Philosophy of education

Philosophy of education

Overview
Philosophy of education can refer to either the academic field of applied philosophy or to one of any educational philosophies that promote a specific type or vision of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, and/or which examine the definition, goals and meaning of education.

As an academic field, philosophy of education is "the philosophical study of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and its problems...its central subject matter is education, and its methods are those of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

".
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Philosophy of education'
Start a new discussion about 'Philosophy of education'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Philosophy of education can refer to either the academic field of applied philosophy or to one of any educational philosophies that promote a specific type or vision of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, and/or which examine the definition, goals and meaning of education.

As an academic field, philosophy of education is "the philosophical study of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and its problems...its central subject matter is education, and its methods are those of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

". "The philosophy of education may be either the philosophy of the process of education or the philosophy of the discipline of education. That is, it may be part of the discipline in the sense of being concerned with the aims, forms, methods, or results of the process of educating or being educated; or it may be metadisciplinary in the sense of being concerned with the concepts, aims, and methods of the discipline." As such, it is both part of the field of education and a field of applied philosophy, drawing from fields of metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

, epistemology, axiology
Axiology
Axiology is the philosophical study of value. It is either the collective term for ethics and aesthetics—philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of value—or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics...

  and the philosophical approaches (speculative, prescriptive, and/or analytic
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

) to address questions in and about pedagogy
Pedagogy
Pedagogy is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction....

, education policy
Education policy
Education policy refers to the collection of laws and rules that govern the operation of education systems.Education occurs in many forms for many purposes through many institutions. Examples include early childhood education, kindergarten through to 12th grade, two and four year colleges or...

, and curriculum
Curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

, as well as the process of learning
Learning theory (education)
In psychology and education, learning is commonly defined as a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one's knowledge, skills, values, and world views . Learning as a process focuses on what...

, to name a few. For example, it might study what constitutes upbringing and education, the values and norms revealed through upbringing and educational practices, the limits and legitimization of education as an academic discipline, and the relation between educational theory and practice.

Instead of being taught in philosophy departments, philosophy of education is usually housed in departments or colleges of education, similar to how philosophy of law is generally taught in law schools. The multiple ways of conceiving education coupled with the multiple fields and approaches of philosophy make philosophy of education not only a very diverse field but also one that is not easily defined. Although there is overlap, philosophy of education should not be conflated with educational theory
Education theory
Educational theory can refer to either speculative educational thought in general or to a theory of education as something that guides, explains, or describes educational practice....

, which is not defined specifically by the application of philosophy to questions in education. Philosophy of education also should not be confused with philosophy education
Philosophy education
Philosophy education is the practice of teaching and learning philosophy as well as the research about it. It is not philosophy of education.- Philosophy education around the world :...

, the practice of teaching and learning the subject of philosophy.

An educational philosophy is a normative
Normative
Normative has specialized contextual meanings in several academic disciplines. Generically, it means relating to an ideal standard or model. In practice, it has strong connotations of relating to a typical standard or model ....

 theory of education that unifies pedagogy
Pedagogy
Pedagogy is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction....

, curriculum
Curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

, learning theory, and the purpose of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and is grounded in specific metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological assumptions.

Plato


Date: 424/423 BC - 348/347 BC

Plato's educational philosophy was grounded in his vision of the ideal Republic
Republic (Plato)
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man...

, wherein the individual
Individual
An individual is a person or any specific object or thing in a collection. Individuality is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs, goals, and desires. Being self expressive...

 was best served by being subordinated to a just society. He advocated removing children from their mothers' care and raising them as wards of the state, with great care being taken to differentiate children suitable to the various castes, the highest receiving the most education, so that they could act as guardians of the city and care for the less able. Education would be holistic, including facts, skills, physical discipline, and music and art, which he considered the highest form of endeavor.

Plato believed that talent was distributed non-genetically and thus must be found in children born in any social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

. He builds on this by insisting that those suitably gifted are to be trained by the state so that they may be qualified to assume the role of a ruling class
Ruling class
The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy - assuming there is one such particular class in the given society....

. What this establishes is essentially a system of selective public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 premised on the assumption that an educated minority of the population are, by virtue of their education (and inborn educability), sufficient for healthy governance.

Plato's writings contain some of the following ideas:
Elementary education would be confined to the guardian class till the age of 18, followed by two years of compulsory military training and then by higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 for those who qualified. While elementary education made the soul responsive to the environment, higher education helped the soul to search for truth which illuminated it. Both boys and girls got the same kind of education. Elementary education consisted of music and gymnastics, designed to train and blend gentle and fierce qualities in the individual and create a harmonious person.

