Essay on Education for School Students and Children

500+ words essay on education.

Education is an important tool which is very useful in everybody’s life. Education is what differentiates us from other living beings on earth. It makes man the smartest creature on earth. It empowers humans and gets them ready to face challenges of life efficiently. With that being said, education still remains a luxury and not a necessity in our country. Educational awareness needs to be spread through the country to make education accessible. But, this remains incomplete without first analyzing the importance of education. Only when the people realize what significance it holds, can they consider it a necessity for a good life. In this essay on Education, we will see the importance of education and how it is a doorway to success.

essay on education

Importance of Education

Education is the most significant tool in eliminating poverty and unemployment . Moreover, it enhances the commercial scenario and benefits the country overall. So, the higher the level of education in a country, the better the chances of development are.

In addition, this education also benefits an individual in various ways. It helps a person take a better and informed decision with the use of their knowledge. This increases the success rate of a person in life.

Subsequently, education is also responsible for providing with an enhanced lifestyle. It gives you career opportunities that can increase your quality of life.

Similarly, education also helps in making a person independent. When one is educated enough, they won’t have to depend on anyone else for their livelihood. They will be self-sufficient to earn for themselves and lead a good life.

Above all, education also enhances the self-confidence of a person and makes them certain of things in life. When we talk from the countries viewpoint, even then education plays a significant role. Educated people vote for the better candidate of the country. This ensures the development and growth of a nation.

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Doorway to Success

To say that education is your doorway to success would be an understatement. It serves as the key which will unlock numerous doors that will lead to success. This will, in turn, help you build a better life for yourself.

An educated person has a lot of job opportunities waiting for them on the other side of the door. They can choose from a variety of options and not be obligated to do something they dislike. Most importantly, education impacts our perception positively. It helps us choose the right path and look at things from various viewpoints rather than just one.

assignment on education

With education, you can enhance your productivity and complete a task better in comparison to an uneducated person. However, one must always ensure that education solely does not ensure success.

It is a doorway to success which requires hard work, dedication and more after which can you open it successfully. All of these things together will make you successful in life.

In conclusion, education makes you a better person and teaches you various skills. It enhances your intellect and the ability to make rational decisions. It enhances the individual growth of a person.

Education also improves the economic growth of a country . Above all, it aids in building a better society for the citizens of a country. It helps to destroy the darkness of ignorance and bring light to the world.

assignment on education

FAQs on Education

Q.1 Why is Education Important?

A.1 Education is important because it is responsible for the overall development of a person. It helps you acquire skills which are necessary for becoming successful in life.

Q.2 How does Education serve as a Doorway to Success?

A.2 Education is a doorway to success because it offers you job opportunities. Furthermore, it changes our perception of life and makes it better.

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Essay on Education

Here we have shared the Essay on Education in detail so you can use it in your exam or assignment of 150, 250, 400, 500, or 1000 words.

You can use this Essay on Education in any assignment or project whether you are in school (class 10th or 12th), college, or preparing for answer writing in competitive exams. 

Topics covered in this article.

Essay on Education in 150 words

Essay on education in 250-300 words, essay on education in 500-1000 words.

Education is the key to personal growth, social development, and societal progress. It encompasses formal education provided through schools and institutions, as well as informal and lifelong learning. Education equips individuals with the essential knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to navigate the complexities of life and contribute meaningfully to society.

Education empowers individuals, fostering critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. It promotes social mobility, reduces poverty, and fosters social cohesion. Through education, individuals develop the ability to make informed decisions, overcome challenges, and fulfill their potential.

Furthermore, education is a catalyst for positive change. It encourages individuals to question the status quo, explore new ideas, and contribute to the betterment of society. By investing in education, we invest in the future, equipping individuals with the necessary skills to address global challenges, drive innovation, and build a more inclusive and sustainable world.

Education is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all, regardless of gender, socioeconomic background, or geographical location. It is through education that we can create a more equitable, prosperous, and harmonious society.

Education is the cornerstone of personal and societal development. It equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to navigate the complexities of life and contribute meaningfully to society. In its broadest sense, education encompasses formal schooling, informal learning, and lifelong learning.

Formal education, provided through schools and institutions, lays the foundation for intellectual, social, and emotional growth. It imparts essential knowledge, promotes critical thinking, and develops skills that are essential for success in various fields.

However, education goes beyond the classroom. Informal learning occurs through everyday experiences, interactions, and self-directed exploration. It allows individuals to acquire practical skills, adaptability, and a broader understanding of the world.

Lifelong learning is a continuous process that extends beyond formal education. It involves the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth throughout one’s life, enabling individuals to adapt to changing circumstances, embrace new opportunities, and contribute to a dynamic society.

Education empowers individuals, enabling them to overcome challenges, make informed decisions, and fulfill their potential. It plays a vital role in promoting social mobility, reducing poverty, and fostering social cohesion.

Moreover, education fosters critical thinking, creativity, and innovation, which are essential for progress and development. It encourages individuals to question the status quo, explore new ideas, and contribute to positive change.

In conclusion, education is an indispensable tool for personal growth and societal progress. It encompasses formal, informal, and lifelong learning, providing individuals with the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to navigate the complexities of life. By investing in education, we invest in the future, empowering individuals and communities to create a better world.

Title: Education – Empowering Minds, Shaping Futures

Introduction :

Education is a powerful tool that empowers individuals, shapes futures, and drives societal progress. It encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, development of skills, and cultivation of values that prepare individuals for personal and professional success. This essay delves into the importance of education, its key elements, and its transformative impact on individuals and societies.

The Power of Education

Education is a transformative force that empowers individuals to reach their full potential. It equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate life’s challenges, make informed decisions, and contribute meaningfully to society. Education cultivates critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, nurturing well-rounded individuals capable of adapting to a rapidly changing world.

Formal Education

Formal education, provided through schools, colleges, and universities, forms the foundation of a person’s educational journey. It involves structured learning environments, standardized curricula, and certified qualifications. Formal education imparts core subjects such as mathematics, science, languages, and humanities, along with important life skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical analysis.

Informal and Lifelong Learning

Education goes beyond formal settings. Informal learning occurs through daily experiences, interactions, and observations. It includes practical skills acquired through apprenticeships, mentorships, and on-the-job training. Lifelong learning, on the other hand, is a continuous process that extends beyond formal education. It involves self-directed learning, personal development, and the pursuit of knowledge throughout one’s life.

The Role of Education in Society

Education plays a crucial role in social development and progress. It promotes social mobility, empowering individuals to transcend socioeconomic barriers and improve their quality of life. Education fosters social cohesion by nurturing understanding, empathy, and tolerance among diverse groups of individuals. It also contributes to economic growth by producing a skilled workforce, fostering innovation, and driving entrepreneurship.

Education for Personal Development

Education is not merely the acquisition of knowledge; it is also a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. It helps individuals develop their unique talents, interests, and passions. Education cultivates values such as integrity, responsibility, and empathy, shaping individuals into ethical and compassionate members of society. Furthermore, it nurtures self-confidence, self-awareness, and resilience, equipping individuals with the tools to overcome challenges and thrive in a competitive world.

Challenges and Opportunities in Education

Despite the transformative power of education, there are numerous challenges that need to be addressed. Access to quality education remains unequal, particularly for marginalized communities and disadvantaged regions. Gender disparities in education persist, limiting opportunities for girls and women. Furthermore, the rapid advancement of technology necessitates adapting educational systems to prepare individuals for the demands of the digital age.

However, there are also exciting opportunities in education. Technology has the potential to revolutionize learning, making education accessible, interactive, and personalized. Blended learning models, online platforms, and open educational resources offer new avenues for education. Emphasizing holistic education, including social and emotional development, promotes well-rounded individuals capable of addressing complex global challenges.

Conclusion :

Education is a transformative force that empowers individuals, shapes futures, and drives societal progress. It goes beyond formal schooling, encompassing informal and lifelong learning. Education fosters critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, equipping individuals with the skills to navigate an ever-changing world. It promotes social mobility, social cohesion, and economic growth. Moreover, education is a journey of personal development, nurturing values, skills, and self-awareness. While challenges such as unequal access and gender disparities persist, advancements in technology offer exciting opportunities for innovation and inclusive learning. By investing in education and ensuring equal opportunities for all, societies can unlock the full potential of individuals, leading to a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable future.

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Article contents

Globalization and education.

  • Liz Jackson Liz Jackson University of Hong Kong
  • Published online: 26 October 2016

Few would deny that processes of globalization have impacted education around the world in many important ways. Yet the term “globalization” is relatively new, and its meaning or nature, conceptualization, and impact remain essentially contested within the educational research community. There is no global consensus on the exact time period of its occurrence or its most significant shaping processes, from those who focus on its social and cultural framings to those that hold global political-economic systems or transnational social actors as most influential. Intersecting questions also arise regarding whether its influence on human communities and the world should be conceived of as mostly good or mostly bad, which have significant implications for debates regarding the relationship between globalization and education. Competing understandings of globalization also undergird diverse methodologies and perspectives in expanding fields of research into the relationship between education and globalization.

There are many ways to frame the relationship of globalization and education. Scholars often pursue the topic by examining globalization’s perceived impact on education, as in many cases global convergence around educational policies, practices, and values has been observed in the early 21st century. Yet educational borrowing and transferal remains unstraightforward in practice, as educational and cultural differences across social contexts remain, while ultimate ends of education (such as math competencies versus moral cultivation) are essentially contested. Clearly, specificity is important to understand globalization in relation to education. As with globalization generally, globalization in education cannot be merely described as harmful or beneficial, but depends on one’s position, perspective, values, and priorities.

Education and educators’ impacts on globalization also remain a worthwhile focus of exploration in research and theorization. Educators do not merely react to globalization and related processes, but purposefully interact with them, as they prepare their students to respond to challenges and opportunities posed by processes associated with globalization. As cultural and political-economic considerations remain crucial in understanding globalization and education, positionality and research ethics and reflexivity remain important research concerns, to understand globalization not just as homogeneity or oppressive top-down features, but as complex and dynamic local and global intersections of people, ideas, and goods, with unclear impacts in the future.

  • globalization
  • economic integration
  • education borrowing
  • global studies in education
  • comparative education
  • education development

Few would deny that processes of globalization have impacted education around the world in many important ways. Yet the term “globalization” is relatively new, and its meaning or nature, conceptualization, and impact remain essentially contested within the educational research community. Competing understandings of globalization undergird diverse methodologies and perspectives in the expanding web of fields researching the relationship between education and globalization examined below. The area of educational research which exploded at the turn of the 21st century requires a holistic view. Rather than take sides within this contentious field, it is useful to examine major debates and trends, and indicate where readers can learn more about particular specialist areas within the field and other relevant strands of research.

The first part below considers the development of the theorization and conceptualization of globalization and debates about its impact that are relevant to education. The next section examines the relationship between education and globalization as explored by the educational research community. There are many ways to frame the relationship between globalization and education. First explored here is the way that globalization can be seen to impact education, as global processes and practices have been observed to influence many educational systems’ policies and structures; values and ideals; pedagogy; curriculum and assessment; as well as broader conceptualizations of teacher and learner, and the good life. However, there is also a push in the other direction—through global citizenship education, education for sustainable development, and related trends—to understand education and educators as shapers of globalization, so these views are also explored here. The last section highlights relevant research directions.

