophical Orientations to Teaching:
2. Essentialism Conservative viewpoint Argues that there is a core of common knowledge (“the Basics”) that schools must transmit in a systematic, disciplined way Core knowledge – intellectual capital – facts to use in the real world Contrasts with critical thinking… if don’t know where Iraq is, hard to debate intelligently

12 Five Modern Philosophical Orientations to Teaching:
3. Progressivism Education should be child-centred rather than teacher- or content-centred Stresses the notion of the whole child Learning is active rather than passive Teacher is a guide who helps students learn what is important to them, rather than passing on enduring truths Dewey – quintessential Took Conservatism (rows, sage) and turned it upside Holistic – Vietnam war, upheaval, world was changing

13 Five Modern Philosophical Orientations to Teaching:
4. Existentialism Focuses on the experiences of individuals, rather than on the collective Emphasizes creative choice Free-schooling, Summerhill (AS Neil) Kids can choose to go to class, or stay home… they learned Behaviour started with mandatory attendance

14 Five Modern Philosophical Orientations to Teaching:
5. Social Reconstructionism Schools should take the lead in changing or reconstructing society Schools “should” male a difference.. Changing or reconstructing society – who’s notion of society?

15 Remember Freire’s notion of praxis = informed action based on specific values
Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, ) What do you think? Where do you stand?

16 Philosophical Orientations:
Teacher Centred Student Centred 1. Perennialism 2. Essentialism 3. Progressivism 4. Existentialism 5. Social Reconstructionism

17 The Role of Psychology Keep in mind that psychology also has an important role to play in educational philosophy

18 Three Psychological Orientations to Teaching:
1. Humanistic Psychology Concerned with individual self-actualization

19 Teachers should not force students to learn, but instead should create a climate of trust and respect that allows students to decide what and how they learn, to question authority, and to take initiative in “making themselves.”

20 Three Psychological Orientations to Teaching:
2. Behaviourism Desirable human behaviour can be the product of design rather than accident Activities: Balloons: hold it – bring a pin to it - conditioning , learn, if I puncture, make a noise (Classical conditioning) Story: at the beach, wade out, hot day , something doesn’t feel right.. JAWS music (1950s) Still the norm 1970s – information processing

21 Three Psychological Orientations to Teaching:
3. Constructivism Students use cognitive processes to construct understanding of the material to be learned According to constructivism, the student is the key to learning

22 How Can You Develop Your Educational Philosophy?
Most teachers develop an eclectic philosophy of education, which means that they develop their own unique blending of the major philosophies

23 Even though philosophy may seem like some distant concept that has no bearing on your life as a teacher, rest assured that philosophy is a part of everything we do in education. Thus, when you think “education,” think “philosophy!”

24 For next class Wednesday, January 11 Making Sense of Public Education
Text Reading: Chapter 1

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