At the age of 20, a selection was made. The best one would take an advanced course in mathematics, geometry, astronomy and harmonics. The first course in the scheme of higher education would last for ten years. It would be for those who had a flair for science. At the age of 30 there would be another selection; those who qualified would study dialectics and metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

, logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 for the next five years. They would study the idea of good and first principles of being. After accepting junior positions in the army for 15 years, a man would have completed his theoretical and practical education by the age of 50.

Immanuel Kant



Date: 1724 – 1804

Immanuel Kant believed that education differs from training in that the latter involves thinking whereas the former does not. In addition to educating reason, of central importance to him was the development of character and teaching of moral maxims. Kant was a proponent of public education and of learning by doing.

Aristotle


Date: 384 BC - 322 BC

Only fragments of Aristotle's treatise On Education are still in existence. We thus know of his philosophy of education primarily through brief passages in other works. Aristotle considered human nature, habit
Habit (psychology)
Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks...

 and reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 to be equally important forces to be cultivated in education. Thus, for example, he considered repetition to be a key tool to develop good habits. The teacher was to lead the student systematically; this differs, for example, from Socrates' emphasis on questioning his listeners to bring out their own ideas (though the comparison is perhaps incongruous since Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 was dealing with adults).

Aristotle placed great emphasis on balancing the theoretical and practical aspects of subjects taught. Subjects he explicitly mentions as being important included reading, writing and mathematics; music; physical education; literature and history; and a wide range of sciences. He also mentioned the importance of play.

One of education's primary missions for Aristotle, perhaps its most important, was to produce good and virtuous citizens for the polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

. All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

s depends on the education of youth.

Avicenna


Date: 980 AD - 1037 AD

In the medieval Islamic world
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

, an elementary school
School
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

 was known as a maktab
Maktab
Maktab , also called kuttab , is an Arabic word meaning elementary schools...

, which dates back to at least the 10th century. Like madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

s (which referred to higher education), a maktab was often attached to a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

. In the 11th century, Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in the West), wrote a chapter dealing with the maktab entitled "The Role of the Teacher in the Training and Upbringing of Children", as a guide to teachers working at maktab schools. He wrote that children can learn better if taught in class
Class (education)
A class in education has a variety of related meanings.It can be the group of students which attends a specific course or lesson at a university, school or other educational institution, see Form ....

es instead of individual tuition
Tuition
Tuition payments, known primarily as tuition in American English and as tuition fees in British English, Canadian English, Australian English, New Zealand English and Indian English, refers to a fee charged for educational instruction during higher education.Tuition payments are charged by...

 from private tutor
Tutor
A tutor is a person employed in the education of others, either individually or in groups. To tutor is to perform the functions of a tutor.-Teaching assistance:...

s, and he gave a number of reasons for why this is the case, citing the value of competition
Competition
Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For...

 and emulation
Emulation (observational learning)
-General:In emulation learning, subjects learn about parts of their environment and use this to achieve their own goals. First coined by child psychologist David Wood , in 1990 “emulation” was taken up by Michael Tomasello to explain the findings of an earlier study on ape social learning...

 among pupils as well as the usefulness of group discussions and debate
Debate
Debate or debating is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion...

s. Ibn Sina described the curriculum
Curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

 of a maktab school in some detail, describing the curricula for two stages of education in a maktab school.

Ibn Sina wrote that children should be sent to a maktab school from the age of 6 and be taught primary education
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

 until they reach the age of 14. During which time, he wrote that they should be taught the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, Islamic metaphysics, language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, literature
Islamic literature
Islamic literature is literature written with an Islamic perspective, in any language.The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade...

, Islamic ethics
Islamic ethics
Islamic ethics , defined as "good character," historically took shape gradually from the 7th century and was finally established by the 11th century...

, and manual skills (which could refer to a variety of practical skills).

Ibn Sina refers to the secondary education
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 stage of maktab schooling as the period of specialization, when pupils should begin to acquire manual skills, regardless of their social status. He writes that children after the age of 14 should be given a choice to choose and specialize in subjects they have an interest in, whether it was reading, manual skills, literature, preaching, medicine
Islamic medicine
In the history of medicine, Islamic medicine, Arabic medicine or Arabian medicine refers to medicine developed in the Islamic Golden Age, and written in Arabic, the lingua franca of Islamic civilization....

, geometry
Islamic mathematics
In the history of mathematics, mathematics in medieval Islam, often termed Islamic mathematics or Arabic mathematics, covers the body of mathematics preserved and developed under the Islamic civilization between circa 622 and 1600...

, trade and commerce
Islamic economics in the world
Islamic economics in practice, or economic policies supported by self-identified Islamic groups, has varied throughout its long history. Traditional Islamic concepts having to do with economics included...

, craftsmanship, or any other subject or profession they would be interested in pursuing for a future career
Career
Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person's "course or progress through life ". It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work ....

