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1 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL BASES OF EDUCATION

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL BASES OF EDUCATION

-Satish Kumar

-Sonia Gulati

-Sajjad Ahmad

 

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Bases are the pillars upon which the building lies. The building of Education also has several bases. The current chapter however, discusses the three main bases of education namely the philosophical base, the psychological base and the sociological base. By going through the chapter you will be able

·         To understand the meaning of philosophical, psychological and sociological bases of education.

·         To relate these branches to different mode of life.

·       To interrelate philosophy, psychology and sociology to education and its different components.

·         To develop analytical thinking by relating different disciplines to educations.

PHILOSOPHICAL BASES OF EDUCATION

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Since the inception of this world man has been constantly trying to know the truth. This “knowing” is philosophy. It is philosophy, which has interpreted man and his activity in general. Human life cannot properly be understood without philosophy. There is close relationship between philosophy and life. Conception of life originates from philosophy. Philosophy gives self-consciousness and develops a spirit of enquiry after truth. Life and education are inseparably connected. One cannot be separated from the other. Hence life has a philosophical base and so education also has a philosophical base.

Meaning and Nature of Philosophy

         Etymologically, the word Philosophy has been derived from two Greek words “Philo” (love) and “Sophia” (wisdom) means love of wisdom. Wisdom is not the same thing as knowledge. Knowledge can be acquired, but wisdom is realized truth. Philosophy is love for the truth and a life’s necessity. Education in the widest sense of the term is life itself and, in a narrow sense it is the preparation for complete living. Philosophy provides a consistent and comprehensive interpretation of life and defines its goals. It helps us to understand the significance of all human experience and activity. It explores the base and aims of life. It is a logical enquiry into the nature of reality. Philosophy tries to answer the deepest question of life. It clarifies life and its base values. Philosophy means points of  view concerning purposes and values according to which man tries to live. With the help of philosophy man can understand himself and his relation to the rest of the universe, his origin and his destiny. Philosophy means attitude to life without which man cannot live. Philosophy indicates a certain way of life. Philosophy is an attempt to explain and appreciate life and the universe as a whole. According to Dewey, philosophy signifies “a wisdom that would influence the conduct of life”. According to Raymont, “philosophy is an unceasing effort to discern the general truth that lies behind the particular facts.” All these philosophers had their own philosophies, beliefs and values. Thus beliefs, values and ideals mould and direct human activity. Education is nothing but human effort and activity. Philosophy, therefore, is inseparable from education.

Meaning and Nature of Education

         Education is the process of development of the child or the individual. It is a life-long process. Education tries to develop the innate potentialities of the individual in a  harmonious manner. Education is harmonious development of all the powers of the human being i.e. physical, social, intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual. Thus, education is intimately connected with the life and experience of an individual. Hence education, life and philosophy are closely interrelated. There are no antitheses between philosophy of life and philosophy of education. They practically sail in the same boat.

Interrelation between Education and Philosophy

         Philosophy is the mother of education and education gives birth to Philosophy. This may seem contradictory but the relationship between philosophy and education is very close. Philosophy furnishes the goals of life and education gives the means to achieve those goals. Man is the common subject of both philosophy and education. Philosophy and education are interrelated, interdependent, identical and inseparable from each other. Every philosopher has an educational outlook and every educator has a philosophy of life. No system of education is completely divorced from philosophy. Philosophy provides the aim of life and thereby the aim of education, and education provides the vehicle for carrying out that philosophic aim in practical life. According to James Ross,  “Philosophy and Education are two sides of a coin: the former is contemplative while the latter is the active side,” Philosophy is thus an exhaustive and comprehensive inquiry into the world of matter and mind viewed as one whole. John Dewey defines philosophy as a theory of education in its most general aspects. He holds that “education  is the laboratory in which philosophic truth become concrete and are tested.”

