SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT IN PHILOSOPHY
- SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT IN PHILOSOPHY
SCHOOLS OF PHILOSOPHY
- There are several schools of philosophy of education.
- These include
- All the above schools have a certain level of influence on teaching and learning and are therefore referred to as schools of philosophy of education.
- Idealism is a philosophical position which adheres to the view that nothing exists except an idea in the mind of man, the mind of God or in a super or supra-natural realm.
- To them, the universe exists in spirit
- The whole universe is knowable through the exercise of the mind.
- Greater emphasis is placed upon the mental or spiritual aspect of the universe.
- This school of philosophy tries to explain all existence in terms of the mind.
- This philosophical position holds the view that nothing exists except in the mind of man, God or supernatural realm.
- The universe is divided into two; the sensory world and the Real world.
- The sensory world consists of the things we see and touch while the real world can only be reached through the mind (intellect). It is this world that is permanent.
- All things in the sensory world come from the real world of ideas (mind)
- They conclude knowledge is the ultimate of existence. They posited that if the mind does not know an object, then that object is non-existent-for a thing to exist, it has to be known or perceived.
- They believe that there is universal or absolute truth which man can find. They say the truth exist and is independent of man’s knowledge of it.
The Idealist View of Education
- An idealist’s concept of education is something which leads one to the highest moral conduct and deepest spiritual insight.
- Education, according to idealism, is a spiritual necessity and not a natural necessity.
- Education must convert original nature of man into spiritual nature.
- In the words of Rusk, Education must enable mankind through its culture to enter more and more fully into the spiritual realm.
- To the idealist, every citizen should be educated from birth to maturity for the purpose of bringing improvement both individually and communally.
- The education should aim at bringing the individual closer to the absolute truth and conscious self.
Idealist Method of Teaching
- According to the idealists, the classroom is the temple of spiritual learning, a meeting place of human minds and a place for self-learning.
- The idealist suggest the following techniques and methods of teaching.
- Question and Answer method,
- Practice and repetition.
- All these methods should be aimed at developing the mind of the learners because to them, learning is the exercise of the mind.
Idealist View of the Curriculum
- Emphasis is put on subjects that would improve on the student’s intelligence and understanding.
- Subjects that ensure the development of the child’s mental faculties is the most important concern of the idealist.
- The idealist curriculum put much premium on the humanities such as History, Geography, Liberal education, Literature and Pure Mathematics etc.
- The teaching of different subjects will develop the knowing faculty of the mind.
- The idealist curriculum places less value on Vocational and Technical subjects.
- The idealists do not seriously consider psychomotor skills and
Idealist View of the Teacher
- The teacher enjoys a place of prestige and respect in education.
- His place and role is next to God. He carries the child from darkness of ignorance and superstition to light.
- Facilitator of learning. He should therefore guide the child with love, affection and sympathy to stimulate learning.
- The teacher should have a deep sense of knowledge in his subject.
- The teacher is a spiritual symbol of right conduct. (A role model and a perfect example for students to imitate)
Idealist View of the Student
- The student has some hidden potentials that need nurturing or development.
- They see the child as a limited soul and should be made an unlimited soul through proper instruction so that they may attain immortality.
- The student is a finite person growing when properly educated into the image of an infinite person.
- They should have the qualities of respect, feeling of dedication, a liking for meditation, regularity, carefulness in speech, utmost wisdom and respect towards their teacher.
- There should be cordial and positive relationship between the teacher and the taught.
- The student is in the process of becoming like the ideal or absolute.
- The student should be involved in the learning
Criticisms against Idealism
- It concentrates or emphasizes the mental faculty or cognitive domain of the learners at the expense of their body or physical development.
- The idealist de-emphasizes experience.
- The fact that it greatly emphasizes the humanities shows its tendency to neglect or put little emphasis on the whole concept of a technological society.
- Idealism overlooks the possibility of errors.
- The greatest shortfall of this school of thought is that its truth is immutable and unchanging without critical consideration of the possibility of error.
REALISM SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY
- This school of thought is directly opposed to the idealist school of thought
- Realism is the theory that holds the existence of objects is real.
