Educational Theory: Essentialism and Perennialism Essay

September 14, 2018 Philosophy

Abstract Keywords phies. Applications of Essentialism and Perennialism that include functions and impacts on certain groups including pupils. instructors. and decision makers are outlined. A decision is offered that analyzes current philosophical point of views and a solution is offered to instructors that frames present philosophical idea to inform and back up instructors in making a successful schoolroom environment aimed at advancing accomplishment for all pupils.

Philosophic Overviews
Essentialism Perennialism

Philosophic Overviews

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Cardinal to all academic subjects and the formation of thoughts are the doctrines that guide our values and beliefs sing a given academic subject. Public instruction in the United States is guided by five chief philosophical point of views. These philosophical point of views include: • Essentialism. • Progressivism. • Perennialism. • Existentialism. and • Behaviorism. The steering doctrines of instruction reflect non merely the internal premises of the single instructor. but they besides construct the civilization of schools and school territories. Clashes occur when steering doctrines struggle. Doctrines are besides tied to an individual’s or organization’s implicit in values. which values are hard to alter. unless an internal transmutation occurs within an person or an organisation.

Another influence of alteration in a given school occurs when a new decision maker brings their ain doctrine to the educational environment that is different than antecedently held beliefs. However. the overarching determiners for doctrines that drive the public instruction system are derived from the university or college instruction plan. Any existent or substantial transmutation in public instruction environments typically occurs. because of alterations in higher instruction doctrines. These doctrines are derived from the original philosophers who wrote about the doctrine and reflect a much earlier clip and social concept. In response to altering social positions

Students Teachers Administrators

Barriers to Essentialism in America’s Classrooms Barriers to Perennialism in America’s Classrooms Conclusion

Footings & A ; Concepts Bibliography Suggested Reading


An overview of Essentialism and Perennialism. their philosophical definitions. historical underpinnings. and their function and impacts on pupil larning in public school instruction environments is presented. Besides presented is a brief overview of possible applications of Essentialism and Perennialism and their relationship to specific topics. which are “basic topics. ” Further analyzed are ways public instruction has been impacted by different philoso-


Education Educational Foundations Essentialism Life-long Learning Perennialism and internal value systems regulating doctrines that inspire the teacher’s relationship with the pupil. doctrines for many pedagogues and establishments have changed from teacher-centered to more student-centered beliefs. Essentialism and Perennialism are two philosophical point of views lending to education foundations and these are examined in this paper. Essentialism William Bagley was considered the establishing philosopher of the Essentialist motion. Bagley’s doctrine of instruction argued that pupils should larn “something” in add-on to the procedure of thought. The doctrine besides asserted that other doctrines over-emphasized the procedure of larning alternatively of content cognition in the course of study ( Null. 2003 ) .

The motion “essentially” began with Bagley’s profoundly held value that instruction should learn cognition from the yesteryear. because if pupils were separated from past cognition the hereafter of democracy would be endangered. Bagley and other Essentialists believed that instruction should be rich in basic course of study content and the demand for stricter subject in the educational environment. The Essentialist doctrine became popular when the American society had been challenged by the Great Depression. Bagley argued that the responsibility of instruction should be teach to democracy and these instructions should countervail the overemphasis on growing and individuality ( Bagley. 1934. 123 – 126 ) . In fact. in his Hagiographas. Bagley was resolute in reminding educational professionals that a healthy democracy was dependent on strong course of study content.

In his first book. The Educative Process. Bagley wrote. The charge of “loose” Schoolcraft and a demand for a return to the older and harsher educative methods often recur in modern-day educational literature. Under the present government. it is asserted. bore and train have become disused footings. attempt is at a price reduction. and the net consequence is a loss of staying power and a weakening of the moral fibre. The harsher methods. it is maintained. have been rightly eliminated… . Both parties to this contention appear to hold neglected some really of import informations that have been accumulated during the past 10 old ages by the now unpopular and much-abused cult of “Child Study. ” and this disregard is the more unfortunate because the visible radiation that kid survey throws upon the chief inquiries at issue renders these heated and bad treatments rather otiose ( Bagley. 1905. 184 – 185 ) .

Sadker and Sadker ( 1994 ) reported that present twenty-four hours American Essentialism accepts the societal. political. and economic construction of American society and civilization and is a reasonably conservative doctrine. Essentialists believe that the function of pedagogues is to transfuse traditional American values like the “respect for authorization. doggedness. fidelity to responsibility. consideration for others. and practicality” ( p. 369 ) . In the schoolroom. the educator’s function may be impacted by these beliefs in two ways. First. in a schoolroom constructed by this doctrine. parents would potentially see traditional subjects like math. scientific discipline. history. foreign linguistic communication. and literature being taught. Second. the teacher’s function in the Essentialist schoolroom would be to function as a theoretical account for the pupils in rational and moral capacities.

