Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Missing Dimension of Modern Education: Values Education

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Missing Dimension of Modern Education: Values Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

Modern education today, some argue, easily integrates and adjusts to new technological developments through flexible curricula in the areas where these developments are taking place such as in the field of information technology or in the widespread use of the Internet. However, modern education can be criticized for ignoring or failing to lead societies toward a more humane future in the face of massive social and ecological changes. When it decides to encounter those social problems, the solutions that modern education procures are usually based on a fragmented or reductionist mindset that insulates them from many of the factors generating these problems and their interconnections. This article aims to examine the basic philosophical assumptions that have shaped the modern learning and educational systems and how the split between facts and values occurred. How well is modern education dealing with modern problems - the crisis of family and community, the worsening situation of civic culture and understanding, malpractice in many financial arenas of the world, global warming and dramatic ecological change across the planet, and etc.? Because the animating ideas behind the models of modern education are so strongly shaped by the influence of positivist knowledge and science, they are often inadequate where these issues are concerned because their basic assumptions regarding fundamental and ontological questions which foster students' inner worlds leave no space for the realm of values. I also more broadly discuss the pros and cons of these assumptions as they relate to and deeply influence our lives today.

Key Words

Modern Educational Philosophy, Assumptions of Modern Mindset, Mechanistic-Positivistic Worldviews, Values Education.

Many experts from a wide range of ideological backgrounds and philosophies of education believe that modern society faces serious social and moral crises, and an alarming environmental impasse never before experienced in human history (Delors, 1996; Jackson, Boostroom, & Hansen, 1998; Lickona, 1991; Noam & Wren, 1993; Wynee & Ryan, 1996). Whether we consider developed or developing countries where the scales of social and societal problems may differ, there is convincing evidence that validates this observation in many parts of the world today such as the erosion of family and community, the worsening situation of civic culture and understanding, malpractice in many financial arenas of the world, global warming and dramatic ecological change across the planet, and etc.

And if our society, whether situated in the West or East, is in a state of permanent crisis, then, it is not far-fetched to suggest, as E.F. Schumacher (1984) does, that there may be something wrong with its educational system and philosophy (p. 84). There are certain assumptions that increasingly dominate the modern mindset and shape the mainstream modern educational thinking, not only in the Western world but also in the East as well since the reigning paradigm today is based on modern assumptions. This article analyzes and critiques certain assumptions that increasingly dominate the modern mindset and shape the mainstream of modern educational thinking, not only in the Western world, but in the East which has been heavily influenced by them. I argue that we must reconsider our obeisance to science and positivism in education if we are to have any hope that we can avoid the social, political, moral, and environmental catastrophes a singular commitment to these ways of thinking practically guarantees.

The ideas of modern science and education, shaped by a hard positivism that flourished in the second half of the 19th century, spread and became influential in many countries in the world, from Europe to North America, from Brazil to Turkey. And this new turn in human understanding of the world transformed the whole debate on facts and values into a dichotomist problem (Reuben, 1996, pp. …

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