Chapter 7 Education Theory in American Schools: Philosophy in ...

Chapter 7 Education Theory in American Schools: Philosophy in ...

Chapter 7 Education Theory in American Schools: Philosophy in Action -Authoritarian/non-authoritarian approaches to education -Mastery learning v. individual development -Convergent v. divergent thinking -Application of philosophy to the classroom -organization of curriculum -delivery -character of school environments -processes used in testing/grading -See table 7.1

-Mastery learning - suggests that except for Special Ed., every child can master the entire curriculum, of the school when adequate time and resources are provided -John Deweys view - the mind is not just a muscle to be developed - human beings are problem solvers who profit from experience - importance of the individual and of personal awareness (nonauthoritarian existential position) Authoritarian Educational Theories: Perennialism -principals of knowledge are enduring - seeks everlasting truths

-importance of time-honored ideas -great works of present and past -ability to reason -Focus of learning -Subject matter of disciplinary spiritual nature -Math, logic, great books -Learner is assumed to be a rational and spiritual person -Learning to reason is important Perennialism (continued) -See p. 277 for example of a perennialist classroom -Curriculum

- emphasize the 3 rs in elementary levels - educating the intellectually elite at secondary levels -Great Books Program - associated with Robert M. Hutchins, Mortimer Adler - maintains that studying the works of the leading scholars of history is the best way to a general education Authoritarian Educational Theories: Essentialism -there is a common core of information and skills that an educated person in a given culture must have -3 basic principles: -Core of information -Hard work and mental discipline

-Teacher-centered instruction -Back-to-basics -Focuses on 3 rs -Draws equally from both idealism and relaism -Advocate the teaching of a basic core of information that will change Essentialism (continued) -Focus of learning -transmit cultural heritage and develop good citizens -Curriculum -literature, history, foreign languages, religion -formal discipline

-reading, lecture, memorization, repetition, examinations -teaching laws of nature and universal truths of the physical world -subject matter is the core of education -Criticized as obsolete in its authoritarian tendencies Essential Schools Movement -Dr. Theodore Sizer -need for students to master a common core of info and skills -encourages schools to strip away nonessentials and focus on having students use their minds well

Authoritarian Educational Theories: Behaviorism -B.F. Skinner -Behaviorism -Focus on careful examination of the environment , behaviors, responses -Closely linked to realism -Common belief amongst behaviorist that a students behavior can be changed -Believes students are motivated by the factor that all people will attempt -to avoid experiences and stimuli that are not pleasing and will seek experiences that are pleasing and rewarding -See p. 282 for behaviorist class activity

Behaviorism (contd) -Focus of learning -highly organized school environment -curriculum based on behavioral objectives -Reinforcement -used to foster desired behaviors using both positive and negative -the theory is that behavior is not reinforced will eventually be extinguishedwill cease to occur -Behaviorists do not attempt to learn about the causes of students earlier problems Authoritarian Educational Theories: Positivism

-Not often considered as a teaching philosophy -Auguste Comte positive knowledge -divided the thinking of humankind into 3 historical periods 1. Theological era- people explained things by reference to spirits and gods 2. Metaphysical era- people explained phenomena in terms of causes, essences, and inner principles 3. Positive period- thinkers did not attempt to go beyond observable, measurable fact -Rejects beliefs about mind, spirit, and consciousness -holds that all reality can be explained by laws of matter and motion

Positivism -Focus of Learning -the acquisition of facts based on careful empirical observation and measurement of the world -requires schools to develop content standards that represent the best understandings of experts who have already uncovered important ideas based on their own observation and measurement -Students to master expert understandings and to develop their own skills of observation, classification, and logical analysis -Objective testing -free from bias

-demonstrates student has mastered and understood according to a clear set of criteria Non-authoritarian Educational Theories: Progressivism -Pragmatism -Charles S. Pierce -the meaning and value of ideas could be found only in the ideas practical results -William James -extended Pierces idea into a theory of truth -John Dewey -insisted that ideas must always be tested by experiment