. He wrote that this was a transitional stage and that there needs to be flexibility regarding the age in which pupils graduate, as the student's emotional development and chosen subjects need to be taken into account.

The empiricist
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 theory of 'tabula rasa
Tabula rasa
Tabula rasa is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favour the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects...

' was also developed by Ibn Sina. He argued that the "human intellect
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

 at birth is rather like a tabula rasa, a pure potentiality that is actualized through education and comes to know" and that knowledge is attained through "empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 familiarity with objects in this world from which one abstracts universal concepts" which is developed through a "syllogistic
Syllogism
A syllogism is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition is inferred from two or more others of a certain form...

 method of reasoning; observations lead to prepositional statements, which when compounded lead to further abstract concepts." He further argued that the intellect itself "possesses levels of development from the material intellect (al-‘aql al-hayulani), that potentiality that can acquire knowledge to the active intellect (al-‘aql al-fa‘il), the state of the human intellect in conjunction with the perfect source of knowledge."

Ibn Tufail



Date: c. 1105 - 1185

In the 12th century, the Andalusian
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

-Arabian philosopher
Early Islamic philosophy
Early Islamic philosophy or classical Islamic philosophy is a period of intense philosophical development beginning in the 2nd century AH of the Islamic calendar and lasting until the 6th century AH...

 and novelist Ibn Tufail (known as "Abubacer" or "Ebn Tophail" in the West) demonstrated the empiricist
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 theory of 'tabula rasa
Tabula rasa
Tabula rasa is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favour the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects...

' as a thought experiment
Thought experiment
A thought experiment or Gedankenexperiment considers some hypothesis, theory, or principle for the purpose of thinking through its consequences...

 through his Arabic philosophical novel
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

, Hayy ibn Yaqzan, in which he depicted the development of the mind of a feral child
Feral child
A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language...

 "from a tabula rasa to that of an adult, in complete isolation from society" on a desert island
Desert island
A desert island or uninhabited island is an island that has yet to be populated by humans. Uninhabited islands are often used in movies or stories about shipwrecked people, and are also used as stereotypes for the idea of "paradise". Some uninhabited islands are protected as nature reserves and...

, through experience
Experience
Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event....

 alone. The Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 translation of his philosophical novel
Philosophical novel
Philosophical fiction refers to works of fiction in which a significant proportion of the work is devoted to a discussion of the sort of questions normally addressed in discursive philosophy. These might include the function and role of society, the purpose of life, ethics or morals, the role of...

, Philosophus Autodidactus, published by Edward Pococke
Edward Pococke
Edward Pococke was an English Orientalist and biblical scholar.-Early life:He was the son of clergyman from Chieveley in Berkshire, and was educated at Lord Williams's School of Thame in Oxfordshire and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford...

 the Younger in 1671, had an influence on John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

's formulation of tabula rasa in "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
First appearing in 1690 with the printed title An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke concerns the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. He describes the mind at birth as a blank slate filled later through experience...

".

John Locke


Date: 1632-1704

Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education
Some Thoughts Concerning Education
Some Thoughts Concerning Education is a 1693 treatise on the education of gentlemen written by the English philosopher John Locke. For over a century, it was the most important philosophical work on education in England...

is an outline on how to educate this mind: he expresses the belief that education maketh the man, or, more fundamentally, that the mind is an "empty cabinet", with the statement, "I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education."

Locke also wrote that "the little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences." He argued that the "associations of ideas
Association of Ideas
Association of Ideas, or Mental association, is a term used principally in the history of philosophy and of psychology to refer to explanations about the conditions under which representations arise in consciousness, and also for a principle put forward by an important historical school of thinkers...

" that one makes when young are more important than those made later because they are the foundation of the self: they are, put differently, what first mark the tabula rasa. In his Essay, in which is introduced both of these concepts, Locke warns against, for example, letting "a foolish maid" convince a child that "goblins and sprites" are associated with the night for "darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more bear the one than the other."

"Associationism", as this theory would come to be called, exerted a powerful influence over eighteenth-century thought, particularly educational theory
Education theory
Educational theory can refer to either speculative educational thought in general or to a theory of education as something that guides, explains, or describes educational practice....

, as nearly every educational writer warned parents not to allow their children to develop negative associations. It also led to the development of psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 and other new disciplines with David Hartley
David Hartley (philosopher)
David Hartley was an English philosopher and founder of the Associationist school of psychology. -Early life and education:...

's attempt to discover a biological mechanism for associationism in his Observations on Man
Observations on Man
Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations is 18th-century British philosopher David Hartley's major work. Published in two parts in 1749 by Samuel Richardson, it puts forth Hartley's principal theories: the doctrine of vibrations and the doctrine of associations...

