7 Philosophies of Education
The original meaning of the word philosophy comes from the Greek roots philo- meaning “love” and -sophos, or “wisdom.”
-the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.
The term education has been derived from the Latin word ‘educare’. The term ‘educare’ means ‘to bring up’, ‘to rise’, and ‘to nourish’.
-Is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research.
What is a philosophy of education, and why should it be important to you?
• Behind every school and every teacher is a set of related beliefs–a philosophy of education–that influences what and how
students are taught. A philosophy of education represents answers to questions about the purpose of schooling, a teacher’s
role, and what should be taught and by what methods.
· Why Teach – this philosophy contends that teachers teach for learners to acquire basic knowledge, skills and values. Teachers teach “not
to radically reshape society but rather to transmit the traditional moral values and intellectual knowledge that students need to become
· What to Teach? – Essentialist program are academically rigorous. The emphasis is on academic content for student to learn the basic skill or the fundamental r’s – reading, riting, rithmetic, right conduct – as these are essential to the acquisition of higher or morecomplex skills needed in preparation for adult life. The essentialist curriculum includes the “traditional disciplines such as math, natural science, history, foreign language, and literature. Essentialist frown upon vocational courses. Or other courses with watered down academic content. The teachers and administrator decide what is most important for the student to learn and place little emphasis on student interests, particularly when they divert time and attention from the academic curriculum.”
· How to Teach – Essentialist teachers emphasize mastery of subject matter. They are expected to be intellectual and moral models of their students. They are seen as “fountain” of information and as ‘Paragon of virtue”, if ever there is such a person, to gain mastery of basic skills, teachers have to observe “core requirements, longer school day, a longer academic year”
· Why Teach – progressivist teachers teach to develop learners into becoming enlightened and intelligent citizens of a democratic society.
This group of teachers teaches learners so they may live life fully NOW not to prepare them for adult life.
·What to teach – the progressivists are identified with need – based and relevant curriculum. This is a curriculum that “responds to students” needs and that relates to students’ personal lives and experiences.” Progressivists accept the impermanence of life and inevitability of change. For the progressivists , everything else changes. Change is the only thing that does not change. Hence, progressivists teachers are more concerned with teaching facts or bits of information that are true today but become obsolete tomorrow, they would rather focus their teaching on the teaching of skills or processes in gathering and evaluating information and in problem – solving. The subjects that are given emphasis in progressivists schools are the “natural and Social
sciences. Teachers expose students to many new scientific, technological, and social development, reflecting the progressivists otion that progress and change are fundamental.
·Why Teach – We are all rational animals. Schools should, therefore, develop the students’ rational and moral powers. According to
Aristotle, if we neglect the students’ reasoning skills, we deprive them of the ability to use their higher faculties to control their passions
·What to Teach – the Perennialist curriculum is a universal one on the view that all human beings possess the same essential nature. It is heavy on the humanities, on general education. It is not a specialist curriculum but rather a general one. There is less emphasis on vocational and technical education. Philosopher Mortimer Adler claims that the “Great Books of ancient and medieval as well as modern
times are a repository of knowledge and wisdom, a tradition of culture which must initiate each generation”. What the Perennialist
teachers teach are lifted from the Great Books.
·How to Teach – the Perennialist classroom are “centered around Teacher”. The teachers do not allow the students’ interest or experiences
to substantially dictate what they teach. They apply whatever creative techniques and other tried and true methods which are believed to
be most conducive to disciplining the students’ minds. Students engaged in Socratic dialogues, or mutual inquiry sessions to develop an
understanding of history’s most timeless concepts.”
· Why Teach – the main concern of the existentialists is “to help students understand and appreciate themselves as unique individuals who
accept complete responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions” Since existence precedes essence “ the existentialist teacher’s role
is to help students define their own essence by exposing them to various paths they take in life and by creating an environment in which
they freely choose their own preferred way. Since feeling is not divorced from reason in decision making, the existentialist demands the
education of the whole person, not just the mind.”