         The interdependence of philosophy and education is evident from the fact that all great philosophers are great educators- Socrates in Greece, Confucius in China, Buddha, Tagore and Gandhi in India. They reflected their philosophical views in their educational schemes. For example, Plato’s idealism gave birth to his cultural scheme of education, Rationalism in philosophy produced the theory of formal discipline in education, Rousseau’s anti-social philosophy was reflected in his “negative or natural education”. American pragmatism has resulted in the project method of education. Naturalism has introduced the play-way method. Hence there is no reason to believe that education is unaffected by philosophy. The truths and principle established by philosophy are applied in the conduct of education process. Rousseau, Fichte and others, therefore contend that in the true sense of the term education is real philosophy. All educational programmes become consistent if their foundations are laid on sound philosophy. Philosophy formulates the aims of life and education offers suggestion how these aims are to be achieved. Education is a sustaining, progressive and purposive effort, whose strength comes only form the moral values of the community, the only source of which is philosophy.

         Therefore, we can say that without philosophy, education would be nothing but a blind effort and without education philosophy would be no better than a cripple. Divorced from philosophy, education would become an aimless endeavor; a hopeless waste of time and energy. Thus, philosophy gives education its point, its target, its goal.

          Philosophy exercises tremendous influence on education in all its aspects—aims, curriculum, methods, teachers, textbooks, administration, discipline, evaluation etc. There is no aspect of education, which is not influenced and determined by philosophy. There is no escape from a philosophy of life and of education. It determines the aims and content of education; it influences discipline in the school; it exercises an effective influence on the methods of teaching and it defines the role of the teacher in the educational set-up.

Philosophy and Aims of Education

            Every scheme of education has some aims to be attained. Aims differ from time to time and place to place. But aims have a common element. Aims of education are determined by aim of life or philosophy of life. Philosophy formulates the ends of life, and education offers suggestions how these ends are to be achieved. Aims of education change with the changing philosophy of life. The aim of Spartan system of education was to prepare patriotic citizens and soldiers. The Athenian system of education aimed at the cultural development of each individual. The British Public Schools aimed at citizenship. The Nazi system of education was determined by Nazi philosophy of life. Thus, aims of education are relative to the aims and philosophy of life.

Philosophy and Curriculum

         Philosophy determines the aims of education and curriculum determines how these aims can be attained. The curriculum is the means to attain aims of education. Curriculum  is to be determined by the educational objectives which are again determined by philosophy. Hence, the curriculum to be followed in schools has to conform to the prevailing philosophy. Thus, the problem of curriculum construction is tackled and solved by philosophical beliefs.

Philosophy and Text Books

         The text books constitute the part of curriculum. The adoption of appropriate text-books is, therefore, closely connected with philosophy. Briggs has rightly pointed out that the selection of text books depends on the ideals and values of a particular time and society. Philosophy is reflected in the content material of text-books.

Philosophy and Methods of Teaching

            Method means the art of teaching or the knowledge to which the teacher follows in the communication of knowledge to the students. The effectiveness of this teaching-learning process depends to great extent on the nature or art of communication. This art of communication or the classroom techniques are satisfactorily tackled by philosophy.

         Naturalist philosophy has emphasized the child-centered methods of education. It requires the methodology to recognize the inborn capacities of children. Educators like Rousseau, Fichte and Montessori stand for non-intervention by the teacher. The idealist philosophy, on the other hand, pleads for intervention in the education of the child by the teacher. Idealism argues that as the child has to realize certain ultimate values , the method of teaching must be teacher-centered. Pragmatism lays stress on problematic and creative activities and it advocates project method for effective learning.

Philosophy and Discipline

            The nature or type of discipline is always determined by the philosophy. Naturalism emphasizes self-assertion of the individual, as against blind obedience to authority. The idealists, on the other hand, wish the individual to rise above self. Idealism relies much on the personality of the teacher for the maintenance of discipline. Pragmatists advocate complete freedom from external pressure. Thus, we see that the problem of discipline is closely related with philosophy, and the conception of discipline as held by a teacher or educator will always be influenced by his philosophical beliefs.

Philosophy and Teacher

         The teacher is the soul of the educative process. A teacher not only has a thorough knowledge of his subject, but also he must know man, the society at large. He must have a clear vision about everything he comes into contact. Plato has defined philosopher as “One who has a taste for every sort of knowledge, one who is curious to learn and is never satisfied.” A teacher needs to study philosophy as a person and as a teacher. It helps him to keep manifold relations with his pupil.

