You are on page 1of 12

Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 1

A world without education is a world of nothing. Why the education is so important?

Education could be considered as the first thing that we need to mastered. If we
have no education, we will be suppressing by those who have the knowledge. As we
all know, mostly those who have the knowledge will be more successful than those
who had no knowledge. In term of common usage, there are two types of education,
formal and non-formal education. For the formal one, education is merely the
delivery of knowledge, skills and information from teachers to students. This process
often occurs at school, the place where the knowledge being transmitted. At the
school, the formal education is a must but non-formal education also indirectly being
transmitted by many factors at school. One of the factors is the teacher themselves.
The school ecology also plays an important role for this non-formal education.

Education in the east is different from the education in the west. Many have
said that western education is better than the eastern style of education. Actually,
what differentiate the eastern and the western education is the system of education
that had been practiced by both of it. In the eastern education system, the teacher is
the only authority or the right one. The teachers words are not to be questioned.
Students are not expected to speak up in class or respond to the questions that the
teacher asks. During teaching and learning session, the students only accept
whatever the teacher teach whether the teacher right or wrong. There is no two way
communication between the teacher and student. As the result, the students always
feel sleepy in the class because the participation of the students is not there.
Therefore, they feel bored and sleepy. Thus, there is no motivation for the students
to be active during the classes.

For the eastern education, the other concept is about memorizing. The study
or the teaching is mainly based on book learning and memorization. The students
and teachers only focussing on the exams because in the eastern education, the
marks from the exams are what make the difference between the smart students and
less smart students. Teachers always have to hustle through the textbooks to meet
the deadline of every monthly examination. So, as the result, the students only
learning from the memorizing, not based from their understanding. If this happened,
they will easily forget what they had memorized. But, if they understand the teaching
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 2

is all about, they will remember it longer than they memorized it. The efficiency of
learning will be interrupted if the students only memorized what they had learned.
The community nowadays only measure ones ability from what they had scored or
they got. Even our attitude and behaviour is graded by numbers. The fact is, the
students from the eastern education background did not have the ability of solving
problems that they confronted and we found it hard when it comes to organizing

The eastern education system puts a vast deal of emphasis on conformity. In

the east, there are a lot of rules to be follow that the school had made for their
students. The rules like wearing uniforms to school and must be tucked in are
common at the school. In the eastern education, discipline is very important when
you attending the school. It seems to be working on producing the perfect students
and obeyed students. Any action that is considered as out of ordinary is regarded as
a rebellion towards the system. the consequences are the student will be questioned
or punished by the teacher as the authority in learning. Occupations such as doctors
and lawyer are regarded as decent jobs to do while being an artist is not so
respected by others because in the eastern education, the one who scored low
marks will be an artist and such. This prevents those with special talents from
developing into professionals.

Traditionally, the relationship between teachers and students has always

been tense between students and teachers in eastern culture. Teachers are meant
to be respected and sometimes students even have to bear teachers bad temper.
No matter how familiar we are with a teacher, it is not easy for us to automatically
talk to them about our concerns. Some dont even speak freely with their peers.

The first goal is to make the socialization process occurs. Eastern education
not much towards this goal but still, indirectly, it gives the students chance to interact
with one another in order to help them become fully functioning adults in the future.
In other words, in the school, they socialized with friends from different background
from theirs. In this case, school is made as the agent of socialization for the
students. They get to know one another and try to understand their condition in term
of their way of life and much more.
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 3

In Confuciuss philosophy of education, the goal of education is to produce an

able person or individual with good moral values. As we all know, eastern education
is more to teacher centred and not student centred type of learning. So, they tend to
learn to be a good student by obeying what the teacher had thought them and never
condemned or questioned what the teacher have to say. The teacher is the only
authority in the process of learning and the students would be the good listener.
From this situation, the students will have a good moral whereby they respect they
own teacher and never go against their teacher. Even when the teacher is wrong,
they will never quarrel about that because they know, the teacher is to be respect. In
the eastern, the one who gives knowledge to them have the right to be respected.
This is what the Confucius thought.

