Philosopher Analysis Assignment Instructions
The purpose of the Philosopher Analysis Assignment is to evaluate beliefs and actions that have influenced educational developments throughout history. From historical examples presented in the current course, candidates will propose one of them as a model of educational philosophy and practice. The selected model will be compared to opposing views and analyzed through a personal philosophy of education. The analysis will address issues of metaphysics, epistemology, and practical implementation and will offer a critique from a Biblical worldview perspective. As candidates research and conduct the analysis, they demonstrate knowledge of educational ideas of the past, consider the relevance of the philosopher, analyze the philosopher in light of their own educational beliefs, and critically analyze the philosopher’s beliefs and actions.
Write an analysis of the beliefs of the educational philosopher you chose in your Topic Proposal Assignment. You will present the cultural context of the individual, analyze the various aspects of the philosopher’s beliefs and actions, present critiques in opposition to the individual, persuasively convey why this individual’s ideas and actions are relevant, and relate implications that may be applicable to today’s field of education.
Though your personal beliefs serve as a lens for your analysis, this assignment is not per se your personal philosophy of education and should rarely use first-person pronouns, if at all. Without plagiarizing, you may draw ideas from the Annotated Bibliography Assignment, textbook readings, videos, and Discussions. However, this is a new and different assignment. You may not submit a previously written assignment that has been submitted for another course. Doing so would be self-plagiarism. Your analysis should be based primarily on readings and studies you have recently conducted in this current course.
As a philosophical analysis, the assignment should present ideas in a persuasive manner. Avoid first-person pronouns (e.g., I, me, we, us) and second-person pronouns (i.e., you) because they tend to soften and weaken the declarative strength of your writing. Rely more on third-person plural (e.g., people, educators, students, they, them) and think in terms of strong, declarative statements of “ought” and “should.” Avoid beginning sentences with “I think that” and “I believe that.” Also avoid “for me” and “to me.”
You will discuss what the individual believed to be the purpose and outcome of education. What long-range impact did the individual hope to make on individuals and on society? Though your primary focus will be on beliefs, you may briefly discuss the practices and methods the philosopher implemented.
Length: This paper is to be at least 1,300 words in length from the introductory paragraph to the conclusion. This does not count the title page, abstract, or reference pages.
Citations and References: Cite at least five sources throughout the paper and list them on the reference page. One of your sources is required to be the course textbook. Other sources may be course videos, academic journal articles, books, and textbooks from other courses. You may incorporate articles from your Annotated Bibliography Assignment and other course assignments as appropriate. After ensuring that current course materials are cited, you are encouraged to cite sources from other courses, such as textbooks or articles.
Structure: To ensure the manuscript meets the requirements of the Philosopher Analysis Grading Rubric, you are to include the elements listed below. Note the required headings are to be placed in the same order in your paper as they appear in the outline below.
1. Title Page
Pagination: In APA, all pages are numbered. The title page should be page 1.
Title: The title should not be the name of the assignment (i.e., Philosopher Analysis). It should be a phrase drawn from the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. It should provide the reader a hint of the topic and the main idea supported throughout the paper and may be phrased in a clever, unique fashion. The first letter of all words should be capitalized except for articles (e.g. a, an, the), conjunctions (e.g., and, but), and short prepositions (e.g., of, about), unless they appear as the first word, which is always capitalized. Center and bold your title and position it near the middle of the page or slightly above the middle.
Other Information on Title Page: Position the items below in the bottom third of the page.
2. Abstract: The heading of the abstract should be centered and in bold font.
· Place the abstract after the title page and before the introduction.
· Do not indent the first line.
· The abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper. It should present the main idea, main supporting ideas, and main conclusion/implication.
3. Introduction: Do not use the word “Introduction” as a heading for this section. Per APA, it is optional to insert the title again as the heading for the introduction. If you choose to do so, it should be in bold, centered font and should be capitalized the same way as on the title page.
