What are philosophies of education?

  • Philosophies of education are the philosophical study of the purpose, process, nature, and the ideals of education.

What are they based on?

  • Educational philosophies are based on six major philosophies; Perennialism,essentialism,existentialism,humanism,progressivism, and social reconstruction.

What are the six philosophies supposed to do?

  • Each of the philosophies have their own goal and strategies. The differences in the philosophies make it easy for a student to identify themselves with the philosophy that suits them best.

The Goals of the Six Major Philosophies

1) In perennialism the goal is to develop timeless virtues such as justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence; instill knowledge for the sake of learning.

Perennialism would be for someone who enjoys to learn.

2) The next one is essentialism. In essentialism the goal is to promote and instill cultural literacy in all students and to provide common core of cultural knowledge.

Essentialism would fit someone who loves the culture they are sorrounded by.

3) Another philosophy of education is existentialism. The goal of existentialism is to create a climate of freedom and choice where individuals can choose and be reaponsible for their decisions.

This type of philosophy of education fits people who are independent or want to learn how to be independent.

4) Humanism helps students see how education is a part of their everyday lives.

For someone who doesn't like learning this could change their perspective.

5) Progressivism uses matter as a tool for understanding and ordering students' experience.

6) Social Reconstruction uses education as a tool to solve problems in todays society. It also uses it to make democracy more efficient and effective.

This could be a great type of philosophy for a person who is looking into going in politics or anything else that has to do with making this society better. 

Links and Slideshows

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Social Reconstruction

The History of Philosophies of Education 

The philosophies of education started back in the time of  famous philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, John Locke, Jean Piaget, and many others. Plato is one of the first known educational thinkers. He believed that every individual could work at their best when they were in a society that suited them the best. Many other philosophers believed and followed Plato's ideas of education. One of those philosophers was Aristotle. Aristotle was very specific on what he believed was important. For education he pointed out reading, writing, mathematics, music, physical education, literature, history, and a wide range of sciences to be the most important. In modern days, some of these are still considered most important. In the times of Plato and Aristotle their goals were different. Their goal was to create good and virtuous students for the polis. Now, the educational board wants to create students who will grow up to excel in a specific subject and find a proffesion in it.


Not sure which philosophy is the best for you? Click here to go to the Online Learning Center, take this survey, and rate yourself. What Do You Think?

Philosophies of Education Survey


Once this lesson has been completed, my objective is for the student to identify themselves with the philosophy of education that suits them the best. If the surveys from above didn't help, there are always other activities to be found online. Once the adequate philosophy of education has been identified, write an essay. The essay should include: the philosophy of education, a brief description of that particular philosophy of education, and why the student feels it suits them the best.

CHALLENGE: Once the essay is completed, the student should try to write out a lesson plan based on the philosophy of education that was chosen above. Good Luck!