Chapter 1 Teaching Aptitude (UGC NTA NET JRF Teaching and Research Aptitude Book)
Philosophy is a vast subject. All aspects of education such as aims, objectives, curriculum, teaching methods, teacher, text books and discipline are infl uenced by philosophy. Keeping in view that an examiner now tends to ask multidimensional aspects in a single question, philosophies become important.
Definitions and meaning of Education
The word ‘education’ has a wide meaning, and it is diffi cult to defi ne it in precise terms. As per NTA Exam pattern, there are no direct question pertaining to definition, still some of the statements are here for better retention of concept of education. The terms education, teaching and learning are closely related. The objective of education is learning, not teaching. Teaching is the way to make students learn, but then, it is not the only way. Education is the key to everything that is good in our world today.
Education is not only about the past and present, but it is also the key to the future. Education not only teaches our children facts but also teaches them how to think and learn on their own. Swami Vivekananda defines education as the manifestation of perfection already in man. Aristotle defined education as a ‘creation of a sound mind in a sound body’. According to Heinrich Pestalozzi, ‘Education is the natural harmonious and progressive development of man’s innate powers’. This definition means each human being has immense natural, inborn talent or talents in him. Education provides development conducive atmosphere to him or her. John Dewey defines education as the power by which man is able to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities.
According to Frobel, ‘Education is a process by which the child develops its inner potential in a manner so as to participate meaningfully in the external environment’. ‘The purpose of education is to expand the life of the individual in order to participate in its all pervading spirit which manifests and realizes itself in and though the whole universe’.
Major philosophies and Approaches in Education
1. Three basis of education: The educational process is decided on the basis of three questions – ‘Why’, ‘How’, and ‘What’. Here, the question of ‘Why’ is most important. This is answered by philosophy. The ‘How’ is decided by the psychology and ‘What’ is decided by the social needs. Hence, education is based on the basis of philosophical, psychological, and sociological basis. There are many philosophies of education, some of the important philosophies of education have been mentioned below.
2. Idealism: The word ‘idealism’ has been derived from ‘Ideal’. It is basically about ‘Mind and Self’, that is actually spiritualism. The universal mind or God is central in understanding the world. God is the source of all creation and knowledge, spirit and mind constitute reality. Values are absolute, eternal and unchanging. Real knowledge is perceived in mind that is more important than knowledge gained through the senses. Man has a superior nature that is expressed in the form of intellectual culture, morality and religion.
Froebel, Kant, Plato, Swami Dayanand, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo are main proponents of idealism.
3. Naturalism: Contrary to idealism, naturalism is a philosophy with the belief that nature alone represents the entire reality. Human life is a part of nature; it is a self sufficient entity having its own natural matter, natural force and natural laws. Its emphasis is on matter and the physical world. It does not believe in spirituality and supernaturalism. Our senses are the gateway to knowledge, and nature is the source of all knowledge. Mind is subordinate to nature. The educative process must be pleasurable and set in natural surroundings. The main protagonists of naturalism are Tagore, Rousseau, and Herbert Spencer.
4. Pragmatism: ‘Pragmatism’ is basically a greek word that means practice or action. Here, the key word is ‘utility’, whatever is useful is good and whatever is good is useful. A pragmatist lives in a world of facts. Pragmatism focuses on activity or doing. There are no absolute values of life. Truth is created during the course of experience. Humans are active beings and have the ability to solve their problems through the logic of experiments and scientific methods. The main thinkers are John Dewey, Kilpatrick, Mead are some of the exponents of this philosophy.
5. Constructivism: The learner actively constructs knowledge. Jean Piaget and J. S. Bruner believed that learning involves an active processing of information and that each individual activity organizes and constructs knowledge for itself. Educational psychology believes that there are developmental stages for knowledge organization.
According to Jean Piaget, ‘accommodation’ and ‘assimilation’ are basic to learning. A learner develops new ‘schema’ through accommodation. New experiences are assimilated into already existing schemas or they may be accommodated by creating new schemas.
