Plato intended the education system to be a well-arranged series of events that would equip individuals with knowledge. He planned an academic system that would provide 18 years of the guardian class followed by two years of military training (Dhavan 12). After the military training, students who qualify for higher education can join the institutions of higher learning. This system was intended to pass on knowledge from one generation to the other. His idea forms the greatest part of the current education system all over the world.
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Educational philosophy is the unique methods used by teachers as a guiding principle while teaching (Dhavan 22). Students’ performance greatly depends on the principles applied by an educator. Therefore, a teacher has a responsibility to ensure that he or she creates an educational philosophy that effectively maximizes the students’ learning potential (Dhavan 22). The principles and ideas that are used to teach have a significant impact on the performance of the students.
To understand the philosophy of education, it is important to look at the meaning of the two words separately. Education is derived from a Latin word ‘Educare’ which is interpreted as bringing out or bringing forth what is within (Dhavan 24). Therefore, education is any action that has a formative effect on the human mind (Dhavan 31). Philosophy on the other hand is derived from a Latin name Phileo, which means love, and Sophia, which means wisdom (Dhavan 33). Philosophy therefore stands for seeking wisdom.
Teaching is one of the most important aspects of education and it is the second oldest profession in the world. When a child is born, he or she is born without knowing the societal norms and practices. A child is born illiterate and ignorant of the existing world. Therefore, it takes the efforts of the surrounding family members or guardians and teachers to shape the child’s mind to be in harmony with the surrounding environment.
The philosophy of education equips individuals with effective skills that help them to establish, define, and pursue their personal goals (Dhavan 24). Philosophy is the tool that enables individual to achieve the status of a fully-grown and independent adult and member of a society. The objectives of educational philosophy are to solve the problems in education. These include interpretation of human interactions with the universe, interpretation of different ideals of education, relating various aspects of the education system to mention but a few (Dhavan 44).
Educational philosophy tries to evaluate the different aims of education. These aims include building character, man-making, developing human harmony, preparing individuals for adult life, developing autonomous citizens, training students for civic life among others (Dhavan 25). The philosophy of education scrutinizes the aims of education evaluating their impact and effectiveness. The range of explaining human nature in philosophy is quite broad compared to the impression given by biologists, sociologists, and psychologists (Dhavan 22).
Educational values are greatly influenced by philosophical values, which are formed by the worldwide, and beliefs (Dhavan 22). The greatest function of the philosophy of education is to help to define the mutual relationship between the state and education, economic systems and education among other factors. The nature of the philosophy of education can be split into three subdivisions depending on its function. Being an applied philosophy, it can be defined as one of the three branches of philosophy. These are Metaphysics, Axiology, and Epistemology philosophies (Dhavan 23).
The metaphysics branch is an investigative aspect of philosophy that seeks to explain things in reality. This branch of philosophy deals with the fundamental nature of beings and it involves the study of the natural aspects of things. Debates on whether human beings have free will or not is a good example of this category (Dhavan 25). Axiology on the hand is a philosophy of the effects of art and beauty as well as ethics. Ethics in philosophy is the rationale used to determine why an action is considered wrong or right.
Lastly, epistemology is the branch that deals with the mind and knowledge (Dhavan 27). This branch of philosophy differentiates true knowledge from false knowledge (Dhavan 27). In epistemology, there are two different theories that explain knowledge and they are absolute Knowledge and Relative knowledge. Absolute knowledge includes some of the permanent characteristics of a person that cannot be changed. The relative knowledge is dependent on situations and the surrounding environment. This includes characteristics that an individual inherits or learns from the society that defines his or her personality.
This paper has outlined the definition of the philosophy of education and has discussed the scope of philosophy in the education system. The aims and ideals of philosophy of education have been extensively discussed. In this essay, the value of philosophy of education to individuals is well articulated and the advantages presented by the inclusion of philosophy in education have been identified. This includes the different ways that philosophy influences humanity through the education system.
Dhavan, Munish. Philosophy of Education, India, Delhi: Isha Books, 2005. Print.