I'll be using the following texts to complete this assignment:
Criteria of Experience (1938) by John Dewey
My Pedagogic Creed by John Dewey
Emile or On Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Reclaiming a Conversation: The Ideal of the Educated Woman (1985) by Jane Roland Martin
Here are the topic ideas for philosophical beliefs that I need to consider for this assignment:
Religion being part of a child's education
The primary purpose of education is to teach new information
The primary purpose of education is to teach you how to think
Education currently serves to preserve the status quo
It is important to always question authority
It’s human nature to want to do bad things—no matter how good education is or how positive the environment is, there will always be bad people
Formal education focuses too much on academic subjects—it should incorporate teaching about the emotions and relationships
I. Summary of the Assignment
The purpose of the Educational Philosophy paper is to formulate your philosophy of education based on your reflection on the readings and class discussions, as well as your own experience. While your philosophy should be unique and not a reformulation of an educational philosophy covered in class, you should rely on class readings and discussions to help you think critically about your own philosophy as well as to formulate criticisms. Please note this is not a research paper. The use of texts other than those assigned in the syllabus or any kind of secondary sources is not permitted. (The required length is 5-7 pages.) An Educational Philosophy paper must satisfy the following three requirements:
Present and defend a position on education as it should be, formulated in terms of three principles.
Consider and respond to possible criticisms for each educational philosophy principle.
Relate each principle to the views of at least three authors from the course syllabus.
Introduction Paragraph (paragraph 1): Here you present the main ideas that will be discussed in the paper. Make sure to include your three key principles of education and the three key authors to be discussed. Also mention that you will be considering criticisms of your principles.
Body Paragraphs: Here is where you expand upon and support your main ideas in the following order. (Roughly one paragraph per section but can be more).
Paragraph 2: Principle 1
Paragraph 3: Criticism of Principle 1
Paragraph 4: Discussion of Author 1 in connection to Principle/Criticism 1
Paragraph 5: Principle 2
Paragraph 6: Criticism of Principle 2
Paragraph 7: Discussion of Author 2 in connection to Principle/Criticism 2
Paragraph 8: Conclusion Paragraph Here, you briefly summarize your arguments and discuss implications for society or education, hopes for the future, recommendations for teachers, and so on.
III. The Three Requirements in Detail
(1) Basic Principles of your Philosophy of Education
Whether you are aware of it or not, and even whether you are planning to be a teacher or not, you already have certain beliefs about what education should be. These principles should be consistent with your view of the major purposes of education. Identify three of those beliefs and explore each one both analytically and with examples. It is required that your principles cover three different areas or topics of controversy in philosophy of education. For instance, do not make all of your principles about pedagogy/teaching methods. If you have one belief about pedagogy/teaching methods, then the other two beliefs should be on different areas. Look back through your class notes and activities for ideas. The following are some additional ideas on possible areas to explore (adapted from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Spring 2009 Edition, Edward N. Zalta, Ed.):
Should education primarily serve to transmit knowledge or to foster critical thinking?
What curriculum and methods would best achieve the desired results?
How is learning possible and what does it mean to have learned something? How much of this is based on capacities and personalities present at birth and how much can be changed? How flexible are human beings?
Which should be given priority—education for personal development, citizenship, or employment? Liberal education or vocational education?
How is education different from enculturation? How is it different from indoctrination?
What should be the relation between education and maintenance of class structure in society? Should different classes or cultural groups be given different education programs?
Do the rights and beliefs of children, parents, and socio-cultural or ethnic groups conflict, and if so who should be dominant?
Should all children have a right to state-provided education? If so, should this education respect the beliefs and customs of all groups?
Keep your principles at a philosophical level, meaning general and abstract enough so that can be applied to many different concrete experiences. Choose principles that you can imagine someone possibly disagreeing with. If the principle seems obvious and you cannot imagine anyone disagreeing with it, then revise your principle.
Example of a belief that would be too specific: "I believe teaching how to use the Internet is important." (Why is it important? How does it connect to your views on the purpose of education, etc.?)
(2) Criticisms and Responses
For each of the principles of your educational philosophy you present, formulate a possible criticism in the form of a counterargument and response. Present each counterargument as convincingly as you can and then respond to it, defending your principle.
(3) Discussion of Three Authors from the Syllabus
Relate each principle to one author from the syllabus. There should be a different author for each principle, adding up to three authors in your whole paper. The purpose of using the authors is to strengthen and clarify your position, as well as to show your understanding of their view. For each of the three chosen authors, provide at least one key quote from the author with page reference.
IV. General Advice:
Stick to the outline & detailed outline.
Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence (what am I doing in this paragraph?), followed by supporting arguments, evidence, and detail.
