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Realism and its Role in Education Teresa Hopson XEF 501-Philosophy of Education Professor: Dr. Percy Bland Cheyney University April 4, 2007 Overview of Presentation Classical Realism Modern Realism Contemporary Realism…
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Realism and its Role in Education XEF 501-Philosophy of Education Professor: Dr. Percy Bland Overview of Presentation Aims of Realism in Education Small activities throughout the presentation Does Mars Exist? Central Thesis “ The most central thread of realism is what can be called the principle or thesis of independence .” Objects exist whether or not there is a human mind to perceive them. Difference between Plato and Aristotle The School of Athens, c.1511 by Raphael Truth and logic through the dialectic discourse Logic reasoning through his syllogism Classical Realists Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) “ A tree can exist without matter, but no matter can exist without form.” What might Aristotle ask of the Rock? Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) What is humanity's purpose? “ Because humans are the only creatures endowed with the ability to think, their purpose is to use this ability.” Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Aristotle's Golden Mean : (a path between extremes) The person who follows a true purpose leads a rational life of moderation, avoiding extremes: the extremes of too little or too much. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Aristotle's Concept of the Four Causes: Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Like Plato, Aristotle was concerned with logic. The logical method he developed was the syllogism , which was his method for testing the truth of statements such as: Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (p. 52) Aristotelian Influence Recognizing the need to study nature Using logical processes to examine the external world Organizing things into hierarchies Emphasizing the rational aspects of human nature Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) First encountered the work of Aristotle while studying in Naples Attempted to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrines Became a leading authority on Aristotle in the Middle Ages Author of De Magistro ( On the Teacher ) and Summa Theologica Highest good comes through thinking We are children of God; our thinking should agree with Christian tenets God made it possible to acquire true knowledge so that we may know Him better. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) -God is the Ultimate Teacher; only God can touch the soul. -A teacher can only 'point' the way to knowledge. -Teaching is a way to serve humankind; it is part of God's work. “Leading the student from ignorance to enlightenment is one of the greatest services one person can give to another.” (p.54) -The soul possesses an inner knowledge. -The major goal of education was the perfection of the human being and the ultimate reunion of the soul with God. Modern Realism Francis Bacon (1561-1626) In Novum Organum , he challenged Aristotelian logic. Believed science was 'delayed' by Aristotelian thinking Past thinking flawed due to theological dogmatism and prior assumptions which led to false deductions (e.g. Galileo) Science must be concerned with inquiry and not pre-conceived notions. Science was a tool for creating new knowledge. Originator of the expression: “Knowledge is Power” Francis Bacon (1561-1626) Believed we should examine all previously accepted knowledge; We should rid ourselves of four idols that we 'bow down' before: Idol of the Den (beliefs due to limited experience) Idol of the Tribe (believing because most people believe) Idol of the Marketplace (beliefs due to misuse of words) Idol of the Theater (subjective beliefs colored by religion and personal philosophy) John Locke (1632-1704) Oxford scholar; medical researcher, physician No such things as innate ideas—mind at birth is a tabula rasa First great English empiricist All ideas are acquired from sources independent of the mind, through experience. Authored Some Thoughts Concerning Education Influenced the later writings of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison (Wikipedia, 2007) “ The little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences." (Locke, 1690, Essay, p. 10) Contemporary Realism Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Alfred Whitehead and Bertrand Russell Collaborated on mathematical writings Eventually came to teach in the United States Both wrote about education Co-authored Principia Mathematica Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) Led to philosophy through the study of mathematics at age 63 Tried to reconcile some aspects of Idealism with Realism Process is central to his philosophy—reality is a process. Philosophy is a search for a pattern in the universe: (Can a fish read?) The most important things to be learned are ideas . Education should be concerned with living ideas—ideas connected to the experience of learners. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Student of Alfred Whitehead Taught at Cambridge, the University of California Imprisoned for pacifist activities Founded a school called Beacon Hill Two kinds of reality: hard data and soft data Education is key to a better way; we should be using our knowledge to erase some of the ills of society. Hilary Putnam (1926-) Taught at Northwestern, MIT, and finally Harvard The changes in science influence the philosophy of realism Coined the term 'internal realism' Physicists have introduced a 'cut' between the observer and the universe. The universe is too large and too complex for us to understand. Forced to observe universe with our own limited resources. Science will continue to influence the philosophy of realism John R. Searle (1932-) Accepts the traditional view of Realism Coined the term 'social reality' Does reality in the universe just consist of physical particles and fields of force? Social reality created by human consciousness Aims of Education Understanding the material world through inquiry A study of science and the scientific method A need to know the world in order to ensure survival Basic, essential knowledge with a no-nonsense approach Intellectually-gifted student is a precious resource Should use the Great Books of the Western World Adler's Paideia Proposal: school should be a one-track system, general (non-specialized), and non-vocational Methods of Education Not only facts, but method of arriving at facts Emphasis on critical reasoning through observation Supports formal ways of teaching Children should be given positive rewards (Locke) Precision and order: ringing bells, time periods, daily lesson plans, prepackaged curriculum materials Supports accountability and performance-based teaching Scientific research and development Most recent development: computer technology Curriculum Physical activity has educational value (Locke) Attention to the complete person (Locke) Extensive use of pictures (John Amos Comenius) Use of objects in education (Maria Montessori) Highly organized and systematic Role of the Teacher Realists emphasize the role of the teacher Should teach students what they need to survive At the very least, should teach the essentials Material presented in a systematic and organized way Humanities should be taught in ways that are conducive to cognitive development Main Activity There is a number in your folder. The number you have matches the question that you will answer. “ The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Sydney J. Harris (American Journalist 1917-1986 )
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