· The purpose of the introductory paragraph is different from the abstract. Do not simply copy the abstract.
· In this section, introduce your thesis statement that will be developed throughout the paper. It is the main idea you are presenting. All other ideas will serve to support the thesis statement.
· It is best to place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction. It is typically one or two sentences that serve as a transition into the rest of the paper.
· Below are some tips to help avoid common errors in writing a strong introductory paragraph:
Focus on a simple introduction of the thesis statement.
Ensure that sentences flow in a logical progression from one to the other.
Keep it simple with only the necessary concept(s) to introduce the thesis statement.
Avoid including so many distracting facts that the reader is unclear what the thesis statement is. Save most supporting facts for the body of the manuscript.
Avoid fragmented, disjointed sentences that read like bulleted lists.
4. Background and Cultural Context: Centered in bold with all major words capitalized, enter the first Level 1 heading of your paper. (Level 2 headings are unnecessary for this short of a paper.) Use the words “Background and Cultural Context.”
This brief section situates the individual you have chosen so the reader understands the setting in which the ideas developed. This is not an extensive biography but is a succinct presentation of events or circumstances that may have influenced the development of the individual’s thoughts and/or actions.
Include transitions that build a logical progression from the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph into the background and cultural context.
Length of this section should be no more than 10% to 20% of the total manuscript. Anything longer distorts the main intent of the paper.
5. Philosophy of Education: The heading for this section is also a Level 1 heading, which means that—just like the previous heading—it should be centered and in bold with all major words capitalized. This is not your own personal philosophy of education. It is a presentation of the ideas of the philosopher you have selected.
Ensure that this section flows smoothly and logically from the previous one.
This is the core part of the paper where you expound more specifically on the thesis statement.
· Consider what this educational thinker perceived as the main purpose or outcome of education. Focus on the individual’s “why” of education—the long-range impact he or she believed schools and learning should make on individuals and on society.
· Depending on the beliefs of your selected individual, you may address various aspects of philosophy. The questions below are suggestions for you to consider:
o How did he or she view the needs of individuals and of society?
o What was his or her view of the nature of the learner and how did that play into other beliefs?
o Was the individual motivated by concerns that were metaphysical, supernatural, pragmatic, political, etc.?
o What knowledge, skills, or dispositions were of most value to be included in the curriculum?
· Save the individual’s actions, practices, and process (i.e., the “how”) of education for the next section. In this current section, state what the person believed.
· If a philosophical label clearly applies to this individual, address it and describe it (e.g., idealism, realism, scholasticism, perennialism, essentialism, pragmatism, progressivism, existentialism, postmodernism, critical pedagogy, socialism, Marxism, etc. See the course textbook Appendix for more information on this.). If not, you may attempt to situate the individual’s ideas among similar philosophies; be careful, however, not to speculate if you are unsure. Some philosophers are difficult to label.
6. Theory to Practice: This Level 1 heading should be centered and in bold. Use the words “Theory to Practice.”
· This section should flow smoothly from the previous one.
· Some educational thinkers were such philosophers that it is difficult to describe what actions they took other than to write or to philosophize. If this is the case, address the actions others took as they were influenced by the educational thinker. For instance, Rousseau’s ideas influenced the actions of Pestalozzi, Froebel, Piaget, and others.
· The questions below are suggestions for you to consider:
o How did the individual believe learners come to know truth? What causes learning to occur? What was the thinker’s epistemological beliefs?
o What movements, organizations, or schools did the individual initiate?
o What pedagogical practices did the individual implement or encourage others to use?
o What did he or she hope to accomplish by using these strategies?
7. Perspectives on Diversity: This Level 1 heading should be centered in bold. Use the words “Perspectives on Diversity.” This section should reflect the most significant aspect of the philosopher’s thoughts and approaches to diversity in society and/or individuals. If the philosopher’s ideas do not address diversity, discuss that in this section.
