Course: Philosophy of Education (8609) Semester: Autumn, 2022
ASSIGNMENT No. 2
Q.1 Discuss Plato’s claim that different sections of society should be given different types of education.
Plato’s Theory of Education
Education for Plato was one of the great things of life. Education was an attempt to touch the evil at its source, and reform the wrong ways of living as well as one’s outlook towards life. According to Barker, education is an attempt to cure a mental illness by a medicine.
The object of education is to turn the soul towards light. Plato once stated that the main function of education is not to put knowledge into the soul, but to bring out the latent talents in the soul by directing it towards the right objects. This explanation of Plato on education highlights his object of education and guides the readers in proper direction to unfold the ramifications of his theory of education.
Plato was, in fact, the first ancient political philosopher either to establish a university or introduce a higher course or to speak of education as such. This emphasis on education came to the forefront only due to the then prevailing education system in Athens. Plato was against the practice of buying knowledge, which according to him was a heinous crime than buying meat and drink. Plato strongly believed in a state control education system.
He held the view that without education, the individual would make no progress any more than a patient who believed in curing himself by his own loving remedy without giving up his luxurious mode of living. Therefore, Plato stated that education touches the evil at the grass root and changes the whole outlook on life.
It was through education that the principle of justice was properly maintained. Education was the positive measure for the operation of justice in the ideal state. Plato was convinced that the root of the vice lay chiefly in ignorance, and only by proper education can one be converted into a virtuous man.
The main purpose of Plato’s theory of education was to ban individualism, abolish incompetence and immaturity, and establish the rule of the efficient. Promotion of common good was the primary objective of platonic education.
Q.2 Discuss the features of educational curriculum proposed by john Dewey.
John Dewey is credited as founding a philosophical approach to life called ‘pragmatism’, and his approaches to education and learning have been influential internationally and endured over time. He saw the purpose of education to be the cultivation of thoughtful, critically reflective, socially engaged individuals rather than passive recipients of established knowledge. He rejected the rote-learning approach driven by predetermined curriculum which was the standard teaching method at the time. However, importantly, he also rejected child-centred approaches that followed children’s uninformed interests and impulses uncritically. While he used the term ‘progressive education’, this has since been misappropriated to describe, in some cases, a hands-off approach to children’s learning which was not what Dewey proposed. Dewey believed that traditional subject matter was important, but should be integrated with the strengths and interests of the learner.
He developed a concept of inquiry, prompted by a sense of need and followed by intellectual work such as defining problems, testing hypotheses, and finding satisfactory solutions, as the central activity of such an educational approach. This organic cycle of doubt, inquiry, reflection and the reestablishment of sense or understanding contrasted with the ‘reflex arc’ model of learning popular in his time. The reflex arc model thought of learning as a mechanical process, measurable by standardised tests, without reference to the role of emotion or experience in learning. Dewey was critical of the reductionism of educational approaches which assume that all the big questions and ideas are already answered, and need only to be transmitted to students. He believed that all concepts and meanings could be open to reinvention and improvement, and all disciplines could be expanded with new knowledge, concepts and understandings.
The main features of Dewey’s theory of education
Dewey suggested that individuals learn and grow as a result of experiences and interactions with the world. These interactions and experiences lead individuals to continually develop new concepts, ideas, practices and understandings, which, in turn, are refined through and continue to mediate the learner’s life experiences and social interactions.
Q.3 Describe the teaching method advocated by Al-Farabi.
The aim of this paper is to present the attitudes to education of Abu Nasr al-Farabi within the framework of his philosophical system, an aspect of his work about which little was known, since researchers have been more interested in the logical, metaphysical and political aspects, to the neglect of his educational concepts. However, scholars do know that al-Farabi studied Plato’s Republic and this work, by which he was most certainly influenced, deals mainly with education, as is now accepted by historians of philosophy . It is even more unlikely that al-Farabi could have been unaware of this dimension of Plato’s philosophy since he made a summary of Plato’s Laws, a work which we know expresses his final thoughts on education.
So who is al-Farabi, and what is his contribution to education?