- To the realist, objects have real existence independent of the mind or any knowledge of it.
- If an object does not exist there is no way or need the mind can perceive.
- objects will continue to exist even if scientist do not ever discover them.
Realist View of Education
- The basic aim of education is to teach the child the natural and moral laws so that he/she may live in tune with the laws of the universe.
- Realist education aims at equipping learners with facts that enable them to face the realities of life.
- Their education satisfies the society and the individual.
- They believe happiness in life may be achieved by fulfillment of human responsibilities and obligations
- Realist Curriculum prefers subjects and activities which can prepare children for day to day living.
- Science and vocational subjects enjoy predominant position in curriculum followed by arts, literature and languages.
Realist View of the Teacher
- The teacher is to be a guide to introduce the student to the real world.
- The teacher is supposed to know the basic truths or culture and therefore a repository of knowledge and wisdom.
The realist View of the Student
- The realists see the student as a functional organism which through sensory experience can perceive the natural order of the universe.
- He must learn the habit of self-discipline so as to enable him to master the subjects.
NATURALISM IN EDUCATION
- The naturalist school of thought can be described as the school of philosophy which consider nature as the most important factor in the general development or affairs of humankind.
- the whole idea of humankind is meaningless if it fails to interact positively with the natural world or things in their raw state.
- The naturalist believe that man should be allowed to exercise his creative powers and pursue their aspirations in “innocence” without inhibitions.
The Naturalist View on Education
- They believe that education should be allowed to proceed according to nature in accordance with inner principles of the child.
- Child centered education.
- Education as the natural development of the child’s power and capacities.
- There shouldn’t be negative education in early childhood. Education should be based on child’s psychology.
- They believe education should not be an imposition of an externally formulated principles on the child.
Naturalism and Curriculum
- The naturalists do not advocate a fixed or rigid curriculum.
- The curriculum should be child-centered.
- The naturalists lay emphasis on Natural science subjects such as Biology, Zoology, Botany and Agricultural science etc.
- History and Social studies have been given importance to grasp the past experiences of the human race.
- They also lay stress on physical education and health and home science education also.
- Literary and aesthetic culture also develops the inner and artistic sense of the child.
- Education should be child-centered making use of the present interest and experiences of the child.
- The child should be allowed to discover his own experience and explore his environment in order to accumulate his repertoire of knowledge with little guidance.
- They follow different methods of teaching according to the interests, capacities and aptitudes of the child. Some of the methods are:
- Learning by doing
- Learning through senses
- Play-way method
- Excursion and observation method
- Heuristic method
- Montessori method
Naturalist View of the Teacher
- To the naturalists, “Nature is the only supreme teacher”.
- The teacher comes next to the child in the educational process.
- The teacher Should be:
- A stage setter: an observer, able to understand nature of the child.
- The teacher should not interfere in the natural development of the child.
- The role of the teacher is like a gardener who prepares the soil for the proper growth of the plants.
- The teachers’ role should be passive, (behind the scenes) thus, just ensuring that environmental conditions and resources are provided in the right proportion for the child to grow into what nature has ordained for him or her.
Naturalist View on the Student
- The naturalists regard the child as the “Hero” in the drama of education.
- They believe education is for the child rather than the child for education.
- They believe that the child is naturally endowed and could naturally develop along good path if uninterrupted or non-interfered with adults.
- The naturalist asserts that every child is born with a tendency towards goodness which needs to be encouraged and nurtured to bring the best in him.
- At birth the child fully free from evils, but later the environment and society vitiate him.
- So the child should be kept away from the ills of society.
PRAGMATISM IN EDUCATION
- This school of thought see things in the practical way through practice or experience.
- To the pragmatist, the true value of a proposition or idea is its practical utility or usability.
- The pragmatist opposes to ideas or theories that lack practical application.
The Pragmatist View on Education
- They see education as the most important tool for remolding society.
- They see education as a more controlled approach to introducing changes in society instead of revolutionary changes that could bring about conflict.
- It gives a clear-cut concept of education based upon a close relationship between theory and practice of education.
- Education as a social necessity. Progressive education. Freedom and worth of the individual. Education is a continuous process.