(1749
1749 in literature
The year 1749 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-New books:* Joseph Ames - Typographical Antiquities* George Berkeley - A Word to the Wise* John Brown - On Liberty...

).

Jean-Jacques Rousseau




Date: 1712-1778

Rousseau, though he paid his respects to Plato's philosophy, rejected it as impractical due to the decayed state of society. Rousseau also had a different theory of human development; where Plato held that people are born with skills appropriate to different castes (though he did not regard these skills as being inherited), Rousseau held that there was one developmental process common to all humans. This was an intrinsic, natural process, of which the primary behavioral manifestation was curiosity. This differed from Locke's 'tabula rasa
Tabula rasa
Tabula rasa is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favour the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects...

' in that it was an active process deriving from the child's nature, which drove the child to learn and adapt to its surroundings.

Rousseau wrote in his book Emile
Emile: Or, On Education
Émile, or On Education is a treatise on the nature of education and on the nature of man written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who considered it to be the “best and most important of all my writings”. Due to a section of the book entitled “Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar,” Émile was be...

that all children are perfectly designed organisms, ready to learn from their surroundings so as to grow into virtuous adults, but due to the malign influence of corrupt society, they often fail to do so. Rousseau advocated an educational method which consisted of removing the child from society—for example, to a country home—and alternately conditioning him through changes to environment and setting traps and puzzles for him to solve or overcome.

Rousseau was unusual in that he recognized and addressed the potential of a problem of legitimation for teaching. He advocated that adults always be truthful with children, and in particular that they never hide the fact that the basis for their authority in teaching was purely one of physical coercion: "I'm bigger than you." Once children reached the age of reason, at about 12, they would be engaged as free individuals in the ongoing process of their own.

He once said that a child should grow up without adult interference and that the child must be guided to suffer from the experience of the natural consequences of his own acts or behaviour. When he experiences the consequences of his own acts, he advises himself.

Mortimer Jerome Adler



Date: 1902-2001

Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American philosopher, educator, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristotelian
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

 and Thomistic traditions. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, San Francisco, and San Mateo, California
San Mateo, California
San Mateo is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of approximately 100,000 , it is one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula, located between Burlingame to the north, Foster City to the east, Belmont to the south,...

. He worked for Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research. Adler was married twice and had four children. Adler was a proponent of educational perennialism
Educational perennialism
Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that one deems to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of fact change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach...

.

Harry S. Broudy



Date: 1905-1998

Broudy's philosophical views were based on the tradition of classical realism, dealing with truth, goodness, and beauty. However he was also influenced by the modern philosophy existentialism and instrumentalism. In his textbook Building a Philosophy of Education he has two major ideas that are the main points to his philosophical outlook: The first is truth and the second is universal structures to be found in humanity's struggle for education and the good life. Broudy also studied issues on society's demands on school. He thought education would be a link to unify the diverse society and urged the society to put more trust and a commitment to the schools and a good education.

Thomas Aquinas




Date: c. 1225 - 1274

See Religious perennialism

John Milton


Date: 1608-1674

The objective of medieval education was an overtly religious one, primarily concerned with uncovering transcendental truths that would lead a person back to God through a life of moral and religious choice (Kreeft 15). The vehicle by which these truths were uncovered was dialectic:

To the medieval mind, debate was a fine art, a serious science, and a fascinating entertainment, much more than it is to the modern mind, because the medievals believed, like Socrates, that dialectic could uncover truth. Thus a ‘scholastic disputation’ was not a personal contest in cleverness, nor was it ‘sharing opinions’; it was a shared journey of discovery (Kreeft 14-15).

John Dewey



Date: 1859-1952

In Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education
Democracy and Education
Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education is a book written in 1916 by John Dewey. .Dewey's philosophical anthropology, unlike Egan, Vico, Ernst Cassirer, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Nietzsche, does not account for the origin of thought of the modern mind in the...

, Dewey stated that in its broadest sense education is the means of the "social continuity of life" given the "primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of each one of the constituent members in a social group". Education is therefore a necessity, for "the life of the group goes on."Dewey was a proponent of Educational Progressivism
Educational progressivism
Progressive education is a pedagogical movement that began in the late nineteenth century and has persisted in various forms to the present. More recently, it has been viewed as an alternative to the test-oriented instruction legislated by the No Child Left Behind educational funding act...

 and was a relentless campaigner for reform of education, pointing out that the authoritarian, strict, pre-ordained knowledge approach of modern traditional education was too concerned with delivering knowledge, and not enough with understanding students' actual experiences.

