Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Philosophy of education is the analytical function carried out on educational concepts, policy, theory, programmes and practice. Broadly speaking, modern education lacks a unified purpose or goal to direct its curricular and pedagogical commitments.  This lack of unity exists because education has many competing allegiances to different educational methodologies, which are driven by a variety of diverse philosophical commitments. Today, education is not so much about truth or morality as it is about tolerance and contributing to the nation’s economic growth.
Philosophy is a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means. All the aspects of human life are influenced and governed by the philosophical consideration. As a field of study philosophy is one of the oldest disciplines. It is considered as a mother of all the sciences. In fact it is at the root of all knowledge. Education has also drawn its material from different philosophical bases.
Education, like philosophy is also closely related to human life. Therefore, being an important life activity education is also greatly influenced by philosophy.  In order to understand the concept of Philosophy of education it is necessary to first understand the meaning of the two terms; Philosophy and Education.
Philosophy is a systematic enquiry about the ultimate realities in the universe. The discipline of philosophy may, therefore, be defined as an inquiry into the foundations of our beliefs, an attempt to clarify and justify them with reason.
Education means to lead out, through the modification of the native behavior of the child. In the words of Dr. Radhakrishnan, “it must include not only the training of the intellect but also the refinement of the heart and the discipline of the spirit. Education is always guided by certain lines in accordance with certain ideals, values and standards of life.
From time immemorial, both education and philosophy have been linked with each other. Great philosophers have also been great educationalists. Every philosopher has said something on education, such as Gandhi on basic education, Rabindranath Tagore on Santhinikethan system of education. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Dewey are known not only for their philosophical but also for their educational ideas.
Education is the application of philosophy or philosophy of education is applied philosophy. It is the application of philosophy to study the problems of education that is known as philosophy of education. In fact, philosophy is the groundwork or foundation out of which come the objectives of education. Philosophy and education walk hand in hand. Further, “a sound philosophy of education is based on an adequate philosophy of life.”

Education is a sustaining, progressive and purposive activity. Its strength comes from the political and moral values of the community. The only source of such values is philosophy. “The art of education will never attain complete cleanness without a philosophy “(J.G FICHTE). Without philosophy, education would be nothing but a blind effort ad without education, philosophy would be no better than a cripple. That is why Adams says “education is the dynamic side of philosophy” the practical means of realizing the ideals of life”. Philosophy supplies the aims and ideals of life; education translates them into practice and trains people to realize them. Divorced from philosophy, education would become an aimless endeavor, a hopeless waste of time. Philosophy gives education its targets. 
Philosophy of education is the philosophical reflection on the nature, aims, and problems of education. In addressing the issues and problems, the philosopher of education strives for conceptual clarity, argumentative rigor, and informed valuation. All educational activities, from classroom practice to curriculum decisions to the setting of policies at the school, district, state, and federal levels, inevitably rest upon philosophical assumptions, claims, and positions. Consequently, thoughtful and defensible educational practice depends upon philosophical awareness and understanding. To that extent, the philosophy of education is essential to the proper guidance of educational practice. Knowledge of philosophy of education would benefit not only teachers, administrators, and policy makers at all levels but also students, parents, and citizens generally. Societies that value education and desire that it be conducted in a thoughtful and informed way ignore the philosophy of education at their peril. Its relevance, reach, and potential impact make it perhaps the most fundamental and wide-ranging area of applied philosophy.
Philosophy of education is concern with the aim of education and the basic philosophical problems arising in the field of education. Philosophy gives direction to education by providing certain guidelines. It attempt to establish coherent meaning within the whole domain of thought. It is only with a philosophy of education that school officials, teachers and even parents can co-ordinate their efforts towards achieving an aim. Philosophy is basis for all education. Without a philosophy of education we get nowhere at all. All our efforts prove useless. There is an enormous loss of time, energy and finance. Moreover, there is an immense waste of human resource. Practice, unguided by theory, is aimless, inconsistent and inefficient. Education is essentially a philosophical enterprise. “Philosophizing” is the main business of philosophy. Therefore, there is a need for a philosophy of education.
