An Introduction to Educational Philosophers


Outline of the course:

Description: The aim of this course is to become acquainted with some of the prominent educational philosophers, classified roughly according to the pre-modern (sixth century to Middle Ages), modern (roughly Renaissance to end of nineteenth century) and post-modern era (early-late twentieth century). Their philosophies will be discussed, wherever possible, with respect to schooling (formal/ informal/ nonformal), learning and classroom experience. About 3-4 sessions will be devoted to the philosophers who advocate(d) the constructivist philosophy of learning, which despite having a significant influence on education, has its detractors.


Pre-modern: Plato (427-347 BC) Aristotle (384-322BC)

Modern: St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1596), John Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), John Dewey (1859-1952), Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941).

Post-modern: M.K. Gandhi (1869-1948), Maria Montessori (1870-1952), Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934), Jean Piaget (1896-1980), Paulo Freire (1921-1997), John Holt (1923-1985), Ivan Illich (1926-2002)

The course will be structured around discussions based on presentations (by the coordinator and participants) and readings. Every course participant will be responsible for:

 i) leading at least one class discussion based on a reading in the course packet

ii) two written assignments

iii) one seminar presentation on any one of the following educational philosophers:

Paulo Freire

Ivan Illich                                                                                    

Swami Vivekananda

Sri Aurobindo

J. Krishnamurti

The presentation will be based on a detailed paper (which will serve as the second assignment).


Evaluation will be based on the quality of participation in the discussions based on the readings, the written assignments, and the final seminar presentation.

Course Coordinator: