Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 2/Student Soapbox

Foundations Chapter 2 Student Soap Box

Which of the five main educational philosophies (perennialism, essentialism, progressivism, existentialism or social reconstructionism) do you believe is most appropriate to teach today's new generation, the so-called "digital natives"?


Add your response below. Extra credit will be awarded to multimedia responses.





I like the "essentialism" approach because if I read the definition correctly, "essentialism" teaches the "back to the basics" approach. I believe that this sounds like the kind of philosophy that I was taught. Back when I was in school, the teachers did not take any "mess" with the students, because if a student did wrong, the parents were called and the student was punished. Nowadays, the teachers are scared to do anything to a student that acts out because of social services or they can loose their job. I think that the schools should go back to the "basics" of teaching.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 01:10, 14 July 2009 (UTC)



I believe I would like to be the teacher that offers a variety of philosophies to my students, however, I find progressivism is a strong philosophy to use. I think with the technology used today by adolescents such as text messaging and emailing and facebook and others, that progressivism is the best philosophy to abide by. I agree that interactive activities are the best way for students to learn. It offers students the opportunity to learn through fun interactive activities. I have always been a fan of small group work and interactive classroom work as well. I feel students learn best when they are enjoying what they are learning as well as how they are learning it. Lwill031 (talk) 16:19, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Progressivism is moreso student-centered, possibly allowing for more individual development through making the students actively involved in their own learning with projects and papers that explore certain veins of their own interests that they bring to a topic. It also capitalizes on taking current events and showing correlations to the subject at hand. I think linking relation of something to a modern day event or trend is sometimes essential in developing a keener understanding. There's also the potential for social development through small groups– particularly of jigsaw ideal. Progressivism seems the least limited school of thought as far as teaching disciplines/philosophies. Hsmit022 (talk) 18:48, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that today's "digital natives" are best taught using a progressivist philosophy. Classrooms should not be learning "prisons" where students are forced to sit in a desk for most of the day and gather knowledge from constant lecturing. I feel that interactive, hands-on activities where students can use problem solving skills applicable to real world situations allow all types of learners to be successful. Working in small groups builds student confidence and increases cooperation. A great example of progressivism is using Webquests. Last year, my science classes worked in small groups to find solutions for various "quests" about the moon, force and motion, and electrical circuits. Webquests require students to work together to find the solution to a problem by finding a solution to a series of questions. My digital natives enjoyed work in their "element" and it is a great alternative assessment tool. All of my students, regardless of their learning ability, could enjoy the excitement of learning. Acrow005 (talk) 00:50, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe I would have a mix between progressivism and reconstructionism. I believe both of these have important ideas. Student-centered is important to keep student engaged. The instructor acting as facilitator and guiding the students I believe is a better way to conduct the classroom. The group activities I think are very beneficial to students it helps to build friendships, enhance self-esteem, and helps to promote good communication skills. Face to face interaction helps them to value individual differences and helps them to learn to work together effectively while encouraging each other. But I also believe that incorporating what is happening in the real world with what you are teaching can be a great tool in preparing students for the "real world." It is always good to teach students about how to make the world a better place. Aferg006 (talk) 23:48, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that ideally I would choose to offer my students a mix of different teaching philosophies; however, if I was forced to choose just one, I would choose progressivism. I think that for the generation of "digital natives" this philosophy best suits their educational needs. This idea allows the children to learn in a hands on way not only from the teacher but from their peers and through their own investigation as well. The children of this generation are already familiar with seeking out answers to questions on the internet and through other multimedia devices. Progressivism would further allow the students to find information and use it to their advantage. Through activities like group projects, students will be forced to work with one another to work towards a common goal. I believe that this type of social interaction is key to developing personal skills, respect, confidence, etc. There are so many advantages to allowing and promoting this type of philosophy in the classroom. For children of this generation that are already adapting to the technology and advances in the world today, this is yet another way to spark their interest and keep them learning! Khedl002 (talk) 00:53, 2 July 2009 (UTC)khedl002