From Confucius, we move on to Rabindranath Tagores philosophy of

education. Rabindranth set the goal of education as producing holistic individuals
through interaction and integration with the environment. This philosopher talks
about producing an individual that is good in every aspects through socialization that
we made and how we mixed around with the people and society around us. The
aspects includes physical, intellectual, moral and also spiritual. The western also
focussing on physical and intellectual development. But, they are lacking in term of
moral and spiritual development. These two aspects are related to life practices. He
interprets the education as the process that aims to produce a holistic individual.

The eastern education curriculum based on Confucius philosophy focuses

more focuses on certain aspect in the education system. One of the focuses that
Confucius stresses on is moral education. The moral education existence in the
curriculum based on Confucius philosophy is to emphasize important values which
includes respect for parents (Xiao), respect for elders (ti), diligence (min), loyalty
(zhong), thrift (jian), give-and-take (rang), wisdom (zhi), and bravery (yong). Moral
education as we all know is very important in our everyday life, without it we simply
cannot live as it makes us what we are today. By teaching our future student about
the importance of moral education in school would indirectly help to mould our
student to become a better person. In our own country itself, we definitely follow this
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 4

philosophy as we put our ethics as a top priority in our society. Moral education is a
must for the entire student in our country because of the different races that Malaysia
have. In order to keep our beloved country in a peaceful place this is a must. As we
all know, the moral education is inserted in the study of religion for the student who
take the Islamic education in school and for the non-Muslim student it is a must for
them to take this subject.

Confucius also focuses on the subject; the six books of Confucius

encompassing philosophy, politics, economics and culture in the curriculum system.
The six books are music, poetry, literature, history and code of good behavior. If we
look closely to these six books we can clearly see the resemblance of our education
system and Confucius philosophy for education curriculum is almost the same. All of
the mater that Confucius focuses above help to create an artistic person based on
what I can see. All of the books that Confucius wrote are all related with artistic
matter. The education in Confucius philosophy focuses on creating a student who is
not only knowledgeable but also to be artistic.

Meanwhile for Rabindranath Tagores philosophy in the education curriculum

focuses more on knowledge and also physical activities. The subjects that
Rabindranaths philosophy stress on some certain subject which is music, arts,
literature, drama and dance, history and environmental studies. Rabindrantahs
philosophy is a bit different from Confucius philosophy where Rabindranath focuses
more on physical study or hands on activity. His philosophy is more on building a
person who has the practical skill not just knowing the theory but also how to do it
hence on. If we are to relate this to our own education system in Malaysia we can
see the dj vu factor but it is a little bit different from Confucius philosophy where
we focuses on what both philosophers philosophy in the education curriculum stress
the most which is moral education and environmental studies. Both of the things
stress above is important in our education curriculum in Malaysia where we need to
create a student that is well balance not only in knowledge but also in other different

In Malaysia, based on our opinion the curriculum that is being used by our
education system is by far the most perfect curriculum that we have yet. This is
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 5

because we combined all of the important aspect based on different philosophers

philosophy. This gives a great impact to our education curriculum system, easterner
have a different way in living and based on our observation there is a slight
difference between the eastern and western education philosophy due to certain
aspect such as culture, society, environment and many more. Easterners prioritize
more to having good values as it being taught not only in the religion itself but also in
our culture. That is why Confucius philosophy focuses more in developing a person
with high moral values abided in them. Different culture and society influences ones
action. That is why our curriculum stresses on certain aspect in our educations

Teacher is one of the most important people in our education system as they are
the catalyst to produce a knowledgeable student that can contribute to our country in
the future. Teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way of others. The
roles of teacher in the eastern philosophy are important in our countrys educational

The roles of teacher or guru in India based on Rabindranath Tagores

philosophy is very important. For everything we want a teacher or a Guru. Books are
only outlines in Rabindranaths pholisophy. The Guru is responsible in handing down
to his disciples the living secrets in every art, science and religion. We can relate this
to our own educational system as the teacher holds full responsibility in providing the
student with the knowledge that they are suppose to know. The acharya or teacher
of the Vedic age was responsible not only for imparting knowledge, but also in
moulding the character and personality of the pupils. The acharya was an
affectionate father, an effective teacher, and a person of high moral and spiritual
qualities. He taught with his heart and soul. This value should be implemented in our
teachers nowadays, they should teach their student with full dedication toward
teaching. A good teacher will seek to awaken much more than to instruct; he will aim
at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free
expansion. He will not impose his opinions on the passive acceptance of the
receptive mind. He will know that the example is more powerful than instruction.
Teachers should know the power of giving examples as it really helps the student to
understand better on what they are learning. Actually, the example is not that of the
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 6

