Foundations of Education

Overview

Introduces the capstone consolidating assignment for the course.

Graded Tasks

  • upload your capstone assignment to the assignment portal

Philosophy of Education Dialog

For your capstone assignment in the course, you will selectively draw on the content for Weeks 8, 9, 10, 20, 21, and/or 22 as you write a 900 - 1000 word dialog between two teachers who are discussing their respective philosophies of education - I.e., what they each believe the primary role and purpose of education should be.

Here is an abbreviated example of what such a dialog might look like. Jack is representing the 'education for economic development' philosophy (Week 8) and Nora is representing the 'education for inquiry learning' philosophy (Week 22):

"Nora: Did you have a good morning?

Jack: I certainly did. I put the Grade 6 students into role as scientists during science class. I gave each student a lab coat to wear and I addressed them as "Dr." throughout the class. They were especially delighted by that!

Nora: How did you come up with that idea?

Jack: Well, as you know, I think the primary role of schools is to prepare students for the world of work and what better way to do this then to treat them as career professionals, so they can experience what it's like to be a scientist, or a historian, or an author?

Nora: But don't you think there's so much more to school than just preparing kids for the world of work? I certainly do. There's so much more to life. For example, I want to my students to be prepared to take on all those challenges we can't possibly predict today. So my focus is on helping them to develop inquiry skills that will help them succeed - in work, but also in life more generally - regardless of what careers they choose.

Jack: What do you mean by inquiry skills exactly?

Nora: Well, skills like problem solving and decision making, but also collaborative skills related to working with others. Those are all going to be important skills to have regardless of their career choices.

Jack: Yes, but what about all those skills which are specific to individual careers? Don't you want students to develop specific skills in science, history, or language arts for example?

…continues…

Nora: Oh, the bell's about to ring. Better get back to class. It was a good discussion though. See you later.

Jack: You too. Have a great rest of the day."

The above example adopts a few conventions that you might want to follow:

  • The dialog opens with a very short introductory exchange which sets the stage for the philosophical discussion which follows.
  • Each teacher asks questions of the other which prompts them to provide further explanation or give an example.
  • Examples from practice are shared.
  • The phrase "the primary role of school" is used to clearly indicate when a philosophical perspective related to the course content is being shared.
  • The two teachers gently challenge one another. For example, one teacher asks, "But don't you think there's much more to school than just preparing kids for the world of work?"
  • The conversation is informal. Words like "kids" are used, as you might expect in an informal staff room exchange.
  • Specific terminology from the course is used throughout (e.g., inquiry skills).
  • The conversation closes with a brief concluding exchange (I.e., about the need to get back to class).
  • Through the dialog, the discussion is respectful. The two teachers are not arguing with one another.

Think of this assignment as a short excerpt from a movie, television, or stage play screenplay that in part features two teachers discussing their philosophical beliefs related to K-12 education.

A rubric for this assignment can be found in the course outline which is available on the LMS.
📌 This capstone assignment is loosely inspired by one of the earliest and most influential writings in the philosophy of education - the Greek philosopher Plato's (428 - 348 BC) Meno dialog (). Although well beyond the scope of this assignment, if you have a broader interest in delving into the philosophy of education discipline more deeply, you can read about the dialog here ().

Dialog Requirements

Here are the requirements you must follow for the dialog:

  • the total word length for the dialog should be between 900 and 1000 words (Note: TAs will not read past 1000 words.)
  • begin the dialog with a very brief introduction (see the example above)
  • feature only two teachers in your dialog, each of whom represents a different philosophical perspective (see the instructions below)
  • ensure that the conversation between the two teachers is respectful (i.e., aligned with the Ontario College of Teachers' Standards of Practice and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession)
  • end the dialog with a very brief conclusion (see the example above)

It is also recommended that you incorporate some of the conventions that are noted above (e.g., have each teacher ask questions of the other). This will strengthen the dialog. Absolutely feel free to incorporate other writing best practices, but always keep the focus on the two teachers' philosophical dialog.

The Teachers

As noted above, your dialog will feature two teachers, each of whom represents a different philosophical perspective. One of the teachers can represent a philosophical perspective of your choosing. Choose from the list below. The other teacher must represent the philosophical perspective that matches your birth month.

For example, if you were born in February, one of your two teachers must be Jack, representing the 'education for economic development' philosophical perspective. As noted above, you can choose who the second teacher is from the list below.