To teach today's generation, the "digital natives", I think the most powerful teaching philosophy is progressivism. Progressivism is a student-centered form of instruction where students follow the scientific method of questioning and searching for the answer. Student assignments include projects and portfolios. Teachers may use current events to keep students interested in the learning process. In this teaching philosophy, the teacher acts as a facilitator and is not the center of the educational process. Input from students is greatly encouraged as they find their own interpretations of the answers. A progressivist curriculum emphasizes such things as problem solving and creating skills in today's world. I believe this is the most powerful teaching philosophy because students are continuously learning in today's changing world, and they use their continual knowledge to adjust to changes in life. The curriculum of a progressivist should be built around the personal experiences and needs of the students and the teacher should present lessons to students as if they are being faced with a real-life situation. Afett001 (talk) 15:15, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I would say progressivism. I find it important to provide students with the skills and knowledge to survive certain situations. It is important to have the students present questions nd strategize to answer them and with their own thoughts and creativity. I do believe that there is possibly and place and time for ever teaching philosophy. If education were just progressivism I would possibly believe students would become bored and frustrated. Having a great mix of positive learning experiences prepares the students for the future and makes them more well rounded. Sston008 (talk) 20:11, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

You are asking me to choose one educational philosophy that I feel would be best for all students. That is a difficult question because it does not account for the diversity we see in today’s classrooms. After carefully reading, if I had to choose, I would say at heart, I am the most progressivism. I believe students should follow the scientific method to pose questions and seek answers. I believe portfolios and projects are great assessment methods. I want my students to be active in their learning journeys and not just passive regurgitators. I want to facilitate and provide all the necessary resources for my students to explore, and understand their input has value. I have to say though… I do not believe that educators need to subscribe to one limited educational philosophy. Why not take certain key components of each philosophy and transform our classrooms into well-oiled, learning environments? I believe that a focus on reason, logic, and analytical thought (Perennialism) is not a bad idea. Who does not want the classic works of Plato and Einstein to stay alive? Even in a “digital native” generation. Who would disagree that all students need to learn certain fundamental subjects (Essentialism)? Who does not want to allow their students choice in their curriculum or activities (Existentialism)? Lastly, as with Reconstructionism, do we not want our students to have the desire to make the world a better place? Do we not want to bring the outside world into our classrooms to solve meaningful problems? As you see, there is not just one way to teach our children. There are many ways and many philosophies. Educators should take advantage of the benefits from all of them. Classrooms are not a “one size fits all” environment. Let us give our students all of their best options. Abitt002 (talk) 20:19, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

The option I would have chosen was not one of the five listed. I would have chosen constructivism. The key to constructivism is active participation. Students are free to explore their own ideas and share concepts with one another in nontraditional ways. Hands on activity is the most effective way of learning and is considered true learning (Educational Philosophies in the Classroom, pg.1). The closest I could come to constructivism is progressivism. Both of these philosophies are hands-on, which seem to be the best teaching approach today. Students need to feel that they are contributing to the classroom and need hands-on activities to stimulate them to learn. However, there really isn't one type of philosophy that should be used by itself. If a teacher only used one type of teaching philosophy, they would be stuck believing only one type of teaching works, and there would be no room for deviation. This is a very close-minded view, and will lead to failures within the classroom. Not all students learn the same way, so making them stay in a classroom where only one type of learning is permitted would not be beneficial for the class as a whole. Therefore I like the constructivist and progressivist philosophies because I want to teach art, which has to been hands-on for success. But, these are not the only types of philosophies that should be used, everything should be used together within one classroom for optimal learning. Hcogg001 (talk) 01:11, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

As Biology major I feel the even the so-called "digital natives" can learn a lot from nature and the world around them, as well as from the past.