The Emergence of Globalization(s)

At the broadest level, globalization can be defined as a process or condition of the cultural, political, economic, and technological meeting and mixing of people, ideas, and resources, across local, national, and regional borders, which has been largely perceived to have increased in intensity and scale during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. However, there is no global consensus on the exact time period of its occurrence, or its most significant shaping processes, from social and cultural framings to those that hold global political-economic systems or transnational social actors as most influential. Intersecting questions also arise regarding whether its influence on human communities and the world should be conceived as mostly good or mostly bad, which have clear and significant implications for understanding debates regarding the relationship between globalization and education.

Conceptualizing Globalization

Globalization is a relatively recent concept in scholarly research, becoming popular in public, academic, and educational discourse only in the 1980s. However, many leading scholars of globalization have argued that the major causes or shapers of globalization, particularly the movement and mixing of elements beyond a local or national level, is at least many centuries old; others frame globalization as representing processes inherent to the human experience, within a 5,000–10,000-year time frame. 1 Conceptualizations of globalization have typically highlighted cultural, political-economic, and/or technological aspects of these processes, with different researchers emphasizing and framing the relationships among these different aspects in diverse ways in their theories.

Cultural framings: Emphasizing the cultural rather than economic or political aspects of globalization, Roland Robertson pinpointed the occurrence of globalization as part of the process of modernity in Europe (though clearly similar processes were occurring in many parts of the world), particularly a growing mutual recognition among nationality-based communities. 2 As people began identifying with larger groups, beyond their family, clan, or tribe, “relativization” took place, as people saw others in respective outside communities similarly developing national or national-like identities. 3 Through identifying their own societies as akin to those of outsiders, people began measuring their cultural and political orders according to a broader, international schema, and opening their eyes to transnational inspirations for internal social change.

Upon mutual recognition of nations, kingdoms, and the like as larger communities that do not include all of humanity, “emulation” stemming from comparison of the local to the external was often a next step. 4 While most people and communities resisted, dismissed, or denied the possibility of a global human collectivity, they nonetheless compared their own cultures and lives with those beyond their borders. Many world leaders across Eurasia looked at other “civilizations” with curiosity, and began increasing intercultural and international interactions to benefit from cultural mixing, through trade, translation of knowledge, and more. With emulation and relativization also came a sense of a global standard of values, for goods and resources, and for the behavior and organization of individuals and groups in societies, though ethnocentrism and xenophobia was also often a part of such “global” comparison. 5

Political-economic framings: In political theory and popular understanding, nationalism has been a universalizing discourse in the modern era, wherein individuals around the world have been understood to belong to and identify primarily with largely mutually exclusive national or nation-state “imagined communities.” 6 In this context, appreciation for and extensive investigation of extranational and international politics and globalization were precluded for a long time in part due to the power of nationalistic approaches. However, along with the rise historically of nationalist and patriotic political discourse, theories of cosmopolitanism also emerged. Modern cosmopolitanism as a concept unfolded particularly in the liberalism of Immanuel Kant, who argued for a spirit of “world citizenship” toward “perpetual peace,” wherein people recognize themselves as citizens of the world. 7 Martha Nussbaum locates cosmopolitanism’s roots in the more distant past, however, observing Diogenes the Cynic (ca. 404–323 bce ) in Ancient Greece famously identifying as “a citizen of the world.” 8 This suggests that realization of commonality, common humanity, and the risks of patriotism and nationalism as responses to relativization and emulation have enabled at least a “thin” kind of global consciousness for a very long time, as a precursor to today’s popular awareness of globalization, even if such a global consciousness was in ancient history framed within regional rather than planetary discourse.

In the same way as culturally oriented globalization scholars, those theorizing from an economic and/or political perspective conceive the processes of globalization emerging most substantively in the 15th and 16th centuries, through the development of the capitalist world economic system and the growth of British- and European-based empires holding vast regions of land in Africa, Asia, and the Americas as colonies to enhance trade and consumption within empire capitals. According to Immanuel Wallerstein’s world system theory, which emerged before globalization theory, in the 1970s, the capitalist world economic system is one of the most essential framing elements of the human experience around the world in the modern (or postmodern) era. 9 Interaction across societies primarily for economic purposes, “ not bounded by a unitary political structure,” characterizes the world economy, as well as a capitalist order, which conceives the main purpose of international economic exchange as being the endless generation and accumulation of capital. 10 A kind of global logic was therein introduced, which has expanded around the globe as we now see ourselves as located within an international financial system.

Though some identify world system theory as an alternative or precursor to globalization theories (given Wallerstein’s own writing, which distinguished his view from globalization views 11 ), its focus on a kind of planetary global logic interrelates with globalization theories emerging in the 1980s and 1990s. 12 Additionally, its own force and popularity in public and academic discussions enabled the kind of global consciousness and sense of global interrelation of people which we can regard as major assumptions underpinning the major political-economic theories of globalization and the social imaginary of globalization 13 that came after.

Globalization emerged within common discourse as the process of international economic and political integration and interdependency was seen to deepen and intensify during and after the Cold War era of international relations. At that time, global ideologies were perceived which spanned diverse cultures and nation-states, while global economic and military interdependency became undeniable facts of the human condition. Thus, taking world systems theory as a starting point, global capitalism models have theorized the contemporary economic system, recognizing aspects of world society not well suited to the previously popular nationalistic ways of thinking about international affairs. Leslie Sklair 14 and William Robinson 15 highlighted the transnational layer of capitalistic economic activity, including practices, actors and social classes, and ideologies of international production and trade, elaborated by Robinson as “an emergent transnational state apparatus,” a postnational or extranational ideological, political, and practical system for societies, individuals, and groups to interact in the global space beyond political borders. 16 Globalization is thus basically understood as a process or condition of contemporary human life, at the broadest level, rather than a single event or activity.

Technological framings: In the 1980s and 1990s, the impact of technology on many people’s lives, beliefs, and activities rose tremendously, altering the global political economy by adding an intensity of transnational communication and (financial and information) trading capabilities. Manuel Castells argued that technological advancements forever altered the economy by creating networks of synchronous or near-synchronous communication and trade of information. 17 Anthony Giddens likewise observed globalization’s essence as “time-space distanciation”: “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.” 18 As information became present at hand with the widespread use of the Internet, a postindustrial society has also been recognized as a feature of globalization, wherein skills and knowledge to manipulate data and networks become more valuable than producing goods or trading material resources.

Today, globalization is increasingly understood as having interrelating cultural, political-economic, and technological dimensions, and theorists have thus developed conceptualizations and articulations of globalization that work to emphasize the ways that these aspects intersect in human experience. Arjun Appadurai’s conception of global flows frames globalization as taking place as interactive movements or waves of interlinked practices, people, resources, and ideologies: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, and ideoscapes. 19 Ethnoscapes are waves of people moving across cultures and borders, while mediascapes are moving local, national, and international constructions of information and images. Technoscapes enable (and limit) interactions of peoples, cultures, and resources through technology, while finanscapes reflect intersection values and valuations; human, capital, and national resources; and more. Ideoscapes reflect competing, interacting, reconstructing ideologies, cultures, belief systems, and understandings of the world and humanity. Through these interactive processes, people, things, and ideas move and move each other, around the world. 20

Evaluating Globalization

While the explanatory function of Appadurai’s vision of globalization’s intersecting dimensions is highlighted above, many theories of globalization emphasize normative positions in relation to the perceived impact of global and transnational processes and practices on humanity and the planet. Normative views of globalization may be framed as skeptical , globalist , or transformationalist . As Fazal Rizvi and Bob Lingard note, these are ideal types, rather than clearly demarcated practical parties or camps of theorists, though they have become familiar and themselves a part of the social imaginary of globalization (that is, the way globalization is perceived in normative and empirical ways by ordinary people rather than researchers). 21 The positions are also reflected in the many educational discourses relating to globalization, despite their ideological rather than simply empirical content.

Skeptical views: Approaches to globalization in research that are described as skeptical may question or problematize globalization discourse in one of two different ways. The first type of skepticism questions the significance of globalization. The second kind of skepticism tends to embrace the idea of globalization, but regards its impact on people, communities, and/or the planet as negative or risky, overall.

As discussed here, global or international processes are hardly new, while globalization became a buzzword only in the last decades of the 20th century. Thus a first type of skeptic may charge that proponents of globalization or globalization theory are emphasizing the newness of global processes for ulterior motives, as a manner of gaining attention for their work, celebrating that which should instead be seen as problematic capitalist economic relations, for example. Alternatively, some argue that the focus on globalization in research, theorization, and popular discourse fails to recognize the agency of people and communities as actors in the world today, and for this reason should be avoided and replaced by a focus on the “transnational.” As Michael Peter Smith articulates, ordinary individual people, nation-states, and their practices remain important within the so-called global system; a theory of faceless, ahistorical globalization naturalizes global processes and precludes substantive elaboration of how human (and national) actors have played and continue to play primary roles in the world through processes of knowledge and value construction, and through interpersonal and transnational activities. 22

The second strand of globalization skepticism might be referred to as antiglobalist or antiglobalization positions. Thinkers in this vein regard globalization as a mark of our times, but highlight the perceived negative impacts of globalization on people and communities. Culturally, this can include homogenization and loss of indigenous knowledge, and ways of life, or cultural clashes that are seen to arise out of the processes of relativization and emulation in some cases. George Ritzer coined the term “McDonaldization” to refer to the problematic elements of the rise of a so-called global culture. 23 More than simply the proliferation of McDonalds fast-food restaurants around the world, McDonaldization, according to Ritzer, includes a valuation of efficiency over humanity in production and consumption practices, a focus on quantity over quality, and control and technology over creativity and culture. Global culture is seen as a negative by others who conceive it as mainly the product of a naïve cultural elite of international scholars and business people, in contrast with “low-end globalization,” which is the harsher realities faced by the vast majority of people not involved in international finance, diplomacy, or academic research. 24

Alternatively, Benjamin Barber 25 and Samuel Huntington 26 have focused on “Jihad versus McWorld” and the “clash of civilizations,” respectively, as cultures can be seen to mix in negative and unfriendly ways in the context of globalization. Although Francis Fukuyama and other hopeful globalists perceived a globalization of Western liberal democracy at the turn of the 21st century, 27 unforeseen global challenges such as terrorism have fueled popular claims by Barber and Huntington that cultural differences across major “civilizations” (international ideological groupings), particularly of liberal Western civilization and fundamentalist Islam, preclude their peaceful relativization, homogenization, and/or hybridization, and instead function to increase violent interactions of terrorism and war.

