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The Teaching Profession

Philosophical Roots of Education

Lesson 1
Idealists believe that perfect knowledge of the ideal resided outside humans
as an Absolute or as God. They believe that the spiritual essence or soul is
the permanent element of human nature that gives them the power to think
and feel. They believe that the ideas that make-up reality have already existed
in the mind of the Absolute or God, so that when we know something, it
means we haver reached our conscious understanding of these ideas.
Idealist Teachers
Believe that the schools are the repositories of eternal truth which have organized the
hierarchical curriculum in education.
Believe that on top of this hierarchy are the most important subjects that cultivate absolute
thinking-Philosophy, Theology and Mathematics.
Believe in the use of Socratic Method-asking probing questions to stimulate consciousness of
students in discovering knowledge.
Believe that thinking and learning are the processes of bring latent ideas to consciousness and
logic is encouraged in organizing their lessons.
Believe that teachers should lead exemplary lives and be models for students to imitate.
Believe that the Internet can make the great book accessible to all, but they insist that technology
should be the means rather than the end in transmitting knowledge.
Realism advocates that reality is outside of our minds. They are not internal to our
minds as idealist claim. Realists believe that the objects we perceive exists
independently of the mind; that whether or not we perceive these objects, they
really exists in the world. Realists assert that the human mind can know about the
real world and that knowledge is a reliable guide to our behaviour.
Realists believe that the purpose of education is to teach students about the world in
which they live. That the most accurate and efficient way of learning is through the
curriculum of organized and classified subject-matter discipline.
Realist Teachers
Believe that teachers should be equipped with a wide repertoire of methods in teaching to
achieve their goals.
Believe that their primary responsibility is to bring students ideas about the world into
Believe that deductive and inductive logic, and the scientific method are reliable means to
discover knowledge.
Believe that the inclusion of non-academic activities interfere with the schools primary
purpose as a center of disciplined academic inquiry.
Believe in the use of technology as an aid in learning; they recommend computer program
to be as realistic and effective as possible.
Pragmatism evaluates the truth and meaning of ideas according to their physical
consequences and practical value. It emphasizes the need to test the validity of
these ideas by acting on them. The best way to validate ideas empirically is by using
the scientific method. For pragmatists, if something works, it is true.
John Dewey, a pragmatist, related education as preparation for life. He believed that
the function of education was to enhance human potential to be able to adapt to a
constantly changing world. Students should be trained to construct knowledge as
they interact in the world. Pragmatists believe that students should be encouraged
to do researches and apply them to the solution of a problem.
Pragmatist Teachers
Believe that education is an experimental process a method of solving problems
that challenges people as they interact with the world.
Believe that children should learn how to make difficult decisions by considering the
consequences of their actions on others.
Believe that education should focus in real-life problems to be prepared to live fully
and effectively in society.
Believe that students should learn the process of problem-solving rather than by
being passive learners as knowledge is being transmitted to them.
Believe in collaborative learning where students share their interests and problems.
Pragmatist Teachers (cont.)
Believe that interdisciplinary education is better than departmentalized
curriculum education.
Believe in values-clarification rather than blindly accepting inherited values.
Believe that communication technologies such as e-mail and internet provide
opportunities to share ideas, insights and experiences.
Other Philosophies and Theories
Perennialism assert that the primary purpose of education is to bring students in
contact with the truth by cultivating their intellect and sense of rationality or
reasoning power. They contend that there are principles that student need to learn
like the universality of truth, the importance of rationality and the power of
aesthetics. They also proposed the study of religion to encourage ethical behaviour.
Perennialists opposed the inclusion of non-academic subjects in the curriculum
because they defeat the primary purpose of the school which is to develop students
They endorse subject-matter curriculum loaded with cognitive subjects that develop
rationality and morality.
Perennialist Teachers
Believe that teachers are the intellectual mentors and models for their students.
Believe that fundamental skills such as reading, writing, computation and research
be developed starting the elementary grades to prepare them for lifelong learning.
Believe that subjects with human concerns like history, literature, drama and art
should be included in the secondary curriculum.
Believe that their role is to sharpen the students intellectual powers and enhance
