Tuesday, November 6, 2007



In this chapter, we shall cover

• Philosophy of Education

- Basic Concepts of philosophy and education

• Western Philosophy of Education

- traditional

- modern

• Islamic Philosophy of Education

- Concepts of Islamic philosophy

• The National Philosophy of Education

- Factors influencing the formulation of the National Philosophy of Education

- Elements in the National Philosophy of Education

• The Philosophy of Teacher Education

- Goals

- Conceptual Model of Teacher Education

- Teaching Values

• Implications of the national philosophy of education and the philosophy of teacher education on the role of the teacher as an educator

Key Terms

• Philosophy

• Education

• Realism

• Idealism

• Pragmatism

• Existentialism

• Metaphysics

• Axiology

• Epistemology

• Logic

• Perennialism

• Essentialism

• Progressivism

• Reconstructionism

• National Philosophy of Education

• Philosophy of teacher education

• Islamic Philosophy of Education

Further Reading

Armstrong,D.G., Henson, K.T. & Savage,T.V. (1995). Education : An Introduction. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Ozmon,H.A. & Craver, S.M. (1995). Philosophical Foundations of Education. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Teacher Education Division. 1982. The Philosophy of Education (Report of the National Workshop and Survey), Ministry of Education.
http://www.soe.purdue.edu/fac/georgeoff/phil am ed/essentialism.html

Suggested Input

1. Philosophy

Philosophy literally means ‘ love for wisdom and has traditionally implied the pursuit of wisdom.” It is a comprehensive, holistic and logical investigation on human thoughts in the field of religion, arts, science and education.

2. Metaphysics

Metaphysics is concerned with the nature of reality. It is defined as beyond the physical or the material. It deals with questions that go beyond what can be answered by reference to scientific investigation. It is speculative and focus on issues as the nature of cause-effect relationships. It relates to teaching in terms of thoughts about educational goals, the selection of appropriate content and educational goals, and attitudes towards the general nature of learners. Metaphysics asks such questions as the following: Is there a body of universal knowledge to be learned? Who should decide what is to be learned? Are learners basically good and trustworthy?

3. Epistemology

3.1 Epistemology is concerned with the nature of knowledge. Answers to epistemological questions provide a rationale for selecting material that is worth teaching and learning and suggest how information should be taught. Two basic epistemological questions are:

What constitutes knowledge?
Is knowledge fixed or changing?

3.2 Another basic epistemological question centers on what might be described as ways of knowing and the reliability of methods of knowing. Basically the issue is one of whether knowledge comes from revelation, from authority, from intuition, from the senses or from reason or experimentation.

3.3 Teachers’ approaches to teaching content to learners says a good deal about their own answers to basic epistemological questions. For example, a teacher who insists that learners master specific facts and principles that others have discovered operates on the assumption that there is such a thing as true knowledge. Other teachers who are more interested in teaching the processes of problem-solving, imply that there is no ultimate “truth” and that it makes better sense for youngsters to learn some skills that will be useful to them in arriving at answers that are situational –specific.

4. Axiology

4.1 Axiology focuses on questions about what “ought to be”. It deals with the nature of values and relates to the teaching of moral values and character development. The topics of morality, ethics and aesthetics fall into this philosophical category. Some questions associated with axiology are :

How should life be lived?
What is the nature of existence?
Does life have any meaning?
What is moral and immoral?
What is beauty?

4.2 Another important axiological question of a different kind concerns the nature of ‘right’ conduct. How should a person behave? What is moral behavior? How do individuals know when they are doing the right thing? Some argue that there are universal principles or guidelines that can be followed. Some reject the idea but contend that appropriateness of behavior is situation-specific.

5. Logic

5.1 Logic is the science of exact thought and it deals with the relationships among ideas and with the procedures used to differentiate between valid and fallacious thinking. Logic can help you to communicate more effectively by encouraging a careful, systematic arrangement of the thoughts. It can assist you as you work to evaluate the consistency of learners’ reasoning. It also contributes to your ability to assess the reliability of the new information you encounter.

