History’s Three Phases of Education

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History’s Three Phases of Education

Reagan Parker, Contributor

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Since philosophy is “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline” according to Oxford Dictionary, education is undoubtedly an essential topic and practice in society. When humans grow, they are most influenced by their families, influences and society, and their formal education that they receive, therefore, education strongly pertains to philosophy, which strives continuously to find truth. Often times, our modern day culture has a misconception on what education is meant to be, or supposed to be. In Obama’s State of Union address, he states, “Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.  We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future” (nepc.colorado.edu). This is all great, but is this education all that education should be? To explore the truths of philosophy, often times we must refer to the greatest philosopher, History, and for this lesson, he will be our best friend.

Throughout most of ancient history, education has been preserved for the elite of society. Only the wealthiest men could be brought up and trained by a formal instructor, since all others were farmers or hard at work in another, low paying profession. In fact, the root word for “school” is “schola”, which originally meant “leisure”, because school, formal education, took place in ones leisure, as they were not working the fields or in any other heavy labor. During medieval times, this sort of education was called “scholasticism”. This was preserved for the wealthiest members of society as well as the clergy, and their studies were limited to theology and the trivium: logic, rhetoric, and grammar. Out of scholasticism rose humanism, a product of the renaissance, which desired to go back to the original sources and provide education to the common man for the purpose of virtue and the betterment of society. Humanist belief was that education should be for the masses and applicable to life to fulfill purpose or make change, not just a tool used in the hands of the aristocracy and clergy, who were often corrupt anyways. Finally, history’s last philosophy of education is that it is solely a tool to provide one the information and means to make a living in society and, with hard work and time, become wealthy. This is clearly seen in our perception in the “American Dream”, of which education is an essential part.

After viewing the three stages, the philosophy of education comes down, for most, to the latter two stages, since education for only the wealthy or those of higher status, is against human nature and is believed by many, including Aristotle, to be a hindrance to fulfilling one’s purpose. The final question often comes down to this: “Is education a means to virtue or success?”, but is pecuniary success true success in relation to human nature or purpose? The classical education of Benjamin Franklin High School reflects much humanist belief in that education is purposed to help people think and lead them to virtue, not give them the secret code to “how to get rich quick”. Formal education is a key part of the United States, but your philosophy on the matter affects what you gain from the system. What can formal education give and what has the most value. What has the most value from the perspective of eternity?

 

 

 

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/philosophy

https://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/what-purpose-school

https://www.philosophybasics.com/movements_scholasticism.html

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Reagan Parker, Contributor

I am Reagan Parker, a junior here at Ben Franklin. I enjoy singing and am in Charged Harmonies, and I also play on the varsity basketball team. I play...

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