outward acts but of the inner motivation of life and the inner states and inner
activities. The examples should be something that is related to our daily life. Finally,
teachers should acknowledge that influence is more important than example. For
influence proceeds from the power of contact of the teacher with his pupil, from the
nearness of his soul to the soul of another, infusing into the pupil, even though in
silence, all that which the teacher himself is or possesses.

Rabindranath Tagore also believed that the teachers own life, his own
search for truth should be such that encourages the student to respect truth and
nature. For Rabindranath, he symbolizez the teacher as someone who is responsible
of ones life. The responsibility of the teacher potray in Rabindranath philosophy is
something that is not easy to do, the mistake of the teacher will lead to a failure of
their student and the failure of their student would bring a significant meaning that
the teacher also fail in educatiing and in doing their work well. Teaching lessons in
the class and giving lectures on ideals and principles is not real education. Education
can be successfully imparted by understanding childhood and giving oneself totally
in love and union with it. The best education a child can get is in the atmosphere of
love, trust and joy. Tagore gave a mantra to teachers Dont try to preach your
principles to children, instead give yourself completely in love (Rabindranath
Tagore: Philosophy of Education and Painting, ed. Devi Prasad (New Delhi: National
Book Trust, 2007) p. 36). Rabindranath due to this statement make me sees his
point of view toward learning as he describe a teacher as someone who not only to
teach their student but also to love the knowledge as well as their student.

Meanwhile for the chinese education based on Confucius philosophy is that

the role of the teachers is not only so much to explain or to dicuss what is good or
right but to show it directly in the teachers lives so that the learners can try to
emulate it. Confucious teaching focuses in creating a man of character rather than
knowledge. Teachers are to create not only an educated student but also to create a
student with great character and the one that is capable in leading the country in the
future. Confucius says, One who loves the good is better than one who knows it,
and one who enjoys it is better than one who loves it. The meaning of this passage
is clarified by the following passage. Confucius says, When one comes to
knowledge but does not sustain it through ren (love or the ideal conduct), he is sure
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 7

to lose it. Knowledge alone for Confucius is not enough, but it is to realize a persons
own ideal state and by practicing the knowledge he or she has aquirred, or by living
in accordance with it. Rather than knowing thoery, Confucius stress on practicing
what is learnt in theory in our daily lives. The teachers need to give the student a
clear understanding on the theory itself so that the student can practice it in their
daily life. In relation to Confucius self-cultivation, the stage of knowledge involves
setting ones mind upon the firm ground, while the stage of love or enjoyment
involves attaining a natural and voluntary harmony between ones own conduct and
the great principle. Knowledge becomes a way of life through its voluntary practice.
The concept of ren demonstrates the way to realize the ideal. Confucius says, A
man of ren establishes others in seeking to establish himself and promotes others in
seeking to get there himself. Correlating ones conduct with those nearby is the
method of achieving ren. This passage shows that ren is achieved by helping and
nurturing others as a reflection of ones own heart. The role of teachers can be
considered here. First, to help their students grow up to become ideal persons,
teachers should guide them in practicing good conduct in their relations with others.
Teachers should lead their students to sympathize with others. Third, teachers
should sympathize with their students and promote the latter so as to promote
themselves. Teacher plays an important role here as not only to educate but also to
do thing that is something outside their feild of expertice.