William Heard Kilpatrick



Date: 1871-1965

William Heard Kilpatrick was a US American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 philosopher of education and a colleague and a successor of John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

. He was a major figure in the progressive education movement of the early 20th century. Kilpatrick developed the Project Method
Project method
The project method is a medium of instruction which was introduced during the 18th century into the schools of architecture and engineering in Europe when graduating students had to apply the skills and knowledge they had learned in the course of their studies to problems they had to solve as...

 for early childhood education, which was a form of Progressive Education organized curriculum and classroom activities around a subject's central theme. He believed that the role of a teacher should be that of a "guide" as opposed to an authoritarian figure. Kilpatrick believed that children should direct their own learning according to their interests and should be allowed to explore their environment, experiencing their learning through the natural senses. Proponents of Progressive Education and the Project Method reject traditional schooling that focuses on memorization, rote learning, strictly organized classrooms (desks in rows; students always seated), and typical forms of assessment.

Nel Noddings



Date: 1929–

Noddings' first sole-authored book Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education (1984) followed close on the 1982 publication of Carol Gilligan
Carol Gilligan
Carol Gilligan is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work with and against Lawrence Kohlberg on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics. She is currently a Professor at New York University and a Visiting Professor...

’s ground-breaking work in the ethics of care In a Different Voice
In a Different Voice
In a Different Voice is a 1982 text on gender studies by American professor Carol Gilligan.Harvard University Press has described this text as “the little book that started a revolution.” In this text, she criticized Kohlberg's stages of moral development of children which argued that girls on...

. While her work on ethics continued, with the publication of Women and Evil (1989) and later works on moral education, most of her later publications have been on the philosophy of education and educational theory. Her most significant works in these areas have been Educating for Intelligent Belief or Unbelief (1993) and Philosophy of Education (1995).

Paulo Freire


Date: 1921-1997

A Brazilian committed to the cause of educating the impoverished peasants of his nation and collaborating
Collaboration
Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, — for example, an intriguing endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing...

 with them in the pursuit of their liberation from what he regarded as "oppression," Freire is best-known for his attack on what he called the "banking concept of education," in which the student was viewed as an empty account to be filled by the teacher. Freire also suggests that a deep reciprocity be inserted into our notions of teacher and student; he comes close to suggesting that the teacher-student dichotomy be completely abolished, instead promoting the roles of the participants in the classroom as the teacher-student (a teacher who learns) and the student-teacher (a learner who teaches). In its early, strong form this kind of classroom has sometimes been criticized on the grounds that it can mask rather than overcome the teacher's authority.

Aspects of the Freirian philosophy have been highly influential in academic debates over "participatory development" and development more generally. Freire's emphasis on what he describes as "emancipation" through interactive participation has been used as a rationale for the participatory focus of development, as it is held that 'participation' in any form can lead to empowerment of poor or marginalised groups. Freire was a proponent of critical pedagogy
Critical pedagogy
Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education described by Henry Giroux as an "educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive...

.

Martin Heidegger



Date:1889-1976

Heidegger's philosophizing about education was primarily related to higher education. He believed that teaching and research in the university should be unified and aim towards testing and interrogating the "ontological assumptions presuppositions which implicitly guide research in each domain of knowledge."

Normative Educational Philosophies


"Normative philosophies or theories of education may make use of the results of [philosophical thought] and of factual inquiries about human beings and the psychology of learning, but in any case they propound views about what education should be, what dispositions it should cultivate, why it ought to cultivate them, how and in whom it should do so, and what forms it should take. In a full-fledged philosophical normative theory of education, besides analysis of the sorts described, there will normally be propositions of the following kinds:
1. Basic normative premises about what is good or right;
2. Basic factual premises about humanity and the world;
3. Conclusions, based on these two kinds of premises, about the dispositions education should foster;
4. Further factual premises about such things as the psychology of learning and methods of teaching; and
5. Further conclusions about such things as the methods that education should use."

Perennialism


Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that one deems to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of fact change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach principles, not facts. Since people are human, one should teach first about humans, not machines or techniques. Since people are people first, and workers second if at all, one should teach liberal topics first, not vocational topics. The focus is primarily on teaching reasoning and wisdom rather than facts, the liberal arts rather than vocational training.

Allan Bloom


Date: 1930-1992

Bloom, a professor of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, argued for a traditional Great Books
Great Books
Great Books refers primarily to a group of books that tradition, and various institutions and authorities, have regarded as constituting or best expressing the foundations of Western culture ; derivatively the term also refers to a curriculum or method of education based around a list of such books...

-based liberal education
Liberal education
A Liberal education is a system or course of education suitable for the cultivation of a free human being. It is based on the medieval concept of the liberal arts or, more commonly now, the liberalism of the Age of Enlightenment...

 in his lengthy essay The Closing of the American Mind
The Closing of the American Mind
The Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom , describes "how higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today's students." He focuses especially upon the "openness" of relativism as leading paradoxically to the great "closing" referenced in the book's title...

.

