Department of Education, Unit Catalogue 2009/10
ED60340 Philosophy of education
| Modular: no specific semester|
Philosophy of education is undergoing a major renaissance, evident in the strength of established international networks and the level of interest among graduate students in the UK. Philosophical enquiry forms an essential part of the study of education, informing and evaluating empirical research as well as dealing with questions of ethics and values that are not best tackled by empirical means. |
Aims: The aims of the unit are to:
* Introduce participants to the main current debates and key literature in philosophy of education;
* Explore philosophical perspectives on key ethical and values issues in education, such as the role of the teacher, the nature of childhood and the function of the school and university;
* Develop skills of philosophical argument with respect to the above themes;
* Allow students to develop their own educational values by means of the above.
By the end of the course students are expected to achieve the following outcomes:
Knowledge and Understanding:
* of the key issues in current debates in the philosophy of education;
* of the nature of philosophical enquiry as practised in the field of education;
* of the potential of philosophy of education to impact on educational policy and practice.
* critical awareness of the debates and dilemmas in the practice of philosophy of education.
Professional and practical competence:
* the ability to understand, interpret and critique literature relevant to the philosophy of education, in the contexts of other literature and of personal and professional practice;
* the ability to construct philosophically robust arguments in relation to educational issues..
Transferable / Key Skills:
* Competence in critical oral and written argument.
Assignment: Students will be expected to complete one written assignment of 8,000 words, which will involve one or more of the following:
(i) Critically reviewing recent publications in the philosophy of education relating to a topical issue;
(ii) Developing an original argument in relation to such an issue;
(iii) Critically evaluating the work of n earlier philosopher with respect to its educational relevance.
The unit will focus on (1) key texts in the philosophical tradition that have a bearing on the understanding and practice of education, and (2) key texts relating to current issues in educational policy and practice. The former will include (extracts from) Plato The Republic and The Laws, Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, Rousseau Émile, and the work of Locke and Dewey. Reference will also be made to work not published as philosophy but of philosophical relevance: particularly Darwin, Einstein, Freud and Lacan. The latter will embrace debates about education as private and public good (with the implications for provision), duties towards children, the role of the teacher, and the theory/practice divide, making reference to recent publications in the philosophy of education. Note that this unit will not aim to replicate work undertaken in the Educational Research unit, which discusses the philosophy of empirical research methodology.