Historical Foundation: Origins of Educational Heritage
A report for Educ 503- Foundations of Education
By: Eugene de Guzman, Euiga Jung, and Sheri-Ann Ramirez
Diverse cultures and philosophies have contributed to present-day education. A study of the development of the political, social, religious, and philosophical ideas that were distinct for each historical period or civilization would give us a further understanding of the precursors and origins of teaching methods, beliefs, and curriculum— as well as how these still have an impact on educational issues today. This report will focus on six major civilizations and the famous personages that were all integral to the historical foundation of education. I. Education in Preliterate Societies
Our ancestors transmitted their culture orally from one generation to the next. Furthermore, the word enculturation is the key term which refers to the transmission of culture from adults to children. Children must learn the group’s language and skills and assimilate its moral and religious values. It was essentially through trial-and-error learning through which people gained skills or knowledge. Preliterate people faced the almost overwhelming problems of surviving in an environment that pitted them against drought and floods, wild animals, and attacks from hostile groups. By trial and error, they developed survival skills that over time became cultural patterns. The transition from childhood to adulthood is carried through ritual dancing, music, and dramatic acting to create a powerful supernatural meaning and evoke a moral response. Prescriptions (acceptable behaviors) and proscriptions or taboos (forbidden behaviors) were learned. These led to the formation of a moral code for a society. They lacked writing to record their past, so they relied on oral tradition, or storytelling, to transmit cultural heritage. Storytelling was an engaging educational strategy used in the past. Elders or priests, often gifted storytellers, sang or recited narratives of the group’s past. They told myths and legends which told of heroes, victories, and defeats. Songs and stories helped the young learn about the group’s spoken language and develop more abstract thinking. As toolmakers, humans not only made use of these for their survival but also learned to express themselves by the use of symbols such as signs and pictographs. They would discover art through drawing and paintings, modes of expression which are preserved in caves and rock surfaces in famous parts of the world. II. Education in Ancient Chinese Civilization
Historically, ancient Chinese civilization reached high pinnacles of political, social, and educational development. The empire was ruled by series of dynasties spanning more than forty centuries. Many educational traditions—especially Confucianism—that originated in imperial China still have influenced today.
There were three main aims of early Chinese education. First, there was a focus on ideological and ethical learning based on the teachings of Confucius, particularly on relationships, order, duty, and morality. Second, it aimed to preserve their cultural patterns and usages. Third, education prepared students to take state examinations to qualify for the higher status in life and for positions in the government.
One type of education was language education since the Chinese language has very many characters whereby each represents an idea. These had to be memorized.
There were three chief methods of instruction. First, the Confucian method was not confined in the classroom. Outdoor teaching was done. Second, direct and exact imitation was a must for learners to master writing many Chinese characters. Third, memorization was a large part of learning because a lot of learning material had to be memorized thoroughly. Confucian Education
Confucius (551-479 B.C.) is one of the world’s greatest philosophers and teachers. His ethical system for more than two...
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