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Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum

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Brandy Glendening

on 22 September 2015

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Transcript of Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum

Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum
In terms of knowledge and values, what are the differences, among, idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism?
Major Philosophies of Influence
Educational Philosophies

Diana Dubisky and Brandy Glendening

"L. Thomas Hopkins writes the following 'Philosophy has entered into every important decision that has ever been made about curriculum and teaching in the past and will continue to be the basis of every important decision in the future'."
(Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p.29)
focus is on "the search for truth an enduring values"
Influenced by Plato and Augustine
knowledge is looking at the facts and making connections between concepts and ideas to re-evaluate understanding
ideas are ranked with focus on philosophy, theology, and mathematics with a decline of emphasis on sciences
Influenced by Aristotle
focus of knowledge is of the natural world;teaching to perceive and understand reality.
focus on the arts and sciences
"Focus is on the educators thought process, getting them to think." (location?)

focus on critical thinking and reactions to the environment surrounding a student
focus on the steps to reaching a conclusion rather than the conclusion itself
questioning the given facts is encouraged
Inspired by philosophies of Plato, Aristole, and St.Thomas Aquinas (Realism approach)
Early colonial period to 1900's
Advocates: Robert Maynard Hutchins: developed a Great Books program 1963
Mortmer J. Alder (1902-1973)
Jacques Martian (1882-1973)

focus is on choice of learning
there is no prescribed curriculum for students
students choose what and how they learn
authority lies with the students

The philosophies developed during the Western Civilization period focused on the "enduring truths'. Perennialist thought traditionally . Emphasis on the 3 R's, religion and morals.
Preparing students for their future instilling morals and
spiritual values using teaching methods like:Socratic methods, oral expositions, lecture and explication
The progressivism movement was influenced by social and political reform.

This contemporary reform emphasized learners "how to think, not what to think".
Philosophies from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, Horace Man and Henry Barnard all advocated for the focus on the whole child not the content. This was implemented through inquiry based instruction.

Practical knowledge was a focus and students made decisions and connections with the real world.

Schools organized the curriculum around student needs and involvied all available resources: teachers, parents, students and community.

This movement occurred after World War II and was lead by Theodore Brameld (1904-1957)

The movement of social reform influenced a need for constant change and fostering education to better society.

The ideas was to stop marginalizing and oppressing and move towards social justice and equity.

Bringing back traditional values, and basic education skills and creating new cultural patterns

"The potential for either human annihilation through technology and human cruelty"
An American Philosophy mixed between idealism and realism

Movement became popular after 1957 with the launch of Sputnik
William Bagley lead the essentialism movement

Education focused on mastery, student had to master on objective before moving to the next
Essentialism focused on the back to basics, creating productive citizens
Stresses Tradition
Great Book
Moral Principles
rhetoric logic
Western heritage
natural laws
Socratic Method
power to choose
US approach
High standards
same educational goals
creating productive citizens
common core
goal setting
Hands on learning
current events
critical inquiry
engaging classroom activities
Students contribute to curriculum
real world connections
higher order
Blooms taxonomy
meaningful cognitive structure
George Counts

Teachers are social activist
positive force
educational change
social change
social renewal
global issues
think, question and be critical
world wide democracy
equal oppurtunities
awareness of human crisis
Focused on past
Traditional teaching
3 R's
Cognitive Homogeneous
Change for the future
Self Learning
3 R's, arts and sciences
discovery methods
individual growth
improving human condition

Theodore Brameld
Can schools promote equality and excellence at the same time?

Reconstructionists have a desire to reform our society through the education system. The realistic point of view allows them to identify the need to help students become aware of how to fix the issues of today's society. However like an idealist they are aware that these problems can not just be magically fixed through the education system.

Reconstructionists have an international focus like mainstream but a radical view on curriculum. Utilizing methods of instruction that incorporates real world problem solving. Innovated methods of instruction used to bring the real world into the classroom assisting in fostering global awareness.

In what ways are reconstructionists both realistic
and idealistic? Mainstream and radical?

“Our philosophy reflects our background and experiences. Our decisions are based on our world view, attitudes, and beliefs,” Ornstein and Hunkins, (2013, p.29). Education has changed dramatically since the beginning. Many philosophies have influenced the need for change. Educating our young started out in one room houses that developed into 2 levels of educations, due to the population increase. After the wars society and the needs of our methods of education changed as well.

Population spikes influenced the junior high movement. Philosophers identified the need to separate our student’s according to their age and development; in hopes to better prepare our students for high school and college.
Junior highs evolved into middle school which focused on three goals, academic learning, personal development and group citizenship.(George & Alexander,2003,p. 51). Philosophies changed as well, no longer was there emphasis only on traditional methods of teaching but on the needs of all the diverse styles of learners and their individual needs.
Actions in our education system has been piloted by philosophies from our past. Understanding how to identify philosophies that are right not only for the school but the community; is an important role curriculum workers maintain. The ever evolving technological world we live in demonstrates how ever evolving our philosophies and practices need to be as well.
The new 21st century learners need advocates to design and develop best practices that will fit their needs through this global transition we are in. There is a critical need for incorporation of technology in math and science and global awareness in our school, especially middle school. Our students need as much exposure to what is going on nationally and understand how to deal with real world issues that our society is facing today.


The history of american education. (2010, May 05). Retrieved
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMeVx17lKb

Alexander, W., & George, P. (2003). The exemplary middle
school (3rd Edition ). Wadsworth , Thomas Learning Inc.

Boyle, A. (2014, January 17). History of education in america.
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com./watch?v=uGlGDvXGZIE

Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2013). Curriculum:
Foundations, principles, and issues (6th Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Equality and excellence in a school would take the combined effort of the school and the community to take full advantage of all outside resources. A collaborative team would evaluate and revise polices, analyze data and the effectiveness of current programs. Redesigning methods of instruction while maintaining equality is an area of focus because equality in the education system is not one uniform standard. With our diverse needs, each learner has their own set of goals and needs. It is hard to fully achieve equality and excellence in a school because of student social and emotional backgrounds.
However, reducing the opportunity gaps in education is a starting point. Students’ backgrounds and social economic status should not influence their educational opportunities.
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