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The Alliance of Education

The Alliance of Education

By Tamiko Guilaume

Without warning or preparation, many individuals have found themselves involved in the education sector during COVID-19. This manifested in the forms of curious minds, practising self-preservation strategies against boredom or depression, or just the unexpected gift of time that eludes the average working adult. If you are a parent or teacher of school-age students: the stakes became higher overnight.  Daily lessons of grammar, algebraic formulas or reflective writing shifted online-unprepared or not. While some subjects had more of a seamless transition into cyberspace than others, the learning curve pointed to the need for constant flexibility and innovation in the education sector. 

Much like the Hippocratic oath of medicine “primum non nocere” or “first, do no harm”, education has a credo or personal philosophy. While each educator will present their unique mission or credo to cultivate individuals, all responses tend to fall along the grain of the Hippocratic oath of “first, do no harm”.  Why do we discuss these oaths, credos and shifts in the teacher-student and learner roles? Now unlike ever before, we are active participants in a shift. Urgency created a need to revisit our philosophies necessary to make education effective. 

There are seven philosophies of education central to approaches in teaching and imparting wisdom in varied settings. Through time and techniques, philosophical thinkers and educators distilled the seven down into four fundamental principles: 

  • Essentialism- A subject-centered philosophy to teach basic skills. 
  • Progressivism- The belief that individuality, progress and change are fundamental to one’s education.
  • Perennialism-The value of knowledge that transcends time. This is a subject-centered philosophy with a goal to teach students how to think rationally and develop minds that can think critically. 
  • Romanticism- A belief in the natural goodness of people which emphasizes emotional self-awareness as a necessary pre-condition to improving society. This is a student-centered philosophy that focus upon differentiation.

While individual educators may hold differing views and opinions upon the philosophies, we find ourselves in a progressive environment requiring fluid innovation. This is the time for a paradigm shift in the alliance of education. How might this alliance come to reality? Let’s start with all concerned parties: 

Educators: Revisit the personal philosophies that motivated you to become an educator. Perhaps your philosophies have been refined, or outright changed by hands-on experiences or administrative restrictions?  Consider how the shift from a physical to virtual presence might work in your favor, in terms of engaging and motivating students. 

Parents: A heart-felt cheers for your new role as a de-facto co-educator: it’s the toughest yet most rewarding job title you will ever hold. You’ve always been the first point of reference, but now you are able to see the essence of your child, as far as their comfort or discomfort with education philosophies. Look into the philosophies and how they apply to your child’s unique personality. After all, no one knows the child like a parent. 

Learners: Understand the philosophies and review how the educator in your life might have applied them in learning a particular subject, or work with a specific learning style. What worked? What didn’t work? As a self-motivated learner, review these philosophies to better understand your style of learning and maximize online course and certifications for professional or personal growth. 

Now more than ever, the world and its current state will not allow a “one-size-fits-all” mentality to the planning and implementation of education.  Educators, parents and learners are in the midst of a unique opportunity to better understand each other, through the alliance of education. Let all vested parties use our time and avoid being underprepared for the constant of change.