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Last updated Aug 15, 2023

# Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education

#EDUC101i #education #history #philosophy

# Philosophies of Education

*First, we will look unpack the role of philosophy in education, to set-up the framework by which you will view the 3 different philosophies. Then you will explore 3 different philosophies and reflect on the decisions and actions that they might influence in educational settings.

# The 3 Big Words of Philosophy

Philosophy means “love of wisdom.” It is made up of two Greek words, philo, meaning love, and sophos, meaning wisdom. Philosophy helps teachers to reflect on key issues and concepts in education, usually through such questions as: What is being educated? What is the good life? What is knowledge? What is the nature of learning? And What is teaching? Philosophers think about the ==meaning of things== and ==interpretation of that meaning.== Even simple statements, such as “What should be learned? Or What is adolescence?” set up raging debates that can have major implications. For example, what happens if an adolescent commits a serious crime? One interpretation may hide another. If such a young person is treated as an adult criminal, what does it say about justice, childhood, and the like? Or if the adolescent is treated as a child, what does it say about society’s views on crime?

Your educational philosophy is ==your belief about why, what and how you teach, whom you teach, and about the nature of learning.== It is a set of principles that guides professional action through the events and issues teachers face daily. Sources for your educational philosophy are your life experiences, your values, the environment in which you live, interactions with others and awareness of philosophical approaches. Learning about the branches of philosophy, philosophical world views, and different educational philosophies and theories will help you to determine and shape your own educational philosophy, combined with these other aspects.

==When you examine a philosophy different from your own, it helps you to “wrestle” with your own thinking.== Sometimes this means you may change your mind. Other times, it may strengthen your viewpoint; or, you may be eclectic, selecting what seems best from different philosophies. But in eclecticism, there is a danger of sloppy and inconsistent thinking, especially if you borrow a bit of one philosophy and stir in some of another. If serious thought has gone into selection of strategies, theories, or philosophies, this is less problematic. For example, you may determine that you have to vary your approach depending on the particular learning needs and styles of a given student. At various time periods, one philosophical framework may become favored over another. For example, the Progressive movement led to quite different approaches in education in the 1930s. But there is always danger in one “best or only” philosophy. In a pluralistic society, a variety of views are needed.

# Your 3 big words

# Prompt

Let’s begin the process of building towards your own teaching philosophy. Answer the 3 questions below:

  1. What is reality for you? Based on this, what is important to be learned? (Metaphysics)
  2. What do you believe about knowledge? (Epistemology)
  3. What do you think are values and behavior that need to be taught to everyone? (Axiology)
# Answer
# Outline
# Writing

Metaphysics: I like to perceive reality through the lens of metamodernism. Having developed from modernism (a maximalist and optimistic perspective, where people wanted to be godlike and make history) and postmodernism (a skeptical and disillusioned perspective, where people no longer believed in a universal reality), this philosophy spotlights plurality. We live in a complex world, which none of us are capable of understanding to the fullest. This can make us resort to reductionism; we can either ascribe to fundamentalism (rigidly adhering to a limited set of beliefs) or relativism (believing that objective truth doesn’t exist, for it is always context-dependent). Metamodernists accept the complexity of life by allowing paradoxes to coexist. They believe that the world isn’t so black and white, and more like a wide spectrum of gray; they also believe that these binaries crucially complement each other, enriching each other’s perspectives (just like the Yin and Yang). So based on all this, I believe that it is important to cultivate critical thinking. This indicates not ony thinking critically about the world, but also ourselves — what thinking traps do we often get caught in, and how can we prevent ourselves from falling into these in the future?

Epistemology: In line with metamodernism, my take on knowledge is also paradoxical. While I believe that knowledge is empirical, I also believe that it is intuitive and subjective. For instance, I am both a STEM advocate and a believer in God and magic; to me, both natural and spiritual perspectives are needed in order to learn more about ourselves and the world. This belief also reflects in the roles I play in life. I work as a technologist, but I also consider myself an artist at heart. I value both the knowledge I get from my surroundings (like whenever I conduct user research or build with tools) and the knowledge I get from within myself (such as artistic intution); all of this makes me the creator I am today.

Axiology: One value I believe everyone needs to learn is empathy. I believe that most conflicts that are going on in the world (from a personal to global scale) are caused by a lack of understanding we have for another. We tend to assume that others think just like us, forgetting that we all experience the world differently (due to factors like gender, sexuality, race, socioeconomic class, religion, etc.). But despite our differences, we all share universal moral principles: individual rights, freedom, equality, etc. Thus, I believe that we are capable of reaching shared understanding if we take the time to listen to one another. So in line with this, one behavior that I think should be cultivated in everyone is introspection. What are the beliefs underlying our actions and reactions in this world? What do these beliefs say about us? Having a greater self-awareness will help us not only understand ourselves, but also the others around us.