Philosophy is fundamentally a belief or an opinion.  There should, therefore, be a consensus among different beliefs. This consensus will lead to co-ordination and to evolving a desirable philosophy of education based upon certain criteria. This philosophy of education is the living and unifying force behind the educational aims and activities.
Philosophy and education are like the sides of a coin, presenting different views of the same thing, and that the one is implied by the other.”   - James Ross
“Philosophy may be defined as the theory of education in its most general phase.”
      -  John Dewey
“True education is practicable only to true philosophers.”             -  Spencer
“Education is a laboratory, in which philosophical distinctions become concrete and are tested.”- John Dewey
             From the given statements and views we can easily maintain that philosophy and education are closely inter-related. Philosophy prescribes the goals and essentials of good life and education is the best means to achieve those goals. Philosophy is in the background of education. The only need is to view philosophy and interpret it in the context of time and different approaches to life and its problems. Philosophy permeates its influence on every aspect of education. It determines the aims, contents, methods of education. It defines the role of teacher in the educative process.
          Aims of education cannot be different from the aims of life. Education, being a planned and purposeful activity, has manifold aims. These aims or objectives are formulated by the philosophy of life. It is again philosophy which formulates the aims of education based upon deep insight and fundamental thinking. In the words of Rusk, “philosophy formulates what it conceives to be the end of life; education offers suggestions how this end is to be achieved.” Education is necessarily influenced by society, civilization, climate and life of people. Individual and society both have their philosophy of life. That may be similar and also be different. Education is the source of the life of society. Without education, society cannot make new-born children aware of its ideals. The aims and ideals of individual, society and civilization clearly influence the ideals of education. Aims of education undergo changes. They are influenced by different periods
           Before the construction of curriculum, definite ideals, nature of the society and civilization are to be kept in mind. It would be difficult to teach the books written on conceptual basis imbued with old civilization and culture, in a society of the people who have made the highest progress in pragmatic science. Herbert Spencer has said that our first step would naturally be to decide the main activities on which life is based. Necessity of a subject would have to be proved on the basis of a philosophy of life. The leaders should have a solid philosophy admitted by all and select the teaching material according to it.
              A naturalist teacher would pay attention to the child’s interest, aptitude and mental ability. His attention would be diverted to the needs of the boys and he would impart education in a natural, free and happy environment, away from mere bookish knowledge. A democratic teacher, regarding the children a little above himself, would teach either through ‘project method’ or gradual development style. Kilpatrick determined the relationship between philosophy and education by popularizing ‘philosophy of method of teaching’.
Difference in the patterns of discipline in dictatorship and democracy is quiet clear. Under the one there is an atmosphere of fear and under the other that of co-operation and love. Miller has said that it signifies enough whether the teacher is a materialist or conceptualist, as he would impress the children consciously or unconsciously by the ideals which he has regarded true. The glimpse of his philosophy would also influence his curiosity and interest. It would also throw light upon his choice of subject for teaching.
The scope of philosophy of education is confined to the field of education. Thus, it is philosophy in the field of education. The scope of philosophy of education is concerned with the problems of education.
a) AIMS AND IDEALS OF EDUCATION PHILOSOPHY: - Education critically evaluates the different aims and ideals of education. These aims and ideals have been prorogued by various philosophers in different times. They are character building, man making, harmonious human development, preparation for adult life, -development of citizenship, -utilization of leisure, training for civic life, training for international living, achieving social and national integration, -scientific and technological development, education for all, equalizing educational opportunities, strengthening democratic political order and human source development.
b] INTERPRETATION OF HUMAN NATURE: - a philosophical picture of human nature is a result of the synthesis of the facts borrowed from all the human science with the values discussed in different normative, sciences. The philosophical picture, therefore, is broader as compared to the picture of man drawn by biology, sociology, psychology, economics and anthropology and other human science.
