This article presents an overview and tenets of educology theory and its uses and impacts in public education and other education-based programs. Also presented are insights into ways educology impacts current educational thought and an examination into strategies educational professionals could look at themselves through a new lens - the educologist lens. Insights into different models of thinking are offered, drawn from a philosophical perspective. Further discussed are roles and impacts of students, teachers, and administrators in helping students understand and gain advantage from the educologist perspective. A conclusion is given that offers solutions for conceptualizing this relatively new area of thought and strategies for synthesizing the tenets of educology theory into teaching practices.
Keywords Androgogy; Ethology; Pedagogy; Praxiological Educology; Psychopedagogy
Educational Theory: Educology
Differences between Educology
Before examining an overview of educology, it is important for readers to have some understanding of the contrasts between education and educology to determine reasons for the study of educology. Education is typically a process that encompasses both form and function. The form includes the teacher, student, content, and setting. The function includes teaching, studying, and intentional guided learning. Teaching can be discerned with the functions and transaction of all people. The social environment in which education takes place is in peer groups, families, social parties, schools, universities, and work places. Moreover, education is typically guided by a given culture, which is usually the country where the education system is established.
In contrast to education, educology implies the inclusion of all interrelated terms like pedagogy and andragogy. Educology also implies that all aspects of education will be included from early childhood through senescence, as well as including the actual teaching process within other disciplines (Christensen, 1987, p. 5). Educology consists of warranted assertions about the influences under which teaching and studying take place. These influences are constructive, destructive, and reconstructive, and are guided by physical, social, and cultural features, (p. 6). From these contrasts it can be concluded that education and its functions make up one subsystem of the larger system of educology.
Overview of Educology
Educology is a relatively newly developed philosophical lens through which to look at and understand education, educational processes, and educational practices. Educology serves as both as a research methodology and as a foundation on which to build other educational related theories. From the literature, the term educology has been described in a variety of ways, but the hallmark of educology theory is that it is primarily an umbrella term to look at the ways and methods of educating both children and adults. Pukelis (1998) investigated the relationship between educology as a science and philosophy as a science and indicated that trends in both of these sciences "try to relate thought and activity and foresee the methods and perspectives of the latter" (p. 204). To underscore these relationships, the hallmark characteristic is the idea of meta-educology or meta-educational inquiry, which essentially is a way of thinking about education through a meta-cognitive lens. Like meta-cognition is a lens for thinking about our thoughts, meta-educology is a lens for understanding education through a philosophy derived from the philosophies that govern education. These are existentialist lenses for viewing ourselves, our thoughts, and our work. This topic requires stretching and growing on the part of the learner and should be considered as a constructivist process to complement the theoretical development of the learner. The learner could utilize the method of educology to better consider norms for understanding the processes and practices of education.
The term "educology" means the act of having knowledge about education; it is a blending of the terms "education" and "-logy." The term was first created from work done by Professor Lowry W. Harding at Ohio State University in the 1950s. The discipline of educology was formulated because it was "necessary for conducting analytic, empirical (experimental and non-experimental) and normative (or evaluative) inquiry. The educological perspective is inclusive of "scientific praxiological, historical and philosophical discourse about the education process" (International Journal of Educology, 1987). Educology is distinctive from educational language, because of the ways educology classifies, describes and explains human transactions in relationship to teaching, studying, and coming to know with guidance and intentionality (Christensen, 1987, p. 2). Within the conceptual framework of educology, the educological perspective treats the educational perspective like it is the dependent variable or the subject for study, and educology methodology can be used to conduct research and inquiry about the effects of other factors, such as social settings, economic activities and political attitudes, upon the educational process (p. 3, Steiner, 1986, p. 5).
More recently, Pukelis (2011) further refined the definition of educology this way: “research of education (nurturing, learning, and self-nurturing of human beings) phenomena; the study of the verifiable body of knowledge about the teaching–learning process which underlies, and is expressed in, continuing expert discourse” (Pukelis, 2011).
The System that Guides Education
The primary example included within this definitional structure is that education typically has been concerned with the relationship between teaching and learning primarily represented between adults and children. This traditional relationship is known in the literature as "pedagogy." It has been a relationship about the functions and transactions of people (Christensen, 1987, p. 4). Educology on the other hand encompasses the terms of "pedagogy," "andragogy," "ethology," "education," "professional education," and "psychopedagogy" (p. 5). To better conceptualize, educology can be viewed as a system that encompasses educational theories, practices, inquiries, and subsystems. These systems' practices can then be applied to other disciplines, which utilize these practices to teach students. For example, students in medical school are recipients of educational practices. These educational practices are cross-disciplinary and derived from philosophies of educology that are used to drive the inquiry and teaching strategies of medical students. Educology can best be thought of as the system that guides the educational system. In order to grasp the full concept of this idea, individuals must think and reflect and then question.
Important to the knowledge of its practices, the word "educology" was formulated to reduce ambiguity and increase understanding and relevancy of terms bringing into alliance the term with other disciplines’ studies as part of educational programs such as "psychology" and "sociology" (Christensen, 1987, p. 6). To theorists, it would seem that educology was more of an alliance of terms than "education." However, more than just the term itself, educology relates to the philosophies related to education. The philosophy of educology includes the "logic, epistemology, ethics, and praxiology of the educational process" (p. 12).
Framed within the philosophy are techniques and products of educology, which is inquiry. Specifically, inquiry can be considered in terms of the
• Logic Of Inquiry;
• Techniques Of Inquiry, And
• Products Of Inquiry.
The techniques of inquiry include: conducting surveys, experimentation, drawing analogies, running simulations, locating documents, taking notes, classifying objects, defining terms, and clarifying concepts. These techniques are critical for forming educology, because they "constitute the discipline requisite for conducting educological research or inquiry, including retro-search, research, and neo-search (p. 16). The philosophy of educology can be applied to multiple disciplines including: scientific educology, praxiological educology, normative philosophical educology, analytic philosophical educology, historical educology, and jurisprudential educology (p. 18). In layman's terms, this indicates that all levels of education and all subtopics that require educational models of inquiry or delivery can be viewed through the lens of educology. In this way, educology acts as a philosophical and theoretical foundation upon which "educational" practices are constructed.
Educology: An Education Perspective
Professional education and training have two main purposes identified as personal and social criteria aimed at preparing students for personal, social, and professional gain. In the past, professional education and training has defined the curricula...
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