The role of teachers is also to guide their students to find the way to proceed
when they want very much to understand or realize something but cannot.
Furthermore, teachers should help their students in expressing their opinions
accurately when they are desperately looking for the right words to express their
ideas but cannot find them. This commonly happen to student that have the idea but
they cannot express it in words. That is when the teachers need to step in and help
their student to state their opinion on something. Thus, the role of teachers is
secondary to the efforts of the learners. Even if teachers show learners the way, the
latter must respond by expressing their own ideas. This point is relevant to the fact
that the main focus of Confucian learning is to become a man of character through
the practice of good conduct. Becoming a man of character is almost wholly
dependent on the learner himself; he needs to reflect on himself as well as develop
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 8

good traits and discard bad ones. Confucius regards this kind of continuous
reflection and reformation as the love of learning. He believes that his disciple Yan
Hui loves learning because he does not make the same mistake twice and always
enjoys learning even on extremely difficult days. Confucian learning does not involve
memorizing simple information but developing ones whole person. It is dependent
on the learners own efforts at doing away with their bad traits and at forming and
maintaining a harmonious and consistent character. Teachers act only as guides
when their students face obstacles in the process of becoming whole persons.
Confucius main focus is to build a student that is balanced with knowledge and well
being as humen being.

There is a difference between the eastern and western educational

philosophy. Both have their own way in educating their future leaders. The factors
that differentiate between both eastern and western philosophy is due to their culture
and background society which is as we know is very different from one another.
Basically, Western philosophy of education comprises two schools, which are
traditional and modern. It has its roots in Athens, Rome and Judeo-Christianity,
whereas Eastern philosophy is derived from Islam, Confucianism, Taoism and
Mahayana Buddhism. This, is fundamentally influence the system of life, and
certainly creates their education system. By looking on Eastern and Western
countries, both countries have distinct differences in their ways of developing and
shaping an individual, in terms of skills and attitudes. Thus, different cultures will
have different philosophies, which results in different ways of doing things, especially
in educating the next generation. There are a difference in the eastern and western
philosopy when it comes to the education system.

The first one is, the student involvement in the classroom. Westeners way of
engaging student in learning is by stressing the student on active learning but on the
other hand the easterners way of learning is preferably passive. Since the ancient
greek, the western philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato and socrates ancourage
rational thinking whereas for the easterners, they obtained the knowladge directly
from their teaching of religion, such as Islam, Buddism, Confucianism, Hinduism and
Taoism. This way of learning is more to a one-sided learning or way of transmitting
knowledge where their belief prepared them with the rules and regulation within their
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 9

life. Student of the western education philosophy seem to appears as active learners
in the classroom is because the teaching and learning process do not focus on
teacher-centered way of learning but it is more to sharing and giving ideas. This
maximizes the student role in the classroom than the teacher in creating an effective
laerning and teaching activity. Activity such as group dicussion is carried out in class
which makes the student become involve and pretty much encourage the student to
think and voice out thier oppinion on certain topic that been given by their teacher for
them to discuss on. Moreover, the student are required to present their work to the
entire class.

On the other hand, the teaching and learning process through eastern
philosophy stress on the major outcomes from the teacher which is vice-versa with
the western way of learning. Teacher are fully responsible on the effectiveness of the
learning enviroment and the outcome of the students studies, we called this way of
studying as more to teacher-centered. The teacher are being held responsible in
preparing and planning all the activities for their students. Students are not train to
do anything but every materials are given to them by their teachers. They are only
responsible in receiving input from their teacher, students are not allowed to even
respond to the questions posed by the teacher as the questions are in a way meant
only for teachers to answer rhetorical questions. According to Rohaty (1999), one of
the reasons why the teachers are hardly implementing various innovative teaching
strategies is due to the excessive attention on theory rather than in practical sense
(Rohaty, 1999). This is what we can clearly see in our malaysian educational system
as we focus more on teacher-centered way of learning. Malaysian in our opinion do
follow the eastern phylosophy when it comes to education in a lower level of learning
institution. Student are only to receive the input from the teacher and there are rarely
a two way interaction between the student and the teacher. This have both its pro
and cons in the education itself. Wherelse in the higher institution the student are
given more opportunities to express themselve and have more interaction in the
classroom. It is the same as in the western education.

