EDCI 506 Issues in Education Week #3

The Purpose of Education

I think that the purpose of education is to help develop students into productive members of society.  My purpose relates with the Ancient Greeks purpose of education, which was “to cultivate civic responsibility and identification with city-state and to develop well-rounded persons” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 60).  I know that many people say that they want to create productive members of society, but I really do believe in that.  I think that education can help students realize the different between right and wrong, can help students want to give back to the community, and to help them realize the value of hard work.  I do not only hope for my students to become white collar workers like doctors, my wish is that they give back and participate in any way that they can for the greater good of society, and that is why we have education.

How has the Institution of Education Changed? And how has it Remained the Same?

The institution of education has gone through many different reforms and has been effected by many different groups of people.  From the preliterate societies to the current institution of education, many changes have happened but also many aspects have stayed the same.  I would say that the overall purpose of education has changed dramatically over the years.  I would say our society’s current view on the purpose of education is similar to that of the preliterate society, which included the “transmission of the group’s existing traditions, cultural patterns, and survival skills” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 57).  Different groups and people along the way have included religious commitment and knowledge about their religion as being the sole purpose of education.  Today, all public schools in the United States are supposed to be upholding the separation of church and state, meaning no religious affiliation allowed, which is a huge difference.

There are also many aspects of the educational institution that have remained the same.  For instance, the Chinese were the ones who first came up with standardized tests, and those are heavily used today around the world.  Other aspects that have remained the same are instructional methods focused on drill memorization.  Most standardized tests are multiple choice, so as long as the student answers the question correctly, which can be done by rote memorization, than they will pass.  The problem with this is that it does not lead to full comprehension or long-term learning.  I would assume most educators today say that they do not teach in a way that promotes drill memorization, however, I believe that it still happens all of the time.  The idea of a liberal education has also been sustained over time.  Liberal arts education, or education of many subjects, started with the Greeks, and has continued to be valued to the current times (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 60).

How have Educators from the Past Contributed to Teaching Today?

Many educators from the past have contributed to teaching today.  Scholars dated back to the late 1500’s have contributed to teaching today.  Comenius, a seventeenth century educational pioneer, came up with the idea that teachers should be caring people who created pleasant classrooms.  He also wanted teaching to heavily involve the senses, thought that teachers should incorporate pictures into lessons, and believed that lessons should be related to students’ practical lives (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 98).  Many of the same ideas are still valid in today’s teaching world.  Rousseau, a French theorist, believed that children developed in stages, and that curriculum should follow the interests of the child (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 102-103).  Pestalozzi, a Swiss educator, added manipulatives to the mix of teaching, and thought that learning should begin with concrete objects and move towards abstract ideas (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 104).  The list could go on and on of the different educators from the past that have contributed to teaching today, but the three previously mentioned are considered the builders of our elementary education.

Experiences Role in our Teaching and Student Learning Throughout Education History

Many educational pioneers throughout history have emphasized the role of experience in education.  John Dewey may be the most famous educator, however, many others have contributed to the idea including some people that I have already mentioned, such as Rousseau and Pestalozzi.  Dewey, though, stated that the scientific method is the “most effective process we have to solve problems” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p.112).  He also thought that through interaction, children would be eager to explore their environments and to learn new things.  Dewey made it very clear that everyone has experiences, but that it is the quality of the experience that really matters (Dewey, 1938, p. 27).

Montessori took Dewey’s idea of experiencing education to a new level and created schools where children solely learn through experiences and exploration.  Montessori schools emphasize children working with materials at appropriate stages, and students taking control over their own education (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 117).  Not only do Montessori based schools follow experiential based learning, but in many public schools teachers try to incorporate experiential learning into everyday lessons.


This is a great website to look at because it is set up in a similar manner to our book.  It breaks down the history of education into different sections based on place and time, for example they have sections titled Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, etc.  This is a great place to further our class discussion and readings from the week.


Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


2 Responses to “EDCI 506 Issues in Education Week #3”

  1. ctrumbetic Says:

    The website you provided is very throrough and comprehensive. The only downfall was that it was a lot to read. I like you section on experience in eduation. I think you made a nice contrast between what Dewey intended as experience in education that was balanced with quality experiences that students would be sure to learn from and Montessori who is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Montessori education where the students are encouraged to experience the world around with little or no direction quite frankly scares me. I do not understand how children above the age of five can effectively learn this way. At a certain age they get to smart and start to choose the experiences they want to have which can limit their education further and further.

  2. Jordan Kroll Says:

    I think you answered all of the questions very thoroughly, and your post was a nice summary of many of the things we went over in class last week. I really enjoyed the website you linked to as well. The only thing I disagreed with in your blog post was when you said you think that the purpose of education has changed considerably over the years. I get what you are saying, but I actually think that one of the only things that has remained the same is the purpose. Every society, from the preliterate to today, has used education to impart wisdom on their young and help them advance. Although the priorities of each society were different (the Chinese focused on government, while others were more concerned with religion or building a military), they all used similar methods to engage students in the learning process. Anyway, that’s just my perspective, and I really enjoyed your post–I learned a lot that I skimmed over in the reading.