Should Good Teachers Understand Educational Philosophies?

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"What teachers should learn is the students, not philosophy," a teacher said.

What the purpose of schooling, what's the teacher's role, what should be thought to the student, and what method should be used? A philosophy of education has the answer. There are many kinds of educational philosophies. Many resources explain differently. But, I share only five major educational philosophies with little explanation based on my own understanding. If you need more detail explanation, you can read this article about educational philosophy (1). Bellow are the five major philosophies:

Perennialism is the most traditional one: inflexible and conservative. For perennialists education is constant. Perennialists believe that students should learn the permanencies of world by structured study. 

Essentialism is similar to perennialism: conservative. This perspective emphasize on intellectual and moral standard. Education should be based on the reality out there. However, the core of curriculum may change. 

Prgressivists believe that education should focus on the students, not on the content or the teacher. The students are active. They are the problem solver.

Social reconstructionism
Social reconstructionists prepare students to create better future, better society.

Existentialists believe that students should be allowed to shape their own future.

Those are the five major educational philosophies. The first one is the most classic one, but I still find some teachers are perennialists and essentialists. However, learning philosophy doesn't mean just memorizing the thought of former philosophers.

In philosophy the student becomes the active inquirer, thinker, and solver of problems and not just a passive learner who memorizes ideas.  Philosophy develops skills of critical and moral thinking, argumentation, information management, research, communication, abstract reasoning, and analytic and synthetic thinking.

Students of philosophy also learn to identify important fundamental questions about themselves and their world through the process of clear, critical thinking and argumentation. (2)

Learning Philosophy is Not Important and just A Waste of Time

Many people included some teachers consider learning philosophy is not important. I take a look on such those teachers. "Is it Okay for teachers saying such statement?" I see most teachers and students of pedagogy program in certain universities in my country Indonesia are not interested in learning educational philosophy because of some reasons.

They are creative
Such teachers are creative. Some teachers and pedagogy students who claim learning philosophy is not important are creative. "No need to learn any theory. No need to define everything. There's no good theory, but only good action. Just take action," they said. Doing without thinking. What they do is like doctors give their patients a lot of medicines hoping one or some of them can cure the disease. It is a fact I see around me. Maybe it exists in other part of this planet too. "I tell you the fact of education around me". I met such teachers in reality.

Why do I said they are creative? Yeah, they want to find something without knowing the former one. They want to teach without learning how the way the former teachers did. "If I know what teachers in the past did, so I imitate their method. It's me..!!" What if you meet such teacher?

They are confused
The second reason of those who don't want to learn philosophy is "Confusing", yeah, they are confused. When I was teaching in junior high school, there was a teacher told me his experience when he was studying in a university (Master degree). "In philosophy class, I and my friends asked our professor, 'What does this lesson mean, Sir?' And he responded with unclear explanation, as though he himself was also confused of this subject." LOL.

They learn by doing
The next reason a belief that action is more important than some consideration or thought. "No need to think too much, just keep doing. No need to analyze what philosophy: perennialism, existentialism, or whatever. The more action you do, the more experience you have, and the better you do." I have experience teaching with such teacher. Having a meeting with him is nothing. He just considered everything based on his own experience: no theory, minimum definition. He often did everything without preparation. "I want to teach my students this by this way. I want it...!!" No cooperation and little consideration. Once he made a big mistake and all teachers should be responsible and get the risk.

Learning Philosophy is haram (Not permissible)
The forth reason is stated by some Islamic teachers. You can read the article which explain that learning philosophy is haram in Islam (3). However, many students of Islamic schools in my country Indonesia study philosophy. Most of them are Nahdlatul Ulamak (NU) community. I have several discussions with some Islamic teachers who never learn philosophy. One thing I found absent in their thought is 'Clear definition' of what being discussed. They have little concept, they don't synthesize and analyze clearly.

The first time I read philosophy book was also in my Islamic dormitory where I lived and study about Islam. Some Islamic teachers told me that learning philosophy can lead Muslim astray. Yeah, I see some of them who learn philosophy are strange. However, learning philosophy strengthen my mind. My thought become more conceptual. Unfortunately, when I was a student of pedagogy program, I was the unlucky one, being in the class of educational philosophy with unqualified lecturer.

In my point of view, a teacher should guide student, how can s/he guides them if s/he don't want to see the world? A teacher should know and understand everything, moreover, a teacher should know how to be closed to halal things and to get ride of haram things. I quote an explanation of the exception bellow.

Educational philosophy, four major educational philosophies, Learn philosophy haram,  

(1) http:// oregonstate. edu/instruct/ed416/PP3.html
(2) http:// www. txstate. edu/philosophy/about/Why-Study-Philosophy.html
(3) http:// islamqa. info/en/88184

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The Real Education Updated at: 08:20


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