Progressivism


Educational progressivism is the belief that education must be based on the principle that humans are social animals who learn best in real-life activities with other people. Progressivists
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

, like proponents of most educational theories, claim to rely on the best available scientific theories of learning. Most progressive educators believe that children learn as if they were scientists, following a process similar to John Dewey's model of learning: 1) Become aware of the problem. 2) Define the problem. 3) Propose hypotheses to solve it. 4) Evaluate the consequences of the hypotheses from one's past experience. 5) Test the likeliest solution.

Jean Piaget



Date: 1896-1980

Jean Piaget was a Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 developmental psychologist known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development
Theory of cognitive development
Piaget's theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence first developed by Jean Piaget. It is primarily known as a developmental stage theory, but in fact, it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans come gradually to...

 and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology
Genetic epistemology
Genetic epistemology is a study of the origins of knowledge . The discipline was established by Jean Piaget.The goal of genetic epistemology is to link the validity of knowledge to the model of its construction. In other words, it shows that the method in which the knowledge was obtained/created...

". Piaget placed great importance on the education of children. As the Director of the International Bureau of Education, he declared in 1934 that "only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual." Piaget created the International Centre for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 in 1955 and directed it until 1980. According to Ernst von Glasersfeld
Ernst von Glasersfeld
Ernst von Glasersfeld was a philosopher, and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia, Research Associate at the Scientific Reasoning Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst...

, Jean Piaget is "the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing
Constructivism (learning theory)
Constructivism is a theory of knowledge that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas. During infancy, it was an interaction between human experiences and their reflexes or behavior-patterns. Piaget called these systems of...

."

Jean Piaget defined himself as an epistemologist, interested in the process of the qualitative development of knowledge. As he says in the introduction of his book "Genetic Epistemology" (ISBN 978-0-393-00596-7): "What the genetic epistemology proposes is discovering the roots of the different varieties of knowledge, since its elementary forms, following to the next levels, including also the scientific knowledge."

Jerome Bruner



Date: 1915-

Another important contributor to the inquiry method in education is Bruner. His books The Process of Education and Toward a Theory of Instruction are landmarks in conceptualizing learning and curriculum development. He argued that any subject can be taught in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development. This notion was an underpinning for his concept of the spiral curriculum which posited the idea that a curriculum should revisit basic ideas, building on them until the student had grasped the full formal concept. He emphasized intuition as a neglected but essential feature of productive thinking. He felt that interest in the material being learned was the best stimulus for learning rather than external motivation such as grades. Bruner developed the concept of discovery learning
Discovery learning
Discovery Learning is a method of inquiry-based instruction and is considered a constructivist based approach to education. It is supported by the work of learning theorists and psychologists Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, and Seymour Papert...

 which promoted learning as a process of constructing new ideas based on current or past knowledge. Students are encouraged to discover facts and relationships and continually build on what they already know.

Essentialism


Educational essentialism is an educational philosophy whose adherents believe that children should learn the traditional basic subjects and that these should be learned thoroughly and rigorously. An essentialist program normally teaches children progressively, from less complex skills to more complex.

William Chandler Bagley



Date: 1874-1946

William Chandler Bagley taught in elementary schools before becoming a professor of education at the University of Illinois, where he served as the Director of the School of Education from 1908 until 1917. He was a professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia, from 1917 to 1940. An opponent of pragmatism and progressive education, Bagley insisted on the value of knowledge for its own sake, not merely as an instrument, and he criticized his colleagues for their failure to emphasize systematic study of academic subjects. Bagley was a proponent of educational essentialism
Educational essentialism
Educational essentialism is an educational philosophy whose adherents believe that children should learn the traditional basic subjects thoroughly and rigorously. In this philosophical school of thought, the aim is to instill students with the "essentials" of academic knowledge, enacting a...

.

Social Reconstructionism and Critical Pedagogy


Critical pedagogy is an "educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action." Based in Marxist theory, critical pedagogy draws on radical democracy
Radical democracy
Radical democracy as an ideology was articulated by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in their book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, written in 1985. They argue that social movements which attempt to create social and political change need a strategy which...

, anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, feminism
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

, and other movements for social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

.

Montessori


The Montessori method is an approach to educating children based on the research and experiences of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name...

 (1870–1952). It arose essentially from Dr. Montessori's discovery of what she referred to as "the child's true normal nature" in 1907, which happened in the process of her experimental observation of young children given freedom in an environment prepared with materials designed for their self-directed learning activity. The method itself aims to duplicate this experimental observation of children to bring about, sustain and support their true natural way of being.

Maria Montessori




Date: 1870-1952

Maria Montessori was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 physician, educator, philosopher, humanitarian and devout Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

; she is best known for her philosophy and the Montessori method of education
Montessori method
Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 20,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old.-Overview:...

 of children from birth to adolescence. Her educational method is in use today in a number of public as well as private schools throughout the world.