The Apple I

If it wasn’t for knowledge from those before them and a little hand’s on tinkering in a California garage, we would not have I POD’s. Mlipl001 (talk) 04:29, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I too would have to agree that if I HAD to choose one teaching philosophy in my classroom to today's "digital natives", it would be progressivism. Progressivism is a student-centered learning approach where the students follow the scientific method of questioning and searching for the answer and this meshes well with the technologies today's students understand and have at their fingertips. Progressivism is a form of active learning which has many benefits under many circumstances. It helps students understand concepts better and thus apply them in real life where just passively memorizing facts does not. Sciaston (talk) 18:58, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that Progressivism and social recostructionism is the best way of teaching for the students of today. Having so much access to the vast majority of information out there is what drives this generation. I think that teaching in a progressive way encourages students to do the work without it being tedious or boring. Students today have so many options and creative outlets on how to complete an assignment to them that it would be a shame if they were not able to use this in and during their education. I personally have always liked when my teachers taught something and made it relevant to what was happening in the world at that time. It was easier for me to watch the news, read a newspaper among other things because I understood what I was reading and why things were happening. I think this is very necessary especially at this time when the world has become so small through technology. Students who are taught this way gain knowledge not only to what is happening in their immediate surrounding but on what is happening in the rest of the world. I feel that if students are not encouraged to learn about the rest of the world around them it hinders them in future since most businesses are becoming intergraded globally. I think that the progressivism teaching philosophy empowers the student to take control and really dab into the subject asking questions and looking for the answers hands on. This is very important so that the students really internalizes what he or she is being taught not just bottled up information that will later be forgotten.Bpenn005 (talk) 12:50, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I guess I am like many other educators believing that I lean toward progressivism. I believe this because being a biology teacher I like to see students take control of their learning. Not so much self learning but more like feeding off one another. I like to instruct then turn them loose with "hands on" experiments that allow them to work together to achieve a goal. I firmly believe that students learn quicker and easier this way. It is easy to read a textbook and take test, however when you have to demonstrate that knowledge it becomes a challenge. Group work allows students to help one another and give each other new ideas. It also shows that there is more than one way to achieve a certain task and that some ways are better than others. Progressivism also expands what and how the mind thinks. This is great because it enables students to constantly push the envelope and that is what we need in the science department. Hcomb003 (talk) 16:04, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I also would be more in favor of progressivism. It has a much greater emphasis on hands on projects, and collaborative and cooperative project. I believe that these types of projects are very important to help them build the skills needed for the future. There are also Webquests which are excellent projects that promote self-learning, technology integration and possibly collaborative learning. This approach is based on problem solving and critical thinking. I think that this approach will better prepare today's students for the future by building the necessary problem solving, social skills, and 21 century skills that are required for the future. Alucy001 (talk) 17:05, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that the future of many classrooms are headed toward progressivism because it teaches using group work that allows many positive forms of learning. I also think that experiments aid in teaching many topics that are difficult for some students that learn in different ways. I also think that social reconstruction is another style that is important to use in teaching because the students need to know that they will have to know the answers to many of these social issues that are a part of the world around them. The students in the "digital divide" will also have the issue of accessing technology that may be hard for them to attain. It is important as teachers that we remember that some of our students may only be exposed to these technologies at school and many of their parents may not have the ability to understand how to aid their children in an assignment that utilizes the internet. Although many of the students are exposed to far more technologies, ipods, internet, learning games, etc. There are ways that teachers can utilize these technologies to relate these resources to their lessons. Teaching is continually evolving and it is vital to our students that we remain current in our technological knowledge and styles of teaching that will help our students really attain the knowledge that we are teaching. Jnewh001 (talk) 17:09, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that many future classrooms would benefit from progressivism, especially for today's generation of students who are growing up in a digital world. Progresivism teaches students to work together in groups, and teamwork is an essential skill that students will need throughout their academic careers and into their professional lives. I believe that progressivism is best for "digital natives" because it allows them to work with their peers in understanding and grasping technology as they apply it to their academics. Also, progressivism promotes group work, which is beneficial for social skills as well. I believe that progressivism is the best style to use with these children because of the different circumstances of school that they are being exposed to than traditional classrooms used to be like. Rburt005 (talk) 23:06, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that social and technological techniques are applied more and more into a classroom as time progresses. As this world get more technological, it grows to be part of our society. It is vital that students know how to handle themselves in both situations: digitally and socially. This would help them in future employments and other social circumstances. Progressivism is the best way to develop these type of skills on each of these students, as the world becomes influenced by such. Ehern004 (talk) 19:32, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Progressivism is best applied to today’s youth the “digital-natives” in my opinion. Because today, with internet access, the spread of mass media, and an increasing ready access to databases full of stored knowledge with no “leg-work” required, like Wikipedia, kids today have the ability to take learning into their own hands. It is relatively easy for a student to find an answer to a question via Google that may have only been answerable by experts within the field or an obscure book in the card catalog just fifteen years ago. This ideology fits students who have this capability best, because its basis is in self-learning, and self-sufficiency rather than relying on an instructor as the ultimate source of knowledge. BitterAsianMan (talk) 14:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