8. Critical Analysis: This Level 1 heading should be formatted the same as the previous ones. Use the words “Critical Analysis.” This section should reflect the most significant criticisms about the person’s work. Indicate who the thinker’s opponents and supporters were and distinguish elements of opposing ideas and/or actions. Another aspect of this section is for you to analyze the educational thinker’s ideas and actions through a biblical worldview lens.
· Focus on situating the individual’s ideas and actions among those of others. These “others” may be contemporaries who lived during or near the time of your philosopher. They may also be historians, philosophers, or cultural analysts who came after him or her.
· Part of the critical analysis may address the thinker’s views (or the lack thereof) on societal and individual diversity as discussed in the previous section.
· To critique means to convey both opposition and support with rationale for both. Therefore, your analysis should include those who opposed and also those who supported this individual and should provide an explanation of why they did so.
9. Implications and Conclusions: Use the same Level 1 formatting as you have done with your other headings above and simply enter the words “Implications and Conclusions” in centered, bolded font. Although your conclusion should include concepts from the thesis statement in the introduction and should have some alignment with the title of the paper, you should not simply restate the thesis. Wrap up the paper by emphasizing your main idea and draw a clear conclusion. Because you will be addressing both implications and conclusions in this section, it may be a bit longer than a typical conclusion section. You may extend the conclusion to three paragraphs or longer as appropriate. The questions below are suggestions for you to consider:
· What might current educators, policymakers, or other stakeholders glean from this person?
· What do you observe in the field of education based on your analysis of this philosopher?
· What aspect of this individual’s thoughts and actions resonate with you most and why? Remember, you can do this persuasively without using first person pronouns (e.g., “Perhaps the most relevant idea of Comenius was . . .”; “Most significantly, today’s educational system would benefit from Booker T. Washington’s notion that . . .”; “If applied by today’s classroom teachers, Calvin’s idea that . . .”
· At what point do you disagree or conflict with the educational thinker? Consider how you can confidently convey this by avoiding first-person pronouns (e.g., “Dewey was perhaps misguided in his approach to . . .”; “An inconsistency in Freire’s theory is that . . .”; “Du Bois’ may have been incorrect in that . . .”
According to the APA manual, first-person pronouns are permitted, but they should be used only when the writer must describe a personal action taken or an event the writer experienced. Beliefs and opinions are best conveyed in strong, declarative statements. Therefore, avoid statements such as “I think that,” “I believe,” “for me,” “to me,” etc.
Direct Quotes: No more than 10% of your paper should be made up of direct quotes. Therefore, do more summarizing and paraphrasing than quoting. Short quotes should be in quotation marks and longer quotes of 40 words or more should be indented (see APA). If you do not set off direct quotes in this manner and/or do not cite them, it is plagiarism. Also, page or paragraph numbers are required in citations for all direct quotes.
Ideas and Facts: If the idea or fact is not your own, cite its source. When not directly quoting, summarize or analyze the idea in your own words.
Mechanics: Below are common errors in graduate-level writing. If you are unsure how to avoid these errors, do an internet search of the topic.
· Dangling / Misplaced Modifiers: If you use a phrase or word as an adjective, the noun closest to it (usually immediately following it) should be the noun being modified; otherwise, the modifier is “dangling” or misplaced.
o Incorrect: “Being an influential person in his time, his book sold many copies.” (His book was not an influential person.)
o Incorrect: “Being an influential person in his time, many people bought copies of his book.” (Many people were not an influential person.)
o Correct: “Being an influential person in his time, Freire sold many copies of his book.” (Freire was an influential person.)
· Comma Usage: Familiarize yourself with comma rules. Know how they are used after introductory phrases and subordinate clauses, series of items, and before a conjunction in a compound sentence. They may not be used to separate independent clauses; doing so creates a run-on, also known as a comma splice.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via an online plagiarism tool.
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