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PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

ETP301 AT1 – Part B

Alanah Knight – 211396067

Due 28 July 2017

Word Count: 1095 :D


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Education is not a key to success, but a tool that students continually learn to use and utilise,
that makes the keys to unlock a variety of doors for humanity. The purpose of 21st Century
education is the development of learners across multiple dimensions including: emotional,
physical, moral, cultural and social. This purpose aims to create a sustainable future
economy. Competencies learners require for success in the 21st century include the ability to
critically, constructively and imaginatively pose and answer questions while collaborating
and cooperating with others. Teachers must facilitate educative experiences ensuring lessons
are engaging, imaginative, combine theory and practice to inspire a passion for learning
within each individual student. The promotion of equality, reconciliation and diversity is
important as teachers and learners strive for excellence. Teachers owe it to their learners to
ensure each child has the opportunity to grow within school to succeed in life after.

The first education goal is for students to become adaptive problem solvers with the ability
to pose and answer questions, and consider there may be multiple solutions to a single
problem. These learners will be going into occupations that do not yet exist. This goal can
assist them on that journey and later in life. The inquiry pedagogy allows students to pose
questions, called ‘wonderings’ promoting independent thinking and questioning. A classroom
display of wonderings allows all students to learn from their peers. Students having choices
in the classroom such as ‘mode of presentation’ or options to pose their own questions in
varying subjects allows learners to exercise their curiosity through experiences they are
engaged in. The Department for Education and Children’s Services contend that excellent
teachers assist learners to ‘pose questions and persist in seeking answers’ (1996, p.6).
Webster and Ryan refer to inquiry as one of the ‘major aspects of Dewey’s
reconceptualisation of curriculum’. This affirms that meaning is to be ‘explored and tested’
through experience. Students posing questions are ‘active participants in their learning,
rather than recipients of’, creating an enhanced democratic environment. Webster and Ryan
conclude traditional perspectives teach mathematics and science with ‘few connections to
social contexts’. Progressive views reconsider the educative potential in question posing for
this (2014, p.85).

Another educative goal is enhanced collaboration and co-operation skills. Students will
continue to work in teams with others throughout their lives. Hearing and considering other
people’s perspectives, diversity promotion and avoiding tunnel vision while encountering
activities are some of the benefits. Stevens et al. defines cooperative learning strategies as
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working in ‘groups of four to six members’, completing tasks from ‘solving a common
problem’ to specific content or skill learning (1991, p.9). Within the classroom context this
can be seen in activities not limited to a group jigsaw, inside- outside circles, team
brainstorming or assigned role tasks. Stevens et al describe classroom benefits including ‘on-
task behaviour and collaborative dialogue’ (1991, p.9). Collaborative learning enhances
democracy within the classroom. Dewey contends that a traditional approach to education
sees teachers as the ‘agents through which knowledge and skills are communicated and rules
and conduct enforced’ (1997, p.18). Working as a team sharing knowledge amongst peers,
places value on students as the knowledge communicators. Freire (1970) argues that students
are more than ‘docile listeners’. They are not the receptacle in which information is
‘deposited in’, and instead all contain valuable information. Collaboration is a valuable goal
to unlock this knowledge.

An additional goal for 21st Century education is personalised student learning. This is not
referring to differentiating syllabus documents, instead personalising pedagogical approaches
and relationships as the moral nature of teaching includes sensitivity to individual needs
within the classroom, school and wider community. Teachers as professional lesson planners,
should consider their class full of individuals. The Department of Education and Early
Childhood Development (2009) consider personalised learning enabled by ICT, ‘inherently
important for learners in the 21st Century’ (p.15). ‘Learners are central’ describes the nature
of teaching being less about teachers ‘giving lessons’ and more about students learning.
Webster and Ryan (2014, p.84) describe the importance of ‘currere’ and ‘curro’ that is,
between the traditional and progressive approaches, emphasising the importance of learning
experiences, but not disregarding the syllabus, defining ‘curriculum’ a set of activities that
meets predetermined ends’. Classroom strategies include: case studies, reflective activities
and best practices, where students can work at their own pace using a mode and resources
most effective to their individual learning. Personalised learning enhances democracy within
the classroom. Simpson describes personalised learning as a ‘Deweyan democratic view
where the ‘needs of the community are priority, but individual voices are valued and listened
to’ (2013, p.79).
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A final goal for modern education is for students to work towards a sustainable future. This
goal does not refer to students learning sustainability by means of just the enacted curriculum
a notion that Letts (2013, p.187) describes as ‘a narrow view of the curriculum’. Instead this
goal is intended to employ a pragmatic approach described by Scott and Webster (2014, p.84)
in which Dewey recognises learners construct meaning through an ‘experienced curriculum’.
They choose the society they wish to live in, then make actions advocating for this. This can
begin in the classroom through traditional approaches with the cross curriculum priority of
‘sustainability’. Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA)
explain ‘future oriented learning’ permits students ‘knowledge, skills, world views and
values’ meeting the ‘needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their needs’ (2017, para. 2). Balancing traditional and progressive
strategies for example, a syllabus derived lesson, while enacting experiences such as
switching off inactive power-points and lights, recycling, upcycling, a waste paper basket,
wrapper free days and clean up days engaging students with issues of pollution and modelling
sustainable actions continuously. Combining experiences and theory to progress the
sustainability goal assists students to consider their fragile environment in all aspects of their
present and future lives, including deciding to compost and riding to work.

Overall, for students to be successful in the 21st century they must be adaptive problem
solvers, able to work in diverse teams, considering the environment. Educators can aspire to
personalise each students learning reflecting on their individuality and community. Young
learners becoming considerate of the environment, and employing deliberate actions to assist
sustainability do so at the benefit to all humanity now and into the future. While there is an
emphasis throughout on creating engaging experience, theory should not be considered
unimportant. There is a time and place for each for students to make meaning and sense of
their worlds. A combination of approaches will assist these goals into fruition.
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References:
Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority 2017, Sustainability, Australian
Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, retrieved 26 July 2017,
<https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/cross-curriculum-
priorities/sustainability/>.

Department for Education and Children’s Services 1996, Educating for the 21st Century
Policy, Department for Education and Childrens services, retrieved 22 July 2017,
<https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/teachlearn/student/sa21stcenturypolicy.pd
f>.

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development 2009, Building schools in the
21st Century and Current thinking about learning for a lifetime, Victoria Department of
Education and Early Childhood Development, retrieved 23 July 2017,
<https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/publ/research/publ/Building_schools_in_t
he_21st_century.pdf>.

Dewey, J 1997, Experience and Education, Simon and Shuster, New York.

Freire, P 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Herder and Herder, New York.

Letts, W 2013, Teaching making a difference, 2nd edn, Wiley, Qld.

J 1997, Experience and Education, Simon and Shuster, New York.

Stevens, R, Slavin, R & Farnish, A 1991, ‘ The effects of cooperative learning and direct
instruction in reading comprehension strategies on main idea identification’, Journal of
Educational Psychology, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 8-16.

Webster, S & Ryan, R 2014, Understanding Curriculum: The Australian Context, 1st edn,
Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Vic.

Simpson, S 2013, ‘Dewey, Democracy, and Experiential Education’, paper presented to the
conference of the Association of Outdoor Recreation & Education, University of Wisconsin,
La Crosse, 1 January.