The philosophy of education has a long and rich history: Aristotle and Socrates (via Plato) disagreed on the role of direct instruction in learning; Locke and Rousseau disagreed on whether a student’s mind was a full or perfectly designed vessel at birth; And later thinkers like John Dewey created a model where students were responsible for what they learned and when they learned it. I myself, for Locke and Aristotle, deviate from Dewey, and hate Rousseau, but there is no doubt that these debates and ideas contributed to everyday education policy and practice.
Now, however, the philosophers of education may also be speaking in their mother tongue. What was once an important ideological discussion, including virtues, education, and the future, has become embroiled in controversy over issues such as the “autological analysis of being” that the average parent or educator will never understand. It is easy to blame Awakening for this phenomenon, and while the role of Awakening in this development cannot be denied, it would be an exaggeration to say, at least, to put a barbaric blame on its feet.
The fact is that the field of modern pedagogical philosophy suffers from a mixture of arrogance and delusion – arrogance in the sense that the philosophers of education believe that Them The question is the most important thing, and the confusion that they legitimately think that educators will understand them (or care about what they want to say). At the moment, education has nothing to do with the philosophy of education. Needless to say, a reassessment of research priorities, and perhaps a thicker piece of humble pie, is needed.
A cursory look at the last year of the scholarship in the philosophy of education reveals a collection of articles by more than a dozen authors. Most of these articles consist of a general theme or question, and each author has probably written hundreds of words about what they think of that question or theme. It would be a thing if the questions were effective, and the blurb would be in direct dialogue with each other – it would create an interesting and insightful model. But the questions are often stupid, and even if the question is realistic there is no dialogue between the scholars.
“Who remembers Greta Thanberg?” Ask a 2021 article Education philosophy and theory Dedicated to tying education, the environment and epidemics together. Most contributors lament the climate crisis and complain that schools are not doing enough to address it. Another article presents the themes of “propaganda,” “social justice, and education,” and the article itself consists of numerous allegations rather than a scholarly preoccupation with colonialism and “neo-liberal education.”
More traditional articles are not much better. Although there are still valuable scholarships, many articles bear little resemblance to reality. One tries to apply Confucianism to the Malawian education system. And then you have a 2015 article that addresses the important issue of ওয়ার “posthumous eating” in the school cafeteria as “folk phenomena”.
Let’s make it clear: A third-grade teacher who is struggling to teach more than twenty children, many of whom probably have behavioral problems, can no less care less about post-mortem how to do math. They almost never know what to eat after death (I had to see it). Moreover, Malawian educators are becoming more concerned about the country’s main educational purpose – teaching the country’s girls how to read – they will be about indigenous pedagogy as well as the proper application of Confucianism.
Teachers are very sensitive about how they are treated in scholarly literature, but they are very willing to apply new innovations if they are approached in a way that they can understand. While this could have negative consequences if misused by proponents of a particular Fed, it does mean that there is a real opportunity for education philosophers to contribute. They may argue for the best way to ensure proper conduct, or deal with what citizenship ethics are in the context of citizenship or history class. They can provide great insights into how students can respond to Covid-19, or interact with cognitive concepts that may inspire teachers. Instead we talk nonsense, and everyone else pays the price.
Socrates, Aristotle, Locke and everyone else, as one of my philosophy professors said, “the great dead man” will fall into their graves if they see what the philosophy of education has become. What was once a meaningful discussion of education and society has become entrenched in ego and selfishness, giving birth to philosophy, excluding skepticism and virtue. Even then, the ideological concern of education is not going away, nor will it be. But until the philosophers of education engage in some serious self-reflection, these problems will only continue to accumulate. And no one knows if that accumulation will become a monster.