A Foundation for Reflection and Questioning: Philosophy Course Requirements in Teacher Education Programs at Selected Catholic Colleges and Universities

By Mucci, Angela M. | Journal of Catholic Education, June 2011 | Go to article overview

A Foundation for Reflection and Questioning: Philosophy Course Requirements in Teacher Education Programs at Selected Catholic Colleges and Universities


Mucci, Angela M., Journal of Catholic Education


For many college graduates, Descartes' familiar words evoke memories of college days spent sitting in required philosophy courses pondering the relevance of what was being taught and how it could ever be applied outside of class. Breault (2005), now a well-known teacher educator, shares in an article that he questioned the relevance of the curriculum when he took an introductory philosophy class as a college freshman. Breault's experience, like that of many undergraduates, prompts the question, why do some universities require undergraduate students to take philosophy courses? In essence, what purpose do philosophy courses serve for the development of undergraduate students and for the purposes of this study, for those in teacher education programs? Also, in institutions where philosophy course work is required, what is the nature of the requirement and the content of the course work? Through the current study we sought to begin addressing these questions by exploring philosophy requirements in undergraduate teacher education programs at selected Catholic colleges and universities. In particular, this study sought to ascertain the degree to which preservice teachers in undergraduate teacher education programs in these selected Catholic colleges and universities are required to take philosophy course work and to explore this content broadly through an examination of course descriptions.

This article begins with a discussion of philosophy course work at Catholic colleges and universities and its importance for preservice teachers. Second, the sample of Catholic colleges and universities as well as the data collection and analysis procedures used in this study are described. Third, results based on a content analysis of course descriptions from required philosophy courses are presented. A discussion of the findings with recommendations for practice for teacher educators within Catholic colleges and universities concludes the article.

Literature Review

At most Catholic colleges or universities, the core curriculum consists of course work in different disciplines, but almost always includes courses in philosophy (Esposito, 2007a; Trainor, 2006). Courses in philosophy are not just important at Catholic institutions (McCloskey, 2007), but these courses "point to the underlying theories and principles of every area of study" (Murphy, 2001, p. 18). For students who enter undergraduate teacher education programs (referred to in this article as preservice teachers) in Catholic colleges and universities, courses in philosophy are usually required as part of a liberal arts or core curriculum. While preservice teachers may take courses in philosophy as part of a liberal arts or core curriculum, the education literature emphasizes how preservice teachers in general often begin their teacher education course work with very limited understanding and appreciation of philosophy content (Gosselin, 2007; Weidler, 1998; Yost, Sentner, & Forlenza-Bailey, 2000). Berci and Griffith (2005) state that "without the philosophical there is a gap in understanding what it is to know and how we come to know" (p. 407). Hence, it can be difficult for preservice teachers to understand the connection philosophy has to their practice as teachers (Gosselin, 2007).

Kreeft (2007) asserts that through the study of philosophy, students in Catholic colleges and universities are provided with the opportunity to explore who they are, why they exist, and the world around them. Nussbaum (1997) shares that a colleague of hers who teaches at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, sees the philosophy requirement as "a way of getting even the most passive students to think for themselves and to argue for their beliefs" and that many students feel "the philosophy requirement has made them better Catholics by forcing them to defend their choices with arguments" (p. 16). In some cases, according to Nussbaum, students report that the philosophy course work leads them to question their Catholic faith. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Foundation for Reflection and Questioning: Philosophy Course Requirements in Teacher Education Programs at Selected Catholic Colleges and Universities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.