The breadth of information contained in chapter 3 World Roots of American Education and chapter 4 Pioneers of Teaching and Learning needed to be synthesized (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011). After listening to small groups present a summation of key periods of educational history, the history of education much like western civilization clearly evolved and transcended between cultures.
Receiving an education can be defined as having an an enlightening experience. While enlightenment can mean to give someone greater “knowledge and understanding” about a subject or situation (Mariam-Webster, 2012). When investigating the history of education, the general purpose of education is the acquisition of skills and knowledge. Presently, education focuses on creating a learning environment conducive to children, adolescents, young adults, adults and the elderly. The population of individuals being educated is broad and is not narrowly defined by age, gender, religion, race, ethnicity or culture. Today, the purpose of education is to provide a learning environment that is inclusive, developmentally appropriate and accommodating.
Depending on the region, education has transformed and adapted, or moving in slow-motion. Instead of social equity and educational opportunity, the student was classified based on a caste system, defined as gentry or upper class, and depended upon gender (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011). The context of education has changed from survival, religious doctrines, militaristic tactics, and classic literature, to reading, writing, arithmetic and the scientific method. The evolution of education is exponential and and moving in a direction that creates a global connection, bridging cultures and forming a global community.
The concept of cultural and religious diversity, awareness of the stages of development, enhancing motor and sensory skills, and critical thinking are just some examples of the past being utilized in today’s schools (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011). Rousseau, Piaget and Dewey are a few educational pioneers who contributed to educational reform today. Rousseau’s stages of development prefaced Piaget’s cognitive developmental stages. During undergraduate studies I majored in psychology with a concentration in experimental social psychology and Piaget was apparent throughout introductory and research courses. John Dewey re-defined the meaning of experience in education. He believed that having an experience, “involved not merely doing something, but doing something with a certain awareness of what one is about.” (Dewey, 1938 as cited in Wojcikiewicz, 2010). Deweyan learning experiences have influenced pre-service teaching practicum and the way students learn and solve problems in the classroom.
Learner’s dictionary. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/enlightenment
Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., & Gutek, G. L. (2011).Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
School of education: Montgomery college. (2011). Retrieved from http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/edu/department.aspx?id=10505
Wojcikiewicz, S. K. (2010). Dewey, Peirce, and the Categories of Learning. Education & Culture, 26(2), 65-82.