Faculty of Education - Theses

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    An analysis of John Dewey's philosophy on 'education as growth'
    Stent, Gregory R ( 1989)
    This thesis' approach to John Dewey's philosophy, specifically his ideas on 'education as growth', while aiming to provide a critical analysis, is also sympathetic. Hence it is not entirely committed to another school of thought. Rather it leads to the criticisms which are set forward in two ways. First in attempting to state his thought clearly, we are forced to note that, at times, there are crucial ambiguities in Dewey's use of key terms. These ambiguities are of special importance in considering what Dewey has to say about the empirical method and what he has to say about the nature of events. Second, and more important, in attempting to state the relationship between his views on fundamental topics, we find conflicting 'intellectual tendencies which are not resolved by Dewey. John Dewey's educational writing has been analyzed with a view to determining his views about the aims and general character of education. This thesis has examined whether Dewey's basic recommendations about educational. aims and methods are logically connected with his technical philosophical formulations or are 'rendered more likely by them. At almost every point, the upshot of this analysis has been to suggest that the logical or philosophical links that Dewey claimed or assumed between his technical philosophical formulations and educational recommendations do not in fact exist.
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    Paulo Freire : the implementation of his theory
    Smith, Jan ( 1989)
    Paulo Freire achieved mythic stature in many educational and theological circles in the 1970s after the publication of his work in the Western world. He was welcomed by many for his philosophy of compassion and social change. His philosophy stems from his personal experience of struggle for survival in the Depression, and his theory of education was derived from his practice of teaching adult illiterates in north-east Brazil. Freire regarded literacy as the means by which oppressed people could become aware of and actively control and change their historical and social conditions. Literacy, for Freire, could thus never be a neutral activity. His early political aims were to educate people for the practice of democracy. However personal experience in Brazil led him to advocate revolution. For Freire literacy underpins revolution. Freire refuted traditional methods of teaching and learning, and so found much acceptance by Marxist educators and the youth of the 1970s anxious to change the world. They embraced his work for its view of human possibilities and for its revolutionary demeanour. Many supporters bestowed on him a god-like status for his radical views. Most of his supporters, however, applaud aspects of his theory but do not fully embrace it. Many conservative adult educators criticised Freire for his language and his view of human nature and society. Some contend that Freire has nothing new to say and that his theory is based on contradictions. They deplore the lack of academic rigour in his books. Many critics concede that Freire adds some valuable insights to the debate on literacy but claim that his hidden political agenda obscures these. He is also criticised for not offering people specific advice on how to utilise his theories in other contexts. Freire does not satisfactorily answer his critics, nor does he explain the discrepancy between his evaluation of his programme in Guinea-Bissau and that of the Guinea-Bissau government in 1980. However in self-defence he claims that he never wanted the adulation he received in the 1970s and that he never claimed universality for his work as a whole. He reiterates constantly that his theory must be re-interpreted in every situation. Some of his ideas are indisputable but no evidence is provided of a successful total implementation of his theory.
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    The role of tradition in the educational ideas of Michael Oakeshott
    Smyth, Julie ( 1986)
    Michael Oakeshott's writings provide a comprehensive support for traditional education. As such, they are in stark contrast to the direction of many modern, educational writers. Oakeshott's vision of the ideal school has probably never been realized by any actual educational institutions. The purity of thought achieved by his ideal scholar may not have ever been matched by any real person. Nevertheless, the idealism and integrity of his writings demand the reader give a fair consideration to traditional techniques of education. The negative aspects of traditional school systems are more widely known than their- strengths. Oakeshott supplies a proud review of the strengths as he sees them. This thesis traces the important role tradition plays in the educational ideas of Michael Oakeshott. The central task has been to demonstrate Oakeshott's strong commitment to conservatism and the preservation of tradition, and to analyse to what extent his central position is enhanced and limited by his 'philosophy of life'.
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    Egan's stage theory : an exploratory study of its use in the analysis of science textbooks
    Valmadre, Christopher Charles ( 1985)
    Kieran Egan (1979) has challenged educationists to consider the need for a Theory of Development which is specifically Educational. Such a need is discussed and examined in the context of science teaching. Egan's Theory was applied to the selection of science text material for a group of eleven and twelve year old students. The students' responses to the materials were compared with Egan's descriptions of certain developmental stages, particularly of his Romantic Stage. The author concluded that Egan's theoretical proposition assisted in interpeting certain student behaviour and preferences. Possible classroom uses of Egan's theory are discussed, implications for text usage and design are outlined, and some areas of research are suggested.
