History of ED Theory and Philosophy in US Schools Term Paper

Pages: 16 (5040 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy

Educational theory and Philosophy in U.S. schools

Educational Theory and Philosophy during 1950's

During the 1950s one of the concentrations for most of the educational theories were the existing "isms" and how they coincided with education. Some of the most common "isms" were "experimentalism," "re-constructionism" and "progressivism" and these were directly proportional to any educational analysis. However, most researchers that also took into account some of the universal theories or "isms" like "cultural relationism," "logical positivism," "pragmatism" and "transcendental realism." It was, however, in 1952 that the most innovative and fascinating piece on the relation of existentialism and education was written by Brameld along with the mutual input of a group of graduate students like Maxine Green and Robert Ennis from the dept of educational philosophy at NYU (Brameld, 1952). Even though this piece makes unsteady associations with educational theories, the focal point was on the deficiency of aggressive strictness of the existentialists as well as their obsession with fear, prejudice and apprehension. This process of thought was mainly inspired by the theory that had already been presented by Soren Kierkegaard and Jean-Paul Sartre (Feinberg and Odeshoo, 2000).

Numerous articles during the 1950s also focused on justifying the prevalence of the association between education and philosophy and other fields. Mostly these articles tried to explain the sphere of the educational philosophy was such a widespread and inter-linked spectrum that it could not be singly encompassed in either education or philosophy (Feinberg and Odeshoo, 2000).

Some of the other pieces that came out that decade mainly were analytical and/or critical of another philosopher's views of and tactics to form educational theories. One of the popularly recurrent philosophers was John Dewey. The theory and viewpoint of Dewey even though is a recurrent feature in most articles in the early 1950s, very few of these articles mention his name in the text or title. Later on, the number of articles that tried explaining Dewey's approach decreased in number to about two a year, on average. Other popular philosophers were Matthew Arnold, Josiah Royce, Martin Buber, Edmund Burke, Charles Pierce, Charles Fourier, John Henry Newman, Aquinas, and G.W.F. Hegel. Most of the articles written on these philosophers were based on bringing back their philosophical notions for example Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller's viewpoint was brought back in the innovative article written by Kenneth Winetrout in 1956 (Winetrout, 1956).

There were also quite a few articles that chose to concentrate only the numerous problems or aspects of the education policies present like the level of educational liberty available to both the students and the teachers, the educational as well as peripheral responsibilities of the academic management. An example of an essay of this format is the article written by Willard Spalding who was the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at the time. He in this article tried to design a completely fresh notion and theory of training the teachers. He believed that this could be achieved by invalidating what he believed to be the conservative or traditional comprehension of the association amid the traits and various units of education (Spalding, 1951). He followed the viewpoint first brought forth by Aristotle that regarded the numerous units as the primary factors whereas the traits as the secondary factors. Spalding supported this viewpoint because he believed that this led to a more lucid understanding of the society's needs and requirements for the educational standards, temperaments and policies (Feinberg and Odeshoo, 2000).

Most educational theories have over the years become more dependent and linked to the sphere of the philosophy of education. These forms of essays were not very common in the earlier years and were in fact less lucid, instead, education and its association to other fields were the main focus for many articles like the association between education and sociology (Znaniecki, 1951), economics, literature, and psychology. Most of these articles were mixed in their relevance of the associations formed, especially those that focused on education and psychology. Articles like the Adolescent Feeling of Psychological Isolation" or "An Analysis of Horney's Concept of the Real Self" (Collier and Lawrence, 1951; Robbins, 1958) showed very weak associations to education. Oscar Oppenheimer's view of the individual's right to freedom and growth expressed in "Freedom and Mental Health" is still very much visible in numerous writing especially by writers like Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum (Oppenheimer, 1952).

One of the other explored ideas or relations through these articles was the association of religions with education. All these articles spanned the main religions of the world like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. And how the traditions of these religions were relevant to the numerous curriculum preferences and how they further influenced the educational structure. The majority of these types of essays were published in 1953 and some of the prominent ones are "The Problem of Religious Courses in a State University" by Oliver Martin, "Religion and Public Education" by Samuel Burkhard and "Should Parochial Schools Receive Public Funds?" By Irwin Widen (Spalding, 1951; Widen, 1953; Burkhard, 1953; Martin, 1953).

One of the other theories explored in various essays was the impact that a significant issue would have on education. Most of the subject matter in these essays focused on the founding educational and philosophical theories like "freedom," "liberty," "democracy," which were mainly popular. Theories of ontology," "causation," "nature," and "the Good" were also written about under the philosophical terms and lights. One of the most innovative patterns found in these writings were the incorporation of the everyday verbal philosophy or polygonal language assessment within the educational sphere; some example of this are "Philosophical Semantics and Education" by Richard Dettering and "Needs and the Curriculum" by Henry J. Perkinson (Dettering, 1951; Perkinson, 1959).

Educational Theory and Philosophy during 1960's

It was the launching of the Russian rocket, Sputnik, which made the American scholars jump up and realize that they were lagging behind in the scientific and technological spheres. This launch led to a thorough analysis of the schools that revealed the conditions of majority of the schools were deficient of effective disciplinary procedures and principles and the school administrators were not paying attention to the academic prospectus (Greene, 2000).

This led to a sudden and hurried array of reforms. The U.S. government invested in the prompt and efficient education in the spheres of science and technology. The admission process became more congested as more and more students were urged to pursue education. The dimension of the curriculums became more dynamic and included wide fields of science. The teachers were given official training and given more incentives to work harder so that the U.S. could get up to speed with the education standards of Russia and other countries (Greene, 2000).

While the school administrators concentrated on the reforms being introduced, the philosophers still analyzed and looked for associations between education and the theories of philosophy. Hence, the articles that were written concentrated on the philosophical view of the speedy and popular incorporation of math and social studies in the school curriculum. The articles also paid attention to the varying methods of instruction and the potential impact a single philosophical structure had on the overall execution of the educational policies (Greene, 2000).

One of the significant patterns noticed by the philosophers was that mostly what were considered as significant philosophical developments under the concepts of optimism, practicality, pragmatism or empiricalism, renovation, logical, language values and existentialism were consistently included in the curriculums. The objective for these inclusions, many researchers believed, was to allow the students the opportunity to find logic through the use of metaphysical and epistemological simplifications to attain certain conclusions and reactions (Dewey, 1963; Kant, 1963).

However, Sidney Hook, a New York University philosopher, in one of the most popular articles written for the Harvard Educational Review argued with these objectives extensively. He declared that that there was no logical relevance and use of the epistemological or metaphysical theories within a class setting (Hook, 1956). Also, the debate over the practical implications and relevance of the use of the epistemological or metaphysical theories had extended over along period of time. Hence, Robert Guttchen by the April of 1966 had written an article that analyzed this very debate. He paid attention to and highlighted the numerous methods of questions asked and issues raised in correspondence to their impact on the individualized activity (Guttchen, 1966).

Guttchen first outlined the different perspectives of practice that existed amongst philosophers and hence explained that this was why it was very difficult for the philosophers to agree on one method of educational practice within a school setting. He also tried to bridge a commonality between the tactic endorsed through philosophy and an educational application. Guttchen, however, could not come up with one effective and useful application or consequence of the association that had been formed between the spheres of philosophy and educational practice (Guttchen, 1966).

The important thing to note here, though, is that the researchers of that time were negligent of the social and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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