A firm grasp of key philosophical concepts is important for prospective teachers if they wish to help address pedagogical and societal challenges in their specific contexts.
This is one of the key messages of a new book by Dr Nuraan Davids and Prof Yusef Waghid of the Department of Education Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University.
Their book Philosophy and education as action: Implications for Teacher Education was published recently by Rowman & Littlefield – Lexington Series
Containing ten chapters, the book focuses on ten key philosophical concepts, namely knowledge, practical reasoning, productive action, education, free speech, craft or art, deliberative engagement, love and friendship, cosmopolitanism, and potentiality (the way things could be as supposed to the way they are).
Each chapter is presented as a conversation between students and lecturers, and reflects on the afore-mentioned concepts in relation to teaching and learning – emphasising how action can be engendered within philosophy of education.
According to the authors, Philosophy and education as action: Implications for Teacher Education offers a nuanced and practical understanding of these concepts to pre-service and in-service teachers, as well as academics and researchers.
"In acknowledging the ongoing struggles that prospective teachers, and we would imagine, in-service teachers as well, have in accessing the language of philosophy of education, we have identified the ten key philosophical concepts," says Davids.
"The book is unique in the sense that it attempts to respond to prospective teachers' concerns about the profession and how philosophy of education can be used to respond to pedagogic and societal concerns in Africa," she adds.
The authors say the book also seeks to address their students' resistance to philosophy of education.
"There are a number of reasons for this resistance. On the one hand, the majority of students in our class come from undergraduate programmes where they had not previously encountered philosophy of education. As such, they generally describe the language of philosophy of education as unnecessarily complex and confusing."
"On the other hand, those students who might have encountered philosophy before, or those who might be open to studying philosophy of education, do not necessarily consider the latter as necessary to teaching subjects, such as English, mathematics, or science."
The authors argue for a link between philosophy and education with the potential to effect teacher education practices.
"We endeavour to clarify pertinent philosophical concepts in education and then look at how these concepts impact teaching, learning and management as classroom practices."
The authors say pre-service and in-service teachers, undergraduate and post-graduate students, academics, and researchers may benefit from the book.
"Anyone who is interested in teacher education, teaching, and philosophy of education would find this book very useful. The book has a broader appeal because of our shared experiences with academics and lecturers from other international institutions."
- Philosophy and education as action: Implications for Teacher Education is available through Rowman & Littlefield – Lexington Series and Amazon.