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    Towards redressing the neglect of "dispositional knowledge"
    Wyatt, Scott A ( 1991)
    Dispositional knowledge has been long neglected (with only few exceptions) by philosophers even though this topic should be of particular interest to philosophers of Education. All dispositional knowledge can be expressed in the grammatical form 'x knows how to 0'. So, in examining dispositional knowledge statements, we need only consider statements which are expressible in this form. Kyle's work on dispositional knowledge (or knowing how to) was misleading in that he assimilated cases of human dispositional knowledge with cases of physical dispositions. More recently David. Carr has proposed an alternative view of knowing how to which culminates in three criteria for the application of physical know how to an agent; these criteria are parallel to the widely acknowledged tri-partite account of propositional knowledge. Carr neglects an account of mental know how on the grounds that mental know how cannot be distinguished from mental ability. Carr's account of physical know how is flawed. And an analysis of mental know how is required. An examination of mental know how reveals criteria for mental know how which are parallel to the criteria for physical know how.
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    Knowledge and vital piety: John Wesley's ideas on education - sources, theories and practice
    Klan, Julian Stanley ( 1990)
    Education was an essential element in the Wesleyan Revival of eighteenth century England. John Wesley sought not only to save souls but also to nurture them in the Christian life: literacy was a pre-requisite for this. He could not rely on the schools of his day to provide an acceptable education, so he established his own school at Kingswood, Bristol, in 1748. For Wesley, the basic aim of education was "to overcome the principle of evil with the principle of Grace", or to set right the "natural bias" of humanity. The daily programme, the rules and the curriculum at Kingswood School were geared to achieving this educational aim. By avoiding all negative influences and enforcing positive ones, he sought to overcome the principle of evil with God's grace. Constant supervision was crucial. The students (all boarders) were awake from 4a.m. to 8p.m. and constantly at their lessons, spiritual exercises or physical exercise - no "playing". There were no holidays or home visits until a child's education was completed. Only children under the age of twelve were admitted. The curriculum was an extension of the same principle. The traditional Classics Course was revised to exclude any un-Scriptural values and to include works of religious biography and ethics. In developing his educational theories, Wesley was truly eclectic. His own religious experience and Arminian theology, and the influence of his mother were seminal. He drew upon other educational systems, particularly the Dissenting Academies in England, the French Port Royal Schools and the German Moravian schools. The writings of Plato, Law, Locke, Milton, Comenius, Fleury and Poiret were also most influential in forming his ideas. These influences, tempered by Wesley's own experiences and failures in three earlier schools, shaped Kingswood School, the definitive expression of his educational philosophy.
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    Maritain on education and moral education
    Goodwin, Colin ( 1983)
    Jacques Maritain (1382-1973) is.one of'the most important fioures in twentieth century philosophical and. cultural life. No attempt to produce a serious history of intellectual life in the twentieth century would be complete without reference to Maritain's work. In the course of a long and extremely active academic career Maritain published more than fifty books and lengthy monographs dealing with philosophical questions. He also published a wide range of articles on social and political matters.1 He held chairs of philosophy in France and the United States at different periods of his career, and visited a number of other countries (including Canada and England) at the invitation of universities to lecture in philosophy. Maritain is widely regarded as the foremost modern inter - preter of the thought of the thirteenth century philosopher and theologian, Thomas Aquinas, and as a profoundly creative and original thinker in his own right. While those familiar with Maritain's work know that he made substantial contributions to metaphysics, philosophy of nature, epistemology, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy, political philosophy, and aesthetics, many are unaware of the range of his contributions to education. Maritain in fact made valuable contributions to educational theory in published works spaced out over more than forty years, � beginning in 1927. In order to convey an idea of the extent of Maritain's contribution to educational theory and thus to provide a framework within which to set out, and evaluate his ideas on education and, more specifically, on moral education, the first chapter of this study will consist of a chronologically arranged synopsis of Maritain's principal published statements on education - a straightforward enough task, but one which has been totally neglected. by commentators on Maritain's educational writings.2 The second chapter will attempt to set out the central elements of Maritain's reflections on education, while chapter three will focus attention on Maritain's observations concerning moral education. The final chapter of the study will be an appraisal of his views on education in general and on moral education.