Based on these decisions. the Essentialist educator’s end is that all pupils will possess basic accomplishments. an extended organic structure of cognition. and disciplined matter-of-fact heads ready to meaningfully lend to a democratic society in America. The overarching subject of American Essentialist instruction is to focus on on acquisition and using basic accomplishments in the existent universe. Parents most probably will non see really much instructor creativeness or pupil pick in the Essentialist schoolroom. because learning is based on an information bringing theoretical account that pupils receive and apply. Besides. parents would likely non see a propensity toward distinction for the diverse scholar. In some Essentialist schoolrooms. pedagogues have blended Perennialism into the model of their direction.

Perennialism Perennialism is based on the doctrines of Plato. Aristotle. and St. Thomas Aquinas. Harmonizing to Rohmann ( 1999 ) . Aquina’s primary end was to accommodate religion and ground or doctrine and disclosure ( p. 23 ) . There are besides two types of Perennialists: those who maintain a spiritual attack to instruction like Aquinas. and those who follow a more secular position developed in the 20th century by two well-known educational philosophers. Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler. Harmonizing to William F. Buckley. Jr. ( 2001 ) . Mortimer Adler read Plato’s plants while working as a secretary to the editor of the New York Sun. and resolved to go a philosopher. Later. Adler partnered with Robert Hutchins. so president of the University of Chicago. Together these two philosophers advocated for a new of thought and embarked on a philosophical journey that finally changed the form of public instruction ( p. 54 ) .

Their doctrines extended a new manner of believing known as Perennialism. Specifically. Hutchins and Adler promoted the Secular Perennialist position. Secular Perennialists advocate instruction as a agency of building a common foundation of historical idea and ground directed at transforming the student’s paradigm or manner of thought. Secular Perennialist minds believe that in order to guarantee social endurance. all citizens must be exposed to and taught ways of thought that will procure single freedoms. human rights. and responsibilities true to the nature of a Democracy. Harmonizing to Hutchins. these beliefs do non come from text books. He stated: The merchandises of American high schools are illiterate ; and a grade from a celebrated college or university is no warrant that the alumnus is in any better instance. One of the most singular characteristics of American society is that the difference between the “uneducated” and the “educated” is so little ( Hutchins. 1954 ) .

To back up this premiss. Mortimer Adler wrote: The two major obstructions to reform hold been mentioned elsewhere. One is the relentless failure of pedagogues to acknowledge that a proportionate equality of consequences can be achieved when kids who differ markedly in the grade of their educability are given the same quality or sort of schooling. The other is the relentless refusal of the educational constitution to replace the strategy of rating that puts a pupil in his or her niche on the bell-shaped curve by an appraisal of the student’s accomplishment entirely in footings of that student’s capacity without mention to any other individual’s accomplishment ( Adler. n. d. ) .

Basically. Perennialism Teachs constructs and focal points on cognition and the significance of cognition. A schoolroom constructed from this format typically espouses a traditional doctrine where a instructor replies inquiries and inquires from the pupils in order for them to derive an apprehension. This format allows pupils to derive the ability to develop a full “range of rational powers. ” While pupils learn the “profound and enduring” thoughts present throughout clip. there is small accent on those who learn subject by utilizing text editions ( Shaw. 2006 ) . Philosophically. Perennialism seems to adopt personal development and internal transmutation instead than concentrating on specific subjects. The Southern Cross of Perennialism seems to originate multiple ways of believing about given course of study. instead than a “one-size tantrums all approach” and dedication to one set of thoughts taught through one specific course of study.

The Perennialist might freely ordain argument and see the act of thoughtful argument as an advantage in response to reading a given text. because the argument itself would let pupils the chance to believe about specific texts and organize their ain procedures of ideas and decisions. Within this model. it can be theorized that the Perennialist schoolroom would embrace the thrust for brooding idea based on enquiry. It can be argued that the overarching end of the Perennialist schoolroom is to advance chances for pupils to construe. inquiry. and think. in order to thrive acute penetrations and renewed believing about old thoughts.

A parent. directing their kid to the Perennialist schoolroom would necessarily see an orderly instruction environment adhering to specific regulations and common signifiers of basic course of study driven by thoughtful argument. enquiry. and teacher goaded pupil self-contemplation. Based on the grounds back uping Perennialism as a traditional philosophical theoretical account. a parent most probably would non see differentiated believing schemes employed for the non-traditional mind.