Similarly, but moving away from cultural aspects of globalization, Ulrich Beck highlighted risk as essential to understanding globalization, as societies face new problems that may be related to economy or even public health, and as their interdependencies with others deepen and increase. 28 Beck gave the example of Mad Cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) as one instance where much greater and more broadly distributed risks have been created through global economic and political processes. Skeptical economic theories of globalization likewise highlight how new forms of inequality emerge as global classes and labor markets are created. For instance, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue that a faceless power impersonally oppresses grassroots people despite the so-called productivity of globalization (that is, the growth of capital it enables) from a capitalist economic orientation. 29 It is this faceless but perceived inhumane power that has fueled globalization protests, particularly of the meetings of the World Trade Organization in the 1990s and 2000s, in the United States and Europe.

In light of such concerns, Walden Bello argued for “deglobalization,” a reaction and response by people that aims to fight against globalization and reorient communities to local places and local lifestyles. Bello endorsed a radical shift to a decentralized, pluralistic system of governance from a political-economic perspective. 30 Similarly, Colin Hines argues for localization, reclaiming control over local economies that should become as diverse as possible to rebuild stability within communities. 31 Such ideas have found a broad audience, as movements to “buy local” and “support local workers” have spread around the world rapidly in the 2000s.

Globalist views: Globalists include researchers and advocates who highlight the benefits of globalization to different communities and in various areas of life, often regarding it as necessary or natural. Capitalist theories of globalization regard it as ideal for production and consumption, as greater specialism around the world increases efficiency. 32 The productive power of globalization is also highlighted by Giddens, who sees the potential for global inclusivity and enhanced creative dialogue arising (at least in part) from global processes. 33 In contrast with neoliberal (pro-capitalism) policies, Giddens propagated the mixture of the market and state interventions (socialism and Keynesian economy), and believed that economic policies with socially inclusive ideas would influence social and educational policies and thus promote enhanced social development.

The rise of global culture enhances the means for people to connect with one another to improve life and give it greater meaning, and can increase mutual understanding. As democracy becomes popular around the world as a result of global communication processes, Scott Burchill has argued that universal human rights can be achieved to enhance global freedom in the near future. 34 Joseph Stiglitz likewise envisioned a democratizing globalization that can include developing countries on an equal basis and transform “economic beings” to “human beings” with values of community and social justice. 35 Relatedly, some globalists contend against skeptics that cultural and economic-political or ideological hybridity and “glocalization,” as well as homogenization or cultural clashes, often can and do take place. Under glocalization , understood as local-level globalization processes (rather than top-down intervention), local actors interact dynamically with, and are not merely oppressed by, ideas, products, things, and practices from outside and beyond. Thus, while we can find instances of “Jihad” and “McWorld,” so too can we find Muslims enjoying fast food, Westerners enjoying insights and activities from Muslim and Eastern communities, and a variety of related intercultural dialogues and a dynamic reorganization of cultural and social life harmoniously taking place.

Transformationalist views: Globalization is increasingly seen by educators (among others) around the globe to have both positive and negative impacts on communities and individuals. Thus, most scholars today hold nuanced, middle positions between skepticism and globalism, such as David Held and Anthony McGrew’s transformationalist stance. 36 As Rizvi and Lingard note, globalization processes have material consequences in the world that few would flatly deny, while people increasingly do see themselves as interconnected around the globe, by technology, trade, and more. 37 On the other hand, glocalization is often a mixed blessing, from a comparative standpoint. Global processes do not happen outside of political and economic contexts, and while some people clearly benefit from them, others may not appear to benefit from or desire processes and conditions related to globalization.

Thus, Rizvi and Lingard identify globalization “as an empirical fact that describes the profound shifts that are taking place in the world; as an ideology that masks various expression of power and a range of political interests; and as a social imaginary that expresses the sense people have of their own identity and how it relates to the rest of the world, and … their aspirations and expectations.” 38 Such an understanding of globalization enables its continuous evaluation in terms of dynamic interrelated practices, processes, and ideas, as experienced and engaged with by people and groups within complex transnational webs of organization. Understandings of globalization thus link to education in normative and empirical ways within research. It is to the relationship of globalization to education that we now turn.

Historical Background

Globalization and education are highly interrelated from a historical view. At the most basic level, historical processes that many identify as essential precursors to political-economic globalization during the late modern colonial and imperialist eras influenced the development and rise of mass education. Thus, what we commonly see around the world today as education, mass schooling of children, could be regarded as a first instance of globalization’s impact on education, as in many non-Western contexts traditional education had been conceived as small-scale, local community-based, and as vocational or apprenticeship education, and/or religious training. 39 In much of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the indigenous Americas and Australasia, institutionalized formal schools emerged for the first time within colonial or (often intersecting) missionary projects, for local elite youth and children of expatriate officials.

The first educational scholarship with a global character from a historical point of view would thus be research related to colonial educational projects, such as in India, Africa, and East Asia, which served to create elite local communities to serve colonial officials, train local people to work in economic industries benefiting the colony, and for preservation of the status quo. Most today would describe this education as not part of an overall development project belonging to local communities, but as a foreign intervention for global empire maintenance or social control. As postcolonial educational theorists such as Paulo Freire have seen it, this education sought to remove and dismiss local culture as inferior, and deny local community needs for the sake of power consolidation of elites, and it ultimately served as a system of oppression on psychological, cultural, and material levels. 40 It has been associated by diverse cultural theorists within and outside the educational field with the loss of indigenous language and knowledge production, with moral and political inculcation, and with the spread of English as an elite language of communication across the globe. 41

Massification of education in the service of local communities in most developing regions roughly intersected with the period after the Second World War and in the context of national independence movements, wherein nationally based communities reorganized as politically autonomous nation-states (possibly in collaboration with former colonial parties). In 1945 , the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) emerged, as the United Nations recognized education as critical for future global peace and prosperity, preservation of cultural diversity, and global progress toward stability, economic flourishing, and human rights. UNESCO has advocated for enhancement of quality and access to education around the world through facilitating the transnational distribution of educational resources, establishing (the discourse of) a global human right to education, promoting international transferability of educational and teaching credentials, developing mechanisms for measuring educational achievement across countries and regions, and supporting national and regional scientific and cultural developments. 42 The World Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have engaged in similar work.

Thus, the first modern global educational research was that conducted by bodies affiliated with or housed under UNESCO, such as the International Bureau of Education, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and the International Institute of Educational Planning, which are regarded as foundational bodies sponsoring international and comparative research. In research universities, educational borrowing across international borders became one significant topic of research for an emerging field of scholars identified as comparative educational researchers. Comparative education became a major field of educational inquiry in the first half of the 20th century, and expanded in the 1950s and 1960s. 43 Comparative educational research then focused on aiding developing countries’ education and improving domestic education through cross-national examinations of educational models and achievement. Today, comparative education remains one major field among others that focuses on globalization and education, including international education and global studies in education.

Globalization as a contemporary condition or process clearly shapes education around the globe, in terms of policies and values; curriculum and assessment; pedagogy; educational organization and leadership; conceptions of the learner, the teacher, and the good life; and more. Though, following the legacy of the primacy of a nation-state and systems-theory levels of analysis, it is traditionally conceived that educational ideas and changes move from the top, such as from UNESCO and related bodies and leading societies, to the developing world, we find that often glocalization and hybridity, rather than simple borrowing, are taking place. On the other hand, education is also held by scholars and political leaders to be a key to enhancing the modern (or postmodern) human condition, as a symbol of progress of the global human community, realized as global citizenship education, education for sustainable development, and related initiatives. 44 The next subsections consider how globalization processes have been explored in educational research as shapers of education, and how education and educators can also be seen to influence globalization.

Research on Globalization’s Impact on Education

Global and transnational processes and practices have been observed to influence and impact various aspects of contemporary education within many geographical contexts, and thus the fields of research related to education and globalization are vast: they are not contained simply within one field or subfield, but can be seen to cross subdisciplinary borders, in policy studies, curriculum, pedagogy, higher education studies, assessment, and more. As mentioned previously, modern education can itself be seen as one most basic instance of globalization, connected to increased interdependency of communities around the world in economic and political affairs first associated with imperialism and colonialism, and more recently with the capitalist world economy. And as the modern educational system cannot be seen as removed or sealed off from cultural and political-economic processes involved in most conceptualizations of globalization, the impacts of globalization processes upon education are often considered wide-ranging, though many are also controversial.

Major trends: From a functionalist perspective, the globalization of educational systems has been influenced by new demands and desires for educational transferability, of students and educators. In place of dichotomous systems in terms of academic levels and credentialing, curriculum, and assessment, increasing convergence can be observed today, as it is recognized that standardization makes movement of people in education across societies more readily feasible, and that such movement of people can enhance education in a number of ways (to achieve diversity, to increase specialization and the promotion of dedicated research centers, to enhance global employability, and so on). 45 Thus, the mobility and paths of movement of students and academics, for education and better life opportunities, have been a rapidly expanding area of research. A related phenomenon is that of offshore university and school campuses—the mobility of educational institutions to attract and recruit new students (and collect fees), such as New York University in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. By implication, education is often perceived as becoming more standardized around the globe, though hybridity can also be observed at the micro level.

How economic integration under globalization impacts local educational systems has been traced by Rizvi and Lingard. 46 As they note, from a broad view, the promotion of neoliberal values in the context of financial adjustment and restructuring of poorer countries under trade and debt agreements led by intergovernmental organizations, most notably the OECD, encouraged, first, fiscal discipline in educational funding (particularly impacting the payment of educators in many regions) and, second, the redistribution of funds to areas of education seen as more economically productive, namely primary education, and to efforts at privatization and deregulation of education. While the educational values of countries can and do vary, from democracy and peace, to social justice and equity, and so on, Rizvi and Lingard also observed that social and economic efficiency views have become dominant within governments and their educational policy units. 47 Though human capital theory has always supported the view that individuals gain proportionately according to the investment in their education and training, this view has become globalized in recent decades to emphasize how whole societies can flourish under economic interdependency via enhanced education.

