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Learning How to Learn: An Essay on the Philosophy of Education

Skirpan, Michael Warren (2011) Learning How to Learn: An Essay on the Philosophy of Education. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The question of how to educate our youth has been a tradition in philosophy since the time of the ancients and now has become highly debated issue in contemporary society. While answers to this problem take on many different forms, there is a way to interpret much of the canon as arguing for an education that strives to pass down the ability to learn on one's own. 'How educators are supposed to support such an aim,' is the primary question of this work. To thoroughly answer this question, many aspects of education must be considered: classroom behavior, curriculum, theories of learning, teaching, and evaluation. These problems are addressed in the spirit of a constructivist view on education and are supported foundationally by philosophical arguments - primarily Wilfrid Sellars's views regarding the process of becoming a language user. Accepting Sellars's model of language acquisition and a modern view on the nature of knowledge, an immersive approach to 'learning how to learn' is taken. Designing a curriculum that emulates a structure of knowledge, slow and thorough inculcation of creative and critical thinking skills, and taking seriously the notion of teaching as a practice are all central themes to the proposed system. Elaborating on how to bring these pieces together into one view on education is the fundamental thread of the work, though, secondarily, there is discussion of harmful practices that are current in education. To actualize a system that truly aims at learning, it will be argued that grades and standardized tests are methods of evaluating that must be disabused. The argument for this is that their affectation on the attitudes of students and teachers has an undermining effect on the educational ideology that is central to this thesis. Bringing all of these parts together, the hope is to not only build an educational ideal with a system that inculcates students with the ability to properly learn, but also provide for an institution that supports human flourishing.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Skirpan, Michael Warrenmws23@pitt.eduMWS23
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSchafer, Karlschaferk@pitt.eduSCHAFERK
Committee MemberPaul,
Committee MemberMcDowell, Johnjmcdowel@pitt.eduJMCDOWEL
Committee MemberGiazzoni, Michaelgiazzoni@pitt.eduGIAZZONI
Date: 10 May 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 August 2010
Approval Date: 10 May 2011
Submission Date: 22 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: construvism; learning how to learn; immersive lear
Other ID:, etd-04222011-125814
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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