Although each topic or principle is discussed in a separate section, think about the overall organization and cohesion of the paper (e.g., perhaps a more general principle about the function of education should precede a principle about curriculum).
Properly cite the ideas and findings of others. Although you are writing in your voice, you will also be presenting the work of others. To avoid plagiarism, be sure to properly credit other authors’ arguments and findings. Unless you are quoting, be sure to paraphrase. This means expressing an original idea in your own words, not replacing a few words in a paragraph. When quoting directly, include page number(s) in parentheses after the quote.
V. Detailed Outline
Introduction Paragraph: Here you present the main ideas that will be discussed in the paper. Make sure to include your three key principles of education and the three key authors to be discussed. Also mention that you will be considering criticisms of your principles.
First Belief: Development:
"D" for "DEFINITIONS" = what are they key concepts in your principle? What do they mean? Spend extra time with any concepts that might be vague or interpreted different ways and make sure it’s clear how you are understanding that term. (e.g. if your principle has the word "education" in it, what does that mean? Are you including education from all sources or just formal education in schools?)
"R" for "REASONS" = what are your supporting reasons? Make sure you can defend your argument using just 2 or 3 reasons. Preferably one of your reasons should be more general and involve the deeper value you care about, while the other reason should connect to your specific topic. (This will be shown in class.) Note it is OK and even recommended to use clear, direct language like "my first reason is…"
"E" for "EXAMPLES"= evaluate a personal example from your own life and education in light of the principle. This can be from any stage/source of your education including parents, family, teachers, mentors, learning on your own, etc. The example can be positive, that is, something which illustrates the principle at work, or negative, that is, something which does not show the principle at work, but you wish it had. In the negative case, suggest at least one specific way in which you wish things had been different. Explain in detail. (e.g., If your belief is "Formal education should include more 'reproductive' processes." and you wish this had been the case more starting in elementary school, explain why you wish you this had been done more and one specific class/situation which you think did not fit with this belief.)
Criticism of First Belief
Criticism could be just going against the whole belief OR you can also criticize one of the reasons provided (either is fine)
It is recommended to choose criticisms that are more at the ideas level rather than the practical level. (e.g., better: someone might disagree with my belief above and argue that it will harm students; worse; someone might disagree with my belief and argue that it will just be too hard to carry out.)
Response to the criticism (i.e., why you think this criticism is not good and your argument still holds up well)
Discussion of Connected Author
overall statement on how you think the author connects—would he agree or disagree with your belief?
general explanation of how author’s ideas connect to either your belief
minimum of one quote with page number to elaborate and illustrate author’s ideas
Now repeat the process for the second belief (paragraphs 5, 6, 7) and the third belief (paragraphs 8, 9, 10).
Conclusion Paragraph: Here, you briefly summarize your arguments and discuss implications for society or education, hopes for the future, recommendations for teachers, and so on.
[First belief which includes concepts x, y, etc.] There might be ambiguity over some of the concepts in this belief. For this paper, I define [x] as_________________ I define [y] as _________________ .
My first reason for supporting this belief is_________________ [deeper value behind the belief]. This matters to me because_________________ ["why"s behind the reason]. My second reason_________________ [repeat same process].
My belief is based on an example from my personal experience. This example is from…. (Describe what period in your life/ source of education and whether it was a positive or negative example of your belief.)
Someone may criticize my belief above and argue that_________________ . [either say something directly against the belief or something directly against one of your supporting reasons which you already provided]. This critic might argue this because_________________ . [give further reasons for that criticism, from the perspective of the critic]. Further, the critic would also not like my example and would argue that_________________ . [main problem with example – usually that it would be harmful rather than beneficial in some way; do not just say it is hard to practice – this is a weak form of criticism].
I realize there is some merit to this criticism. I agree with the critic that_________________ . [see if you can find at least one point of agreement, even if it is as minimal as wanting the best possible education]. However, I think the criticism is flawed because_________________ . [point out some problems with the critic’s reasoning. E.g. they are not taking into account some important factor, or they have a wrong view of what is harmful, etc.] I still believe that _________________. [restate your belief.]
An author that would be interested in my belief and criticism is _________________ [name of author]. I think [author] would probably [support/oppose] my belief. Although the author does not directly state my belief in the text, [he/she] does write about_________________ [Author] values_________________ [some value or deeper philosophy of author] and this is line with my belief because_________________ [explanation]. One quote which best shows the connection to my belief is_________________ [quote](page number). This quote means_________________ [your own paraphrase]. One thing the author would add to [my argument/the critic’s argument] is_________________ [this can be an additional consideration or extra reason which you had not already presented. The point is to use the author to say something new about your belief which you had not said before].