These policy-level perspectives have had serious implications for how knowledge and thus curriculum are increasingly perceived. As mentioned previously, skills for gaining knowledge have taken precedent over knowledge accumulation, with the rise of technology and postindustrial economies. In relation, “lifelong learning,” learning to be adaptive to challenges outside the classroom and not merely to gain academic disciplinary knowledge, has become a focal point for education systems around the globe in the era of globalization. 48 Along with privatization of education, as markets are seen as more efficient than government systems of provision, models of educational choice and educational consumption have become normalized as alternatives to the historical status quo of traditional academic or intellectual, teacher-centered models. Meanwhile, the globalization of educational testing—that is, the use of the same tests across societies around the world—has had a tremendous impact on local pedagogies, assessment, and curricula the world over. Though in each country decision-making structures are not exactly the same, many societies face pressure to focus on math, science, and languages over other subjects, as a result of the primacy of standardized testing to measure and evaluate educational achievement and the effectiveness of educational systems. 49

However, there remains controversy over what education is the best in the context of relativization and emulation of educational practices and students, and therefore the 2010s have seen extraordinary transfers of educational approaches, not just from core societies to peripheral or developing areas, but significant horizontal movements of educational philosophies and practices from West to East and East to West. With the rise of global standardized tests such as the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), educational discourse in Western societies has increasingly emphasized the need to reorient education to East Asian models (such as Singapore or Shanghai), seen as victors of the tests. 50 On the other hand, many see Finland’s educational system as ideal in relation to its economic integration in society and focus on equity in structure and orientation, and thus educators in the Middle East, East Asia, and the United States have also been seen to consider emulating Finnish education in the 2010s. 51

Evaluations: From a normative point of view, some regard changes to local education in many contexts brought about by globalization as harmful and risky. Freire’s postcolonial view remains salient to those who remain concerned that local languages and indigenous cultural preservation are being sacrificed for elite national and international interests. 52 There can be no doubt that language diversity has been decreasing over time, while indigenous knowledge is being reframed within globalist culture as irrelevant to individual youths’ material needs. 53 Many are additionally skeptical of the sometimes uncritical adoption of educational practices, policies, and discourse from one region of the globe to another. In many countries in Africa and the Middle East, ideas and curricula are borrowed from the United Kingdom, the United States, or Finland in an apparently hasty manner, only to be discarded for the next reform, when it is not found to fit neatly and efficiently within the local educational context (for instance, given local educational values, structures and organizations, and educator and student views). 54 Others argue, in parallel to globalization skeptics, that globalization’s major impact on education has actually been the promotion of a thin layer of aspirational, cosmopolitan values among global cultural elites, who largely overlook the realities, problems, and challenges many face. 55

On the other hand, the case for globalization as a general enhancer of education worldwide has compelling evidence as well. Due to the work of UNESCO, the OECD, and related organizations, educational attainment has become more equitable globally, by nation, race, gender, class, and other markers of social inequality; and educational access has been recognized as positively aligned with personal and national economic improvement, according to quantitative educational researchers. 56 (David Hill, Nigel Greaves, and Alpesh Maisuria argue from a Marxist viewpoint that education in conjunction with global capitalism reinforces rather than decreases inequality and inequity; yet they also note that capitalism can be and often has been successfully regulated to diminish rather than increase inequality generally across countries. 57 ) As education has been effectively conceived as a human right in the era of globalization, societies with historically uneven access to education are on track to systematically enhance educational quality and access.

Changes to the way knowledge and the learner have been conceived, particularly with the rise of ubiquitous technology, are also often regarded as positive overall. People around the world have more access to information than ever before with the mass use of the Internet, and students of all ages can access massive open online courses (MOOCs); dynamic, data-rich online encyclopedias; and communities of like-minded scholars through social networks and forums. 58 In brick-and-mortar classrooms, educators and students are more diverse than ever due to enhanced educational mobility, and both are exposed to a greater variety of ideas and perspectives that can enhance learning for all participants. Credentials can be earned from reputable universities online, with supervision systems organized by leading scholars in global studies in education in many cases. Students have more choices when it comes to learning independently or alongside peers, mentors, or experts, in a range of disciplines, vocations, and fields.

The truth regarding how globalization processes and practices are impacting contemporary education no doubt lies in focusing somewhere in between the promises and the risks, depending on the context in question: the society, the educational level, the particular community, and so on. Particularly with regard to the proposed benefits of interconnectivity and networked ubiquitous knowledge spurred by technology, critics contend that the promise of globalization for enhancing education has been severely overrated. Elites remain most able to utilize online courses and use technologies due to remaining inequalities in material and human resources. 59 At local levels, globalization in education (more typically discussed as internationalization) remains contentious in many societies, as local values, local students and educators, and local educational trends can at times be positioned as at odds with the priorities of globalization, of internationalizing curricula, faculty, and student bodies. As part of the social imaginary of globalization, international diversity can become a buzzword, while cultural differences across communities can result in international students and faculty members becoming ghettoized on campus. 60 International exchanges of youth and educators for global citizenship education can reflect political and economic differences between communities, not merely harmonious interconnection and mutual appreciation. 61 In this context of growing ambivalence, education and educators are seen increasingly as part of the solution to the problems and challenges of the contemporary world that are associated with globalization, as educators can respond to such issues in a proactive rather than a passive way, to ensure globalization’s challenges do not exceed its benefits to individuals and communities.

Education’s Potential Impact on Globalization

As globalization is increasingly regarded with ambivalence in relation to the perceived impact of global and transnational actors and processes on local educational systems, educators are increasingly asked not to respond passively to globalization, through enacting internationalization and global economic agendas or echoing simplistic conceptualizations or evaluations of globalization via their curriculum. Instead, education has been reframed in the global era as something youth needs, not just to accept globalization but to interact with it in a critical and autonomous fashion. Two major trends have occurred in curriculum and pedagogy research, wherein education is identified as an important potential shaper of globalization. These are global citizenship education (also intersecting with what are called 21st-century learning and competencies) and education for sustainable development.

Global citizenship education: Global citizenship education has been conceived by political theorists and educational philosophers as a way to speak back to globalization processes seen as harmful to individuals and communities. As Martha Nussbaum has argued, educators should work to develop in students feelings of compassion, altruism, and empathy that extend beyond national borders. 62 Kathy Hytten has likewise written that students need to learn today as part of global citizenship education not just feelings of sympathy for people around the world, but critical skills to identify root causes of problems that intersect the distinction of local and global, as local problems can be recognized as interconnected with globalization processes. 63 In relation to this, UNESCO and nongovernmental organizations and foundations such as Oxfam and the Asia Society have focused on exploring current practices and elaborating best practices from a global comparative standpoint for the dissemination of noncognitive, affective, “transversal” 21st-century competencies, to extend civic education in the future in the service of social justice and peace, locally and globally. 64

Questions remain in this area in connection with implementation within curriculum and pedagogy. A first question is whether concepts of altruism, empathy, and even harmony, peace, and justice, are translatable, with equivalent meanings across cultural contexts. There is evidence that global citizenship education aimed at educating for values to face the potential harms of globalization is converging around the world on such aims as instilling empathy and compassion, respect and appreciation of diversity, and personal habits or virtues of open-mindedness, curiosity, and creativity. However, what these values, virtues, and dispositions look like, how they are demonstrated, and their appropriate expressions remain divergent as regards Western versus Eastern and African societies (for example). 65 By implication, pedagogical or curriculum borrowing or transferral in this area may be problematic, even if some basic concepts are shared and even when best practices can be established within a cultural context.

Additionally, how these skills, competencies, and dispositions intersect with the cognitive skills and political views of education across societies with different cultures of teaching and learning also remains contentious. In line with the controversies over normative views of globalization, whether the curriculum should echo globalist or skeptical positions remains contested by educators and researchers in the field. Some argue that a focus on feelings can be overrated or even harmful in such education, given the immediacy and evidence of global social justice issues that can be approached rationally and constructively. 66 Thus, token expressions of cultural appreciation can be seen to preclude a deeper engagement with social justice issues if the former becomes a goal in itself. On the other hand, the appropriate focus on the local versus the global, and on the goods versus the harms of globalization, weighs differently across and within societies, from one individual educator to the next. Thus, a lack of evidence of best practices in relation to the contestation over ultimate goals creates ambivalence at the local level among many educators about what and how to teach global citizenship or 21st-century skills, apart from standardized knowledge in math, science, and language.

Education for sustainable development: Education for sustainable development is a second strand of curriculum and pedagogy that speaks back to globalization and that is broadly promoted by UNESCO and related intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. Education for sustainable development is, like global citizenship education, rooted in globalization’s impact upon individuals in terms of global consciousness. Like global citizenship, education for sustainable development also emphasizes global interconnection in relation to development and sustainability challenges. It is also a broad umbrella term that reflects an increasingly wide array of practices, policies, and programs, formal and informal, for instilling virtues and knowledge and skills seen to enable effective responses to challenges brought about by globalization. 67 In particular, education for sustainable development has seen global progress, like globalization, as enmeshed in intersecting cultural, social, and economic and political values and priorities. Education for All is an interrelated complementary thread of UNESCO work, which sees access to education as a key to social justice and development, and the improvement of human quality of life broadly. In developed societies, environmental sustainability has come to be seen as a pressing global issue worth curricular focus, as behaviors with regard to consumption of natural resources impact others around the world, as well as future generations. 68

A diversity of practices and views also marks this area of education, resulting in general ambiguity about overall aims and best means. Controversies over which attitudes of sustainability are most important to inculcate, and whether it is important to inculcate them, intertwine with debates over what crises are most pertinent and what skills and competencies students should develop. Measures are in place for standardizing sustainability knowledge in higher education worldwide, as well as for comparing the development of prosustainability attitudes. 69 However, some scholars argue that both emphases miss the point, and that education for sustainable development should first be about changing cultures to become more democratic, creative, and critical, developing interpersonal and prosocial capabilities first, as the challenges of environmental sustainability and global development are highly complex and dynamic. 70 Thus, as globalization remains contested in its impacts, challenges, and promise at local levels, so too does the best education that connects positively with globalization to enhance local and global life. In this rich and diverse field, as processes of convergence and hybridity of glocalization continue to occur, the promise of globalization and the significance of education in relation to it will no doubt remain lively areas of debate in the future, as globalization continues to impact communities in diverse ways.

Research Considerations

There is no shortage of normative and explanatory theories about globalization, each of which points to particular instances and evidence about domains and contexts of globalization. However, when it comes to understanding the interconnections of globalization and education, some consensus regarding best practices for research has emerged. In fields of comparative and international education and global studies in education, scholars are increasingly calling today for theories and empirical investigations that are oriented toward specificity, particularity, and locality, in contrast with the grand theories of globalization elaborated by political scholars. However, a challenge is that such scholarship should not be reduced artificially to one local level in such a way as to exclude understanding of international interactions, in what has been called in the research community “methodological nationalism.” 71 Such reductive localism or nationalism can arise particularly in comparative education research, as nation-states have been traditional units for comparative analysis, but are today recognized as being too diverse from one to the next to be presumed similar (while global processes impact them in disparate ways). 72 Thus, Rizvi has articulated global ethnography as a focused approach to the analysis of international educational projects that traces interconnections and interactions of local and global actors. 73 In comparative educational research, units of analysis must be critically pondered and selected, and it is also possible to make comparisons across levels within one context (for instance, from local educational interactions to higher-level policy-making processes in one society). 74

Qualitative and quantitative analyses can be undertaken to measure global educational achievements, values, policy statements, and more; yet researcher reflexivity and positionality, what is traditionally conceived of as research ethics, is increasingly seen as vital for researchers in this politically and ethically contentious field. Although quantitative research remains important for highlighting convergences in data in global educational studies, such research cannot tell us what we should do, as it does not systematically express peoples’ values and beliefs about the aims of education, or their experiences of globalization, and so on, particularly effectively. On the other hand, normative questions about how people’s values intersect with globalization and related educational processes can give an in-depth view of one location or case, but should be complemented by consideration of generalizable trends. 75

In either case, cultural assumptions can interfere or interact in problematic or unintentional ways with methodologies of data gathering and analysis, for instance, when questions or codes (related to race, ethnicity, or class, for example) are applied across diverse sites by researchers, who may not be very familiar and experienced across divergent cultural contexts. 76 Thus, beyond positionality, the use of collaborative research teams has become popular in global and comparative educational research, to ensure inevitable cultural and related differences across research domains are sufficiently addressed in the research process. 77 In this context, researchers must also contend with the challenges of collaborating across educational settings, as new methods of engaging, saving, and sharing data at distance through technology continue to unfold in response to ongoing challenges with data storage, data security, and privacy.

