Philosophies of Education: Everything You Need to Know

This is a set of beliefs and ideologies commonly held by educators concerning the construction and application of educational systems. Educational philosophies are usually sourced from philosophies from the past that are still valuable in the present day. The information sourced from the past then goes through a process, where it is filtered through reality in order to produce theories and philosophies that are most appropriate for education today. These philosophies can be categorized into three groups, student-driven, society-driven, and teacher-driven philosophies.

There’s another type of classification, according to which four main types of educational philosophies are:

·         Perennialism: This subject-centered philosophy focuses on knowledge that surpasses time. A perennialist educator teaches students to think reasonably and critically while helping them master the content taught. The goal of a perennialist classroom is to develop a well-disciplined and closely organized setting, which helps encourage a lifelong quest for the truth in students.

·         Essentialism: Though this too is a subject-centered philosophy, it’s concerned with teaching basic skills. This philosophy is all about training the mind. The focus of essentialist educators is on teaching a series of progressively complex topics and helping the students move onto the next level. In an essentialist classroom, subjects are focused on the historical perspective of the material world and culture, and move in sequence to help students acquire a solid understanding of contemporary times.

·         Romanticism: This student-centered philosophy’s focus is on differentiation to meet the students’ learning readiness needs. Its five essential characteristics are intuition, imagination, individuality, inspiration, and idealism. Since this philosophy believes knowledge is acquired through intuition rather than deduction, schools founded on romanticism don’t have any set curricula, formal classes, or tests. Instead, students are allowed to decide what they desire to learn. In some cases, they are even expected to take complete responsibility for their learning.

·         Progressivism: According to progressivists, education should focus on the whole student rather than the teacher or content. Progressivism stresses that students should examine ideas by active experimentation. This educational philosophy promotes active learning and believes it to be rooted in the learners’ questions that crop up through their experiences with the world. In a progressive classroom, the students are thinkers and problem-solvers who find meaning through their individual experiences in the physical and cultural context. The content for such classes is based on and derived from students’ questions and interests. Progressive teachers in these classes provide experiences to help their students learn by doing. 

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