After reexamining literature that described these doctrines. and seeking to understand the established doctrines sing educational foundations in public schools in the United States. it is easy arguable that both of these doctrines of Essentialism and Perennialism can be readily discerned in schoolrooms across Amer-ica. It can can besides be elaborated that most higher instruction teacher preparation classs have been founded on the premiss of enquiry and idea. underscored by established. territory approved or province mandated course of study. which are besides supported by Essentialism and Perennialism. However. after reexamining the literature and contemplating profoundly. multiple decisions can be drawn and applications suggested for pupils. instructors. and decision makers.


Students It can be theorized that educational doctrines drive the schoolroom environment of all schoolrooms in all educational environments. These educational doctrines are mostly driven by specific values that individual instructors hold. which are derived from the teacher’s internal premises. The teacher’s internal premises drive attitudes regulating student-teacher relationships. pupil subject. and pupil acquisition. These internal premises and value systems are the clay that shapes that schoolroom environment and all of the attitudes held within. For pupils. they may ne’er understand why struggle exists within the schoolroom environment between themselves and a instructor. in the instance of a pupil with diverse demands or non-traditional thought forms. In add-on to sing struggle within a schoolroom environment. pupils may be fighting with a myriad of household issues. larning issues. and internal struggle.

The schoolroom and the teacher-student relationship may be the primary beginning for the pupil to larn and associate. In the face of this struggle. pupils may non be able to clearly joint their struggle. Quite merely. some types of doctrines invite fewer sorts of interactions and student-teacher relationships. Students may non understand how or why their schoolroom has been formed in conformity with specific philosophical underpinnings. An statement could be made that pupils would profit from a deeper apprehension sing why the schoolroom environment has been constructed in a given model. Teachers should see sharing their philosophical point of views with pupils in order to let pupils the chance to reflect on specific properties of the schoolroom environment. teacher attitudes. and student outlooks.

This sort of communicating could happen irrespective of the doctrines that instructors hold sing other types of schoolroom contructs. For instructors fighting with one type of philosophical concept in footings of actuating pupils or edifice positive relationships with parents. pass oning their philosophical point of view could be helpful for relieving tenseness and struggle to let pupils a window of penetration into why the schoolroom has been designed in conformity with specific guidelines. Teachers In most teacher instruction formation classs. pupils formulate a doctrine statement of how their schoolroom will be designed. Many times. pupil instructors will be able to prove their doctrine during the pupil learning experience. However. most pupils are merely given a limited overview of specific doctrines that might determine their philosophical position. Typically. specific doctrines like Essentialism. Progressivism. Perennialism. Existentialism. and Behaviorism taught in undergraduate plans are taught in an introductory foundations class or in concurrence with educational psychological science categories.

The doctrines taught in university categories are typically guided by the doctrine of the given philosophical platform adopted by the university instruction section. Based on these premises. instructors need to understand that the initial doctrines that guide their educational platform most likely will germinate and transform as the pedagogue matures and new ways of thought are constructed. It is possible that a teacher’s doctrines will turn or wholly transform as the instructor recognizes the specific demands in the schoolroom environment and make up one’s mind to run into all of the demands in the schoolroom. Teachers originally dedicated to one doctrine may subsequently happen themselves following a multi-philosophical attack that will regulate their schoolroom attacks. Understanding the doctrines of the instruction subject is utile for multiple grounds. First. it is helpful to cognize that doctrine springs from our thoughts as worlds.

These are the “intangibles that fuel our ideas. theories. doctrines. beliefs. political orientations. ” and an overview of the the minds who articulated them. It can be argued that thoughts “are the foundations of our civilization. They inspire our ideas and inform our beliefs. Many of them form the very footing of our identity” ( Rohmann. 1999. p. nine ) . These intangibles are cardinal to how we view ourselves and those in relationship with us. Most likely. these relationships will impact attitudes toward pupils and co-workers. Teachers need to critically understand that many of the struggles that arise in schools and between school forces are tied to the doctrines we hold that consequence in a clang of thoughts. When one instructor holds a dramatically different position of their function than another instructor. struggle may happen. One of the cardinal struggles presently present in instruction exists between the external civilization of the federal authorities mandating specific demands that pedagogues must run into.

Teachers frequently hold a really different position sing mandated proving or criterions established by No Child Left Behind. Teachers frequently view these authorizations as inhibitors for making a research based. thought arousing schoolroom ensuing a student-centered. “learningful” educational environment. Solutions to these quandaries are non readily gettable. but the beginning of understanding arises from cognizing ourselves and our single doctrines sing instruction and our function as instructors.