Among recent strands of educational research fueled by appreciation for globalization is the exploration of the global economy of knowledge. Such research may consider the practices and patterns of movement, collaboration, research production and publication, and authorship of researchers, and examine data from cultural, political, and economic perspectives, asking whose knowledge is regarded as valid and most prized, and what voices dominate in conversations and discourse around globalization and education, such as in classrooms studying global studies in education, or in leading research journals. 78 Related research emerging includes questions such as who produces knowledge, who is the subject of knowledge, and where are data gathered, as recurring historical patterns may appear to be reproduced in contemporary scholarship, wherein those from the global North are more active in investigating and elaborating knowledge in the field, while those from the global South appear most often as subjects of research. As globalization of education entails the globalization of knowledge itself, such inquiries can be directed to various sites and disciplines outside of education, in considering how communication, values, and knowledge are being dynamically revised today on a global scale through processes of globalization.

Research that focuses on globalization and education uses a wide array of approaches and methods, topics, and orientations, as well as diverse theoretical perspectives and normative assumptions. The foregoing sections have explored this general field, major debates, and topics; the relationships have been traced between globalization and education; and there have been brief comments on considerations for research. One key point of the analysis has been that the way globalization is conceived has implications for how its relationship with education is understood. This is important, for as is illustrated here, the ways of conceptualizing globalization are diverse, in terms of how the era of globalization is framed chronologically (as essential to the human condition, to modernity, or as a late 20th-century phenomena), what its chief characteristics are from cultural, political-economic, and technological views, and whether its impact on human life and history is seen as good or bad. A broad consideration of viewpoints has highlighted the emergence of a middle position within research literature: there is most certainly an intertwined meeting and movement of peoples, things, and ideas around the globe; and clearly, processes associated with globalization have good and bad aspects. However, these processes are uneven, and they can be seen to impact different communities in various ways, which are clearly not, on the whole, simply all good or all bad.

That the processes associated with globalization are interrelated with the history and future of education is undeniable. In many ways global convergence around educational policies, practices, and values can be observed in the early 21st century. Yet educational borrowing and transferral remain unstraightforward in practice, as educational and cultural differences across social contexts remain, while the ultimate ends of education (such as math competencies versus moral cultivation) are essentially contested. Thus, specificity is important to understand globalization in relation to education. As with globalization generally, globalization in education cannot be merely described as harmful or beneficial, but depends on one’s position in power relations, and on one’s values and priorities for local and global well-being.

Education and educators’ impact on globalization also remains an important area of research and theorization. Educators are no longer expected merely to react to globalization, they must purposefully interact with it, preparing students around the world to respond to globalization’s challenges. As cultural and political-economic considerations remain crucial in understanding major aspects of both globalization and education, positionality and research ethics and reflexivity remain important research concerns, to understand globalization not just as homogeneity or oppressive top-down features, but as complex and dynamic local, global, and transnational intersections of people, ideas, and goods, with unclear impacts in the future.

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1. W. I. Robinson (2007), Theories of globalization, in G. Ritzer (Ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Globalization (pp. 125–143) (Malden, MA: Blackwell).

2. R. Robertson (1992), Globalization: Social theory and global culture (Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 1992).

3. Robertson, Globalization .

4. Robertson, Globalization.

5. For an historical example of how negative cultural comparison has interconnected with international political relations, see H. Kotef (2015), Little Chinese feet encased in iron shoes: Freedom, movement, gender, and empire in Western political thought, Political Theory, 43 , 334–355.

6. B. Anderson (1983), Imagined communities (London: Verso).

7. Anderson, Imagined communities.

8. M. Nussbaum (1996), For love of country? (Boston: Boston Press).

9. I. Wallerstein (1974), The modern world system (New York: Academic Press).

10. I. Wallerstein (2000), Globalization or the age of transition? International Sociology, 15 , 249–265.

11. Wallerstein, Globalization.

12. Robinson, Theories.

13. F. Rizvi and B. Lingard (2010), Globalizing educational policy (London: Routledge).

14. L. Sklair (2002), Globalization: Capitalism and its alternatives (New York: Oxford University Press).

15. W. I. Robinson (2003), Transnational conflicts: Central America, social change, and globalization (London: Verso)

16. Robinson, Theories.

17. M. Castells (1996), The rise of the network society (Oxford: Blackwell).

18. A. Giddens (1990), The consequences of modernity (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity), 64 ; see also D. Harvey (1990), The condition of post-modernity (London: Blackwell).

19. A. Appadurai (1997), Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

20. See also D. Held , A. G. McGrew , D. Goldblatt , and J. Perraton (1999), Global transformations: Politics, economics, and culture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press) ; M. Waters (1995), Globalization (London: Routledge).

21. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing.

22. M. P. Smith (2001), Transnational urbanism: Locating globalization (Oxford: Blackwell).

23. G. Ritzer (1993), The McDonaldization of society (Boston: Pine Forge).

24. G. Mathews (2011), Ghetto at the center of the world (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press).

25. B. Barber (1995), Jihad versus McWorld (New York: Random House).

26. S. Huntington (1993), The clash of civilizations? Foreign Affairs, 72 (3), 22–49.

27. F. Fukuyama (1992), The end of history and the last man (London: Free Press).

28. U. Beck (1992), The risk society: Toward a new modernity (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity).

29. M. Hardt and A. Negri (2000), Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) ; Hardt and Negri (2004), Multitude: War and democracy in the age of empire (New York: Penguin).

30. W. Bello (2004), Deglobalization: Ideas for a new world economy (London: New York University Press) ; Bello (2013), Capitalism’s last stand? Deglobalization in the age of austerity (London: Zed Books).

31. C. Hines (2000), Localization: A global manifesto (New York: Routledge).

32. See D. Harvey (1989), The condition of post-modernity: An enquiry into the conditions of cultural change (Oxford: Blackwell).

33. A. Giddens (1990), The consequences of modernity (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity).

34. S. Burchill (2009), Liberalism, in S. Burchill , A. Linklater , R. Devetak , J. Donnelly , T. Nardin , M. Paterson , C. Reus-Smit , and J. True (Eds.) (pp. 57–85), Theories of international relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).

35. See, for instance, J. Stiglitz (2006), Making globalization work (New York: W. W. Norton).

36. D. Held and A. McGrew (Eds.) (2000), The global transformation reader: An introduction to the globalization debate (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity).

37. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing.

38. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing , 24.

39. T. Reagan (2000), Non-Western educational traditions: Alternative approaches to educational thought (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum). Of course, scholars such as Michael P. Smith would reject describing these processes as belonging to globalization, as people, nations, and communities played significant roles.

40. P. Freire (1972), Pedagogy of the oppressed (Victoria: Penguin).

41. B. Ashcroft , G. Griffiths , and H. Tiffin (Eds.) (1995), The post-colonial studies reader (London: Routledge).

42. R. E. Wanner (2015), UNESCO’s origins, achievements, problems and promise: An inside/outside perspective from the US (Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre/University of Hong Kong).

43. M. Manzon (2011), Comparative education: The construction of a field (Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre/University of Hong Kong).

44. S. Walby (2009), Globalization and inequalities (London: SAGE).

45. See for instance J. Stier (2004), Taking a critical stance toward internationalization ideologies in higher education: idealism, instrumentalism and educationalism, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 2 , 1–28.

46. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing .

47. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing .

48. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing .

49. Rizvi and Lingard, Globalizing .

50. See for instance M. S. Tucker and L. Darling-Hammond (2011), Surpassing Shanghai: An agenda for American education built on the world’s leading systems (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

51. See for instance P. Sahlberg (2014), Finnish lessons 2.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? (New York: Teachers College Press).

52. A. Darder (2015), Paulo Freire and the continuing struggle to decolonize education, in M. A Peters and T. Besley (Eds.), Paulo Freire: The global legacy (pp. 55–78) (New York: Peter Lang).

53. S. J. Shin (2009), Bilingualism in schools and society (London: Routledge) ; H. Norberg-Hodge (2009), Ancient futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a globalizing world (San Francisco: Sierra Club).

54. L. Jackson (2015), Challenges to the global concept of student-centered learning with special reference to the United Arab Emirates: “Never Fail a Nahayan,” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 47 , 760–773.

55. T. Besley (2012), Narratives of intercultural and international education: Aspirational values and economic imperatives, in T. Besley and M. A. Peters (Eds.), Interculturalism: Education and dialogue (pp. 87–112) (New York: Peter Lang).

56. W. J. Jacob and D. B. Holsinger (2008), Inequality in education: A critical analysis, in D. B. Holsinger and W. J. Jacob (Eds.), Inequality in education: Comparative and international perspectives (pp. 1–33) (Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre/University of Hong Kong).

57. D. Hill , N. M. Greaves , and A. Maisuria (2008), Does capitalism inevitably increase inequality? in D. B. Holsinger and W. J. Jacob (Eds.), Inequality in education: Comparative and international perspectives (pp. 59–85) (Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre/University of Hong Kong).

58. D. M. West (2013), Digital schools : How technology can transform education (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute Press) ; N. Burbules and T. Callister (2000), Watch IT: The risks and promises of technologies for education (Boulder, CO: Westview).

59. Burbules and Callister, Watch IT.

60. Stier, Critical Stance.

61. See for example, S. K. Gallwey and G. Wilgus (2014), Equitable partnerships for mutual learning or perpetuator of North-South power imbalances? Ireland–South Africa school links, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 44 , 522–544.

62. M. C. Nussbaum (2001), Upheavals of thought: The intelligence of emotions (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press).

63. K. Hytten (2009), Education for critical democracy and compassionate globalization, in R. Glass (Ed.), Philosophy of Education 2008 (pp. 330–332) (Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society).

64. See for example, Report to the UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century (1996), Learning: The treasure within (Paris: UNESCO) ; Asia Society (2015), A Rosetta Stone for noncognitive skills: Understanding, assessing, and enhancing noncognitive skills in primary and secondary education (New York: Asia Society).

65. See S. Y. Kang (2006), Identity-centered multicultural care theory: White, Black, and Korean caring, Educational Foundations, 20 (3–4), 35–49 ; L. Jackson (2016), Altruism, non-relational caring, and global citizenship education, in M. Moses (Ed.), Philosophy of Education 2014 (Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education).

66. Jackson, Altruism.

67. L. Jackson (2016), Education for sustainable development: From environmental education to broader view, in E. Railean , G. Walker , A. Elçi , and L. Jackson (Eds.), Handbook of research on applied learning theory and design in modern education (pp. 41–64) (Hershey, PA: IGI Press).

68. Jackson, Education for Sustainable Development.

69. Jackson, Education for Sustainable Development.

70. P. Vare and W. Scott (2007), Learning for change: Exploring the relationship between education and sustainable development, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 1 , 191–198.

