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What makes a Philosophy of Education essay outstanding?

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Rupert Higham

on 28 November 2016

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Transcript of What makes a Philosophy of Education essay outstanding?

Who is it for?
What are its aims?
value-laden concept
Link to other educational disciplines
How do you relate, say, ed psych evidence to phil of ed arguments?
Where does it happen?
Specialist philosophers of education
What makes a
How do these engage with each other?
E.g. Plato, Kant, Rousseau, Mill
E.g. Noddings, Hirst, Bonnett
Analyses experts' different interpretations
Earn the right to express your opinion
Frameworks for broad theoretical thinking, also outside education
Critique, not criticism
Premises and conclusions
Precise use of language
Appropriate tone
Good structure
Use of quotations
Narrow focus
Range of positions
Doesn't care about the status quo
Examines fundamental concepts and principles
Academic learning
Personal development
Children spend 1/6th of their waking time at school
Is it only education when it's deliberate?
There is an interesting possibility which is when McCowan (2010) explains that citizenship can be taught to children within the classroom in the form of values, as well as – to a lesser extent – skills and knowledge. However, it is very difficult then to ensure that values are adopted by all children because by nature it is a very personal process. McCowan points out that it would be wrong to simply forcefully impose values on children because there is a risk that they would adopt them on a superficial level in order to appease their authority without “autonomously” endorsing them.
What makes a Philosophy of Education essay outstanding?
Rupert Higham
28th November 2016

Spot the words that are imprecise, potentially confusing or refer to too many things (‘concept-dropping’). Spot the phrases that indicate either hedging or imprecision. Interrogate concepts in the context of the claims made. Who are the ‘many people’? Are you hiding your own voice behind that of imaginary thinkers?

don't refer to
words to avoid
Obviously/ Clearly/ Evidently/ Of course/ Doubtlessly/ Surely / Certainly - argument from 'obviousness'.
In my opinion/ Personally/ In my personal experience - we're not interested in your personal experience or opinion - but in your personal argument.
Many have argued/ Everyone would agree...
only real people make arguments.
'Prominent philosopher Socrates...'
Arguments from authority:
I mean, we all
I'm prominent
'Argument from impossibility':
'but of course, no child
can ever have any kind
of effective political
power, so the question of
whether they should is
the correct place
for personal opinion.
linked to
Forget: 'hard to change'; 'common-sense'; 'most believe that...'
Contrasting perspectives
Third positions / resolutions / challenges to debate
Look for weaknesses/limitations in positions rather than to dismiss
Analyse all direct quotes, and reference page
Or else, summarise in your own words
Clear logical steps that form your argument
Great as an essay plan/structure
Ideally, set out in your introduction
Consistent use of terms throughout
Clarify the different implications of uses by others
Avoid colloquial / informal
Principally dispassionate, not emotive
Paragraphs are distinct, logically linked sections of the argument
Your interest in an issue comes through in your writing
You bring a distinct, fresh perspective / argument /evidence
Clarify a point, rather than, say, solve the mind/body problem
Don't dismiss established positions / philosophers
Suggest / offer; don't demand or demonstrate
Show reading and understanding by bringing in divergent views / arguments
Don't over-claim
[remember it's a game:
do the best you can in the time, learn from your mistakes, and don't take criticism as a personal judgement - it's your words, not your soul, on the page]
'Translate' into relevant terms and concepts
Instead, imagine that anything is possible
3x3 model?
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