Next, the ways of teaching process differences between both eastern and
western philosophy. For the western philosophy, the student have the freedom and
rights to take charge of their own learning, as they are given the opportunity anfd
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 10

freedom to manage their own learning process. Teacher plays their role as a
facilitator rather than a knowledge producer. They are responsible to help and only
guide their student in their learning process rather than teaching them what to do.
Furthermore, schools of the Western education also support and encourage students
in selfmanagement and in controlling their own learning process. Differ from the
western philosophy, the eastern philosophy way of learning is more to a teacher-
centered learning where the student receive fuly knowledge from their teacher in the
classroom in a rigid way as they only learn and study straightly from their teacher. In
the eastern philosophy, teacher are required to be hardworking as they are the one
who have the power to produce a knowledgable student. In Malaysia, we can hardly
see teachers that play their role as a facilitator in class but instead commonly we see
teachers who are responsible to produce knowledgable student as they are fully
responsible for the learning process in the classroom or what we can say as teacher-
centered way of learning.

Thirdly is the expression of the learning process. Westeners believe that the
best education mean is to make tthe society to become a cultural nation in regard of
their education and education aim where the children will be open minded and tend
to give ideas. The student will critically evaluate rather than merely memorizing. In
western philosophy student learn by understanding, they do not memorize what they
want to learn instead they try to understand waht they learn. Other than that, they
also have more time to have group discussions with their fellow classmates and also
to do some research on the topic assigned. The lifeless textbook is replaced
whenever they are trained to take notes directly when the teachers are teaching.
Thus, students could pay attention to the teachers and eventually lead them to
understand what has been taught to them. Meanwhile, for the eastern phylosophy,
the student practice the concept of memorizing, as the phylosophy focuses mainly
on book learnin and memorization within the teaching and learning process. The
system of education is exam oriented, and teachers have to rush through the
textbooks to prepare students to sit for the tests. As a result, students tend to
memorize the facts in the textbooks rather than understanding it due to time
constraint. In addition, the Eastern community has the concept that scores and
certificates represent the ability. Thus, it will creates a healthy competition among of
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 11

the students and great effort that have been made by them as they are struggle to
understand and gain the knowledge in order to obtain the good score in their
examination. The most common thing that we can see in our own country is we
emphasize on how well the student perfor in their examination but less attention
given on how their attitude and personality towards their studies. This is bad in our
oppinion as a great student need not only to have good grades in their examiniation
but also to have good values and a great thinking capability to solve thier problems.
This is what lacking in our education as nowadays believe it or not student focus
more on scoring well in their examination. This is also due to plenty of important
examination such as UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM in our country. The cleverness of
the student is evaluated is based on what they results are. People might say that this
gives a good motivation to the student as it give them the urge to compete with one
another in school, but to think of it on the other point of view, it is like student goes to
school only to receive excellent result in their examination and forgetting on the
importance to built a well mannered student.

The last difference is the realtionship between teachers and students. A

research conducted in Tajistan shows that Muslim children prefer teachers from the
West compared to local teachers as they are more friendly, caring, more
knowledgeable and always assisting children to success Niyozov and Pluim (2009).
Niyozov and Pluim added that they are all even willing to share the Muslim childrens
problem. It is because the Western education philosophy believes that student-
teacher relationship is more open and the students are more willing to talk to their
teachers. It is known that a teacher in a Western school does a good job of
assessing their effectiveness in teaching. In Eastern culture, the teacher-student
relationship is a position of trust in which the teacher is in a position of authority and
the student is in the position of being obligated to comply with the legal directives of
the adult (Chory & McCroskey, 1999). Teachers are meant to be respected and
sometimes students even have to bear with teachers bad temper. In fact, teachers
do act as a big boss who does not talk with the workers (students) directly most of
the time. This is contrast with several research and attitude that should be
demonstrated by teacher as some researchers such Chory & McCroskey suggest
that teachers need to have more initiative to communicate with children, to increase
Philosophy of Education: EDU3101 12

the delegation of decisions to children and to be in the class more frequent.

Relationship between the student and teacher are very important as it help to motive
and maybe inspire the student to do well in their study. This is what we can see
lacking in our education system as teacher avoid getting too close to their student.
Maybe not all of the teachers are like that but we can see a few of them really did not
want to get close or getting attach to their student. Teachers need to be a good
model to their student as the student really look up to their teacher in school.

Teacher is one of the most important people in our education system as they
are the catalyst to produce a knowledgeable student that can contribute to our
country in the future. Teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way of
others. The roles of teacher in the eastern philosophy are important in our countrys
educational system.