71. P. Kennedy (2011), Local lives and global transformations: Towards a world society (London: Palgrave).

72. M. Manzon (2015), Comparing places, in M. Bray , B. Adamson , and M. Mason (Eds.), Comparative education research: Approaches and methods (pp. 85–121) (Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre/University of Hong Kong).

73. F. Rizvi (2009), Global mobility and the challenges of educational policy and research, in T. S. Popkewitz and F. Rizvi (Eds.), Globalization and the study of education (pp. 268–289) (Oxford: Blackwell).

74. Manzon, Comparing places.

75. G. P. Fairbrother , Qualitative and quantitative approaches to comparative education, in Bray , Adamson , and Mason (Eds.), Comparative education research (pp. 39–62).

76. L. Jackson (2015), Comparing race, class, and gender, in Bray , Adamson , and Mason (Eds.), Comparative education research (pp. 195–220).

77. M. Bray , B. Adamson , and M. Mason (2015), Different models, different emphases, different insights, in Bray , Adamson , and Mason (Eds.), Comparative education research , 421.

78. See, for instance, H. Tange and S. Miller (2015), Opening the mind? Geographies of knowledge and curricular practices, Higher Education , 1–15.

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Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of education is the branch of applied or practical philosophy concerned with the nature and aims of education and the philosophical problems arising from educational theory and practice. Because that practice is ubiquitous in and across human societies, its social and individual manifestations so varied, and its influence so profound, the subject is wide-ranging, involving issues in ethics and social/political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and language, and other areas of philosophy. Because it looks both inward to the parent discipline and outward to educational practice and the social, legal, and institutional contexts in which it takes place, philosophy of education concerns itself with both sides of the traditional theory/practice divide. Its subject matter includes both basic philosophical issues (e.g., the nature of the knowledge worth teaching, the character of educational equality and justice, etc.) and problems concerning specific educational policies and practices (e.g., the desirability of standardized curricula and testing, the social, economic, legal and moral dimensions of specific funding arrangements, the justification of curriculum decisions, etc.). In all this the philosopher of education prizes conceptual clarity, argumentative rigor, the fair-minded consideration of the interests of all involved in or affected by educational efforts and arrangements, and informed and well-reasoned valuation of educational aims and interventions.

Philosophy of education has a long and distinguished history in the Western philosophical tradition, from Socrates’ battles with the sophists to the present day. Many of the most distinguished figures in that tradition incorporated educational concerns into their broader philosophical agendas (Curren 2000, 2018; Rorty 1998). While that history is not the focus here, it is worth noting that the ideals of reasoned inquiry championed by Socrates and his descendants have long informed the view that education should foster in all students, to the extent possible, the disposition to seek reasons and the ability to evaluate them cogently, and to be guided by their evaluations in matters of belief, action and judgment. This view, that education centrally involves the fostering of reason or rationality, has with varying articulations and qualifications been embraced by most of those historical figures; it continues to be defended by contemporary philosophers of education as well (Scheffler 1973 [1989]; Siegel 1988, 1997, 2007, 2017). As with any philosophical thesis it is controversial; some dimensions of the controversy are explored below.

This entry is a selective survey of important contemporary work in Anglophone philosophy of education; it does not treat in detail recent scholarship outside that context.

1. Problems in Delineating the Field

2. analytic philosophy of education and its influence, 3.1 the content of the curriculum and the aims and functions of schooling, 3.2 social, political and moral philosophy, 3.3 social epistemology, virtue epistemology, and the epistemology of education, 3.4 philosophical disputes concerning empirical education research, 4. concluding remarks, other internet resources, related entries.

The inward/outward looking nature of the field of philosophy of education alluded to above makes the task of delineating the field, of giving an over-all picture of the intellectual landscape, somewhat complicated (for a detailed account of this topography, see Phillips 1985, 2010). Suffice it to say that some philosophers, as well as focusing inward on the abstract philosophical issues that concern them, are drawn outwards to discuss or comment on issues that are more commonly regarded as falling within the purview of professional educators, educational researchers, policy-makers and the like. (An example is Michael Scriven, who in his early career was a prominent philosopher of science; later he became a central figure in the development of the field of evaluation of educational and social programs. See Scriven 1991a, 1991b.) At the same time, there are professionals in the educational or closely related spheres who are drawn to discuss one or another of the philosophical issues that they encounter in the course of their work. (An example here is the behaviorist psychologist B.F. Skinner, the central figure in the development of operant conditioning and programmed learning, who in works such as Walden Two (1948) and Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1972) grappled—albeit controversially—with major philosophical issues that were related to his work.)

What makes the field even more amorphous is the existence of works on educational topics, written by well-regarded philosophers who have made major contributions to their discipline; these educational reflections have little or no philosophical content, illustrating the truth that philosophers do not always write philosophy. However, despite this, works in this genre have often been treated as contributions to philosophy of education. (Examples include John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education [1693] and Bertrand Russell’s rollicking pieces written primarily to raise funds to support a progressive school he ran with his wife. (See Park 1965.)

Finally, as indicated earlier, the domain of education is vast, the issues it raises are almost overwhelmingly numerous and are of great complexity, and the social significance of the field is second to none. These features make the phenomena and problems of education of great interest to a wide range of socially-concerned intellectuals, who bring with them their own favored conceptual frameworks—concepts, theories and ideologies, methods of analysis and argumentation, metaphysical and other assumptions, and the like. It is not surprising that scholars who work in this broad genre also find a home in the field of philosophy of education.

As a result of these various factors, the significant intellectual and social trends of the past few centuries, together with the significant developments in philosophy, all have had an impact on the content of arguments and methods of argumentation in philosophy of education—Marxism, psycho-analysis, existentialism, phenomenology, positivism, post-modernism, pragmatism, neo-liberalism, the several waves of feminism, analytic philosophy in both its ordinary language and more formal guises, are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Conceptual analysis, careful assessment of arguments, the rooting out of ambiguity, the drawing of clarifying distinctions—all of which are at least part of the philosophical toolkit—have been respected activities within philosophy from the dawn of the field. No doubt it somewhat over-simplifies the complex path of intellectual history to suggest that what happened in the twentieth century—early on, in the home discipline itself, and with a lag of a decade or more in philosophy of education—is that philosophical analysis came to be viewed by some scholars as being the major philosophical activity (or set of activities), or even as being the only viable or reputable activity. In any case, as they gained prominence and for a time hegemonic influence during the rise of analytic philosophy early in the twentieth century analytic techniques came to dominate philosophy of education in the middle third of that century (Curren, Robertson, & Hager 2003).

The pioneering work in the modern period entirely in an analytic mode was the short monograph by C.D. Hardie, Truth and Fallacy in Educational Theory (1941; reissued in 1962). In his Introduction, Hardie (who had studied with C.D. Broad and I.A. Richards) made it clear that he was putting all his eggs into the ordinary-language-analysis basket:

The Cambridge analytical school, led by Moore, Broad and Wittgenstein, has attempted so to analyse propositions that it will always be apparent whether the disagreement between philosophers is one concerning matters of fact, or is one concerning the use of words, or is, as is frequently the case, a purely emotive one. It is time, I think, that a similar attitude became common in the field of educational theory. (Hardie 1962: xix)

About a decade after the end of the Second World War the floodgates opened and a stream of work in the analytic mode appeared; the following is merely a sample. D. J. O’Connor published An Introduction to Philosophy of Education (1957) in which, among other things, he argued that the word “theory” as it is used in educational contexts is merely a courtesy title, for educational theories are nothing like what bear this title in the natural sciences. Israel Scheffler, who became the paramount philosopher of education in North America, produced a number of important works including The Language of Education (1960), which contained clarifying and influential analyses of definitions (he distinguished reportive, stipulative, and programmatic types) and the logic of slogans (often these are literally meaningless, and, he argued, should be seen as truncated arguments), Conditions of Knowledge (1965), still the best introduction to the epistemological side of philosophy of education, and Reason and Teaching (1973 [1989]), which in a wide-ranging and influential series of essays makes the case for regarding the fostering of rationality/critical thinking as a fundamental educational ideal (cf. Siegel 2016). B. O. Smith and R. H. Ennis edited the volume Language and Concepts in Education (1961); and R.D. Archambault edited Philosophical Analysis and Education (1965), consisting of essays by a number of prominent British writers, most notably R. S. Peters (whose status in Britain paralleled that of Scheffler in the United States), Paul Hirst, and John Wilson. Topics covered in the Archambault volume were typical of those that became the “bread and butter” of analytic philosophy of education (APE) throughout the English-speaking world—education as a process of initiation, liberal education, the nature of knowledge, types of teaching, and instruction versus indoctrination.

Among the most influential products of APE was the analysis developed by Hirst and Peters (1970) and Peters (1973) of the concept of education itself. Using as a touchstone “normal English usage,” it was concluded that a person who has been educated (rather than instructed or indoctrinated) has been (i) changed for the better; (ii) this change has involved the acquisition of knowledge and intellectual skills and the development of understanding; and (iii) the person has come to care for, or be committed to, the domains of knowledge and skill into which he or she has been initiated. The method used by Hirst and Peters comes across clearly in their handling of the analogy with the concept of “reform”, one they sometimes drew upon for expository purposes. A criminal who has been reformed has changed for the better, and has developed a commitment to the new mode of life (if one or other of these conditions does not hold, a speaker of standard English would not say the criminal has been reformed). Clearly the analogy with reform breaks down with respect to the knowledge and understanding conditions. Elsewhere Peters developed the fruitful notion of “education as initiation”.

The concept of indoctrination was also of great interest to analytic philosophers of education, for, it was argued, getting clear about precisely what constitutes indoctrination also would serve to clarify the border that demarcates it from acceptable educational processes. Thus, whether or not an instructional episode was a case of indoctrination was determined by the content taught, the intention of the instructor, the methods of instruction used, the outcomes of the instruction, or by some combination of these. Adherents of the different analyses used the same general type of argument to make their case, namely, appeal to normal and aberrant usage. Unfortunately, ordinary language analysis did not lead to unanimity of opinion about where this border was located, and rival analyses of the concept were put forward (Snook 1972). The danger of restricting analysis to ordinary language (“normal English usage”) was recognized early on by Scheffler, whose preferred view of analysis emphasized

first, its greater sophistication as regards language, and the interpenetration of language and inquiry, second, its attempt to follow the modern example of the sciences in empirical spirit, in rigor, in attention to detail, in respect for alternatives, and in objectivity of method, and third, its use of techniques of symbolic logic brought to full development only in the last fifty years… It is…this union of scientific spirit and logical method applied toward the clarification of basic ideas that characterizes current analytic philosophy [and that ought to characterize analytic philosophy of education]. (Scheffler 1973 [1989: 9–10])

After a period of dominance, for a number of important reasons the influence of APE went into decline. First, there were growing criticisms that the work of analytic philosophers of education had become focused upon minutiae and in the main was bereft of practical import. (It is worth noting that a 1966 article in Time , reprinted in Lucas 1969, had put forward the same criticism of mainstream philosophy.) Second, in the early 1970’s radical students in Britain accused Peters’ brand of linguistic analysis of conservatism, and of tacitly giving support to “traditional values”—they raised the issue of whose English usage was being analyzed?