            A teacher must have a definite outlook on life, optimistic or pessimistic, positive or negative, materialistic or idealistic. Any one of these beliefs will affect the various problems of education – the aims, the discipline, the curricula, the methods, the technique of teaching and the organization. So a teacher must have an adequate and sound philosophy. He must have a thorough grounding in philosophy.

Philosophy and Educational Administration

            Educational administration is also not untouched by philosophical doctrine. Mental tests and personality tests, which occupy a very prominent place in the field of educational administration, also require a definite philosophy.

Philosophy and Evaluation

         Evaluation is the continuous process of measuring the educational achievements in the light of educational aims already determined. Educational aims are determined by philosophy of life. Hence the first step of evaluation is the clear knowledge of educational aims.

         Thus, we find that philosophy affects both the theoretical and practical aspects of education.

One cannot be separated from the other. For individual and social development first of all we must have clear and definite educational objectives. Philosophy helps to solve the problem.  We are in urgent need of a comprehensive philosophy of education, without it a teacher cannot work creatively and efficiently.

SOCIOLOGICAL BASES OF EDUCATION

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Education takes place in society constituted of individuals. It is a social process. It has a social function as well as social relevance. A school is created by the society and the society is shaped and moulded by the school. Thus, education is both a cause and product of society. It originates in the society and it must fulfill the needs and aspirations of the society. There is thus an intimate relationship between education and society. Modern education has two-fold functions. It must help in individual development as well as social progress. An individual can only develop in the right direction in social environment. Education helps to solve the multifarious social problems.

Meaning and Nature of Sociology

         Sociology has come from two words Societas and Logos meaning “society” and “science” respectively. Hence scientific study of society is commonly known as sociology. Society is more than a mere assemblage of individuals. It involves interaction and interrelation between individuals and groups. In fact, society exists only in the articulate consciousness of human beings. On the other hand, the individual depends upon the society for his existence and self-development. It is society that acts as the selective agent and determines which of the possibilities will be allowed to develop through interaction with social groups and situations the original tendencies are modified, coordinated and shaped into individual is influenced by social direction. Sociology aims at explaining the inter-personal and group relationships. It explains occupational, religious or social groups, the nation or the state. It studies various social changes that are taking place within group life and analyses such processes of interaction as competition, Conflict, co-operation, accommodation and assimilation. It examines social change and social control, analyses the concepts of civilization and culture and deals with such social problems as crime juvenile delinquency, poverty and other social evils with a view to their solution.

Meaning and Definition of Educational Sociology

         Emile Durkheim, the French sociologist, for the first time felt the need of sociological approach to Education. He considered education  “to be something essentially social in character, in its origin and its functions.” He emphasized that education is not a static phenomenon but a dynamic and ever-changing process. Every society with its own changing socio-cultural needs will require an education to meet those needs. Since needs, change continuously therefore education must also change. The needs of different societies differ therefore education should be dynamic.

         Educational sociology is a branch of sociology, which is confronted with the problems of relationship between society and education. It makes an effort to achieve the aims of sociology through educational process, which is nothing but an interaction between the individual and the society. The knowledge of social interaction is one of the most important elements for social progress. Thus the development of the individuality is dependent on the reaction of the individual to his social environment.  Hence we can say “By educational sociology we mean the science which describes and explains institutions, social groups and social processes, and social relationships in which or through which the individual gains and organizes his experiences.”

         According to Brown, Educational Sociology is the study of interaction of the individual and his cultural environment. Thus social interaction is the key area of educational sociology. The individual becomes a person as a product of this interaction. Educational Sociology is particularly interested in finding out how to manipulate the educational process for better personality development.”

         John Dewey emphasized the importance of the socialization of the individual for education. He considered that through the participation of the individual in social process the complete development of education takes place. The educational process is nothing but a social process. The school is a social institution, which purifies the society, progress it and makes the individual conversant with the society.