c) EDUCATIONAL VALUES: - Value is typically a philosophical subject since it is more abstract, integral and universal. Philosophy-of education not only critically evaluates the values but also systematizes them in a hierarchy. Educational values are' determined by philosophical values. Educational values propagated by different philosophers have been derived from their own world, view and their outlook on the purpose of human life. Therefore, a scrutiny of the world views, outlook, beliefs is the specific function of philosophy and it is necessary for the philosophical treatment of the values.
d] THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE: - Education is related to knowledge. It is determined by the source, limits, criteria and means of knowledge. The discussion of all these falls within the jurisdiction of epistemology, one of the branches of philosophy, therefore, an important area of the functioning of philosophy of education is related to theory of knowledge.
 e] RELATIONSHIP OF EDUCATION AND VARIOUS AREA OF NATIONAL LIFE AND VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION:- One of the most important contributions of the philosophy of education to the cause of education is the provision of criteria for deciding the relationship of state and education, economic system and education, curriculum, school organization and management, discipline etc. These problems have led to the evaluation of different philosophies of education. The criteria of judgment everywhere are determined by philosophy; therefore, philosophy of education provides the criteria for critical evaluation and judgment in these fields.
Today man is in the grip of crisis. A crisis which is stemming from the fact that the whole world scenario is changing so fast, with so much speed that the man is left dazed with the ‘future shock’. What man needs today is ‘shock absorber’ which can be readily provided by education. The role of education thus becomes even more vital and expansive when confronted with such fresh and new challenges.
Today, teaching is not just confined to learning skills or developing better teaching methods but attitude formation along with classroom management skills, co-operative learning, one-to-one counseling etc,. The role of teacher is extremely volatile which is always on the move try to imbibe the newer methods of teaching and learning, yet retaining what is essential, perennial in the method. Because, despite the apparent changes brought in by the techno cultural society, essentially human nature has not changed, thus urging us to retain the essentials.
Educational system is extremely demanding as it has to keep ahead of every other system so that it can assimilate within itself other disciplines. It is both a product and an instrument of cultural transaction, thus trying to build new bridges between past and future with the help of present. The onus lies on the present day teacher and the teacher educator to be that bridge, which will help man realize himself and thereby his culture, society which in turn aids in knowing and accelerating the process of human progress.

The education area is becoming now the place where many technologies meet, converge and are tested by real practice and coexistence. Education becomes a conductor and promoter of new technologies and area where new approaches and new social imperatives are forming now.
With several educational options available to students today, newer trends are emerging in this field which has completely changed the traditional held perceptions about education. Several career options that were earlier not considered to be traditional have emerged as the most sought after education and career options. Various career options in like radio jockeying, radio management, news anchoring, program anchoring, news reading and reporting for the electronic media, content writing, fashion designing, event management, hospital management, medical transcription etc, have opened up several newer avenues for education. The recent trends in education have certainly shown a deviation from the earlier trends.
Online Education is fast becoming a major preferred mode of education among students. Enrolling to regular courses is increasingly getting highly competitive in India; so online education and distance education has come as a wonderful alternative and several students opt for this. There are various benefits of opting for an online study course. Students will not have to make any alteration in their present daily routine. In fact an additional degree might actually help the student in improving career prospects with the additional degree.  Students will not have to travel to anywhere to get the degree and can thus save huge amounts on boarding and lodging.
Distance Education courses are very popular in rural India. One of the main reasons for this is the provision that one can get degrees from various renowned universities from anywhere in India. Distance education is given through correspondence courses, where the student and the teacher are separated in time and space and sometimes both. Distance learning is doing a wonderful job by enabling the less advantaged sections of the society have an opportunity to get educated.
The study of educational philosophy helps an educationalist to critically evaluate his own practices and make necessary changes in his practice. Philosophy has the potential for provoking revolutionary changes, revise and reject some of our beliefs, develops and analytical and logical skills and reasoning. Educational philosophy clarifies concepts and analyses propositions, beliefs and theories of education. A philosophical vision is essential to understand the new trends in the educational system especially the contemporary educational movement.


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