5.2 There are two basic types of logic- deductive and inductive logic. Deductive logic begins with a general conclusion and then elucidates this conclusion by citing examples and particulars that logically flow from it. Inductive logic begins with particulars then reasoning focuses on these particulars and proceeds to a general conclusion that explains them.

6. Realism

6.1 Realism stresses on objective knowledge and values. The essential doctrines of realism hold that (1) there is a world of real existence that human beings have not made or constructed; (2)this real existence can be known by the human mind; and (3) such knowledge is the only reliable guide to human conduct both individual and social.

6.2 Reality is objective and is composed of matter and form. It is fixed based on natural law. Knowing consists of sensation and abstraction. Values are absolute and eternal, based on nature’s laws.

6.3 The realist stresses a curricular consisting of organized, separate subject matter, content and knowledge that classifies objects. The most general and abstract subjects are at the top of the curricular hierarchy and gives particular and transitory subjects at a lower order of priority. Logic and lessons that exercise the mind and that cultivate rational thought are stressed. Concepts and systems that can be organized into subjects such as ethical, political and economic thought are included in the curriculum. The three R’s are also necessary in a person’s basic education.

6.4 Realist views subject matter experts as the source of authority and reality and truth emanate from both science and art.

7. Idealism

7.1 Reality is spiritual or mental and unchanging. Knowing is the rethinking of latent ideas and values are absolute, eternal and universal.

7.2 Idealists stressed on the importance of mind over matter. Ideas are the only true reality. They do not reject matter, but hold that the material world is characterized by change, instability and uncertainty while ideas are enduring.

7.3 Idealists conceive of people as thinking beings, having minds capable of seeking truth through reasoning and of obtaining truth by revelation.

7.4 It is concerned with the student as one who has enormous potential for growth, both morally and cognitively.

7.5 Curriculum is hierarchical and it constitutes the cultural heritage of mankind; it is based on learned disciplines, illustrated by the liberal arts curriculum. The most general subjects are philosophy and theology; mathematics is important with history and literature being sources of moral and cultural models. Natural and physical sciences are lower down the hierarchy while language is an important subject for communication and facilitates conception of thought.

8. Pragmatism

8.1 Reality is the interaction of an individual with the environment or experience and it is also changing. Knowing results from experiencing and the use of scientific method. Values are situational or relative.

8.2 It is based on change, process and relativity. It construes knowledge as a process in which reality is constantly changing. Learning occurs as the person engages in problem solving.

8.3 Pragmatists believe that nothing can be viewed intelligently except in relation to a pattern. The whole affects the parts and the parts and the whole are all relative. Teaching is more exploratory and what is needed is a method for dealing with change and scientific investigation in an intelligent manner.

8.4 Dewey viewed education as a process for improving the human condition. The curriculum is for based on the child’s experiences and interests and prepares him or her life’s affairs and for the future. The subject is interdisciplinary ; the stress is on problem-solving.

8.5 Pragmatists consider teaching and learning to be a process of reconstructing experience according to the scientific method. Learning takes place in an active way as learners solve problems.

9. Existentialism

9.1 Reality is subjective, with existence preceding essence. Knowing to make personal choices and should be freely chosen.

9.2 Existentialists prefer to free learners to choose what to study and also to determine what is true and by what criteria to determine these truths. Learners are free to choose from the many available learning situations. Learners are free to choose the knowledge they wish to possess.

9.3 Existentialist curriculum would consist of experiences and subjects that lend themselves to philosophical dialogue and acts of choice making. Subjects that are emotional, esthetic and philosophical are appropriate. Literature, drama, film making and art are important because they portray human condition and choice-making conditions. The curriculum would stress self-expressive activities, experimentation and methods and media that illustrate emotions, feelings and insights.

10. Perennialism

10.1 Perennialism is rooted in realism. It aims to educate the rational person and to cultivate the intellect. Focus on past and permanent studies; mastery of facts and timeless knowledge.

10.2 Teacher helps students think rationally; based on Socratic method, oral exposition; explicit teaching of traditional values.

10.3 The curriculum is a common one and subject-centered. Emphasis on language, literature and mathematics, arts and sciences.

10.4 The teacher is viewed as an authority in the field whose knowledge and expertise are unquestionable. The teacher is the master of the subject and must be able to guide discussion.

