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Philosophy as a Basis for Curriculum Decisions

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Karima Hoytt

on 4 September 2014

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Transcript of Philosophy as a Basis for Curriculum Decisions

Key things to remember
Philosophy as a Basis for Curriculum Decisions
Allan C. Ornstein

"Without philosophy, educators are directionless in the whats and hows of organizing and implementing what we are trying to achieve. In short, our philosophy of education influences, and to a large extent determines, our educational decisions, choices and alternatives."
-Allan C. Ornstein
Philosophy and Curriculum
Philosophy provides :
a framework for organizing schools and classrooms

- a framework for broad issues and tasks, such as:
determining goals of education
subject content and its organization
the process of teaching and learning
what activities to stress in schools and classrooms.

- a basis for making decisions such as:
what textbooks, workbooks or other activities to utilize and how to utilize them
what and how much homework to assign
how to test students and how to use the test results
what courses or subject matter to emphasize.

" 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..."
- Thomas Hopkins (1941)

Consider the ways in which public schools function today. Is the above statement still credible? Why or why not?
Philosophy and the Curriculum Specialist
a description, explanation, and an evaluation of the world as seen from personal perspective, or through what some social scientists call 'social lenses' "
Philosophy is...
The philosophy of curriculum specialists reflects their:

-life experiences
-common sense
-social and economic background
-general beliefs about people
Philosophy as a Curriculum Source
The function of philosophy can be conceived as:

the base for the starting point in curriculum development (John Dewey)


an interdependent function of other functions in curriculum development (Ralph Tyler)
For Dewy, philosophy provides a generalized meaning to our lives and a way of thinking, "an explicit formulation of the... mental and moral attitudes in respect to the difficulties of contemporary social life."
Ralph's framework of curriculum includes philosophy as only one of five criteria commonly used for selecting educational purposes. The relationship between philosophy and the other criteria is the basis for determining the school's purposes.
Major Educational Philosophies



Instructional Objective:
To educate the rational person; to cultivate the intellect
Focus on past and permanent studies; mastery of facts and timeless knowledge

Role of the Teacher:
Teacher helps student think rationally; based on Socratic method and oral exposition; explicit teaching of traditional values
Curriculum Focus:
Classical subjects; literary analysis; constant curriculum
Instructional Objective:
To promote the intellectual growth of the individual; to educate the competent person

Essential skills and academic subjects; mastery of concepts and principles of subject matter

Role of Teacher:
Teacher is authority in his or her field; explicit teaching of traditional values

Curriculum Focus:
Essential skills and essential subjects- English, arithmetic, science, history, and foreign language
Instructional Objective:
To promote democratic, social living

Knowledge leads to growth and development; a living-learning process; focus on active and interesting learning

Role of Teacher:
Teacher is guide for problem solving and scientific inquiry

Curriculum Focus:
Based on student's interest; involves the application of human problems and affairs; inter-disciplinary subject matter; activities, and projects

Instructional objective:
To improve and reconstruct society; education for change and social reform

Skills and subjects needed to identify and ameliorate problems of society; learning is active and concerned with contemporary and future society

Role of Teacher:
Teacher serves as an agent of change and reform; acts as a project director and research leader; helps students become aware of problems confronting humankind

Curriculum Focus;
Emphasis on social sciences and social research methods; examination of social, economic and political problems; focus on present and future trends as well as national and international issue
-Philosophy gives meaning to our decisions and actions.

- In absence of a philosophy, educators are vulnerable to externally imposed prescriptions.

-All philosophical groups want the same things of education:
to improve the educational process,
to enhance the achievement of the learner
to produce better and more productive citizens
to improve society

-Teaching, learning, and curriculum are all interwoven in school practices and should reflect a school's and a community philosophy .

Do you agree that without philosophy educators are "directionless?" Why or why not?
"teachers and administrators who are clearly divided in philosophy can seldom work together in close proximity for long periods of time"
-Richard Doll (1986)
Think of your experiences with co-workers and/or colleagues in your school . Do you feel this a valid statement? Why or why not?
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