# Idealism

# The philosophy of Idealism

Let’s dig deeper by unpacking the 3 key questions:

  1. What is the nature of Reality (Metaphysics)?
    1. Plato is said to be the founder of Western Idealism. If you remember the article you read on Greek Education, in the latter Athenian Era, Philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle came into the picture, promoting intellectual discipline as an aim of education.
    2. This aim was grounded on the perspective that “Ideas are the only permanent reality”.
    3. One of the most commonly cited illustrations of this thinking is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Watch this short video to remind you of this allegory. As you watch, try to uncover what is meant by the quote above.
      1. Plato believed that philosophy was a kind of therapy for the soul
      2. This story was intended to compare “the effect of education and the lack of it in our nature”
      3. On the enlightned man: “Previously he had been looking merely at phantoms; now he is nearer to the true nature of being.” (a.k.a. being exposed to stars)
      4. This story serves as an allegory of the life of all enlightened people
        1. Cave dwellers: humans before philosophy
        2. Sun: light of reason
        3. Alienation of returned philosopher: what all truth tellers can expect when they try to teach people who have devoted their lives to not thinking
      5. In Plato’s eyes, we are all for much of our lives in shadow. The things we strive for tend to be phantoms (e.g. fame, success)
      6. No one chooses to be in the cave. It’s just where we happen to begin
      7. Solution: a process of widespread carefully administered philosophical education.
        1. Socratic method
      8. Confucius: “Wisdom starts with admitting ignorance”
    4. As you saw and heard about in the video, from the perspective of the Idealist, there are two worlds:
      1. The Physical World (or what is sometimes referred to as the external world) 
      2. The Spiritual World (or what is sometimes referred to as the internal world or the world of the intellect).
    5. Think about that for a moment. Does this make sense to you?What comes to mind here is the movie: The Matrix (what your generation might already call one of the classic sci-fi films). In one of the movie’s most famous scenes, Morpheus asks Neo to choose the blue pill or the red pill. Where taking one would keep him ignorant of the actual reality and the other opens his eyes to what is “really” real (like how in the allegory of the cave, one of the characters left the cave).
    6. In idealism, ==what is “really” real is the world of ideas==, and ==the material world that we encounter are mere “shadows”.==
      1. “The main tenant of idealism is that ==ideas and knowledge are the truest reality.==  Many things in the world change, but ideas and knowledge are enduring.  Idealism was often referred to as “idea-ism”. Idealists believe that ideas can change lives. The most important part of a person is the mind. It is to be nourished and developed.”
    7. This means that the aim of education for idealism is the pursuit of the internal through reasoning: that through reason one can embark on the a search for truth, beauty, and justice that is enduring and everlasting. If you find yourself grappling with this idea, then that’s great! That’s exactly what idealists would want us to do.
  2. What is the nature of Knowledge? (Epistemology)
    1. Because of this view of reality, knowledge, for the idealist, is not something to be found from the external world, but rather should be ==rediscovered internally.==
      1. “In idealism, knowing is recognition or reminiscence of latent ideas that are performed in the mind…through intuition, introspection, and insight, ==the individual looks within his or her own mind and therein finds the absolute==” (Gutek, 1997)
    2. This means that in education, the teacher’s aim is to ==help students grown into mental awareness==, recognizing that this ability is just a latent one that needs awakening.
      1. A common manifestation of this belief in teaching is the Socratic Method, that relies on uncovering truth through questions.
    3. This means that idealism in education is ultimately ==the pursuit of abstraction== - the ability to attain the highest intellect, for it is only with the use of such faculties that we can begin to “see the light”.
  3. What is the nature of Values? What is good? (Axiology)
    1. Finally, in idealism, “values are more than mere human preferences” (Gutek, 2017), they are absolute. In particular, those of ==truth, beauty and justice==:
    2. For the Idealist, ==goodness is found in the ideal, that is, in perfection.== It is found on the immaterial level, that is, in the perfect concept, or notion, or idea, of something. Thus, perfect goodness is never to be found in the material world. Evil, for the Idealist, consists of the absence or distortion of the ideal. It is a breaking of the eternal law. Since ideals can never change (because they are static and absolute), moral imperatives concerning them do not admit of exceptions. That is, these imperatives are stated in terms of “always” or “never.” For example: “Always tell the truth” or (put negatively) “Never tell a lie.” Since truth is the knowledge of ideal reality and a lie is a distortion of that reality, truth must always be told and lying can never be justified. (Barger, 2001) source:
    3. Therefore, the educated person in idealism is someone who ==upholds these absolute values.==
  4. Read more about Idealism in this article.
# Think and Share
# Prompt

To help you process what you currently understand about Idealism, we will use a visible thinking strategy called PMI, or (Plus, Minus, Interesting). Based on the what you have learned so far about idealism, post in the Discussion Board one idea that you:

# Answer
  1. I agree with the takeaways from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Now that I’m in my early 20’s, I can definitely attest to our tendency to pursue “phantoms”, a.k.a. extrinsic motivators (e.g. money, fame, success); I too have fallen prey to these rewards. Thus, I can see the value of philosophy; in order to free ourselves of these chains, we need to go deep inside ourselves.
  2. I disagree with the binary nature of moral imperatives. The world we live in isn’t so black-and-white; thus, I believe that the laws we learn aren’t always applicable to every situation. For instance, there are cases where lying can be justified (e.g. you may not out a loved one with a marginalized sexuality in the interests of protecting their safety).
  3. What I find interesting about idealism is how it values cultivating individual agency. When Dr. CJ Dubash asked “In the classroom, are you doing training or education?”, it really struck me, making me more conscious of the methods used to share knowledge. Teaches don’t always have to treat knowledge as something to transfer; instead, they can guide students in drawing out this knowledge from themselves.

# Idealism in Education

# Think and Share

In 2018, this headline was highlighted by media, spotlighting the Philippines’ Ranking in the recent PISA study, which showed that we ranked lowest in reading, math and science. How do you think the idealists would react to this? What do you think would disturb them the most about this news?