Tag: John Dewey


Critical Analysis of Supervision for Learning: A Performance-Based Approach To Teacher Development and School Improvement by James M. Aseltine, Judith O. Faryniarz and Anthony J. Rigazio-DiGilio

The relevance of the book by Aseltine et al cannot be overstated. With respect to the state of education in the United States, the book takes a comprehensive survey of the education system. By doing so, it identifies the inherent weaknesses of the system, while also suggesting robust corrective measures. At the heart of the training philosophy promoted by the book, is recognition of the role of teachers in molding students, but also in the reputation of the school as a whole. In the process of reading the book I had noted down my impressions, reactions, criticisms and an overall evaluation of the work. These have synthesized into my thesis statement. Giving due acknowledgement for the positive facets of the book, including its numerous insights and action plans for teacher and school improvement, I will however argue that as a result of its limited focus the book fails to recognize and address larger systemic factors that have undermined the education system.

One of the . . . Read More

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Education in the Future

Education is very important for social progress.  Whether our civilization will flourish or not is dependent on the quality of education we offer children.  As it stands, the education system today has a few obvious flaws.  The foremost is the emphasis on competition and grades, which turns students into machines that cram up data before an examination.  But such a method is unlikely to produce original and critical thinkers for the future. So, in order to have a bright future for education as well as for society a revision in education methods, curriculum and goals is called for.

One of the ways in which to secure the future of education is to embrace bold and experimental systems of education.  The Pragmatist education model that was inspired by philosopher John Dewey is a case in point.  In this system there are no grades for individual performance.  What matters is creativity, community participation and collective problem-solving.  The curriculum is also not . . . Read More

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New Perspectives on Philosophy and Education: Pragmatism

Pragmatism: Summary

Philosophers such as John Dewey, Charles Peirce and William James are the founding fathers of Pragmatism in education.  These influential thinkers rejected Idealistic education model and instead conceived of schools as institutions for practical goals. The curriculum is based on performing activities, history and geography, and scientific problem solving. Progressive politics is also taught to students. Students are encouraged to take a pragmatic approach to problem solving.  The curriculum is not rigidly set.  In contrast only the broad outline is provided within which a variety of course content could be accommodated. The teachers play the role of a mentor to students.  There is no standardized evaluation of learning. Moreover, the process involves experimentation and learning through experience rather through concepts.  Pragmatism also rejects Metaphysical Absolutes and Metaphysical Dualisms.

Pragmatism: Synthesis . . . Read More

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What is the problem with education in the United States today?

It is fair to claim that the state of education in the United States today is symbolic of the state of the nation.  The biggest concern is the falling of scholastic standards.  It is believed that programs such as No Child Left Behind may have actually undermined the quality and parity in education. There is consensus among educationists that math and literacy proficiency among American students is lower compared to their European counterparts from the same age group. Such learning deficiencies have profound implications for the country’s future.  In the context of economic globalization, many American jobs are already being offered to skilled workers from India and China.  If the standard of education continues to dilute then American graduates and post-graduates will find it more difficult to compete with workers from the rest of the world.

The other big concern is the rising tuition fees at a time of prolonged economic recession.  This means that for many . . . Read More

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Should college students have complete freedom to choose their own courses and create their own curriculum?

The degree and scope of academic freedom has been a perennial topic of debate. But generally, it is the governing authorities who have their way, with students having to toe the line. In an ideal world, though, students will play a significant role in determining the courses and subjects to be included in their curriculums. While students in primary and secondary stages of education need to have a standard basic curriculum, those reaching college level should be given more autonomy. This relaxation is recommended keeping in mind that college students are entering adulthood and have a right to choose the type of individuals they want to become. (Robertson & Smith, 1999, p.69) As the system functions today, college students are forced to conform to an educational model that was not designed in their interests. In other words, the existing educational system serves to indoctrinate young minds into obedient servants of the established social order. At the top of the social pyramid . . . Read More

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Philosophy of Education in the Elementary School setting

Formal education is something most children in our country have the privilege of attending. To its credit, the education system in the United States has extended literacy and math skills to several generations of students. As a result, the country overall has become more educated. The percentage of young adults passing high-school has increased steadily; and so has the number of graduates, post-graduates and doctoral students. Yet, when we look at what kind of products children turn out to be at the end of this process, the results are not satisfactory. When we look at how far formal education serves to ‘enlighten’ young minds, the answer is disappointing. When we look at young adults’ ability to make informed choices about what they consume or their ability to act as responsible citizens of a democratic country, etc., we find plenty of inadequacies. These aspects of the education system make me uneasy. As opposed to imparting necessary cognitive tools for young people . . . Read More

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