This paper explains my own understanding of philosophy of education and its importance, while at the same time critiquing and reviewing other philosophies. Philosophy is the rational thought about all the things that affect human beings, and involves processes of asking questions. We all have certain beliefs and opinions concerning important ideas like the purpose of education, purpose of living, and ones need for religion. I generated my personal philosophy in the process of analyzing and questioning my beliefs, which include why we need quality education in our learning institutions. According to my own understanding, quality education does not entail passing of knowledge only, but also virtues and values needed in the society. Philosophy of education is the study of the nature, progressions, purposes and essences for the education in our society (Goering, Shudak & Wartenberg, 2013). It mainly explains how the philosophical theories came into existence in our society today. It enables one to see why and how the theories oppose or complement each other, which in the long run helps in critiquing and guiding the development of the theories.
Having adequate philosophical knowledge will help one in justifying the teaching methodologies, identify and challenge any norms concerning nature of education. It also provides additional language for educational debates. Tagging to that, teaching as a scholarly and professional activity can be promoted with the use of philosophy. The main aim of education is to help man develop and improve oneself and other people as well. It attempts to develop a person’s personality in preferred and specific directions. This is where the role of philosophy in education comes in, since it has its educational implications (Noddings, 2011). By critiquing and reviewing different philosophical theories, one will be able to make informed decisions regarding how to approach and understand the theories and apply them in daily life experiences. It is also evident that different individuals will come up with their varied understandings of philosophy of education. My philosophy agrees and disagrees with the existing philosophies like idealism, realism and Neo-Scholasticism.
The metaphysics for my own philosophy relates to that of Idealism and Neo-Scholasticism. I belief that for one to have quality education, the use of human reason and faith in one’s religion have to be considered. Neo-Scholasticism suggests that one has to acquire more knowledge through the use of human reasoning then rely on faith in that jurisdiction beyond the possibility of human understanding. I agree with this fact because, my perception of reality and morality goes beyond human understanding. Just like Idealism and Neo-Scholasticism, I believe that human beings can use their human reasoning to explain certain concepts to a specific limit, and then go beyond human reasoning to solve the remaining issues (Goering et al, 2013). This is to mean that faith in one’s religion is the center of all reality. While I associate with Idealism, I believe that for one to make ethical and wise judgments we have to give more attention to the invisible things like ideas and thoughts. Teachers should take the active role of instilling quality education to children that can end up reducing vices in the society.
The first educational philosophy is that of Idealism, which suggest that all the invisible things like ideas and thoughts have to be given more attention than the visible things. The idealists believe that reality lies in the realm of a person’s mind and it cannot be sensed with fingers, eyes or ears. The idealist also believe that virtues are determined and modeled by God, which means that for an individual to behave in an ethical manner, the person has to conform to the invisible God. This aspect of the philosophy relates closely to my own philosophy, because I argue that for an individual to get quality education, it should be based on both virtue and knowledge delivery by the teachers. According to the idealists, education is meant to bring other people into the conformity to the perfect self and common moral law (Shapiro, 2012). Teachers are supposed to serve as role models for their students since they understand reality more clearly than the students. Students on the other hand are mandated to develop their intellectual capacity more than other things because reality is centered in ideas and the mind.
The major role of education according to the idealists is to bring students into the world of ideas with the main aim of improving their way of thinking and understanding of absolute reality. This means that they are isolated from other experiences of life outside academics. I disagree with this part, because students are supposed to be all rounded, by instilling all aspects of life in schools so that they are able to embrace the changing environmental and social conditions in the society without difficulties. The idealist also believe that since children spend most of their time in schools, parents should delegate most of the care and authority to the teachers and instructors since they are considered to be more absolute self than the parents (Lone & Israeloff, 2011). This is also disputable because parents have their role to play in teaching good virtues and dogmas to their children and it should not be left to the teachers only. The idealists also believe that education should be controlled by those who have better understanding of the ultimate reality, which I disagree with. Education should be controlled by all the relevant stakeholders, including the students and their parents. Students have the right to contribute on what they see it matters to their growth and development in schools.
The second philosophy is that of Realism, which suggest that objects of a person’s senses exist independently of their being known by the person’s mind. Realists believe that a better understanding of ideas can be obtained through the study and specialization of particular things. They also argue that truth can be established by studying physical phenomena which follow the natural laws. According to this philosophy, values are determined by the natural laws and that morality can be identified through the study of human nature. This is opposed by my philosophy because it states that values and morality can be instilled in schools through the use of quality education, and not human nature (Shapiro, 2012). The realists believe that things are beautiful when they seem to reflect on what it appears in nature, which is always not the case in all circumstances. It is important to add that appearance can give false impressions of someone or an idea.
The realist suggest that education should serve the purpose of enabling the students have a better understanding of reality through the use of correct and efficient methods of studying phenomena. I tend to disagree with this because education is meant to develop a student in a manner that they can be able to solve the problems in their surroundings. This could be one of the reasons why I did not experience this type of philosophy. Students are to sense and understand reality and natural laws that govern them, but the only disadvantage is that sometimes they are governed by the laws to an extent that they are not able to perceive them accurately. This is why I proposed the use of quality education in schools. The realists add that teachers should pass the natural facts that have been verified by research to the students with minimal personal bias (Lone & Burroughs, 2016).
The final philosophy is that of Neo-Scholasticism, which suggest that reality is made up of reason and the existence of reasonable God. This means anything that is natural can be understood through the use of scientific processes, while those that are not natural can understood with the use of intuition, faith and revelations from God. It has elements of both idealism and realism. Thomas Aquinas, one of the known Neo-Scholastic philosophers added that for an individual to acquire as much knowledge as possible, the individual should first use human reasoning and then rely on faith in scopes beyond human understanding. My philosophy agrees in detail with this part, in that for a person to achieve quality education, the person must have both knowledge required in that specific field and the moral values and virtues. This can be enhanced by the belief and faith in one’s religion. The philosophers argue that the mind is oriented towards the rationality of the universe naturally, adding that it can hold on certain truths by itself (Cahn, 2011).
This theory also suggest that moral life is always in harmony with reasoning, in that morally good people place their emotions and wills under the ability of their intellects. It also suggests that things are good-looking when it only pleases the intellect and not on physical appearances. According to this philosophy, the main aim of education is develop the student’s abilities to reason and accept the evidence based truths. My philosophy agrees with this aspect because of the fact that reasonable individuals act virtuously in the long run. Teachers have the role of deciding what the students can learn, with the main aim of helping them develop the abilities to reason accurately. My philosophy disagrees with this fact, because students have the right to choose what they want. But on the other hand, when it comes to instilling discipline and moral values, teachers need not to be concerned with what their students wish to learn because they are seen as their mental disciplinarians (Lone & Israeloff, 2011). I once experienced this philosophy, and teachers were mandated to ensure that all students believed in the existence of God. This helped in instilling moral principles to all the students in the learning institution.
In conclusion, my philosophy agrees with some principles of the three philosophies, and disagrees with others. I agree with the fact that quality education in schools can help in reducing the rising vices in our society today (Goering et al, 2013). And with that, philosophy of education should be one of the ways of reclaiming back creativity, innovation, ethics and morality which are losing their values in our learning institutions.
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