their moral qualities.
Believe that electronic version of great books and other classics maybe viewed by
larger audience but this could not be a substitute for reading the classics.
Essententialism is a teacher-centered philosophy that adheres to the belief
that the basic skills of literacy (reading and writing) and numeracy
(arithmetic) as well as subject-matter knowledge should be developed in
schools. Subjects such as history, mathematics, science, languages, and
literature are essential subjects for secondary education. They believe that
these basic essential subject-matter need to be mastered to be able to
function effectively in society. These skills will prepare them to be
competent and skilled individuals for the competitive global village.
Essentialists argue that schools and teachers must be committed to their primary
academic function-to teach students with knowledge and skills that will prepare
them to function effectively and efficiently in a democratic society.
Essentialists favour a subject-matter curriculum which should be cumulative and
sequentially arranged, starting with low order thinking skills to more complex higer
order level.
Essentialists do not favour innovative or process. They adhere more on teacher
directed instruction because they believe teachers are trained professionals who
should guide and direct the learning of the students.
Essentialist teacher
Believes that teachers have authority to discipline students.
Believe that teachers should have mastery of the knowledge and skills they teach.
Believe in the use of deductive method of teaching.
Believe that students should learn the essentials.
Believe that only when the students have mastered the required competencies can
they be promoted to the higher level.
Believe that test scores are the basis for evaluating students progress.
Progressivists belong to a reform movement that opposed the traditional
education. They were against: 1) authoritarian teachers, 2) book-based
instruction, 3) rote memorization, and 4) authoritarian classroom
management. Progressivists believe that that the best way to learn is actively
exploring / or by engaging in direct experiences. They believe that the
school is a laboratory for experimentation.
Progressivist Teachers
Believe that teachers should possess a repertoire of learning activities to be used in
the teaching-learning process like problem-solving, field trips, creative artistic
expression and projects.
Believe that the child should be free to develop naturally.
Believe that interest motivated by direct experience stimulates learning.
Believe that the teacher is a facilitator of learning.
Believe that there should be close cooperation between the home and the school.
Believe that students needs, interest and readiness should be considered in
constructing the curriculum.
Social Reconstructionism
This is a theory noted on progressivism, in fact, were considered as the more
socially-oriented progressivists. They sought to make the center of larger
social reforms. They contended that schools need to investigate and work to
solve social, political and economic problems eventually create a new society.
Social reconstructionist believe that people are responsible for heir
conditions. They have the power to take control of their lives, improve their
human conditions, and build a just and good society. Education, therefore,
should prepare the students to meet the demands of society.
Social Reconstructionist Teachers
Believe that the school is the ideal place to begin alleviating social problems.
Believe in using project method and problem-solving method in teaching.
Believe that research is an effective means in solving problems of society.
Believe that the intellectual, emotional, and personal needs of the students
should be considered in the learning process.
Believe that teachers must model democratic principles
Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the subjectivity of human
experience. It asserts that the purpose of education is to help students find
meaning and directions in their lives.
Existentialist author, Jean-Paul Sartre often quoted the phrase Existence
precedes essence meaning, we owe our existence to nature but we define
ourselves through our action. We make our own essence by making our
personal choices. When we are thrust into choice-making situations, we are
what we choose to be. We must take responsibility for our choices.
Existentialist Teachers
Believe that the purpose of education is to awaken our consciousness about our freedom to
choose and to create our own self-awareness that contributes to our identity.
Believe that students should be trained to philosophize, to question and to participate in
dialogues about the meaning of life.
Believe that self-expression, creativity, self-awareness, and self-responsibility should be
developed in the students.
Believe that open classrooms maximize freedom of choice.
Believe in self-directed instruction.
Believe that students should decide what they want to learn and when to learn it.
A must have goal

A good character is something you must make yourself. It

cannot be inherited from parents. It cannot be created by having
extraordinary advantages. It isnt a gift of birth, wealth, talent or
station. It is the result of your own endeavour. It is the reward
that comes from living good principles and manifesting a virtuous
and honourable life.