Administrators Administrators are cardinal to fixing the educational environment for instructors and pupils. Philosophic concepts are the edifice blocks for this readying. Even in alumnus plans fixing decision makers for leading. these formative doctrines are non readily taught. Merely when decision makers seek apprehension or fix a thesis or increase their educational readying to better understand philosophical point of views can they get down to larn the civilization of the school over which they preside. These doctrines govern all interactions within a school and find attitudes of all grownups within the educational set-

ting. The nature of struggle is derived when doctrines clash. For new decision makers come ining a school scene in which struggle is prevailing. it would be helpful to understand the philosophical underpinnings that guide the cultural concept. Merely after these philosophical underpinnings can be analyzed will a new philosophical platform emerge to steer the leading of the school. For decision makers. philosophical concepts influence territory policies and territory relationships. Occasionally. struggle arises when philosophical point of views are opposed. In add-on to the administrator’s function in supervising the school staff. decision makers must besides equilibrate their function in a larger context. Before come ining into disposal. professionals should use for places in territories with duplicate doctrines.


Both the Essentialist and Perennialist doctrines appear to be much more teacher centered than pupil centered. These doctrines besides reflect a much earlier clip in American history when cultural authorizations significantly influenced established doctrines of specific epochs and coevalss. For other assorted grounds. barriers exist that preclude full integrating of either theoretical account. Barriers to Essentialism in America’s Classrooms Based on the background of Essentialism and its underpinnings. the doctrine adopts a extremely conservative concept. which potentially clashes with the political doctrines of today’s educational scene. The cardinal construct of Essentialism seems to be a “back to basics” attack to traditional educational constructs. The faculty members of the doctrine are chiefly driven by the impression that American schools should convey the traditional moral values and rational cognition that pupils need to go theoretical account citizens.

It can be argued that Essentialists believe the function of instruction is to transfuse traditional American virtuousnesss as regard for authorization. doggedness. fidelity to responsibility. consideration for others. and practicality. In this type of schoolroom. it can be asserted that “a system of diversity” would be hard to accomplish. and persons with particular instruction demands would see trouble in holding their demands met. Based on the demand for today’s schoolrooms to run into the demands of a assortment of pupils. these are important barriers that are non easy get the better of despite the impression that Essentialism formed the foundation of the American instruction system and its response to fixing workers to work in mills and farms.

These ideals were extremely representative of early American civilization and an early societal and cultural concept. However. many of these traditional American values have shifted in their composing to include more diverseness in believing. cultural concept. and social composing. Barriers to Perennialism in America’s Classrooms Neither Essentialism nor Perennialism allows the students’ involvements or experiences to well order what is taught. While the Essentialist doctrine focuses to a great extent on course of study rudimentss. Perennialism focuses more on organizing critical. analytical minds.

Well known Perennialist philosophers urged schools to pass more clip learning about constructs and explicating how these constructs are meaningful to pupils. However. the methodological analysiss utilized by Perennialist minds to learn pupils to believe critically are based on Socratic methodological analysiss that most pupils in today’s civilization could potentially see as outdated. despite the fact that many of today’s schoolrooms are based on the cultural norms that Essentialism and Perennialism have integrated in educational norms. In get the better ofing barriers to implementing Perennialist philosophical concepts. instructors should see ways of ask foring differentiated thought procedures for all pupils. Conclusion Essentialism and Perennialism are both to a great extent utilized in America’s schoolrooms along with an eclectic combination of the other educational doctrines.

Doctrines that construct schoolrooms shape ways of instruction and set the background for how and what pupils learn. In all educational environments. all of the chief doctrines provide a model for set uping schoolroom patterns. One of the chief issues in incorporating doctrines is that the multiple differences in schoolrooms scatter the manner in which pupils receive information and could potentially impede how and what pupils learn from schoolroom to schoolroom.

In order to make the most relevant acquisition experience for pupils. instructors should look into the relevant educational doctrines. larn the specific doctrines that influence educational schemes integrated in specific larning environments. place the philosophical concepts that seem to place their specific ways of thought and so use a doctrine that is good founded and arguable based on researched grounds of how pupils learn best. Basically and perennially. the occupation of pedagogues is to work for pupils. Best pattern would propose that the most informed philosophical background designed for each schoolroom moral force would theoretically bring forth the best educational scene for the group of pupils served. Flexibility and research based patterns typically inform best schoolroom consequences.

Perennialism: Perennialism can be described as an educational doctrine aimed at learning pupils ways of thought that will procure single freedoms. human rights. and responsibilities true to the nature of a Democracy.

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