· What to Teach – “In an existentialist curriculum, students are given a wide variety of options from which to choose.” Students are
afforded great latitude in their choice of subject matter. The humanities, however are given tremendous emphasis to “provide students
with vicarious experiences that will help unleash their own creativity and self-expression. For example, rather than emphasizing historical events, existentialist focus upon the actions of historical individuals, each of whom provide possible models for the students’ own
·How to Teach – existentialist methods focus on the individual. Learning is self-paced, self-directed. It includes a great deal of individual
contact with the teacher, who relates to each student openly and honestly. To help students known themselves and their place in society,
teachers employ values clarification strategy. In the use of such strategy, teachers remain non-judgmental and take care not to impose
their values on their students since values are persona.
·Why Teach – Behaviorist school are concerned with the modification and shaping of students’ behaviour by providing for a favourable
environment, since they believe that they are a product of their environment. They are after students’ who exhibit desirable behaviour in
·What to Teach – Because behaviorists look at “people and other animals… as complex combinations of matter that act only in response to
internally or externally generated physical stimuli”, behaviorist teachers teach students to respond favorably to various stimuli in the
·How to Teach – behaviorists teachers “ought to arrange environmental conditions so that students can make the responses to stimuli.
Physical variables like light, temperature, arrangement of furniture, size and quantity of visual aids have to be controlled to get the
desired responses from the learners. Teachers ought to make the stimuli clear and interesting to capture and hold the learners’ attention.
They ought to provide appropriate incentives to reinforce positive responses and weaken or eliminate negatives ones.” (Trespeces, 1995)
·Why Teach – to develop the communication skills of the learner because the ability to articulate, to voice out the meaning and values of
things that one obtains from his/her experiences of life and the world is the very essence of man. It is through his/her ability to express
himself/herself clearly, to get his/her ideas across, to make known to others the values that he/she has imbibed, the beauty that he/she
has seen, the ugliness that he rejects and the truth that he/she has discovered. Teachers in the learner the skill to send messages clearly
and receive messages correctly.
·What to Teach – Learners should be taught to communicate clearly – how to send clear – concise messages and how to receive and
correctly understand messages sent. Communication takes place in three (3) ways – verbal nonverbal, and para- verbal. Verbal component
refers to the content of our message, the choice and arrangement of our words. This can be oral or written. Nonverbal component refers to
the message we send through our body languages while para-verbal component refers to how we say what we say – the tone, pacing and
volume of our voices.
There is need to teach learners to use language that is correct, precise, grammatical, coherent, accurate so that they are able to
communicate clearly and precisely their thoughts and feelings. There is need to help students expand their vocabularies to enhance their
communication skills. There is need to teach the learners how to communicate clearly through non-verbal means and consistently though
·How to Teach – the most effective way to teach language and communication is the experiential way. Make them experience sending and
receiving messages through verbal, non-verbal and paraverbal manner. Teacher should make the classroom a place for the interplay of
minds and hearts. The teacher facilities dialogue among learners and between him/her and his/her students because in the exchange of
words there is also an exchange of ideas.
·Why Teach – to develop intrinsically motivated and independent learners adequately equipped with learning skills for them to be able to
construct knowledge and make meaning of them.
·What to Teach – the learners are taught how to learn. They are taught learning processes and skill such as searching, critiquing and
evaluating information, relating these pieces of information, reflecting on the same, making meaning out of them, drawing insights,
posing questions, researching and constructing new knowledge out of these bits of information learned.
·How to Teach – in the constructivist classroom, the teacher provides students with data or experiences that allow them to hypothesize,
predict, manipulate objects, pose questions, research, investigate, imagine, and invent. The constructivist classroom is interactive. It
promotes dialogical exchange of ideas among learners and between teachers and learners. The teacher’s role is to facilitate this process.