-gave rise to progressive education Progressivism (contd) -Definition of progressivism -an educational theory that emphasizes that ideas should be tested by experimentation and that learning is rooted in questions developed by learners -favors human experience as a basis for knowledge -stresses programs of student involvement -emphasis on how to think -flexibility -encourages divergent thinking: moving beyond conventional ideas to come up with novel interpretations

-curriculum is student-centered; experience-centered Progressivism -Progressivism & Democracy -school must take on the task of improving the US way of life -progressivism is deemed a working model of democracy -freedom is explicit -See p. 286 for Progressivist Class Activity -Progressivism & Socialization -helps students learn how to manage change -criticized for putting so much stress on the processes of education that the ends are neglected -criticized that progressive educators have little personal

commitment to anything Nonauthoritarian Educational Theories: Reconstructionism -It was recognized that progressivism had made advance beyond essentialism in teacher-pupil relations and teaching methodology -Reconstructionist Curriculum -requires that students be taught to analyze world events -explore controversial issues -develop a vision for a new and better world -teachers examine cultural heritages, encourage students to promot programs of cultural renewal

-Henry Giroux -contemporary reconstructionism Reconstructionism (contd) -Giroux -calls teachers to be transformative intellectuals and wants them to participate in created a new society -schools should practice critical pedagogy unites theory and practice as it provides students with critical thinking tools -See p. 288 for Reconstructionist Class Activity -Reconstructionism and World Reformation -public education should be the direct instrument of world

reformation -the essence of learning is the actual experience of learning Reconstructionism -Prepares learners to deal with world crises -war, inflation, rapid technological changes, depression -Urge that individuals, as entities within a social context engage in specific reform activity -Paul Freire -contemporary social reconstructionist -worked to free society from an educational system that he saw as devised by the dominant class

-for the purposes of keeping the masses submerged and contained in a culture of science Reconstructionism -Freire -worked among poor -proposed a problem-posing approach to education to replace banking method Nonauthoritarian Educational Theories: Humanism -Jean Jacques Rousseau -ideas of existentialism -believed that the child entered the world not as a blank slate, but

with certain innate qualities and tendencies -Humanism is concerned with enhancing the innate goodness of the individual -rejects a group-oriented educational system -seeks ways to enhance the individual development of the student -believe that most schools de-emphasize the individual and the relationship between teacher and student -Education should be a process of developing a free, self-actualizing person Humanistic School Environments -Martin Buber: describes the heart of humanistic environments

Many students today feel that teachers treat them as SS #s Buber contends that a relationship btw a student and teacher mutual sensibility feeling should have a -Nel Noddings: describes the environment for caring

Humanistic school environment is one in which people (both teacher & student) share their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, fears, and aspirations with one another -Examples of teacher techniques that enhance humanism Service-learning, individualizing instruction, open-access curriculum, nongraded instruction, multiage grouping Constructivist Curriculum Constructivism: An educational theory that emphasizes hand-on, activity based teaching & learning during which students develop their

own frames of thought (closely related to existentialism) APA contends that students are active learners who should be given opportunities to construct their own frames of thought Teaching techniques should include a variety of different, where students are free to infer & discover their own answers Constructivist Curriculum: Constructivist ideas about curriculum stand in sharp contrast to authoritarian approaches. Learning occurs through the construction of new, personalized understanding that results from the emergence of new cognitive structures. Nel Noddings(quote) Having accepted the basic constructivist premise, there is

no point in looking for foundations or using the language of absolute truth. The constructivist position is really post-epistemological and that is why it can be so powerful in inducing new methods of research and teaching. It recognizes the power of the environment to press for adaptation, the temporality of knowledge, the existence of multiple selves behaving in consonance with the rules of various subcultures. Problem-Based Learning: A Constructivist Pedagogy Problem-based learning: this educational methodology centers student activity on tackling authentic contemporary problems.

Challenges educators to focus curriculum on studentcentered problems This educational methodology centers student activities on tackling authentic contemporary problems

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