Al-Farabi was born in Wasij, in the province of Farab in Turkestan, in 872 AD (259 AH) of a noble family. His father, of Persian origin, was an army commander at the Turkish court. Al-Farabi moved to Baghdad, where he studied grammar, logic, philosophy, music, mathematics and sciences; he was a pupil of the great translator and interpreter of Greek philosophy, Abu Bishr Matta b. Yunus (d. 942/329) in Baghdad; he then studied under Yuhanna b. Haylan, the Nestorian (d. 941/328), in Harran. Thereby he is affiliated to the Alexandrian school of philosophy which had been located at Harran, Antakya and Merv, before definitively settling in Baghdad. As a result of these years of study, he accumulated such knowledge of philosophy that he earned the name of the ‘Second Teacher’, by reference to Aristotle, the ‘First Teacher’.
Q.4 Define Deconstructionism. Write down the qualities of teacher and curriculum supported by Deconstructionists’ philosophy.
deconstruction, form of philosophical and literary analysis, derived mainly from work begun in the 1960s by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, that questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions, or “oppositions,” in Western philosophy through a close examination of the language and logic of philosophical and literary texts. In the 1970s the term was applied to work by Derrida, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller, and Barbara Johnson, among other scholars. In the 1980s it designated more loosely a range of radical theoretical enterprises in diverse areas of the humanities and social sciences, including—in addition to philosophy and literature—law, psychoanalysis, architecture, anthropology, theology, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, political theory, historiography, and film theory. In polemical discussions about intellectual trends of the late 20th-century, deconstruction was sometimes used pejoratively to suggest nihilism and frivolous skepticism. In popular usage the term has come to mean a critical dismantling of tradition and traditional modes of thought.
Deconstruction in philosophy
The oppositions challenged by deconstruction, which have been inherent in Western philosophy since the time of the ancient Greeks, are characteristically “binary” and “hierarchical,” involving a pair of terms in which one member of the pair is assumed to be primary or fundamental, the other secondary or derivative. Examples include nature and culture, speech and writing, mind and body, presence and absence, inside and outside, literal and metaphorical, intelligible and sensible, and form and meaning, among many others. To “deconstruct” an opposition is to explore the tensions and contradictions between the hierarchical ordering assumed (and sometimes explicitly asserted) in the text and other aspects of the text’s meaning, especially those that are indirect or implicit or that rely on figurative or performative uses of language. Through this analysis, the opposition is shown to be a product, or “construction,” of the text rather than something given independently of it.
In the writings of the French Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example, society and culture are described as corrupting and oppressive forces that gradually develop out of an idyllic “state of nature” in which humans exist in self-sufficient and peaceful isolation from one another. For Rousseau, then, nature is prior to culture. Yet there is another sense in which culture is certainly prior to nature: the idea of nature is a product of culture, and what counts as “nature” or “natural” at any given historical moment will vary depending upon the culture of the time. What this fact shows is not that the terms of the nature/culture opposition should be inverted—that culture is really prior to nature—but rather that the relation between the terms is not one-sided and unidirectional, as Rousseau and others had assumed. The point of the deconstructive analysis is to restructure, or “displace,” the opposition, not simply to reverse it.
Q.5 How do, according to Montessori, environment and freedom of a child play a significant role in his education?
Freedom within limits in Montessori Education
Freedom within limits is a core Montessori concept. For parents that are new to Montessori, this concept may seem contradictory. After all, aren’t limits and rules the opposite of freedom? Some parents may also be concerned that the absence of rules will lead to bad behaviour. Because surely, no rules lead to anarchy, right?
What is freedom within limits?
Freedom within limits is an empowering concept. It embraces the notion of the child as an explorer who is capable of learning and doing for themselves. Montessori encourages freedom within limits through the design of the prepared environment. Especially relevant is the low open shelves, logically ordered activities, and child-friendly work spaces of the Montessori classroom. In effect, this encourages the child to move freely around the classroom, and choose their own work within limits of appropriate behaviour. These limits are the ground rules of the Montessori classroom.
What are the limits of Montessori classroom?
There are three ground rules of the Montessori classroom. All other ground rules stem from these three.
1) Respect for oneself
2) Respect for others; and
3) Respect for the environment.
In the first place, respect for oneself refers to teaching children how to work safely and productively in the Montessori classroom. Children are free to choose their activities, provided that they have been shown a presentation of the activity, and know how to use the materials respectfully to avoid self-harm.
Furthermore, respect for others incorporates social skills and good behaviour. Children can choose to work independently or in small groups; however, they must be invited to work with another child, and must not interfere with another child’s work. All children must show respect for others within their classroom community.
Finally, respect for the environment relates to the proper care for everything within the Montessori classroom. This includes the proper use of the Montessori materials, packing away, and taking care of all things living and non-living within the environment.
Types of freedom in the Montessori environment