Philosophy of Education

Four Philosophies and Their Application to Education

 

Perennialism Progressivism Essentialism Existentialism
Metaphysics

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.
Axiology

Values, Ethics,Aesthetics

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.
Epistemology

 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.
Logic

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.
 

The Child

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.

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