Third, criticisms of language analysis in mainstream philosophy had been mounting for some time, and finally after a lag of many years were reaching the attention of philosophers of education; there even had been a surprising degree of interest on the part of the general reading public in the United Kingdom as early as 1959, when Gilbert Ryle, editor of the journal Mind , refused to commission a review of Ernest Gellner’s Words and Things (1959)—a detailed and quite acerbic critique of Wittgenstein’s philosophy and its espousal of ordinary language analysis. (Ryle argued that Gellner’s book was too insulting, a view that drew Bertrand Russell into the fray on Gellner’s side—in the daily press, no less; Russell produced a list of insulting remarks drawn from the work of great philosophers of the past. See Mehta 1963.)

Richard Peters had been given warning that all was not well with APE at a conference in Canada in 1966; after delivering a paper on “The aims of education: A conceptual inquiry” that was based on ordinary language analysis, a philosopher in the audience (William Dray) asked Peters “ whose concepts do we analyze?” Dray went on to suggest that different people, and different groups within society, have different concepts of education. Five years before the radical students raised the same issue, Dray pointed to the possibility that what Peters had presented under the guise of a “logical analysis” was nothing but the favored usage of a certain class of persons—a class that Peters happened to identify with (see Peters 1973, where to the editor’s credit the interaction with Dray is reprinted).

Fourth, during the decade of the seventies when these various critiques of analytic philosophy were in the process of eroding its luster, a spate of translations from the Continent stimulated some philosophers of education in Britain and North America to set out in new directions, and to adopt a new style of writing and argumentation. Key works by Gadamer, Foucault and Derrida appeared in English, and these were followed in 1984 by Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition . The classic works of Heidegger and Husserl also found new admirers; and feminist philosophers of education were finding their voices—Maxine Greene published a number of pieces in the 1970s and 1980s, including The Dialectic of Freedom (1988); the influential book by Nel Noddings, Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education , appeared the same year as the work by Lyotard, followed a year later by Jane Roland Martin’s Reclaiming a Conversation . In more recent years all these trends have continued. APE was and is no longer the center of interest, although, as indicated below, it still retains its voice.

3. Areas of Contemporary Activity

As was stressed at the outset, the field of education is huge and contains within it a virtually inexhaustible number of issues that are of philosophical interest. To attempt comprehensive coverage of how philosophers of education have been working within this thicket would be a quixotic task for a large single volume and is out of the question for a solitary encyclopedia entry. Nevertheless, a valiant attempt to give an overview was made in A Companion to the Philosophy of Education (Curren 2003), which contains more than six-hundred pages divided into forty-five chapters each of which surveys a subfield of work. The following random selection of chapter topics gives a sense of the enormous scope of the field: Sex education, special education, science education, aesthetic education, theories of teaching and learning, religious education, knowledge, truth and learning, cultivating reason, the measurement of learning, multicultural education, education and the politics of identity, education and standards of living, motivation and classroom management, feminism, critical theory, postmodernism, romanticism, the purposes of universities, affirmative action in higher education, and professional education. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education (Siegel 2009) contains a similarly broad range of articles on (among other things) the epistemic and moral aims of education, liberal education and its imminent demise, thinking and reasoning, fallibilism and fallibility, indoctrination, authenticity, the development of rationality, Socratic teaching, educating the imagination, caring and empathy in moral education, the limits of moral education, the cultivation of character, values education, curriculum and the value of knowledge, education and democracy, art and education, science education and religious toleration, constructivism and scientific methods, multicultural education, prejudice, authority and the interests of children, and on pragmatist, feminist, and postmodernist approaches to philosophy of education.

Given this enormous range, there is no non-arbitrary way to select a small number of topics for further discussion, nor can the topics that are chosen be pursued in great depth. The choice of those below has been made with an eye to highlighting contemporary work that makes solid contact with and contributes to important discussions in general philosophy and/or the academic educational and educational research communities.

The issue of what should be taught to students at all levels of education—the issue of curriculum content—obviously is a fundamental one, and it is an extraordinarily difficult one with which to grapple. In tackling it, care needs to be taken to distinguish between education and schooling—for although education can occur in schools, so can mis-education, and many other things can take place there that are educationally orthogonal (such as the provision of free or subsidized lunches and the development of social networks); and it also must be recognized that education can occur in the home, in libraries and museums, in churches and clubs, in solitary interaction with the public media, and the like.

In developing a curriculum (whether in a specific subject area, or more broadly as the whole range of offerings in an educational institution or system), a number of difficult decisions need to be made. Issues such as the proper ordering or sequencing of topics in the chosen subject, the time to be allocated to each topic, the lab work or excursions or projects that are appropriate for particular topics, can all be regarded as technical issues best resolved either by educationists who have a depth of experience with the target age group or by experts in the psychology of learning and the like. But there are deeper issues, ones concerning the validity of the justifications that have been given for including/excluding particular subjects or topics in the offerings of formal educational institutions. (Why should evolution or creation “science” be included, or excluded, as a topic within the standard high school subject Biology? Is the justification that is given for teaching Economics in some schools coherent and convincing? Do the justifications for including/excluding materials on birth control, patriotism, the Holocaust or wartime atrocities in the curriculum in some school districts stand up to critical scrutiny?)

The different justifications for particular items of curriculum content that have been put forward by philosophers and others since Plato’s pioneering efforts all draw, explicitly or implicitly, upon the positions that the respective theorists hold about at least three sets of issues.

First, what are the aims and/or functions of education (aims and functions are not necessarily the same)? Many aims have been proposed; a short list includes the production of knowledge and knowledgeable students, the fostering of curiosity and inquisitiveness, the enhancement of understanding, the enlargement of the imagination, the civilizing of students, the fostering of rationality and/or autonomy, and the development in students of care, concern and associated dispositions and attitudes (see Siegel 2007 for a longer list). The justifications offered for all such aims have been controversial, and alternative justifications of a single proposed aim can provoke philosophical controversy. Consider the aim of autonomy. Aristotle asked, what constitutes the good life and/or human flourishing, such that education should foster these (Curren 2013)? These two formulations are related, for it is arguable that our educational institutions should aim to equip individuals to pursue this good life—although this is not obvious, both because it is not clear that there is one conception of the good or flourishing life that is the good or flourishing life for everyone, and it is not clear that this is a question that should be settled in advance rather than determined by students for themselves. Thus, for example, if our view of human flourishing includes the capacity to think and act autonomously, then the case can be made that educational institutions—and their curricula—should aim to prepare, or help to prepare, autonomous individuals. A rival justification of the aim of autonomy, associated with Kant, champions the educational fostering of autonomy not on the basis of its contribution to human flourishing, but rather the obligation to treat students with respect as persons (Scheffler 1973 [1989]; Siegel 1988). Still others urge the fostering of autonomy on the basis of students’ fundamental interests, in ways that draw upon both Aristotelian and Kantian conceptual resources (Brighouse 2005, 2009). It is also possible to reject the fostering of autonomy as an educational aim (Hand 2006).

Assuming that the aim can be justified, how students should be helped to become autonomous or develop a conception of the good life and pursue it is of course not immediately obvious, and much philosophical ink has been spilled on the general question of how best to determine curriculum content. One influential line of argument was developed by Paul Hirst, who argued that knowledge is essential for developing and then pursuing a conception of the good life, and because logical analysis shows, he argued, that there are seven basic forms of knowledge, the case can be made that the function of the curriculum is to introduce students to each of these forms (Hirst 1965; see Phillips 1987: ch. 11). Another, suggested by Scheffler, is that curriculum content should be selected so as “to help the learner attain maximum self-sufficiency as economically as possible.” The relevant sorts of economy include those of resources, teacher effort, student effort, and the generalizability or transfer value of content, while the self-sufficiency in question includes

self-awareness, imaginative weighing of alternative courses of action, understanding of other people’s choices and ways of life, decisiveness without rigidity, emancipation from stereotyped ways of thinking and perceiving…empathy… intuition, criticism and independent judgment. (Scheffler 1973 [1989: 123–5])

Both impose important constraints on the curricular content to be taught.

Second, is it justifiable to treat the curriculum of an educational institution as a vehicle for furthering the socio-political interests and goals of a dominant group, or any particular group, including one’s own; and relatedly, is it justifiable to design the curriculum so that it serves as an instrument of control or of social engineering? In the closing decades of the twentieth century there were numerous discussions of curriculum theory, particularly from Marxist and postmodern perspectives, that offered the sobering analysis that in many educational systems, including those in Western democracies, the curriculum did indeed reflect and serve the interests of powerful cultural elites. What to do about this situation (if it is indeed the situation of contemporary educational institutions) is far from clear and is the focus of much work at the interface of philosophy of education and social/political philosophy, some of which is discussed in the next section. A closely related question is this: ought educational institutions be designed to further pre-determined social ends, or rather to enable students to competently evaluate all such ends? Scheffler argued that we should opt for the latter: we must

surrender the idea of shaping or molding the mind of the pupil. The function of education…is rather to liberate the mind, strengthen its critical powers, [and] inform it with knowledge and the capacity for independent inquiry. (Scheffler 1973 [1989: 139])

Third, should educational programs at the elementary and secondary levels be made up of a number of disparate offerings, so that individuals with different interests and abilities and affinities for learning can pursue curricula that are suitable? Or should every student pursue the same curriculum as far as each is able?—a curriculum, it should be noted, that in past cases nearly always was based on the needs or interests of those students who were academically inclined or were destined for elite social roles. Mortimer Adler and others in the late twentieth century sometimes used the aphorism “the best education for the best is the best education for all.”

The thinking here can be explicated in terms of the analogy of an out-of-control virulent disease, for which there is only one type of medicine available; taking a large dose of this medicine is extremely beneficial, and the hope is that taking only a little—while less effective—is better than taking none at all. Medically, this is dubious, while the educational version—forcing students to work, until they exit the system, on topics that do not interest them and for which they have no facility or motivation—has even less merit. (For a critique of Adler and his Paideia Proposal , see Noddings 2015.) It is interesting to compare the modern “one curriculum track for all” position with Plato’s system outlined in the Republic , according to which all students—and importantly this included girls—set out on the same course of study. Over time, as they moved up the educational ladder it would become obvious that some had reached the limit imposed upon them by nature, and they would be directed off into appropriate social roles in which they would find fulfillment, for their abilities would match the demands of these roles. Those who continued on with their education would eventually become members of the ruling class of Guardians.

The publication of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice in 1971 was the most notable event in the history of political philosophy over the last century. The book spurred a period of ferment in political philosophy that included, among other things, new research on educationally fundamental themes. The principles of justice in educational distribution have perhaps been the dominant theme in this literature, and Rawls’s influence on its development has been pervasive.