         Thus, Educational Sociology is the study of those phases of sociology that are of significance for educative processes. Education sociology treats the school problems as of greatest importance to the nation. They are the problems of society and all social institutions, social direction, individual motivation and of effective group-actions. Educational sociology analyses and evaluates the groups and institutions in which learning takes place and the social process involved in learning and teaching. It analyses and evaluates the social trends and ideologies, which affect education. It helps us to understand that education is a means of social change. It throws light on human interaction and relationships within the school and the community. It emphasizes that learning is a social process. It is the total cultural milieu in which and through which the learning experience is acquired and organized.

Scope of Educational Sociology

         The scope of education sociology is very vast. It takes into account the various social forces and agencies like the school, the home, the religious organization, the play groups, It also studies the different processes of social interaction such as conflict, co-operation, competition etc. It also induces such topics as the role of the press, the T.V., the radio and the cinema as aids to social interaction. The other themes include social change and social control. It deals with the impact of sociology on the aims of education, the curricula, the school organization and the mythology of teaching. However, for the central personality development of the learner some specific social problems are also included in the scope of educational sociology. These are: the importance of teacher in the society, the relationship between the teacher and the taught, the behaviour of a student in a group, the influence of social life on the school, the teacher and the student, the relationship between the school and other social agencies, the relationship between the society and the curriculum.

Impact of Educational Sociology on Education

            Educational sociology plays a vital role on the modern educational theories and practices the aims of education, the principles of curriculum construction, the methods of teaching, the school organization and administration.

Meaning of Education

            Education is not mere schooling or instruction imposed by the elders on the younger ones. It is equivalent to the development of character or personality by means of the social life of education institutions. The social life includes all kinds of out-of-class activities. Man acquires experience throughout his life. This acquisition of experience is education. This process of acquiring experience is a social process and it is related to and influenced by social factors. Education is thus a social process and its function is not only to preserve the social heritage but also to enrich it. Learning is the result of social interaction and social motivation. Education helps to develop this social self so that an individual may become an effective and useful member of the society. Education is a process of directed learning. Education sociology focuses upon the social forces through which the individual gains experience.

Aims of Education

            Education sociology has its indirect impact on the aims and objectives of education. Educational sociologists think that education is a social process and it should be directed to social welfare. With this view the determination of the objectives of education is highly needed. The sociologists attach equal importance to the individual and social aspects of education.

            The aim of modern education is individual development as well as social advancement. Education enables an individual to make his life better both as an individual and as a member of his society. Education now emphasizes total development of an individual. This total development includes intellectual, social, moral, aesthetic, cultural, physical development. Education should bring about a change not only in the amount of knowledge gained but in abilities to do, to acquire habits, skills, interests and attitudes which characterize a person who is society accepted, personally well-adjusted and socially responsible. Thus, educational sociology emphasizes the social aims of education.

Functions of Education

            According to Payne, from the point of view of educational sociology the functions of education are mainly three (a) transmission of social and cultural heritage, (b) development of new social patterns, and (c) creative and constructive role.

            Education is to help in transmitting the cultural heritage with the help of such agencies as the school, the home, the religious organization, the radio, the T. V., the cinema, the press and the playgroup. But education is not only to transmit the past cultural heritage but also to develop new social patterns in such areas as health, leisure, vocation, home-life etc. Thus from the sociological point of view, education be regarded as a conservative force, a creative force and a critical force.

Curriculum Construction

            The impact of educational sociology on the principles of curriculum construction cannot be ignored. In ancient age the child was regarded as an adult. The adults used to frame the curriculum and imposed it on the young learners. This curriculum was obviously the brainchild of the adults. The child, his interests and inclinations were not taken into consideration. But in the modern age all these traditional views of curriculum construction have been totally rejected as unscientific. The curriculum is now in conformity with the general aims of education and it must help in the total development of the child. In the modern sense the curriculum is not mere a bundle of subjects but includes all types of activities in the school, which provide diverse experiences to the child. It is now the sum total of the experiences gathered by the child through social interactions in the school. Modern curriculum thus emphasizes the social need of education.

Activity Principle in Education

            Nothing can be taught, everything is to be learnt is the main idea of present-day education. The children are no longer passive recipients of knowledge they are now active participants in the learning process. This means that every useful productive work has learning value. Thus work-based education helps in the social development of the child. It prepares an individual to face the social reality. It helps in the process of socialization of the child and bringing social cohesion and solidarity.

