The Journey is Almost Over....Into the
Those Nitty Gritty Courses
...and that means papers!
This one started out as NOT my favorite. I even referred to it as a 'stupid assignment', regressing into my 12 year-old's view of the world ;)
Can't you just tell that he knows EVERYTHING ?
Find your Top 10 Philosophers, and their theories of Education. It seems I've lost the ability to read, and regurgitate...I just have to insinuate myself, my classroom, my content into everything!!
As to the child’s proper motivation: “One often hears is said that we should put everything before children in such a way that they shall do it from inclination. In some cases, it is true, this is all very well, but there is much besides which we must place before them as duty. For in the paying of rates and taxes, in the work of the office, and in many other cases, we must be led, not by inclination, but by duty. "Even though a child should not be able to see the reason of a duty, it is nevertheless better that certain things should be prescribed to him in this way …” from his Some Thoughts concerning Education (1692):“I am very apt to think, that great severity of punishment does but very little good; nay, great harm in education: And I believe it will be found, that, ceteris paribus, those children who have been most chastised, seldom make the best men.” And finally a quote from Kant that really speaks to the dissatisfaction of education today where so many kids truly ‘hate’ school: “Children should sometimes be released from the narrow constraint of school, otherwise their natural joyousness will soon be quenched”. This sounds contrary to good education to me, so I wonder why it stuck? I see a kind of detachment from thinking of children as humans, more like pods in need of development.
Bridging the gap between Enlightenment and Modern philosophy is the Post-Enlightenment. We are in the Age of Idealism. Enter Dewey, well known for his “Democracy and Education”. He believed that education was intrinsic to the “social continuity of life” and further stated that education was a necessity because the nature of life is to die, implying that education ensured continuity. There is so much in his work that resonates today. Conservative views of education as the standards, taught conventionally versus, inquiry based education, as well as the more liberal or broad view of subject matters versus the distinct vocational skills.
Emma Willard was American; she was born in Connecticut, as the 16th of 17 children! She was fortunate that her father was unconventional and thought females were just as worthy of an education as males were. She was a reformer to me, going on to establish the first secondary school for females despite being denied financial means by the state of NY. The school endures today. Her selling arguments would be cringe worthy today but were a smart tactic to appeal to the male audience. She gave multiple reasons for educating females such as, “If, then, women were properly fitted by instruction, they would likely teach children better than the other sex: they could afford to do it cheaper: and those men who would otherwise be engaged in this employment might be at liberty to add to the wealth of the nation”. Thank you Emma Willard for getting female education started in the U.S.
Montessori, the higher alternative to the slower change that is the public schools. I am ashamed to say that I do not know much about this, and I am intrigued that at least two of our class members have been trained in this. Without exception, the information I find about Montessori education all state that; “it must be observed to be understood”. Dr. Maria Montessori stated in The Absolute Mind that “To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator”. Again, the teacher in the role of facilitator. I am so glad that so many have realized this and so…embarrassed…that so many people, who are teachers believe that they are the fountains of knowledge, imparting it to their students. Often I found words or analogies to nature in this research…tending as if a garden, cultivating learning, sowing the seeds, capacity to grow. This methodology seems to build on the sensory route for learning discussed earlier. Gaining knowledge through the senses and then developing an understanding of that knowledge, as the means of educating the child. This has been a common thread.
Henry David Thoreau has always held allure. Who has not wanted to go out into the woods to experience living with oneself? I surely have a hundred times. I spent many summer days at Walden Pond when my oldest was just an infant. We would walk along and I would try to imagine what it must have looked like back then, and how the peace and serenity may have influenced Thoreau’s pacifist nature. I knew he left teaching because he wouldn’t use corporal punishment. Education was still in that time of obedience and routine, children were less what? Less human? Less valuable? They were a work in progress. Thoreau taught through conversation. This circles us back to Socrates and the dialogue. The Socratic Seminar has been revived lately. I find it is a great way to get students to question and push each other. Character education and a sense of connectedness are integral in his philosophy. “Thoreau reminds us that we need to have respect for our selves (conscience), others (society), and nature (stewardship).”
Contemporary philosophy has many branches, too many to cover here. There were a couple of people I wanted to learn more about and I will end with a brief discussion of them. Because I have never had the opportunity to take time to study the female philosophers, I feel I have always just been presented with the usual, male, suspects.
I was alive but somehow missed the Malcolm X years. Maybe it was that I was growing up in eastern Long Island, in a high school with one black student. His story is impressive, Nebraska to Harlem, to the streets, to jail. Then there was the self-recognition that he was nearly illiterate and the devotion to improve. The politics being what they were, an angry black man, who was well read, self-taught in jail, and dedicated to teaching young students that white America had brainwashed them, well, that was definitely a threat to the status quo. I am unclear, though I read quite a bit, of his educational philosophy other than he thought that education was essential, to raising black people up from discrimination. Turning from his anger to bell hooks seems a necessity.
What better motivation than hope? I believe teaching does require hope, and faith in learning. Her early education, as she describes it sounds heavenly. All black schools, taught by black women who were determined to help a generation use education for betterment, to ignite them with knowledge. Then her descriptions of the post-busing ‘all white’ school sound so opposite, obedience, no fire, no threats were tolerated. Thank goodness she was already engaged with learning and determined to teach and write. “It is imperative that we maintain hope even when the harshness of reality may suggest the opposite” is a quote from one of her mentor’s Paulo Friere. You can hear how that sentiment would resonate with her. She advocated holistic education, and reflection on the part of students as well as teachers, to care for themselves as practitioners.
Teachers, philosophers, and thinkers have shaped education for thousands of years. It is continuing to evolve today. It can be rewarding and disheartening. It is valuable to see the perseverance of knowledge as an expression of our innate potential. Although many ideas are constant which could feel like a lack of progress, it seems quite the opposite, for these ideas to stand the test of time, through all these ages, makes it more valuable. Our audience changes but we are always trying to get them hooked on self-discovery, critical thinking, exploring ideas, with no end in sight.
hooks, bell (1994) Teaching to Transgress. Education os the practice of freedom. London: Pluto Press.
Burke, B. (2004) ‘bellhooks on education’, the encyclopedia of informal education.
Philosophy of Education by Hsueh-Li Cheng
Sun, Qi (2008) Confucian Educational Philosophy and it’s Implications for Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Education.Philadelphia: Routledge