1- What would you observe in a classroom in which the teacher's philosophy was primarily Reconstructionism? Progressivism? Essentialism? Perennialism? Existentialism? (Please give specific examples)
According to Lehay's Philosophic Inventory (1995): behaviorism, reconstructionism, progressivism, essentialism, and perennialism and existentialism.
1. Reconstructionism: To transform society.
Although reconstruction finds some of its roots in existentialism, it is primarily grounded in the work of pragmatists, like Dewey, Counts, Theodore Brameld, and Ivan Illich, and Paolo Freire.
If you were in a 'reconstructionism' classroom, you would observe the following:
? Teaching that everything in the world is relative and that human beings process that world in order to understand and change it.
? Teaching about transforming of the existing culture based upon their analysis of its inequities and fundamental flaws. They are critical of contemporary society and are viewed as social activists who address international as well as national concerns.
? Teachers providing students with the tools that will enable them to transform the contemporary world through language and high degree of literacy leads to power and become agents of change.
? Teachers playing a critical role in shaping culture, by demonstrating interest in the lives of children--the central responsibility with which they are charged by the state--working boldly and without ceasing for a better social order.
? Students being encouraged to establish useful goal e.g., transforms culture (http://ed.uwyo.edu/faculty/Day/PhilEducActivity.pdf).
Example of a Reconstructionist Class Activity
Ms. Long and her high school civics class have been studying the impact of local ordinances on their community. One ordinance that has caught their attention gives the county commission the power to sell vacant public land to developers. The students want to see a vacant lot near their school made into a park instead of being used to build a parking garage. They study the issue and decide to write a letter to the county commission asking for time to speak at the next county commission meeting. Students work in small groups to research their arguments, get feedback from community residents, and select a group of students to make a presentation, complete with a model of their ideas for the neighborhood park (http://ed.uwyo.edu/faculty/Day/PhilEducActivity.pdf).
2. Progressivism: To solve problems by reflecting on experience.
In a Progressivism classroom, you would observe the following:
? Believing that people learn best from what they consider most relevant to their lives, progressivists center the curriculum around the experiences, interests, and abilities of students.
? Teachers planning lessons that arouse curiosity and push the students to a higher level of knowledge.
? In addition to reading textbooks, the students would be learning by doing.
? Often students would be leaving the classroom for fieldtrips during which they interact with nature or society.
? Teachers would also be stimulating the students' interests through thought-provoking games. For example, modified forms of the board game Monopoly have been used to illustrate the principles of capitalism and socialism.
? Students would be encouraged to interact with one another and to develop social virtues such as cooperation and tolerance for different points of view.
? Also, teachers would be frequently integrating their curricula, encouraging students to see connections across disciplines and to combine learning from several different subjects in one lesson.
? Emphasizes in their curricula would be the study of the natural and social sciences.
? Teachers would be exposing students to many new scientific, technological, and social developments, reflecting the progressivist notion that progress and change are fundamental.
? Students would also be exposed to a more democratic curriculum that recognizes accomplishments of women and minorities as well as white males. In addition, students solve problems in the classroom similar to those they will encounter outside of the schoolhouse; they learn to be flexible problem solvers.
? Believes that education should be a perpetually enriching process of ongoing growth, not merely a preparation for adult lives. They also deny the essentialist belief that the study of traditional subject matter is appropriate for all students, regardless of interest and personal experience.
? Including instruction in industrial arts and home economics; striving to make schooling both interesting and useful.
? Teaching that, ideally, the home, workplace, and schoolhouse blend together to generate a continuous, fulfilling learning experience in life.
? It is the progressivist dream that the dreary, seemingly irrelevant classroom exercises that so many adults recall from ...
Through discussions and examples, this solution explains what a person would observe in a classroom that reflects the following teacher's philosophies: reconstructionism, progressivism, essentialism, perennialism and existentialism, It also explains why it is importance to have a personal philosophy of education.
Writing a Personal Philosophy of Education
articulate, in a scholarly, one page essay, your personal philosophy of education. This essay (1½ to 2 pages in length) should present your personal beliefs about teaching, learning, students, and what the most important issues are in education. This is an opportunity for you to state what you believe to be right and true about current education issues, trends, and educational practices, and how that impacts your role as a teacher or administrator. It is also a reflective piece, providing insights into your constantly developing educational perspective.
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