The School

            In modern education the school is regarded as a society in miniature. The students learn through constant social interactions in the school. John Dewey says:  “School is a purified, simplified and better balanced society.” The school is an effective vehicle for socialization of the child. Thus schools are an important social agency or institution, which performs various social functions and responsibilities.

The School Organization and Management

            The school administration has now been democratized. The students are now allowed to participate in school administration and shoulder various administrative responsibilities. The school self-government is now an accepted educational principle and practice. This is no doubt the result of sociological principle in education.

The Teacher

            In modern education the teacher is regarded as a friend, philosopher and guide. He must prepare himself for this noble work. To fulfill this responsibility the teacher must possess suitable personality.

 

Human Relations

            Education thinks that the work of education cannot be carried on properly without reference to human relations. Human relations are also developed among students in the school society. These human relations determine the course of education. For this purpose now sociometric technique is applied in education. With the help of sociometric technique the group dynamics in school can be ascertained.

Methods of Teaching

            The methods of teaching are also influenced by educational sociology. The teacher has to adopt some method or technique to establish relationship between the objectives and the materials of instruction. The educational sociologist, according to Payne, judges the effectiveness of teaching method and technique in the light of three principles:

·               The method of teaching is effective only in so far as the skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom are actually made by the individual in his adjustment to social situations.

·               The method of teaching must place primary emphasis on social behaviour outside the classroom.

·               The method of teaching must seek to utilize the social forces operative in the social life in order to develop capacity for social adjustment.

            Thus it is evident that every aspect of education such as aims, functions, materials of instructions, methods of teaching is greatly influenced by social factors. Modern education aims at total development. Here lies the need of sociological foundation of education.

PSYCHOLOGICAL BASES OF EDUCATION

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Psychology has greatly influenced the development of modern education. Basic connections and relationships between psychology and education are manifold. Educational theory and practice are conditioned by the nature of human behaviour.

Nature of Psychology

            The term psychology has been derived from two words “Psyche” meaning mind and “Logos” meaning science. Hence psychology is the science of mind. J.B. Wastson in the beginning of the 20th characterized psychology as the science of behaviour. Like other sciences psychology has two main branches- Experimental Psychology and Applied Psychology. The former tries to determine the course or tendencies of human behaviour; the latter intends to improve human life with the application of the scientific knowledge of the human behaviour.

Educational Psychology

            Educational Psychology has developed to study scientifically the behaviour of the students and to help the process of education. It is particular field applied psychology. It tries to study the educational behaviour of the child and applies the knowledge psychology in education. Judd has defined Educational Psychology as the science which describes and explains the changes that take place in individuals as they pass through various stages of development from birth to maturity. “Apparently Educational Psychology deals with various problems of learning and teaching. That is why Educational Psychology is known as “psychology of teaching and learning.”

            A large number of educationists and psychologists have contributed to the origin and development of educational psychology. Because of the impact of psychology it has attained the status of science. In the writings of Plato we find the elements of psychology. Roman educationist Quintillion emphasized the psychology of individual difference in education. Comenius laid emphasis on needs, aptitude and interests of the students in education. He also mentioned the principle of correlation. Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Herbart, Montessori, James, Pavlov, Thorndike, Skinner and others emphasized the use of psychological knowledge in education.

            The starting point in the process of education must be related to original tendency of the child. This stock of originality is conveniently classified as instinct, reflex action, emotion and intelligence. Original tendencies are adaptable and incomplete. These may be modified and improved in acquiring acceptable behaviour –responses through education. As the original tendencies are adaptive these can be channelised in more progressive and socially desirable form of behaviour. Variations in general intelligence is great. Psychology measures this general ability. Educational psychology discusses process of development of the students, process of learning, social adjustment of the students, Individuals differences in physical abilities and mental traits and powers, Interest and motivation of child and various problems associated with the mental health of the students.

            The function of educational psychology is to know the child and his educational process completely. It tries to determine the means of attaining the educational goals and objectives outlined by educational philosophy. It helps the teacher, the students as well as the parents.