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    Paulo Freire: oppression, liberation and education
    Gibson, Andrew N. ( 1989)
    This paper deals with the life, work and influence of Paulo Freire. Chapter One contains a brief description of Freire's life and career. It also looks at some aspects of Brazilian history which have led to the creation of an oppressed class in that country. Chapter Two takes up the theme of oppression and analyses Freire's explanation of the creation of oppression, how education has contributed to that oppression and what is wrong with traditional education so that it has become an agent of oppression. Chapter Three deals with the theme of liberation and examines Freire's philosophy of education as a means of liberation. In particular the role of dialogue, curriculum creation, the role of teacher and learner and the movement of- liberation theology are examined and analysed. Finally Chapter Four examines the range, and applicability of Freire's educational theory in both the Third World and in Western, developed countries. In each section there is an exposition of the criticism which has been levelled at Freire with regard to his work on the particular area and where appropriate, the criticism has been, in its turn, critically evaluated.
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    The pedagogy of St Thomas Aquinas and its significance for contemporary catechetical methodology
    Gaskin, Gerard M. ( 1991)
    This thesis sets out to achieve two related tasks. First, it aims to extract from the massive corpus of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) a coherent pedagogical theory. The Introduction gives a brief overview of the man in history, sets out the confines of the investigation and establishes a working definition of pedagogy. Chapter One argues that for pedagogy to be effective it must cooperate with the operation of the intellect. It then proceeds to examine St. Thomas's understanding of the operation of the intellect. It also considers the role of the senses in intellection and the notion of the perfection of the intellect. Chapters Two and Three work systematically through St. Thomas's basic epistemology. They analyse his principles of cognition, abstraction, the use of reason, the purpose of knowledge, the divine truth and Catholic doctrine. Secondly, this thesis draws specific (Thomisitic) catechetical principles from this pedagogy. Chapter Four examines St. Thomas's explicit pedagogy. It considers the teacher, potency to knowledge, discovery and instruction. It reviews the notion of pre-existent knowledge, derived and perfected by St. Thomas from the Greek philosophers. It also deals with the letter written by St. Thomas to Brother John on "How to Study". Chapter Five draws thirteen catechetical principles from St. Thomas's pedagogy. It considers the use of intellect, will and reason, teaching and instruction within this catechetical framework. In the process of completing this second task Chapter Six examines a contemporary Catholic catechetical document and evaluates its methodological precepts in the light of Thomisitic catechesis derived in Chapter Five.
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    Anton Semyonovich Makarenko and progressive education: a study of Pedagogicheskaya Poema, or, The Road to Life
    Cartelli, Concetta ( 1991)
    The aftermath of the 1917 October Revolution in the U.S.S.R, brought about a climate of radical reforms in the entire education system. The first minister of education, Lunacharsky, introduced experimentation in schools; he encouraged the implementation of a school curriculum influenced by Marxist-Leninist ideology combined with the ideals of John Dewey and the Western Progressive tendencies in education. In Russia, a product of the October revolution was also a multitude of 'bezprizornie', homeless children who needed urgent educational attention. In 1920, a young Ukranian teacher, imbued with the fervour of revolutionary ideals, was given the task of running a colony for 'bezprizornie'. Antonich Makarenko accepted the task with reluctance but also with a firm belief that educational processes could re-educate children. He also believed that the education system could cater for the interests of both the individual and the group. Makarenko's educational experiment became known as 'The Gorky Colony', in honour of his source of inspiration, the Russian writer, Maxim Gorky. In the running of the Gorky Colony, after initial difficulties, Makarenko, experienced fame and success. He recorded his pedagogical experience in a literary work which he called: A Poem of Education, translated into English and thereafter known as: The Road to Life. His work, first published in 1933, coincided with the end of the Lenin-Lunacharsky's influence in education and with the rise of Stalinist policies of return to traditionalism in education. Makarenko survived the party purges of the early Bolsheviks by adopting the Stalinist policies in education. Calling his methodology 'the Soviet Way', and by stressing the belief in 'collective education', he gained favour within the Stalin regime and also during the 'de-Stalinization' years of the Khrushchov regime. Detailed analysis of The Road to Life, reveals that the 'Makarenko method' remains most of all a reflection of the child-centred, progressive approach to education of the early Bolshevik years, the 1920's.