Beliefs About Students

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It is undeniable that the beliefs about students and education have a profound impact on what is taught and how it is taught, just as the beliefs about life have a profound impact on how individuals live their lives. Educational beliefs are revised and refined and over time becomes stronger as they seem to serve us well and prove to be true. Thus, these beliefs ultimately become our philosophy of education. It is possible that every student that enters a classroom can succeed. However, in order for them to accomplish this, teaching should be student centered. Students should be encouraged to understand and appreciate their uniqueness and to be accountable for their learning and behavior. According to Ornstein and Hunkins (2004) Perennialism relies on the past; especially the past asserted by agreed-on universal knowledge and cherished values. Dunn (2005) also agreed that Perennialism is the oldest educational philosophy and is therefore traditional. It is believed that students are vessels to be filled and disciplined in the proven strategies of the past. This philosophy is supported by the realist philosopher John Locke, who was of the belief that at birth the mind is a blank sheet of paper on which the teacher could write knowledge (Tabula Rasa). According to the essentialist viewpoint, there are certain basic or essential knowledge, skills and understandings that students should master in order to function successfully in the society. These are reading, writing, computing and in today’s world, computer skills. Plato, who was the father of idealism, believed that both male and female are equal and should be educated equally. Therefore, the curriculum is the same for everyone and planning to execution of lessons are dominated by the teacher. However, one should not forget that these beliefs are teacher centered and tend to be more authoritarian and conservative and emphasize only the values and knowledge that have survived through time.

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