Nature and Purpose of Education

How do we answer the questions what to teach all our children?” and how to teach?”

In this course, we attempt to answer what are two fundamental questions in education: what to teach?” and how to teach?” We offer you philosophical methods to answer these questions, exploring the explicit and implicit beliefs about the nature of knowledge, the nature of human beings as learners, and the nature of a social organisation that is considered valuable. 

The nature of education emerges from the interactions between society, the knowledge that is considered valuable by society and the learner who must gain this knowledge. The course adopts a normative stance that a democratic arrangement is a valuable social organization and equipping the young in a society to live a good life” (flourishing) ought to be the purpose of education. With these understandings and normative valuations students explore different purposes of education – for economic participation, for democratic citizenship and for living a good life”. 

As an exercise in application of the philosophical method, the course takes one component of school curriculum – moral education – and digs deeper into issues of content choice, pedagogical approaches, and assessment strategies for moral education.