Realism and its Role in Education

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  1. Realism and its Role in Education
      • Teresa Hopson
      • XEF 501-Philosophy of Education
      • Professor: Dr. Percy Bland
      • Cheyney University
      • April 4, 2007
  2. Overview of Presentation
    • Classical Realism
    • Modern Realism
    • Contemporary Realism
    • Aims of Realism in Education
    • Methods of Education
    • Curriculum
    • Role of the Teacher
    • Small activities throughout the presentation
    • Conclusion
  3. Does Mars Exist?
  4. 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.
      • (pg. 48)
  5. Difference between Plato and Aristotle The School of Athens, c.1511 by Raphael
    • Plato (428-347 B.C.)
    • Must study ideas
    • Truth and logic through the dialectic discourse
    • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
    • Should study matter
    • Logic reasoning through his syllogism
  6. Classical Realists
      • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
      • Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
  7. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
      • “ A tree can exist without matter, but no matter can exist without form.”
      • (p. 49)
  8. What might Aristotle ask of the Rock?
  9. 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.”
      • (p. 50)
  10. 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.
      • (p. 50)
  11. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
      • Aristotle's Concept of the Four Causes:
      • The Material Cause
      • The Formal Cause
      • The Efficient Cause
      • The Final Cause
  12. 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:
      • All men are mortal
      • Socrates is a man
      • Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (p. 52)
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
      • Beliefs:
      • -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.
  16. Modern Realism
    • Francis Bacon
    • (1561-1626)
    • John Locke
    • (1632-1704)
  17. 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”
  18. 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)
  19. 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)
  20. Contemporary Realism
    • Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947)
    • Hilary Putnam (1926-)
    • Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
    • John R. Searle (1932-)
  21. Alfred Whitehead and Bertrand Russell
    • Both born in England
    • Collaborated on mathematical writings
    • Eventually came to teach in the United States
    • Both wrote about education
    • Co-authored Principia Mathematica
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. Curriculum
      • Practical and useful
      • 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
  29. 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
  30. Main Activity
      • There is a number in your folder.
      • The number you have matches the question that you will answer.
      • Conclusion
      • “ The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
      • Sydney J. Harris (American Journalist 1917-1986 )