Waldorf


Waldorf education (also known as Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf education) is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based upon the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy
Anthroposophy
Anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development...

. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The educational philosophy's overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny, the existence of which anthroposophy posits. Schools and teachers are given considerable freedom to define curricula within collegial structures.

Rudolf Steiner



Date: 1861-1925

Steiner founded a holistic educational impulse on the basis of his spiritual philosophy (anthroposophy
Anthroposophy
Anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development...

). Now known as Steiner or Waldorf education, his pedagogy emphasizes a balanced development of cognitive, affective/artistic, and practical skills (head, heart, and hands). Schools are normally self-administered by faculty; emphasis is placed upon giving individual teachers the freedom to develop creative methods.

Steiner's theory of child development divides education into three discrete developmental stages predating but with close similarities to the stages of development described by Piaget
Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology"....

. Early childhood education occurs through imitation; teachers provide practical activities and a healthy environment. Steiner believed that young children should meet only goodness. Elementary education is strongly arts-based, centered on the teacher's creative authority; the elementary school-age child should meet beauty. Secondary education seeks to develop the judgment, intellect, and practical idealism; the adolescent should meet truth.

Democratic Education



Democratic education is a theory of learning and school governance in which students and staff participate freely and equally in a school democracy. In a democratic school, there is typically shared decision-making among students and staff on matters concerning living, working, and learning together.

A. S. Neill



Date: 1883-1973

Neill founded Summerhill School
Summerhill School
Summerhill School is an independent British boarding school that was founded in 1921 by Alexander Sutherland Neill with the belief that the school should be made to fit the child, rather than the other way around...

, the oldest existing democratic school
Democratic school
This is a comprehensive list of current and former democratic schools. Most of these were modeled on the Summerhill School, the oldest existing democratic school founded in 1921...

 in Suffolk, England in 1921. He wrote a number of books that now define much of contemporary democratic education philosophy. Neill believed that the happiness of the child should be the paramount consideration in decisions about the child's upbringing, and that this happiness grew from a sense of personal freedom. He felt that deprivation of this sense of freedom during childhood, and the consequent unhappiness experienced by the repressed child, was responsible for many of the psychological disorders of adulthood.

Strongly influenced by the contemporary work of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 and Wilhelm Reich
Wilhelm Reich
Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, known as one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry...

, Neill was opposed to sexual repression and the imposition of the strict Victorian values of his childhood era. He stated clearly that to be anti-sex was to be anti-life. Naturally, these views made him unpopular with many establishment figures of the time.

Classical Education



The Classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in the Middle Ages. The term "classical education" has been used in English for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages. In the 20th and 21st centuries it is used to refer to a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a practical or pre-professional program. Classical Education can be described as rigorous and systematic, separating children and their learning into three rigid categories, Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.

Charlotte Mason



Date: 1842-1923

Mason was a British educator who invested her life in improving the quality of children's education. Her ideas led to a method used by some homeschoolers. Mason's philosophy of education is probably best summarized by the principles given at the beginning of each of her books. Two key mottos taken from those principles are "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" and "Education is the science of relations." She believed that children were born persons and should be respected as such; they should also be taught the Way of the Will and the Way of Reason. Her motto for students was "I am, I can, I ought, I will." Charlotte Mason believed that children should be introduced to subjects through living books, not through the use of "compendiums, abstracts, or selections." She used abridged books only when the content was deemed inappropriate for children. She preferred that parents or teachers read aloud those texts (such as Plutarch and the Old Testament), making omissions only where necessary.

Unschooling


Unschooling is a range of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

al philosophies and practices centered on allowing child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

ren to learn
LEARN
LEARN may refer to:* Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network, a website run by the Anti-Defamation League* LEARN diet, a brand name diet product...

 through their natural life experiences, including child directed play
Play (activity)
Play is a term employed in ethology and psychology to describe to a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment...

, game
Game
A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements...

 play, household
Household
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

 responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading
Grade (education)
Grades are standardized measurements of varying levels of comprehension within a subject area. Grades can be assigned in letters , as a range , as a number out of a possible total , as descriptors , in percentages, or, as is common in some post-secondary...

 methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

John Holt


In 1964 Holt published his first book, How Children Fail
How Children Fail
How Children Fail is a non-fiction book by John Holt, published in 1964 and republished in 1982 in a revised edition. It has sold over a million copies...

, asserting that the academic failure of schoolchildren was not despite the efforts of the schools, but actually because of the schools. Not surprisingly, How Children Fail ignited a firestorm of controversy. Holt was catapulted into the American national consciousness to the extent that he made appearances on major TV talk shows, wrote book reviews for Life magazine, and was a guest on the To Tell The Truth TV game show. In his follow-up work, How Children Learn
How Children Learn
How Children Learn is a nonfiction book by educator John Holt, first published in 1967. A revised edition was released in 1983 with new chapters and commentaries....