In mathematics especially, student driven inquiry is really at the heart of the discovery. If students do not own their findings, and seek out their own methodologies than it is unlikely that a student will gain much in the way of life long learning from the subject. Progressivism would be ideal to teach the digital natives. Scrai010 (talk) 23:40, 12 July 2009 (UTC)



Social Reconstructionism


"Digital Natives" are technologically in touch with their world around them. They are acutely aware of the plight of people around the world. An example of this was with the election and subsequent protests in Iran. The images of a peaceful protest that suddenly had a woman shot were sent through cyberspace and ended up on sites like YouTube and social networking sites like Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook. Students are finding out that they can have an immediate impact beyond their own small circle of friends. Teachers should grasp the electronic world and have their students use it to create change and enhance local and global awareness. Green living, recycling, global warming, social injustices, and immigrant issues are all hot button topics that students can use technology to have an effect outside of their immediate community. Jtmitchem (talk) 17:09, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Before the 21st Century, many teachers took the perennialism approach of education, because the center of the room was the teacher. However, as America entered the 21st Century, also known as the digital age, teachers began to realize this was ineffective. Without students teachers would not even exist, and the entire purpose of a teacher is to educate the student. As perennialism and a teacher-centered classroom faded, schools began to nurture social reconstructionism, which supported a student-centered classroom. Since social reconstructionsim based on students current and controversial events, and working together to bring change, it only seems appropriate in my eyes that this approach is best suited for teaching “digital natives”. The internet has proven that it can drastically change the world’s perspective of a number of issues. For example, the current political and social turmoil in Iran has been broadcasted constantly on the internet, where millions of users are reading and watching live events. By using social reconstructionism, teachers could have high school students research the issues that have led up to today, and discuss possible solutions to their government. Teachers could make discussion even more diverse with students communicating with other students around the world with the use of social networking. Adart001 (talk) 19:27, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I think teaching more towards progressivism and reconstructionism will have a greater impact on digital-age students. Not to show my age, but students of today's world have a need for constant stimulation. Unlike my generation, who had a knack for making things up and finding activities to do without relying on adults to provide activities for them. My children, for example, are constantly bored. They would rather play video games then go outside exploring. In school, students of the digital-age tend to retain the knowledge better when the lesson plans revolve around what is going on in the world today. Correlating learning with something happening in a students life helps retain knowledge in a more profound way, in my opinion. Enabling your class to be apart of the lesson-plan-making process helps some students shine. Teaching a class using an active approach geared towards the kinesthetic learner makes learning fun and usually a positive experience. Scarlett1 (talk) 04:20, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that not only one of these theories is the most effective way to run you classroom. I thin that a combination of all of them should be used. There are properties of each of them that are important to use when dealing with the said "digital natives". Even though they are all similar they all have their subtle differences that make them unique. Rcoll029 (talk) 03:15, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

In my view, multiple strategies are important for educating students who are "digital natives." However, one approach strikes me as being especially important. This is the approach of social reconstructionism. Humans have roamed the earth for tens of thousands of years. The industrial age is not even 150 years old, and the age of computers is not even 30 years old. It is difficult to predict how this rapid development in technology is going to impact human civilization 10, 50, and 100 years down the road. But one thing is for certain, we can take advantage of these technological advances and use them for a good cause. As educators we can strive to figure out how to use these technologies in a constructive way for tasks down in and outside the classroom. As we plan our lessons and assignments we can look for ways to involve students in gaining awarenes of the needs of others and to help them think about how to better society. Mbrowder (talk) 12:48, 14 August 2009 (UTC)