Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Philosophies of Education

Final Exam Essay 3

What are some of the major philosophies of education in the US today?
How are some of them reflected in current school practices?

There are five major teaching philosophies. They are Essentialism, Perennialism, Progressivism, social Reconstructionism and Existentialism. These five philosophies fall under two different categories. The first category being teacher centered and the second being student centered. Teacher centered philosophies are philosophies that emphasize the importance of transferring knowledge, information and from the older and wiser generation to the younger generation. The teacher center philosophies include essentialism and perennialism. Student centered philosophies are philosophies that are less authoritarian, and more focused on individual needs, contemporary relevance, and preparing students for a changing future. Philosophies in this category include progressivism, social Reconstructionism and existentialism.

There are two teacher centered philosophies. The first one is essentalism; essentalism focuses on teaching students the basics through core courses in traditional academic disciplines. This is also referred to as “back to the basics.” This idea of back to the basics is reflected through the current school practice of learning one topic after another and building upon pervious knowledge to further the students understanding of that topic. This is shown with New York State adopting the Common Core Standards.

The second teacher base philosophy is perennialism. This philosophy is the idea the schools should organize around books, ideas, concepts and critical essentials for the vast amount of factual information they require students to absorb. This can also be called the push for cultural literature. An example of this occurring currently in schools would be a school that is old fashioned and the teachers teach straight out of the book.

Furthermore, a great example of how teacher center philosophies are is still being used in school practices occurs right here at SUNY Cortland. Part of the SUNY Cortland Physical Education Curriculum is a class called Skill Acquisition. Skill acquisition is a way of teaching students by stating with the basics of skills and building on top of them. The two main components of the skill acquisition teaching philosophy is the transfer on knowledge from one lesson or unit to the next lesson or unit. The second main component is maximize facilities and maximize participation. This means that no student should be left out of an activity. Part of this philosophy is finding the most efficient way to involve all of your students.

When it comes to student center philosophies, three of the five main philosophies fall into this category. One of the philosophies is progressivism. Progressivism is the idea of a school organizing around the concerns, curiosity and real world experiences of their students.

The next philosophy that falls into the student centered category is social Reconstructionism. This is a philosophy with the belief that encourages schools, teachers, and students to focus on their studies and energies on alleviating pervasive social inquiries. In addition just like the name inquires, this philosophy wants to reconstruct society into a new and more social order.

The last philosophy that falls into this category is existentialism. Existentialism places the highest priority on students directing their own learning. The purpose of this philosophy on education is to help children find meaning and direction in their lives, and it rejects the idea that adults should/could direct meaningful learning for children. A specific example of this could be students attending college. We college students have chosen to further our education by attending college. Not only are we attending college but we chose what college we want to attend. We chose our own career path, we are studying something that interests us and is meaningful to us. Furthermore as a physical education major I might be following a specific curriculum but I am learning different styles of teaching and different ideas and philosophies of teaching, and now that I have the knowledge of all of this I can chose which style or styles that I would like to use while teaching, and what philosophy of education I want to follow.

All three of these student centered philosophies are seen currently in schools through the practice multicultural education. Multicultural education has four main components; the first component is expanding the curriculum to reflect the diversity that is so common in The United States. The Second main point of multicultural education is having teachers use teaching strategies that are responsive to the different learning styles. The third is supporting the multicultural competence of teachers so they are comfortable working with students and families from different cultures. Last but not least is the strategy of committing to social justice. This is promoting the efforts to work and teach towards gaining local and global equality. Each level builds upon the level before it. As the number of the level increases the level of involvement in inclusion also increases.

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