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Teacher, student and methodology as seen by classical traditional, liberal progressive and critical philosophies of education

American educational system has been a battleground for several opposing educational philosophies. Although this battle spans over centuries and involves other western cultures, it has been especially prominent in the United States for the last hundred years. The new ideas on the psychology of learning that emerged in the last decade of the 20th century allowed for creation of new pedagogies and further deepened the conflict. Some of the competing pedagogies are: conservative/classical traditional, liberal progressive, critical, feminist, multiculturalism/centricity and whiteness study. Each theory/philosophy has set values and ideas that it uses to further understand and prescribe educational practices. Although different in many ways, they all have a set of same defining factors: teacher, learner, curriculum, methodology, learning environment, desired results and student-teacher relationship. These component elements, while present in each theory of education, are differently defined by all the philosophies and great minds that represent them. To truly understand social, historical, political and philosophical roots of issues in our educational system we need to carefully exam each theory. This paper will focus on comparing and contrasting classical traditional, liberal and critical pedagogies’ ideas and definitions of what it means to be a teacher and a student as well as the methodology practiced.
A teacher is cautiously defined by all three pedagogies. Classical philosophers consider a teacher to be the authority in the classroom. According to them, a teacher is a bestower of knowledge and an intellectual authority figure that has power to discipline his students and model the proper behavior that he considers to be goo...

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...e an objective stand and analyze each one of these philosophies from a non-personal point of view. Classical traditional, liberal progressive and critical pedagogy are only some of the philosophies existent in our educational system. Each observes, studies and approaches the idea of schooling in a different way. While having some similarities in a sense that educating individuals in the society is the most important thing, they still significantly differ in their approaches to acquiring the necessary information and knowledge. The notion of a teacher, a student and methodology that pertains to each philosophy is distinct to each pedagogical idea. The further we learn and analyze other component elements of different philosophies, the more, as teachers and students, will we be able to make right choices and decisions when it comes to our own definition of education.

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