Philosophy in general is one of the first studies that appeared in the history of the humanity. This study and the scholars involved into it are focused on exploring the most meaningful concept of the human life and following their internal connections, interactions, development and influences on people’s behaviors and ways of thinking. Philosophy covers such aspects as religion, politics, economy, art, law, social relationships, and, of course, education. Philosophy of education is not a branch that is specifically and commonly studied within the course of philosophy in colleges and universities.
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Philosophy of education is a subject that is mainly explored by the people working in the sphere of education. Just like all the other branches, philosophy of education is concentrated on looking for answers to the eternal questions that have been bothering the minds of the humanity ever since the ancient times. Among the issues studied by educational philosophers are the purposes and goals of education, its influence on the society and people’s ways of thinking, the subjects of education.
One of the most important and frequently addressed concepts of educational philosophy of the present days is the concept of the relationship between social and cultural diversity in the contemporary world and the changes it brings to the modern process of education. One more very common question explored by the philosophers of education is the role the state and government should play in the sphere of education today and the role they actually play.
The Most Appealing Ideas Expressed by the Author
To my mind, one of the most interesting ideas expressed by the author of the book called “Philosophy of Education”, Nel Noddings, is the thought that the philosophical issues are not supposed to have just one answer to them. The questions explored by the philosophers all around the world are meant to be eternal, because the answers to them change depending on the surrounding influences such are the type of the society, the historical events, political regimes, cultures, religious, eras and economical conditions.
This is why Nel Noddings presents the teachings of the most outstanding thinkers of different times and epochs in order to show how the perspectives of the philosophers on the main issues of education have changed throughout the history. Nel Noddings also notices that the modern philosophers are focused on more than just debates and arguments. They actually started to engage into action and do constructive work within their field suggesting influential new alternatives and powerful ideas delivered through teaching narratives. To my mind, one more important thought of the author of the book is that the concepts of teaching and learning are basically inseparable.
Even though they include more than one side of the action, teaching and learning are done by different people and teaching without learning as its result cannot be considered an efficient action. In order words, the teacher that teaches, but does not have the students learning the subject is actually not teaching at all. Teaching is the process that assumes having a positive result. I think that teaching is the kind of action that cannot have negative results. The final outcomes of teaching can be either positive, when the students have obtained certain knowledge, or non-existent, when the students did not receive any knowledge at all, which means that the act of teaching failed.
The Implications of the Ideas in the Book For Educators
The ideas presented in “Philosophy of Education” by Nel Noddings are very interesting and meaningful. They encourage a great deal of thinking from the side of the reader. Philosophical arguments about the reasons and goals of teaching may vary and include different points of view, but the major problems remain the same. The idea that teaching is an action that has more than one side implies that the teacher carries huge responsibilities, as a person who is in charge not only of their own progress and achievements, but also the progress and achievements made by the students. Nel Noddings notices that a teacher today rarely has only one student.
Working with just one student is quite easy, because the strategy can be selected properly over time, which will allow the process of teaching become absolutely positive and efficient. Today, most of the teachers work with wide audiences that may include dozens people attending one lecture. This creates a serious issue for the teacher as a person responsible for their students’ progress and knowledge. A very professional and inventive teacher is able to work out a technique that will maximize the effectiveness of their teaching, yet t is almost impossible to achieve one hundred per cent positive results while working with many people at the same time.
This implication leaves the educators with a contradictory experience of their teaching being both effective and ineffective at the same time and the responsibility to address the needs of the students that do not obtain knowledge together with others. The issue of social and cultural diversity in the classrooms and its influence on the process and results of teaching is one of the main aspects that affect the concept of teacher’s responsibility in the world of nowadays.
Challenging Ideas of the Author
One of the ideas raised in the book by Nel Noddings seems especially challenging to me. The author explores the issue of the presence of religion and spirituality in the process of education and teaching. Years ago religion used to be considered a necessary way of thinking and perception of the outer world. Religion and education were inseparable and mutually penetrating. Today, the question of religion as an important part of educational process is argued about.
Of course, it goes without saying that religion and spirituality are massive and very important aspects of people’s life. At the same time, these aspects are no longer as all-consuming as they used to be a couple of centuries ago. This is why I think that the presence of religion and spirituality and respect towards it should exist, but in limited proportions, as the modern democratic society makes an emphasis on the freedom of thought and opinion. Besides, the contemporary Western world is far from homogenous.
It is highly diverse and multi-cultural and one religious opinion taught to masses would cause protests. This is why, to my mind, none of modern teaching techniques should take religious perspectives as the focus of the educational strategy, unless it is taught in a special religious school or this is a special subject based on a certain religion. I think that the spiritual discussions in schools should be done objectively and focused on exploring main functions and meanings of religions and spirituality without making preferences and direct judgments. Moreover, I agree with the statement of Nel Noddings about religion and spirituality being essential parts of people’s existence, this is why they should not be completely left out in the modern process of education.