Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Article Title

Philosophy a Frill?


Because philosophy of education courses are viewed by mlny as being impractical, an academic frill, they are vulnerable to elimination from teacher preparation programs as faculties of education struggle with current fiscal pressures. Philosophy of education courses, as I conceive them, deal with the question of overriding aims, and consequent key features, of education. Such courses are indeed impractical along many dimensions. However, the sense in which they are practical is of such overwhelming import to the welfare of the school system as to reduce to triviality the senses in which they are not. Intelligent student teachers insist on questioning the aims and key features of education. They should not be denied courses which not only provide a forum for such questioning, but which actively inform and challenge the questioner. A teacher's attitude to life, to school, to children, is a reflection of the philosophy (pattern of values with attendant assumptions) acquired through childhood and adolescence. Rather than being the object of conSciousness, this pattern structures consciousness, and thus attitude. To engage in philosophical activity is to bring values, and attendant assumptions, into clear view for scrutiny; it is to be discomfited as much as it is to be liberated as all is subjected to challenge. Such engagement is a maturing, humbling process.

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