11. Essentialism

11.1 Essentialism is rooted in both realism and idealism. It aims promote the intellectual growth of the individual and to educate the competent person. Focus on essential skills and academic subjects; mastery of concepts and principles of subject matter

11.2 Teacher is authority in his or her subject field; explicit teaching of traditional values.

11.3 Essential skills are 3 Rs and essential subjects (English, Science, history, mathematics and foreign languages).

11.4 It is concerned with facts and knowledge and also interested in conceptual thought, principles and theories of subject matter.

11.5 The teacher is considered a master of a particular subject and a model worthy of emulation. The teacher is , in authority and controls the classroom, decides on the curriculum with minimal student input.

12. Progressivism

12.1 Progressivism is based on pragmatism. It aims to promote democratic and social living. Emphasizes change as the essence of reality. It views knowledge as something tentative that may explain present reality . Knowledge leads to growth and development and it focus on active and relevant learning.

12.2 Teacher is a guide for problem solving and scientific inquiry

12.3 Curriculum is based on student’s interests and it involves the application of human problems, interdisciplinary subject matter, activities and projects.

13. Reconstructionism

13.1 Reconstructionism is based on pragmatism. It proposes to improve and reconstruct society. They believe that schools serve as an important catalyst to improve the human condition through educational and social reform.

13.2 Skills and subjects need to identify and ameliorate problems of society. Learning is active and concerned with contemporary and future society

13.3 Teacher serves as an agent of change and reform. He helps students become aware of problems confronting mankind

13.4 Curriculum emphasizes on social sciences and social research methods; focus on present and future trends as well as on the national and international issues


14.1 Definition of Philosophy

Love for wisdom

- Need to obtain the truth and to internalize them

- Make every effort to solve human and humanity problems prevailing in society

14.2 Islamic Philosophy

- Philosophy which is based on the teaching of Islam as obtained from revealed knowledge

- The role of Islamic Philosophy is to explain the relationship between man and his Creator (Allah), between man and man, and between man and his environment.

14.3 Islamic Education

- Islamic education is a process to educate and train the mind, body, soul and emotion of man based on revealed knowledge (al-Quran and As-Sunnah), experiences of salaf al-Salih and prominent educators in the hope to produce human being who is pious, able to carry out his responsibilities as caliph as specified by Allah onto mankind to develop this world in order to achieve happiness in this world and the world after. Islamic education is a process to consciously guide educators mould students based on the teachings of Islam

14.4 Goals and Aims of Islamic Education

- The goal of Islamic Education, based on al-Quran and As-Sunnah, is to mould and develop human being as a Muslim who is knowledgeable, believes in God, performs good deeds, and has good personality in an effort to equip himself and be responsible as a servant to God and be a pious leader.

- The aims of Islamic Education is to educate students:

􀂃 to be of good behavior

􀂃 to achieve perfection in their soul

􀂃 to do good and noble deeds

􀂃 to practice refined culture

􀂃 to get use to cleanliness, sincerity and good practices

14.5 Islamic Philosophy of Education

- Philosophy of education is based on the teaching of Islam or revealed knowledge.

- Islamic Philosophy of Education , Malaysian Ministry of Education states that Islamic education is a continuous effort to deliver knowledge, skills and practices of Islam based on al-Quran and as-Sunnah in developing attitude, skills, personality, and views of life as a servant of God who is responsible to develop oneself, society, environment, and country to achieve happiness in this world and the world after.

- It aims to prepare man with sufficient experiences and knowledge so that he knows who he is, his roles and responsibilities as a servant to God and a leader so as to be devoted human being.

15. National Philosophy of Education

Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on firm belief in God. Our efforts are focused towards creating Malaysian citizen who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards, and who are responsible and capable of achieving a high level of personal well-being and able to contribute to the harmony and prosperity of the family, the society and the nation at large.

1. The Philosophy of Teacher Education

The teacher, who is noble in character, progressive and scientific in outlook, committed to uphold the aspirations of the nation, and cherishes the national cultural heritage, ensures the development of the individual and the preservation of a united,democratic,progressive and disciplined society

Teacher Education Conceptual Model ( refer to syllabus)

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