In a monograph on philosophy and workplace education, Miller () stated that philosophy ought to provide the framework for establishing practice. Education-for-work practitioners should develop world views from which practice can be analyzed (; ). Utilization of philosophic views gives education-for-work practitioners perspectives from which to view their roles in education.
For example, the ability to learn language is inherited,but subsequent development of this ability through educationis needed to learn any particular language.
Assumptions of the Tradition of Critical Inquiry. Early on in critical philosophy, Greek philosophers distinguished between what they saw as "received opinion" and "truth." This distinction mirrors the difference between what we are calling wisdoms -- and their derived ideologies -- on the one hand, and critical inquiry on the other. Received opinion might be true, but it was the task -- those ancient philosophers believed -- not of traditional or religious authorities but of critical analysis to determine if it was so. There is a potential here for significant conflict. It is important that a central story in the history of philosophy is that of Socrates. He was condemned to death by the Athenian Court for "impiety" and "corrupting youth" by teaching them critical inquiry.
Most importantly, in philosophy as critical inquiry, any statement purporting to be truth is challengable. But what are the rules for making such a challenge more than just an expression of dislike? What rules there are have been developed through millennia in a literature tracing back to Plato and earlier. We will look more closely at these rules for challenge and investigation later.
To emphasize an important point, however, critical inquiry is not confined to the irreligious. The tools of critical inquiry have long been recognized as useful by religiously committed philosophers in their struggle with the wisdoms of competing religious groups. There are recognized critical philosophers in many major religions. Islamic, Jewish and Christian philosophers have practiced in the tradition of critical inquiry.
Progressivism, social reconstructionism, and existentialism place the learner at the center of the educational process: Students and teachers work together on determining what should be learned and how best to learn it.
What are some major philosophies of education in the United States today?Essentialism focuses on teaching the essential elements of academic and moral knowledge.
It is because training a teacher is viewed (if the AERA volume is accurate in its summation) as “an oversimplification of teaching and learning, ignoring its dynamic, social and moral aspects.” This evolution from a training purpose to a preparation purpose started in the 1970s and is described in detail by the AERA volume co-editor and Boston College education professor Marilyn Cochran-Smith, who dismisses training as a “technical transmission activity.”
Many business and industry trainers have relied on behaviorist orientations in the past () and, like vocational education, HRD practice has placed too much emphasis on agrarian and industrial models to drive practice. Stuckey and Berardinelli () contend that educators in business and industry still use traditional methods of training (behaviorism) because they are interested in keeping training formal and traditional. In the 1990s, workplace change caused by political, economic, and social forces has caused HRD practitioners to modify their practice () and adopt new methods that utilize or are driven by philosophic foundations like pragmatism, existentialism, and radicalism.
In 2012, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute surveyed teacher educators, finding substantial evidence that most teacher educators do not see their role, at least not their primary role, to be a trainer of teachers. For example, just 37 percent responded that it was an “absolutely essential” feature of their job to develop “teachers who maintain discipline and order in the classroom.”
This conception of philosophy as wisdoms includes two related ideas: personal reflections on broad questions, and prophetic wisdoms. Such philosophy is generally seen as arising out of personal experience or as having sacred origins. For these reasons we tend not to challenge them with a critical question such as, "How do you know that?"
Harking back perhaps to teacher education’s 19th-century ecclesiastical origins, its mission has shifted away from the medical model of training doctors to professional formation. The function of teacher education is to launch the candidate on a lifelong path of learning, distinct from knowing, as actual knowledge is perceived as too fluid to be achievable. In the course of a teacher’s preparation, prejudices and errant assumptions must be confronted and expunged, with particular emphasis on those related to race, class, language, and culture. This improbable feat, not unlike the transformation of Pinocchio from puppet to real boy, is accomplished as candidates reveal their feelings and attitudes through abundant in-class dialogue and by keeping a journal. From these activities is born each teacher’s unique philosophy of teaching and learning.
Such are the ways of politics, where the crusade of the hour often blocks out everything else, at least until another crusade comes along and takes over the same monopoly of our mind.
Ironically, black high schools in Washington today have many of the so-called "prerequisites" for good education that never existed in the heyday of Dunbar High School-- and yet the educational results are abysmal. "Adequate funding" is always included among these "prerequisites" and today the per pupil expenditure in the District of Columbia is among the highest in the nation. During its heyday, Dunbar was starved for funds and its average class size was in the 40s. Its lunchroom was so small that many of its students had to eat out on the streets. Its blackboards were cracked and it was 1950 before the school had a public address system. Yet, at that point, it had 80 years of achievement behind it-- and only 5 more in front of it.
As a failing ghetto school today, Dunbar has a finer physical plant than it ever had when it was an academic success. Politics is also part of this picture. Immediate, tangible symbols are what matter within the limited time horizon of elected politicians. Throwing money at public schools produces such symbolic results, even if it cannot produce quality education.
Another black school that I studied-- P.