Philosophy of education and theories of learning

Cooper, Hilary ORCID logo ORCID: (2018) Philosophy of education and theories of learning. In: Cooper, Hilary and Elton-Chalcraft, Sally, (eds.) Professional studies in primary education, third edition. SAGE Publishing, London, UK, pp. 44-65. Item availability may be restricted.

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This chapter is relevant for educators in early years settings, in primary schools and beyond. You will see from Chapter 1 that, for a variety of reasons, the aims of education and the degree of political influence and central control over all dimensions of education are dynamic: they change as society changes. Teachers have had little encouragement recently to question what or how to teach. And ‘primary education suffers more than its share of scare-mongering and hyperbole, not to mention deliberate myth-making’ (Hofkins and Northen, 2009, p. 5). The report continues: ‘Isn’t it time to move on from the populism, polarisation and name-calling which for too long have supplanted real educational debate and progress? Children deserve better from the nation’s leaders and shapers of opinion.’ The Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013), which apply to teachers regardless of their career stage, do not expect you to explore questions about the aims, purposes and value of education. However, they do require teachers to, ‘act with honesty and integrity …and to be self-critical’ (p. 7). If children’s lives are not to be at the mercy of political whim, it is essential that teachers learn the skills of robust, critical evaluation, based on their reading, experience and reflection, in order to develop strong personal philosophies about what, how and why we teach children, and to interpret changes in ways which are professionally valid and have integrity. It is important to learn scepticism, and have a concern about the larger questions and a deep understanding of what we teach, to have time to reflect, research and study. This chapter aims to help you do this. First, it gives an overview of the questions philosophers have asked about education in the past, and ask currently, and shows you how to engage with them. Then it links these to theories about how children learn.

Item Type: Book Section
Publisher: SAGE Publishing
ISBN: 9781526409683
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Education (IOE) > Initial Teacher Education (ITE) > Early Years and Primary Undergraduate Partnership QG
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2017 10:31
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 19:15
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