, published in 1967, Holt tried to elucidate the learning process of children and why he believed school short circuits that process.

Professional organizations and associations

Organisation Nationality Comment
International Network of Philosophers of Education  Worldwide INPE is dedicated to fostering dialogue amongst philosophers of education around the world. It sponsors an international conference every other year.
Philosophy of Education Society  USA PES is the national society for philosophy of education in the United States of America. This site provides information about PES, its services, history, and publications, and links to online resources relevant to the philosophy of education.
Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain was established in 1964 to 'to promote the development and teaching of the rigorous philosophical study of educational questions'. Professor Louis Arnaud Reid was the first President....

 
UK PESGB promotes the study, teaching and application of philosophy of education. It has an international membership. The site provides: a guide to the Society's activities and details about the Journal of Philosophy of Education and IMPACT.
Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia  Australasia
Canadian Philosophy of Education Society  Canada CPES is devoted to philosophical inquiry into educational issues and their relevance for developing educative, caring, and just teachers, schools, and communities. The society welcomes inquiries about membership from professionals and graduate students who share these interests.
The Nordic Society for Philosophy of Education  The Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden
The Nordic Society for Philosophy of Education is a society consisting of Nordic philosophers of education with the purpose of fostering dialogue among philosophers of education within and beyond the Nordic countries, and to coordinate, facilitate and support exchange of ideas, information and experiences.
Society for the Philosophical Study of Education  USA This Society is a professional association of philosophers of education which holds annual meetings in the Midwest region of the United States of America and sponsors a discussion forum and a Graduate Student Competition. Affiliate of the American Philosophical Association
American Philosophical Association
The American Philosophical Association is the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States. Founded in 1900, its mission is to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers, to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy, to facilitate the professional work...

.
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society  USA, Ohio Valley OVPES is a professional association of philosophers of education. We host an annual conference in the Ohio Valley region of the United States of America and sponsor a refereed journal: Philosophical Studies in Education.
John Dewey Society
John Dewey Society
The John Dewey Society was founded in 1935, and was the first organization focused on philosophy of education. Its goal is to "keep alive John Dewey's commitment to the use of critical and reflective intelligence in the search for solutions to crucial problems in education and culture." The Society...

 
USA The John Dewey Society exists to keep alive John Dewey's commitment to the use of critical and reflective intelligence in the search for solutions to crucial problems in education and culture.
Study Space for Philosophy and Education  USA, Columbia University This study place exists for persons who wish to engage in philosophy and education because both have value for them, quite apart from their professional responsibilities. We think networked digital information resources will enable people to reverse this ever-narrowing professionalism. This site is maintained at the Institute for Learning Technologies, Teachers College, Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

.
Center for Dewey Studies
Center for Dewey Studies
The Center for John Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale was established as the central home for the works and study of philosopher/educator John Dewey. "By virtue of its publications and research, the Center has become the international focal point for research on Dewey's life...

 
USA, Southern Illinois University The Center for Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was established in 1961 as the "Dewey Project." By virtue of its publications and research, the Center has become the international focal point for research on John Dewey's life and work.
International Society for Philosophy of Music Education
International Society for Philosophy of Music Education
The International Society for Philosophy of Music Education is an international scholarly organization for the field of music education philosophy...

 
Unknown the International Society for the Philosophy of Music Education (ISPME) is founded on both educational and professional objectives: "devoted to the specific interests of philosophy of music education in elementary through secondary schools, colleges and universities, in private studios, places of worship, and all the other places and ways in which music is taught and learned."
The Spencer Foundation
The Spencer Foundation
The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer. The foundation makes grants to support research for areas of education, widely construed....

 
USA The Spencer Foundation provides funding for investigations that promise to yield new knowledge about education in the United States or abroad. The Foundation funds research grants that range in size from smaller grants that can be completed within a year, to larger, multi-year endeavours.
Humanities Research Network New Zealand The Humanities Research Network is designed to encourage new ways of thinking about the overlapping domains of knowledge which are represented by the arts, humanities, social sciences, other related fields like law, and matauranga Māori, and new relationships among their practitioners.

Further reading

  • Classic and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Education, by Steven M. Cahn, 1997, ISBN 9780070096196
  • A Companion to the Philosophy of Education (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy), ed. by Randall Curren, Paperback edition, 2006, ISBN 1405140518
  • The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education, ed. by Nigel Blake, Paul Smeyers, Richard Smith, and Paul Standish, Paperback edition, 2003, ISBN 0631221190
  • Philosophy of Education (Westview Press, Dimension of Philosophy Series), by Nel Noddings, Paperback edition, 1995, ISBN 0813384303

External links