Theories from the Philosophical Roots of Education

Essentialism- (social behaviorist) back to the basics, essential knowledge, core subjects
-Goal is to make students productive members of society
-Essential body of knowledge, timeless core (does adapt to given time period)
-All students need core of knowledge regardless of individual needs
-Classroom is structured, sterile, assigned seating
-Involved lower levels of Bloom, moving towards analysis
-Facts, Knowledge, Comprehension
-Instructional activities- direct instruction, teacher-centered, passive
-Assessment- objective, norm-referenced, qualifiable
-Student-teacher dynamic- formal
-Discreet knowledge- over-arching

Perennialism (intellectual traditionalist)
-Find great works and traditions relevant, close to essentialism but more student-centered
-Cultivation of intellect is highest priority
-Need to develop minds to gain more knowledge
-Several basic ideas
*Students need to gain understanding to the ideas of Western civilization; can be applied to whole era
*Teach principles important to everyone throughout the world, that do not change
*Develop the ability for rational thought in students’ minds

Progressivism (experientialist)
-living is learning
-moral response attitude
-students learn by experiencing
-face a situation, have a response, then integrate it into one’s character
- create “worthy members of society” who have “real-world skills”
-see dichotomy- books/library vs. actual living “all-around living”
-still use books, but not textbooks
-the focus is on change
-student-centered
-instructional method- often use the scientific method so students can study matter and events systematically and first-hand, group work, and cooperative learning

Reconstructionism (critical pedagogy)
-education evokes social change/reform
-emphasizes addressing social issues
-curriculum is based on taking action on today’s social problems
-they believe that change is necessary to overcome society’s problems; change is the way “to overcome oppression and improve human systems” **
-”curriculum focuses on student experience and taking social action on real problems, such as violence, hunger, international terrorism, inflation, and inequality” **
-instructional methods- inquiry and group discussion, community-based learning

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** from “Philosophical Perspectives in Education