Society-Centered Philosophies: Everything You Need to Know

These educational philosophies believe that students should be educated according to the need, requirements, and ideals of society so that once they are fully educated, they can contribute meaningfully to the growth and preservation of society. Thus, society-centered philosophies go beyond focusing on the student. Their emphasis is on a group or a population instead. Such educational philosophies focus on educating a group of people, which could be a minority group or the entire world, rather than a solitary student. Critical theory and globalization are two types of society-centered philosophies.

Critical theory is an educational philosophy that examines organizations, institutions, and instructions with respect to power relationships. Proponents of critical theory say that schools are controlled by the wealthy and powerful upper-class, which marginalizes the lower classes by using their power to uphold or reproduce their favored position on a subject. In contrast, the supporters of critical theory focus on empowering the subordinate classes by evaluating educational and social circumstances in schools and society. They highlight exploitative power relationships, like marginalization or determination to promote change.

Advocates of critical theory maintain that the existing curriculum in schools has two components – an official curriculum and a hidden curriculum. The latter is the unspoken, yet apparently widespread inclusion of views, which is likely to support the continued dominance of the upper class. To prevent the spread of the hidden curriculum to the disadvantage of the lower-class, critical theory proponents believe that schools should use officially sanctioned textbooks that are based on unbiased views and won’t promote or help maintain the dominance of the upper-class. Additionally, teachers are expected to persuade students to voice their ideas about their own values instead of those that are popular. 

The scope of globalization is much broader than the educational landscape, as it involves processes that encourage global participation and relationships between people of different cultures, countries, and languages. Four key processes that encourage globalization are economic, communication, educational, and political processes.

In the domain of education, an example of globalization can be the familiarity of teachers with technology. Though teachers in developed countries with reasonably priced access to technology are expected to integrate technology into every aspect of their teaching, the same won’t essentially be expected of a teacher in an underdeveloped country’s rural school. But irrespective of expectations or where they live, all students will come into contact with technology at some point and start dialogues on an international level. This makes it important for teachers from all countries to make their students aware of technological advancements, at the least, if not familiar with them.

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