Reflection on Perennialism

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What is the purpose of education? As future educators, the answer to this question will determine our philosophies of education. Education greatly affects the lives of many people and provides the foundation for a person to establish a plan for their future. This foundation consists of hardworking teachers, motivated students and involved parents. A true education doesn’t consist of a group of classes containing a series of facts to be used on a test and then forgotten, but contains a series of tools that students use in their everyday lives. The tools will vary depending on the teacher’s education philosophy. The perennialist and essentialist education philosophies reminded me of family members- who each have their own values and beliefs. When I read the perennialist philosophy it reminded me of my grandfather. He was the type of person who demanded respect and received it without a doubt. I feel like a teacher who would have a perennialist philosophy would have that type of no nonsense approach to interacting with his/her student. My grandfather’s traditional views are what made him come to mind as I read the perennialist philosophy. Although I respect my grandfather and perennialist advocates, I don’t agree with their traditional values. Perennialists believe that people are, essentially, the same, and that the human condition, in its most essential form, remains essentially constant. As the saying goes, “You can’t have a future if you when you are stuck in the past”. The essentialist philosophy reminded me of Tiger Moms due to their strict, tough love approach to parenting. I remember a book that came out a few years ago called “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua. The book caused a lot of controversy due to the author’s account of her “Chinese parenting style”. She also wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal where she outlines how Chinese mothers are more successful than Western mothers. According to her, Western mothers feel that stressing...
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