The writing of this paper has been challenging and refreshing at the same time. Socialized as an African American male in this society, carrying a narrative of a troubled youth in school, and trained as a social worker, I have a rare perspective on education in the United States, which happens to be critical. I see the American educational system as biased, interest driven, and even somewhat harmful. Studying the philosophy of education has broadened my perspective by opening doors for reflection. Thus, writing this paper has been an educational experience as I have wrestled with new, sometimes alien concepts.
Although there are other lenses through which one can study education, such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology, there is a need to deconstruct the present philosophy of education. As Ozmon and Craver (2003) note, the philosophical study of education seems imperative today because this is a critical era of transition
[...] As John Dewey (1960/1980) said: of the weightiest problems with which the philosophy of education has to cope is the method of keeping a proper balance between the informal and the formal, the incidental and the intentional, modes of education” (quoted here from Ozmon & Craver p. 165). References Brameld, T. (1956). Toward a reconstructed philosophy of education. New York: Dryden. Counts, G. S. (1932/1969). Dare the schools build a new social order? New York: Arno Press. Dewey, J. (1916/1980). [...]
[...] From a pragmatic standpoint, to promote democratic citizens schools must themselves be democratic, giving students the widest possible variety in how they address topics. Some students work well independently, others in group settings, and still others in some combination of these (Ozmon & Craver, 2003). For their part, teachers should use a wide variety of means of conveying knowledge, including not only textbooks but also computers, field trips, guest speakers, and group discussions. Some Afrocentric schools and Black Studies programs often dismiss the work of white male theorists, contending that they are unable to understand the experience of marginalization and other cultural biases. [...]
[...] a methodology to rescue those schools. The Need for a New Philosophy of Education Most educators agree that there is a need for a new philosophy of education, or at least for established ideas that can solve the new educational problems. As Ozmon and Craver (2003) note, the philosophy of education is not only a way of looking at ideas but also a way of using those ideas more productively to solve problems. It is important, especially at this time when our public schools are suffering, that the nation support teachers and develop institutions and practices geared to educating all members of society. [...]
[...] From a reconstructionist point of view, our society has forgotten that education should be about social change and not about maintaining the status quo (Ozmon & Craver, 2003). A Proposal to Rescue the Public Schools Education in the sense of passing on information is necessary for human survival. From a pragmatic standpoint, knowledge is transferred from one generation to the next, so education is not something that only occurs in formal academic settings. But in those settings, teachers should always take into account their students' character, interests, advantages, disadvantages, and social environment. [...]
[...] James (1987) described the pragmatic approach in the following way: The universe has always appeared to the natural mind as a kind of enigma, of which the key must be sought in the shape of some illuminating or power- bringing word or name. That word names the universe's principle, and to possess it is after a fashion to possess the universe itself. Absolute,” are so many solving names. You can rest when you have them. You are at the end of your metaphysical quest. [...]
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