Talk:Education theory

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Democratic Schools Section[edit]

This section would be better as a link, unless or until other sections are similarly expanded. Scottmains (talk) 04:40, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


I support merging "Education theory" into "Philosophy of Education". To me it means the exactly the same thing. Even if it doesn't, there seems to be sufficient overlap in material to warrant a merger. Gregcaletta (talk) 01:42, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Do not support. Philosophy of science is not the same as a theoretical field of science (e.g., theoretical physics). Likewise, philosophy of history is not the same as historiography, and philosophy of mathematics is not the same as any field of theoretical mathematics e.g., number theory. The same is true for education. Although the former in these cases generally require understanding of the latter, the reverse is not true. --Lhakthong (talk) 21:53, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
No support. Philosophy of Education and Education Theory are two different academic fields of study, and Wikipedia should not be in the business of differentiating verifiable, long-standing academic standards simply because editors have not make adequate attempts at writing effectively enough to show the difference. On WP We Are Not Experts; we are editors. Let's find the information and write the difference, not make it up arbitrarily. • Freechildtalk 14:19, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
The above post by Freechild may partially be in response to an earlier post of opinion that I put up. I have removed my opinion in light of what my current research is suggesting. As I still think this discussion is important, I will post a later opinion once I have found some more conclusive sources.--Lexandalf (talk) 04:24, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Per WP merging guidlines, I'm removing the merger tag and assuming consensus to keep the article as is for now. If someone wants to re-tag for merger and re-open the discussion, that can be done.--Lhakthong (talk) 17:36, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

This page needs to be updated to differentiate between theory and philosophy; also, include update with recent info from neuroscience. NPOV Stmullin (talk) 21:31, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

List of Educational Theorists[edit]

This list can get really, really long. Perhaps we should create a list on its own page and/or just list contemporary/still-living theorists on this page?--Lhakthong (talk) 21:21, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

I think that making criteria is a good idea. It would seem ideal to have to list contain "notable" theorists, if it is reasonably possible to make that distinction. If not, "contemporary" is the way to go IMO. Lexandalf (talk) 05:34, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Some of those theorists are located at which would make the 2 articles candidates for merger. Stmullin (talk) 21:35, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

New source[edit]

I found an article that provides an interesting overview of the history of educational theory, and calls for people to stop worrying about educational theory. I hope to work the content of it into this page if it does not get merged with Philosophy of education.

Carr, W. (2006). EDUCATION WITHOUT THEORY. British Journal of Educational Studies, 54(2), 136-159. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8527.2006.00344.x.

Lexandalf (talk) 03:16, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Organization of Page[edit]

Now that the lede is more robust and referenced, I think the rest of the article should follow the organization structure implied in it. I wanted to ask other editors about this before I reconstruct the whole page only to otherwise have it reverted. I propose organizing the page as such:

  • Normative theories (like educational philosophies)
  • Descriptive theories (like sociological, historical, anthropological, and psychological theories)

This, of course, assumes education theory to not be a specific academic activity or discipline. Rather in its speculative form it refers to thought in several disciples: curriculum, pedagogy, and learning, to name a few. In its descriptive form, theories sit in many disciplines like sociology, psychology, etc., I think much of the confusion on this page has stemmed from not attending to these distinctions. If you want to get all po-mo on me an tell me that descriptive theories are normative, I get it and am willing to somehow work with that. But let's try to do this in a way that makes sense to the average reader.--Lhakthong (talk) 02:00, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

I normally would like to look at these things with the post-modernist perspective, but I agree with your point. Further, the recent reading I have done on the topic suggests that those within the field of educational theory look at it in the way you are describing. I think your organizational suggestion would more or less reflect the way that academia views the topic. In other words, I support your plan to restructure.
Lexandalf (talk) 02:15, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree the postmodern perspective is important, and perhaps we should work it in somehow, so feel free to do so. BTW, Does this mean you have changed your mind regarding the merger of this page with philosophy of education, or are you still leaning towards it?--Lhakthong (talk) 02:58, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I am not as certain as I was just a bit ago. I would like to find a source that compares the two terms to set my mind at ease. I haven't found an education theory article that very specifically talks about educational philosophy or vice versa. But it most of them seem to imply that the subjects are separate. So I will just remove my opinion from the above discussion and reserve it for later.
Lexandalf (talk) 04:14, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I've been in the field long enough to know that even among long-time philosophers of education the distinction isn't entirely clear. Every book and article I've come across seems to make a slightly different distinction. If someone says they work in educational theory, they might mean philosophy of education, they might mean curriculum theory, etc. Usage is not consistent and not restricted to one discipline. Half the problem is that the field of education as such is young and a hodge-podge of other fields. It makes editing the page difficult, for sure. I wish an analytic philosopher would get on this already!--Lhakthong (talk) 15:23, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
By way of note, I would propose simpler subheadings in the article that will make it more accessible for readers.
Also, I have came found these potential references:
  • A journal published by Wiley-Blackwell called Educational Philosophy and Theory.
  • A book by a Clive Beck published by Little & Brown in 1974 called Educational philosophy and theory: An introduction.
  • A book edited by David Carr published by Psychology Press in 2003 called Making sense of education: An introduction to the philosophy and theory of education and teaching.
  • A book by Charles M. Attlee published by Cornish Brothers Publishers in 1932 called Philosophy in educational theory.
None of these are singularly useful, but could possibly provide fodder for the conversation about identifying a substantive lateral argument differentiating between education theory and educational philosophy. I will read through them closer and see what emerges. • Freechildtalk 15:48, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
You'll also find that the journal Educational Theory describes itself as "a venue where philosophers and theoretically inclined scholars from other educational disciplines engage in a shared conversation about educational ideas, values, and policy issues". Philosophy is theory but one that has the unique place of synthesizing, commenting on, and/or deconstructing all other theoretical perspectives (cultural, sociological, psychological), where the reverse is not true. History also comments on all other disciplines (education, economics, science, etc.). Thus, as Phenix called them, philosophy and history are a "synoptic" realms. Other theoretical realms are not.--Lhakthong (talk) 19:46, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
In terms of usage, I think it has to be decided whether theories like constructivism and functionalism are considered "theories of education" or theories of their respective fields, psychology and sociology. Again, I have not seen consistent delineations.--Lhakthong (talk) 19:50, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Deletion of 'Examples', under the para 'Educational Philosophies'.[edit]

The sentence with the examples for the purposes of normative education gives instances which are POV. This is so as the source of the information is the recent publications of Gov. of US DOE, which are politically biased. The most objectionable instance was 'change agent', which reeks of propaganda. However, the entire sentence was deleted as the examples are particularly modern and US-Centric. Considering the multitude of cultures and the varieties of schools and education systems therein, many of which are normative, the sentence is not reflective at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Apurvasukant (talkcontribs) 08:35, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

The examples were taken from a widely used textbook published in on a major educational press, not from the US DOE. If you have examples to balance what you see as bias, perhaps examples form India or China, then add them. Wikipedia inevitably has incomplete information…things are published by multiple editors, of which none has a complete global perspective.--Lhakthong (talk) 15:16, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Please also note that wikipedia is not an ideological battle ground. Ideally, the aim is to add information to balance what is seen as bias, not to delete information.--Lhakthong (talk) 21:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


Do we have a verifiable authoritative source that lists the specific sub-groups in the article as subgroups of educational theory? For example, the section on normative theories starts with a cited definition about what such a theory is in education.--Lhakthong (talk) 02:55, 23 July 2013 (UTC)


Could we establish a Super-team to edit this article?Stmullin (talk) 16:29, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Possible copyright problem[edit]

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