From the past, there have been many philosophers who have generated philosophies and theories that have been applied and worked in various aspects of our today’s society and mostly in our system of education. There philosophies have impacted a lot to the lives of every contemporary society. Some of the most remarkable philosophers in the field of education who have developed an epistemological are four. These four philosophies are related to one another in some way. The most recognized world philosophers are such as Jean Jaques Rousseau who advocated for naturalism, Edmurd Burke , a conservatist, John Heinrich Pestalozzi among others. The currently used educational philosophies used in classrooms are essentialism, perennialism, Reconstructionism and progressivism. Therefore, they are the determinants of what we should teach in the curriculum.
Perennialism is a philosophy which was initiated by Robert M. Hutchins (1899-1977). He advocated for a liberal education at an earlier age while measuring achievement through comprehensive examinations. Its main aim is to ensure that students have acquired the great understanding of western education. It has the required potential to solve a problem at any given era. It focuses on teaching the ideas that have a lasting aspect and endure constant truth as a natural and most human world. It is important and rational to teach these unchanging principles to human beings. It cultivates the interest of highest priority in a worthwhile manner. The goal is to ensure a curriculum that focus on growth of cultural literacy while maintaining discipline.
Essentialism is a belief that there is a common core knowledge that should be transferred to students in a systematic and disciplined way. It was developed by Arthur Bestor and trends towards anti-intellectualism which decline the standards of education (1908-1994). The objective is ensuring conservative moral and intellectual standards taught in schools. The mode of schooling should be practical, preparing students to be respected members of the society in the future. It is founded on the fact that Schools should not try to influence policies but should rather teach them to work hard, be disciplined and respect the authority. Teachers should be there to help them check their non-productive instincts such as mindlessness and aggression.
The philosophy of progressivism was established in America by John Dewey (1900-1950). One of the tenets of this philosophy was that schools should improve the cultures of their citizen through democracy and provision for freedom. The belief held was that education should emphasize on the child as a whole rather than the teacher and the content of the syllabus. The process of learning is rooted to the learner as a subject and arises through experience in the whole world. The learner is a thinker who has a duty to solve problems and make meaning through his experience in the cultural and physical context.
Social reconstruction or the critical theory is a philosophy that emphasizes the quest to create a better society and global democracy. The educators on social theory focus on a curriculum that addresses social reforms as the basis of education. This theory was brought forward by Theodore Brameld (1904-1987) in reaction to the outrages of the Second World War. He identified the capacity to create a beneficial society by the use of technology other than human cruelty. Education was recognized as a new method to restore social orders that were eroded during the world wars.
Whether intentional or unintentional, schools and education should serve to reproduce a culture. Education is an important part in socialization of a child. It is not just an obvious tool for values and morals but also a social tool for life. Therefore, the principle of social reconstruction and progressivism is very essential in any form of the education system.