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Essentialism in Education

Presenting on what is essentialism is, the history behind, the pros and cons, and why/how it's being used in schools today.
by

Jamie Schwendeman

on 11 February 2013

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Transcript of Essentialism in Education

Foundation Cons? Results Core Principles
The essentialist movement started in 1938 in Atlantic City, NJ. Where a group met by the name of “The Essentialist’s Committee for the Advancement of Education”

William Bagley
Bagley is the founder of the Essentialist movement and the word was popularized by him in the 1930’s. In 1938, he published the Essentialist’s Platform which outlined three major parts:
1. Right of students to a well-educated and culturally knowledgeable teacher
2. Discussed the importance of teaching the ideas of community to all groups of students.
3. The importance of accuracy, thoroughness and effort on part of the student in the classroom.
E.D Hirsch Jr.
He advocated for a more inclusive curriculum that would offer all students a shared knowledge and common curriculum.
He wrote Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and The Knowledge Deficit and in them he suggests facts and ideas that might be included in his curriculum.


Essentialism is seen as having a conservative stance in their views
It strives to teach students the accumulated knowledge of our civilization with core courses in a traditional academic atmosphere.
These core courses involve the study of the surrounding environment, basic natural laws, and the disciplines that promote a positive environment.

The three goals of essentialism are:
Academic Knowledge
Patriotism
Character development with the back-to-basics method

This back-to-basics method is meant to train the mind, promote reasoning, and ensure a common culture among all Americans.
Essentialism in Education Educators of the essentialism approach teach the basic skills of math, natural science, history, foreign language (ex. Latin & Greek), and literature. The teacher is responsible for installing moral values that will help the student on the road to becoming an ideal citizen. The students are taught factual information and are not offered any vocational training. The classroom setting is very rigid and disciplined. Students are rated academically by testing. Both the teacher and the administrators decide what is best for the student. This creates an atmosphere where students do not expand their minds creatively. Schools that use the essentialism philosophy encourage academic competition. This type of educational approach tends to create longer academic days, school years, and the need for challenging textbooks. Today we may find this approach used in private, parochial, and some small town rural schools. I believe we may see an increase of the essentialism approach as school systems comply with state mandated testing requirements.
The schools that use this method believe that by using essentialism, students who graduate will possess basic knowledge and skills. They will also have sharp disciplined minds capable of applying the lessons they have learned in school to the outside world. Presented by:
Michael Franzen
Megan Lowry &
Jamie Schwendeman
Tuesday November 20th, 2012
Dr. Gene Watson
Intro to the Teaching Profession History of Essentialism Pros? Why is essentialism being used? How does essentialism works for our generation? The best example for any generation would be mathematics. We start by learning the basic numbers and then moving on to adding and subtracting. Becoming more and more complex. This is how most people learn mathematics not just in our country but worldwide because it works. Other examples would be subjects that build upon previously learned information to learn harder more complex material.
How is essentialism being used? Essentialism still exist today in mild to severe forms. A good example is the use of mandated test such as the FCAT, where the test focuses on four basic but necessary skills: math, English, writing and science. These test see if the person is ready for the next level. If not, they will be placed in remedial classes. Another example of essentialism would be lecture based introduction classes taught at universities. Students sit and take notes in a classroom which holds over one hundred students. They take introductory level courses in order to introduce them to the content. After they have completed this course, they will take the next level course and apply what they have learned previously. English 101 and English 102 are a specific example of essentialism.
Background Essentialism in Education allows students to learn things slowly, progressing from less difficult to more difficult. It believes that the students should have a solid education base on which they can build up their knowledge. Success! "Essentialist hope that when students leave school they will possess not only basic skills and an extensive body of knowledge, but also discipline and practical minds capable of applying school house lessons in the real world."

William Bagley Works Cited Class text: Teachers, Schools, And Society: A brief introduction to Education- 3rd edition
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