Influence of Psychology on Modern Education

            Educational Psychology has influenced the modern educational theories and practices in various ways. Psychology deals with the total behaviour pattern of man. Educational behaviour has different facets or dimensions, as it is also a social behaviour. In order to make the educational process effective Psychology helps us greatly.

Influence of Psychology on the Theoretical Aspect of Education

·   The primary aim of education is the total development of the child. In the past the child occupied the pivotal position in the educational area. But now the child occupies the central position. Modern education is child-centric, that is why psychology studies the nature and behaviour of the child in different facets. Child centricism is the direct effect of psychology on education.

·   In modern education, the concept of school has undergone tremendous changes. The school is now regarded as the replica of the society. For bringing desirable and permanent changes in the child the school should be organized as a society. So the child should be educated in the social environment of the school. Thus in modern education the concept of school has greatly been influenced by the theory and practice of social psychology.

·   Another important theoretical aspect of modern education is the activity principle. This means that the child should learn through self- activity. According to the psychologists activity is the natural tendency of the child. His natural inclinations are expressed through his activity. Education can be meaningful if these inclinations are utilized for the purpose of education. This activity principle is based on the psychological theory.

·   In modern times the meaning of education has changed to a great extent. It is a life-long process from birth to maturity. Education is the process of acquiring experience throughout life. Growth brings changes in the behaviour pattern of the child. Changes take place through the adjustment to the environment in which the child lives. In the way of adjustment the child acquires new experiences and this process of acquiring experience is education. Thus this new meaning of education has psychological basis.

Influence of Psychology on the Practical Aspect of Education

·   All modern methods are psychological methods. Learning can be effective if the content of education is communicated through the senses. Children are sensitive as well as imaginative. Senses are the gateways of knowledge. Hence in presenting instructional materials the senses (audio-visual) should be maximum utilized. In psychology the training of the senses has greatly been emphasized.

·   Another characteristic feature of modern educational method is that content of instruction should be presented in continuous, sequenced and integrated way. Psychology emphasizes that for proper understanding this continuous, sequenced and integrated presentation of facts is needed. This is the contribution of psychology.

·   Each individual has his own innate potentialities. For his educational development each individual should be treated separately. This educational principle is the product of psychology.

·   All modern methods of teaching emphasize that the students should actively participate in the learning process. He should not be passive recipient of knowledge. Through different methods of teaching the students are made active. This activity principle of education is the contribution of psychology.

·   Psychology has also influenced the modern principle of curriculum construction. In the past, disciplinary value of a subject was the main criteria of selection of subjects for curriculum. But the modern psychologists have discarded the theory of formal discipline. They think that no subject is indispensable for curriculum construction for its unlimited disciplinary value.

·   All the principles of modern school organization and administration have directly been influenced by psychology. For example timetable is framed on the basis of fatigue index of the students. The modern concept of school discipline is also a psychological product. Psychology emphasizes the importance of freedom of the child in the maintenance of discipline in the school.

·   Modern educational science attaches importance to the proper analysis of maladjusted behaviour of the school children.

         From the above discussion it is evident that psychology has influenced education in different ways. In the field of determination of aims of education the impact of psychology is very meager. The educational aims have mainly been influenced by philosophy. But psychology chalks out the ways and means by which the educational aims can be attained. Thus the influence of psychology on the theoretical aspect of education is partial and limited. But its influence on the practical field of education is significant and total. 

 

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POINTS TO REMEMBER 

Philosophy has been derived from two Greek words “Philo” (love) and “Sophia” (wisdom) and means love of wisdom. 

Relation of philosophy and education: Philosophy and Aims of Education, Philosophy and Curriculum, Philosophy and Text Books, Philosophy and Methods of Teaching, Philosophy and Discipline Philosophy and Teacher, Philosophy and Educational Administration, Philosophy and Evaluation. 

Sociology impacts Meaning of Education, Aims of Education, Functions of Education, Curriculum Construction, Activity Principle in Education, The School, The School Organization and Management, The Teacher, Human Relations, Methods of Teaching. 

Influence of Psychology on the Theoretical Aspect of Education and Practical Aspect of Education.