The Pragmatist Method of Teaching
- Does not believe in a fixed method of teaching.
- Their emphasis is on child’s activities, integration and experimentation.
- The main method of the pragmatist is experimental inquiry.
- The pragmatists believe that people know about things or objects (matter) only as they experience it and reflect upon that experience with their minds.
- To the pragmatist, learning should be leaner centered.
- It should be activity based or centered (learning by doing).
- Group method or cooperative learning should be ensured. Project method or problem solving approaches should be emphasized.
Pragmatist View of the Curriculum
- To the pragmatist, any educative experiences that contribute to the growth of the student is the subject matter.
- E.g. Science, Humanities, and Languages.
- Specifically, aesthetic subjects such as
- Painting, Drama, Music, Dance and Literature should be taught to develop the child’s creative ability.
Pragmatist View of the Teacher
- Teachers are to serve as guides or project directors because of their experience.
- The teacher should not be an authoritarian trying to impose his will on the learners
- The teacher should not be a spectator or the laissez faire type who just look on for learners to do their own thing
- The teacher should be a resource person to whom the child refers those problems he/she could not resolve personally.
The term existentialism was coined by Jean-Paul Sartre.
According to him, Existentialism simply means “existence precedes essence.”
The increase in popularity of existentialism in Europe could be tracked back to the aftermath of the second world war.
Existentialism gives each of us the freedom and responsibility to take charge of our own lives and free us from the constraints falsely imposed on us by authoritative appeal to “human nature”, or God’s will.
To them, man is the creative realizer of his own potentialities.
It puts everyman or woman in possession of him or herself as he is and places the entire responsibility for his existence squarely upon his/her own shoulders
Existentialism and Education
- The educational dimension of existentialism is rooted in the students’ questioning and his search for self- and his own existence.
- That is to say, his education must necessarily bear fruits on his existence.
- The role of Existentialism in education is the promotion of the full, free development of the individual to deal with situation in which he finds himself.
- Education is not to adjust the student to his environment or to integrate him at all costs into the society.
- Rather the student should do the adjustment and reintegration.
- The task of education is only to enhance his ability to decide correctly.
- Again education is to help the student to develop his initiative skills to help him search for and discover for himself, cultivate self reliance as a key character trait.
Existentialism and Curriculum
- The most important items in the curriculum of the existentialists are the humanities.
- The study of literature in particular is stressed.
- To them, the study of Literature affords the students the real opportunity of coming face to face with realities, experiences of life.
- It enables the students to follow the life styles of the heroes of novels and drama, as they live: their loves, hates, struggles, emotions and more importantly the momentous decisions they make.
- These experiences help the individual to freely acquire first-hand information which is original and really his own.
Existentialism and Curriculum
- The Social Sciences is also emphasized in the curriculum of the Existentialists.
- To them, as students go through these subjects, they become equipped with knowledge dealing with other people’s life experiences, their behaviors and general conduct.
- Such information is vital to students as it prepares them for their future decisions and their consequent actions.
- Rational and scientific knowledge is not given much prominence in the existentialists school of thought.
- This notwithstanding, science and technology are somehow considered in order to ensure students survival in their environment.
- Even though, what is taught (the content) is important, the most important of all is how it is imparted (Methodology).
- Whatever method is adopted, the underlying and fundamental focus should be the learner/student because he is to be equipped to realize or determine his “physical self.”
- The Question and Answer method (Socratic) method is used.
- This technique helps students to participate the educational process fully.
- He does not become a mere spectator or an observer.
- In addition, role-playing and dramatization also feature prominently in the curriculum of the existentialism.
Existentialist View of the Teacher
- The existentialist philosopher considers parents as the most important teachers, since they play crucial role in the early development of children .
- In spite of possible deficiencies and deformities that a child may possess, the parents and the immediate family’s sympathy and profound understanding of the child is always present.
- This alone makes their influence on the child so crucial that it cannot be dispensed with.
- Next to the parents are the teachers who are thinkers and should co-operate with the parents in the course of discharging their duty.
- The teacher is a counselor, guardian whose preoccupation is to create the spirit of innovation, independence and self-reliance in the students.