Here are the list of teachers:

Summary: Jack is a teacher who believes that schools should prepare the next generation of skilled workers. Through his teaching, Jack constantly puts students into role as writers, mathematicians, scientists, geographers, and historians etc. He has also invited friends who work in a variety of industry sectors to speak to his students about their jobs. He regularly asks his students to consider the careers they might wish to pursue when they get older. Jack believes the curriculum of schools should be closely aligned with the knowledge and skills that jobs are likely to require in the future. In his teaching, he tends to privledge the sciences and math over other subjects.
Philosophical Perspective: Education for Economic Development
Course Connection: Week 8
Birth Months: January and February

Summary: Monique is a teacher who believes that society is essentially inequitable and that the school system largely perpetuates this inequity from generation to generation. The only way to disrupt this generational cycle is for teachers to raise students' consciousness by integrating anti-racist and anti-sexist content into the curriculum. However, Monique is careful in how she approaches this. She draws on evidence from respected sources (e.g., census data and economic statistics) to highlight how some social groups fair better in society than other social groups. Monique is also concerned about her students' futures in terms of global and environmental issues more generally. For example, she integrates topics related to global warming into her teaching wherever possible.
Philosophical Perspective: Education for Social Equity / Education for Social Change
Course Connection: Week 9 / Week 21b
Birth Months: March and April

Summary: Miguel is a teacher who believes that each child has the right to make learning decisions for themselves. In his teaching, he closely follows each student's individual interests, tailoring the curriculum to the topics that interest them the most. Miguel's classroom is filled with all sorts of learning materials that students can choose to work with. Plus there are stations for writing stories, conducting science experiments, creating videos, and designing artwork. Throughout most of the school day, Miguel's students are free to choose which learning materials and stations they wish to use.
Philosophical Perspective: Education for Personal Development
Course Connection: Week 10
Birth Months: May and June

Summary: Jasmine is a teacher who believes that each subject should be taught by a subject specialist who is an expert in the discipline under study. She divides her school day into structured blocks of time which are each devoted to a single subject, such as language, math, biology, or history. Jasmine rarely integrates the subjects she teaches. For example, when they are studying biology, she wants to her students to think like biologists and closely follow the scientific method. On a weekly basis, Jasmine tests her students' understanding of the content she is covering, providing remedial support to those students who are falling behind.
Philosophical Perspective: Education for Disciplinary Initiation
Course Connection: Week 20
Birth Months: July and August

Summary: Sean is a teacher who believes that schools have a critical role to play to preserving the social order, especially in a society where there are few institutions other than schools that can bring young people together for the common good. He believes that schools have an important socializing function in society. They play a key role in imparting a set of shared values that all people should be committed to. Hence, Sean's classroom has a strict set of rules that he and he students have collectively brainstormed and committed to. Sean wants his students to be proud Canadians, to know their history, and to be proud of time honoured Canadian values (such as showing mutual respect for one another).
Philosophical Perspective: Education for Social Continuity
Course Connection: Week 21
Birth Months: September and October

Summary: Nora is a teacher who believes that all students learn differently. Her job is to ignite in students a sense of curiosity about the world and then help scaffold their investigation of those topics that most interest them. Nora wants her students to develop independent learning skills that they can then apply to a variety of learning contexts, both within and outside of schools. Although Nora's students complete individualized learning activities, she also helps them develop teamwork and conflict resolution skills through collaborative project-based learning.
Philosophical Perspective: Education for Inquiry Learning
Course Connection: Week 22
Birth Months: November and December
📌 The "course connection" notes above indicate the course weeks from which you should primarily draw content for the dialog. However, you are also welcome to draw on course content from any week of the course.

You can also draw on external sources of information (although this is not required). As always, be sure to give credit to any external sources you draw on (e.g., by including a web link as a footnote).

Capstone Assignment

No later than the assignment due date (as noted in the course outline), log into the LMS and answer the following assignment question which is a graded task. Upload your assignment in Microsoft Word format to the LMS's "Assignments" web page for formal grading by your TA:
Q23.1: Following the instructions on the "Philosophy of Education Dialog" topic page, write a dialog between two teachers who are discussing their respective philosophies of education - i.e., what they each believe the primary role and purpose of education should be. (Actions: Upload your assignment to the LMS's Assignments portal page | 900 - 1000 words)
LMS Assignment Question
📌 Throughout this week, TAs will be monitoring their emails should you wish to pose a question and/or share a short excerpt - no longer than 150 words - from your draft dialog for feedback.