Four Philosophies and Their Application to Education
What is real? Does it have meaning?
|Life has meaning in the context of the collective wisdom of Western culture.||Meaning is in the context of the individual, who is a “problem solver.”||What is relevant is what helps an individual live well and benefits humanity.||“Existence before Essence.” Reality is always in terms of our relationship to existence—no meaning outside ourselves.|
|Changeless. Determined by culture.||Determined by each individual in interaction with his or her culture.||Determined by the natural order of things. Values exist in the best of culture.||Determined by the individual. Stresses values clarification.|
Knowledge & knowing— what is truth?
|Truth is changeless, revealed in classics of Western culture.||Must be known in the context of individual experience:
Nature is ever-changing—a flux. Learn how to learn.
|Truth exists in the classics and modern science. Student must learn process and content.||No eternal truths. We are free to make our own meaning.|
How we think Deductive and inductive
|Rationality is developed by studying classics.||Emphasis is on inductive thinking and problem solving.||Western culture learned through hard work and regular exposure to essential knowledge.||The only real answers come from within.|
|The Teacher||Passes on to next generation the accumulated wisdom of the past.||Develops problem solving abilities. School is a small democracy. Helps children do what they want to do.||Teaches essential knowledge. School is where children come to learn what they need to know. Task-oriented.||Helps the child confront his or her freedom. Stresses freedom and the responsibility to choose.|
|Is there to learn what is taught.||Is naturally good. Learns by doing, by discovering.||Is there to listen and learn.||Is alone and must make own meaning.|