- Spanish Bilingual Education research papers determined that the nation’s large and ever increasing population of Spanish-speaking students is largely underserved in the educational system.
- Prior to the 1970’s, a number of parent-organized advocacy groups formed grass-root movements in order to promote the education of children with special needs and to protect them against discrimination inside and outside of the classroom.
In developing a curriculum (whether in a specific subject area, ormore broadly as the whole range of offerings in an educationalinstitution or system), a number of difficult decisions need to bemade. Issues such as the proper ordering or sequencing of topics in thechosen subject, the time to be allocated to each topic, the lab work orexcursions or projects that are appropriate for particular topics, canall be regarded as technical issues best resolved either byeducationists who have a depth of experience with the target age groupor by experts in the psychology of learning. But there aredeeper issues, ones concerning the validity of the justifications thathave been given for including particular subjects or topics in theofferings of formal educational institutions. (Why should evolution be included, or excluded, as a topic within the standard high schoolsubject Biology? Is the justification that isgiven for teaching Economics in some schools coherent and convincing?Does the justification for not including the Holocaust or thephenomenon of wartime atrocities in the curriculum in some countriesstand up to critical scrutiny?)
The final complexity in the debates over the nature of educationalresearch is that there are some respected members of the philosophy ofeducation community who claim, along with Carr, that “the formsof human association characteristic of educational engagement are notreally apt for scientific or empirical study at all” (Carr2003, 54–5). His reasoning is that educational processes cannot bestudied empirically because they are processes of “normativeinitiation”—a position that as it stands begs the questionby not making clear why such processes cannot be studiedempirically. (For a more thorough treatment of the philosophicalcontroversies concerning empirical educational research cf. Phillips2009.)
The different justifications for particular items of curriculumcontent that have been put forward by philosophers and others sincePlato's pioneering efforts all draw, explicitly or implicitly, uponthe positions that the respective theorists hold about at least threesets of issues. First, what are the aims and/or functions of education(aims and functions are not necessarily the same)? Alternatively, asAristotle asked, what constitutes the good life and/or humanflourishing, such that education should foster these? (Curren,forthcoming) These two formulations are related, for it is arguablethat our educational institutions should aim to equip individuals topursue this good life—although this is not obvious, both becauseit is not clear that that there is one conception of the good orflourishing life that is the good or flourishing life for everyone,and it is not clear that this is a question that should be settled inadvance rather than determined by students for themselves. Thus, forexample, if our view of human flourishing includes the capacity to actrationally and/or autonomously, then the case can be made thateducational institutions—and their curricula—should aim toprepare, or help to prepare, autonomous individuals. A rival approach,associated with Kant, champions the educational fostering of autonomynot on the basis of its contribution to human flourishing, but ratherthe obligation to treat students with respect as persons. (Scheffler1973/1989, Siegel 1988) Still others urge the fostering of autonomy onthe basis of students' fundamental interests, in ways that draw uponboth Aristotelian and Kantian conceptual resources. (Brighouse 2006,2009) How students should be helped to become autonomous or develop aconception of the good life and pursue it is of course not immediatelyobvious, and much philosophical ink has been spilled on thematter. One influential line of argument was developed by Paul Hirst,who argued that knowledge is essential for developing and thenpursuing a conception of the good life, and because logical analysisshows, he argued, that there are seven basic forms of knowledge, thecase can be made that the function of the curriculum is to introducestudents to each of these forms. (Hirst 1965; for a critique seePhillips 1987, ch.11.) Another is that curriculum content should beselected so as “to help the learner attain maximumself-sufficiency as economically as possible.” (Scheffler1973/1989, p. 123)
- Educational Program on the Internet research papers look at a sample of how to order graduate level services, with specific instructions to what needs to be included.
After a period of dominance, for a number of important reasons theinfluence of APE went into decline. First, there were growingcriticisms that the work of analytic philosophers of education hadbecome focused upon minutiae and in the main was bereft of practicalimport. (It is worth noting that the 1966 article inTime, cited earlier, had put forward the same criticism ofmainstream philosophy.) Second, in the early 1970's radicalstudents in Britain accused the brand of linguistic analysis practicedby R.S. Peters of conservatism, and of tacitly giving support to“traditional values”—they raised the issue of whoseEnglish usage was being analyzed?
Third, criticisms of language analysis in mainstream philosophy hadbeen mounting for some time, and finally after a lag of many yearswere reaching the attention of philosophers of education. There evenhad been a surprising degree of interest in this arcane topic on thepart of the general reading public in the UK as early as 1959, whenGilbert Ryle, editor of the journal Mind, refused tocommission a review of Ernest Gellner's Words and Things(1959)—a detailed and quite acerbic critique of Wittgenstein'sphilosophy and its espousal of ordinary language analysis. (Ryleargued that Gellner's book was too insulting, a view that drewBertrand Russell into the fray on Gellner's side—in the dailypress, no less; Russell produced examples of insulting remarks drawnfrom the work of great philosophers of the past. See Mehta 1963)
The concept of indoctrination was also of great interest to analyticphilosophers of education, for, it was argued, getting clear aboutprecisely what constitutes indoctrination also would serve to clarifythe border that demarcates it from acceptable educationalprocesses. Unfortunately, ordinary language analysis did not produceunanimity of opinion about where this border was located, and rivalanalyses were put forward. Thus, whether or not an instructionalepisode was a case of indoctrination was determined by the contenttaught, the intention of the instructor, the methods of instructionthat had been used, the outcomes of the instruction, or of course bysome combination of these. (Snook 1972) The danger of restrictinganalysis to ordinary language (“normal English usage”) wasrecognized early on by Scheffler, whose preferred view of analysisemphasized
I will describe how I view the acquisition of knowledge, common student nature, what I believe the purpose of education is and my desired method and curriculum.
Conceptual analysis, careful assessment of arguments, the rooting outof ambiguity, the drawing of clarifying distinctions—which makeup at least part of the philosophical analysis package—have beenrespected activities within philosophy from the dawn of thefield. Traditionally they have stood alongside other philosophicalactivities; in the Republic, for example, Plato was sometimesanalytic, at other times normative, and on occasionspeculative/metaphysical. (These overlap and intertwine, of course.)(Frankena 1956, cf. Frankena 1965a, 1965b.) Just as analytictechniques gained prominence and for a time hegemonic influence duringand after the rise of analytic philosophy early in the 20thcentury, they came to dominate philosophy of education in the thirdquarter of that century (Curren, Robertson and Hager 2003).