6. Humanism: It is a reasonable balance in life and regards humans as the centre and measure of all activities. Humanism believes in the interests and welfare of all human beings. Thus, the life of a human being should be transformed so that the welfare of all becomes the goal. The form of learning is on self-actualization. It advocates cooperation, mutual tolerance and social understanding.
7. Rationalism: Rationalists claim that there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience.
8. Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge.
9. Existentialism: It is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. This emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or in different universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts.
10. Behaviourism: It assumes that learner is a passive organism who may be conditioned to learn new behaviour. Therefore, learning could be explained by change in observable behaviour. E. L. Thorndike postulated the law of exercise and the law of effect.
(a) Law of exercise: Repeating a conditioned response would strengthen the bond between the stimulus and the response. In other words, practice makes a man perfect.
(b) Law of effect: Law of effect is the principle of reinforcement and punishment. Pleasures and pains resulting from previous behavior decides our future behaviour.
11. Gestalt psychology: It believes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
For example, in the human body, there are cells, tissues, organs, systems, etc., the sum of all these components (human body) is greater than the sum of its parts. This is because the parts are interrelated to each other.
Further, Gestalt psychology demonstrated the significance of perception. It also showed that complex learning need not occur gradually through lengthy practice but may develop through insight.
12. Eclectic philosophy: Eclecticism is nothing but fusion of knowledge from all sources. It is a peculiar type of educational philosophy which combines all good ideas and principles from various philosophies. There are many more philosophies of education, each of the philosophies have its contributions and limitations. Not a single philosophy is complete in itself. Also, a single philosophy cannot be applied successfully in all situations because the world and its values are continuously changing. The educational system also changes from time to time.
Important Concepts in Education and its Proponents
|Basic education (Wardha Education System)||Mahatma Gandhi|
|Learning to take place in nature and from nature||Rabindranath|
|Integral education||Sri Aurobindo|
|Focus on spiritual aspects of Indian philosophy||Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan|
|Education to transform human mind||J. Krishnamurti|
|Experiential learning||John Dewey|
|Self-education through development of individuality||Maria Montessori|
|Kindergarten focus on self-activity, creativeness, and social cooperation||Froebel|
|No formal learning nature is the only teacher||Rousseau|
Forms of Education
Though there are no clear-cut forms of education, we can discuss about the three types that are as follows.
1. Formal 2. Informal 3. Non-formal
1. Formal education: It is pre-planned direct, organized and given in specific educational institutions, such as schools and colleges. It is limited to a specific period and it has well-defined curriculum. It is given by qualified and trained teachers. Formal Education observes strict discipline. It occurs at different levels, such as in primary, middle, secondary, higher secondary, graduate, post graduate, doctorate, post doctorate. It can be in humanities, science, technical and professional areas.
2. Informal education: The quote by George Santayana, ‘A child educated only at school is an uneducated child’, amply reflects upon the importance of informal education. Informal education is not pre-planned or deliberate, it is indirect and spontaneous. It takes place from day to day activities, experiences and living in the family or community. There are no formal goals. Pestalozzi believed parents are the first informal teachers of every man or woman, family environment is the first learning environment.
3. Non-formal education: Education is a lifelong process, it is integrated with life and work.
It falls within the formal and informal types of education. It is a flexible system. It is intentional, incidental and given outside the formal system of system. It is consciously and deliberately planned, organized and systematically implemented. It is an open system of education without rigid rules, regulations and fixed ages, stages or time schedule. Social or adult education, distance education are the examples of non-formal education.
All these three types of education, such as formal, informal and non-formal, have their due place in the modern system of education. Each has its own merits and demerits. There is need to integrate the three forms and make education holistic and comprehensive. Thus we can see that above three components are mixed up in actual life situations. Active agencies like family, schools and colleges work through human interaction. Cinemas, radios, newspapers and magazines are counted as passive agencies where education is mostly seen as one way interaction but some feedback mechanism and panel discussions may also exist.