Rawls’s theory of justice made so-called “fair equality of opportunity” one of its constitutive principles. Fair equality of opportunity entailed that the distribution of education would not put the children of those who currently occupied coveted social positions at any competitive advantage over other, equally talented and motivated children seeking the qualifications for those positions (Rawls 1971: 72–75). Its purpose was to prevent socio-economic differences from hardening into social castes that were perpetuated across generations. One obvious criticism of fair equality of opportunity is that it does not prohibit an educational distribution that lavished resources on the most talented children while offering minimal opportunities to others. So long as untalented students from wealthy families were assigned opportunities no better than those available to their untalented peers among the poor, no breach of the principle would occur. Even the most moderate egalitarians might find such a distributive regime to be intuitively repugnant.

Repugnance might be mitigated somewhat by the ways in which the overall structure of Rawls’s conception of justice protects the interests of those who fare badly in educational competition. All citizens must enjoy the same basic liberties, and equal liberty always has moral priority over equal opportunity: the former can never be compromised to advance the latter. Further, inequality in the distribution of income and wealth are permitted only to the degree that it serves the interests of the least advantaged group in society. But even with these qualifications, fair equality of opportunity is arguably less than really fair to anyone. The fact that their education should secure ends other than access to the most selective social positions—ends such as artistic appreciation, the kind of self-knowledge that humanistic study can furnish, or civic virtue—is deemed irrelevant according to Rawls’s principle. But surely it is relevant, given that a principle of educational justice must be responsive to the full range of educationally important goods.

Suppose we revise our account of the goods included in educational distribution so that aesthetic appreciation, say, and the necessary understanding and virtue for conscientious citizenship count for just as much as job-related skills. An interesting implication of doing so is that the rationale for requiring equality under any just distribution becomes decreasingly clear. That is because job-related skills are positional whereas the other educational goods are not (Hollis 1982). If you and I both aspire to a career in business management for which we are equally qualified, any increase in your job-related skills is a corresponding disadvantage to me unless I can catch up. Positional goods have a competitive structure by definition, though the ends of civic or aesthetic education do not fit that structure. If you and I aspire to be good citizens and are equal in civic understanding and virtue, an advance in your civic education is no disadvantage to me. On the contrary, it is easier to be a good citizen the better other citizens learn to be. At the very least, so far as non-positional goods figure in our conception of what counts as a good education, the moral stakes of inequality are thereby lowered.

In fact, an emerging alternative to fair equality of opportunity is a principle that stipulates some benchmark of adequacy in achievement or opportunity as the relevant standard of distribution. But it is misleading to represent this as a contrast between egalitarian and sufficientarian conceptions. Philosophically serious interpretations of adequacy derive from the ideal of equal citizenship (Satz 2007; Anderson 2007). Then again, fair equality of opportunity in Rawls’s theory is derived from a more fundamental ideal of equality among citizens. This was arguably true in A Theory of Justice but it is certainly true in his later work (Dworkin 1977: 150–183; Rawls 1993). So, both Rawls’s principle and the emerging alternative share an egalitarian foundation. The debate between adherents of equal opportunity and those misnamed as sufficientarians is certainly not over (e.g., Brighouse & Swift 2009; Jacobs 2010; Warnick 2015). Further progress will likely hinge on explicating the most compelling conception of the egalitarian foundation from which distributive principles are to be inferred. Another Rawls-inspired alternative is that a “prioritarian” distribution of achievement or opportunity might turn out to be the best principle we can come up with—i.e., one that favors the interests of the least advantaged students (Schouten 2012).

The publication of Rawls’s Political Liberalism in 1993 signaled a decisive turning point in his thinking about justice. In his earlier book, the theory of justice had been presented as if it were universally valid. But Rawls had come to think that any theory of justice presented as such was open to reasonable rejection. A more circumspect approach to justification would seek grounds for justice as fairness in an overlapping consensus between the many reasonable values and doctrines that thrive in a democratic political culture. Rawls argued that such a culture is informed by a shared ideal of free and equal citizenship that provided a new, distinctively democratic framework for justifying a conception of justice. The shift to political liberalism involved little revision on Rawls’s part to the content of the principles he favored. But the salience it gave to questions about citizenship in the fabric of liberal political theory had important educational implications. How was the ideal of free and equal citizenship to be instantiated in education in a way that accommodated the range of reasonable values and doctrines encompassed in an overlapping consensus? Political Liberalism has inspired a range of answers to that question (cf. Callan 1997; Clayton 2006; Bull 2008).

Other philosophers besides Rawls in the 1990s took up a cluster of questions about civic education, and not always from a liberal perspective. Alasdair Macintyre’s After Virtue (1984) strongly influenced the development of communitarian political theory which, as its very name might suggest, argued that the cultivation of community could preempt many of the problems with conflicting individual rights at the core of liberalism. As a full-standing alternative to liberalism, communitarianism might have little to recommend it. But it was a spur for liberal philosophers to think about how communities could be built and sustained to support the more familiar projects of liberal politics (e.g., Strike 2010). Furthermore, its arguments often converged with those advanced by feminist exponents of the ethic of care (Noddings 1984; Gilligan 1982). Noddings’ work is particularly notable because she inferred a cogent and radical agenda for the reform of schools from her conception of care (Noddings 1992).

One persistent controversy in citizenship theory has been about whether patriotism is correctly deemed a virtue, given our obligations to those who are not our fellow citizens in an increasingly interdependent world and the sordid history of xenophobia with which modern nation states are associated. The controversy is partly about what we should teach in our schools and is commonly discussed by philosophers in that context (Galston 1991; Ben-Porath 2006; Callan 2006; Miller 2007; Curren & Dorn 2018). The controversy is related to a deeper and more pervasive question about how morally or intellectually taxing the best conception of our citizenship should be. The more taxing it is, the more constraining its derivative conception of civic education will be. Contemporary political philosophers offer divergent arguments about these matters. For example, Gutmann and Thompson claim that citizens of diverse democracies need to “understand the diverse ways of life of their fellow citizens” (Gutmann & Thompson 1996: 66). The need arises from the obligation of reciprocity which they (like Rawls) believe to be integral to citizenship. Because I must seek to cooperate with others politically on terms that make sense from their moral perspective as well as my own, I must be ready to enter that perspective imaginatively so as to grasp its distinctive content. Many such perspectives prosper in liberal democracies, and so the task of reciprocal understanding is necessarily onerous. Still, our actions qua deliberative citizen must be grounded in such reciprocity if political cooperation on terms acceptable to us as (diversely) morally motivated citizens is to be possible at all. This is tantamount to an imperative to think autonomously inside the role of citizen because I cannot close-mindedly resist critical consideration of moral views alien to my own without flouting my responsibilities as a deliberative citizen.

Civic education does not exhaust the domain of moral education, even though the more robust conceptions of equal citizenship have far-reaching implications for just relations in civil society and the family. The study of moral education has traditionally taken its bearings from normative ethics rather than political philosophy, and this is largely true of work undertaken in recent decades. The major development here has been the revival of virtue ethics as an alternative to the deontological and consequentialist theories that dominated discussion for much of the twentieth century.

The defining idea of virtue ethics is that our criterion of moral right and wrong must derive from a conception of how the ideally virtuous agent would distinguish between the two. Virtue ethics is thus an alternative to both consequentialism and deontology which locate the relevant criterion in producing good consequences or meeting the requirements of moral duty respectively. The debate about the comparative merits of these theories is not resolved, but from an educational perspective that may be less important than it has sometimes seemed to antagonists in the debate. To be sure, adjudicating between rival theories in normative ethics might shed light on how best to construe the process of moral education, and philosophical reflection on the process might help us to adjudicate between the theories. There has been extensive work on habituation and virtue, largely inspired by Aristotle (Burnyeat 1980; Peters 1981). But whether this does anything to establish the superiority of virtue ethics over its competitors is far from obvious. Other aspects of moral education—in particular, the paired processes of role-modelling and identification—deserve much more scrutiny than they have received (Audi 2017; Kristjánsson 2015, 2017).

Related to the issues concerning the aims and functions of education and schooling rehearsed above are those involving the specifically epistemic aims of education and attendant issues treated by social and virtue epistemologists. (The papers collected in Kotzee 2013 and Baehr 2016 highlight the current and growing interactions among social epistemologists, virtue epistemologists, and philosophers of education.)

There is, first, a lively debate concerning putative epistemic aims. Alvin Goldman argues that truth (or knowledge understood in the “weak” sense of true belief) is the fundamental epistemic aim of education (Goldman 1999). Others, including the majority of historically significant philosophers of education, hold that critical thinking or rationality and rational belief (or knowledge in the “strong” sense that includes justification) is the basic epistemic educational aim (Bailin & Siegel 2003; Scheffler 1965, 1973 [1989]; Siegel 1988, 1997, 2005, 2017). Catherine Z. Elgin (1999a,b) and Duncan Pritchard (2013, 2016; Carter & Pritchard 2017) have independently urged that understanding is the basic aim. Pritchard’s view combines understanding with intellectual virtue ; Jason Baehr (2011) systematically defends the fostering of the intellectual virtues as the fundamental epistemic aim of education. This cluster of views continues to engender ongoing discussion and debate. (Its complex literature is collected in Carter and Kotzee 2015, summarized in Siegel 2018, and helpfully analyzed in Watson 2016.)

A further controversy concerns the places of testimony and trust in the classroom: In what circumstances if any ought students to trust their teachers’ pronouncements, and why? Here the epistemology of education is informed by social epistemology, specifically the epistemology of testimony; the familiar reductionism/anti-reductionism controversy there is applicable to students and teachers. Anti-reductionists, who regard testimony as a basic source of justification, may with equanimity approve of students’ taking their teachers’ word at face value and believing what they say; reductionists may balk. Does teacher testimony itself constitute good reason for student belief?

The correct answer here seems clearly enough to be “it depends”. For very young children who have yet to acquire or develop the ability to subject teacher declarations to critical scrutiny, there seems to be little alternative to accepting what their teachers tell them. For older and more cognitively sophisticated students there seem to be more options: they can assess them for plausibility, compare them with other opinions, assess the teachers’ proffered reasons, subject them to independent evaluation, etc. Regarding “the teacher says that p ” as itself a good reason to believe it appears moreover to contravene the widely shared conviction that an important educational aim is helping students to become able to evaluate candidate beliefs for themselves and believe accordingly. That said, all sides agree that sometimes believers, including students, have good reasons simply to trust what others tell them. There is thus more work to do here by both social epistemologists and philosophers of education (for further discussion see Goldberg 2013; Siegel 2005, 2018).

A further cluster of questions, of long-standing interest to philosophers of education, concerns indoctrination : How if at all does it differ from legitimate teaching? Is it inevitable, and if so is it not always necessarily bad? First, what is it? As we saw earlier, extant analyses focus on the aims or intentions of the indoctrinator, the methods employed, or the content transmitted. If the indoctrination is successful, all have the result that students/victims either don’t, won’t, or can’t subject the indoctrinated material to proper epistemic evaluation. In this way it produces both belief that is evidentially unsupported or contravened and uncritical dispositions to believe. It might seem obvious that indoctrination, so understood, is educationally undesirable. But it equally seems that very young children, at least, have no alternative but to believe sans evidence; they have yet to acquire the dispositions to seek and evaluate evidence, or the abilities to recognize evidence or evaluate it. Thus we seem driven to the views that indoctrination is both unavoidable and yet bad and to be avoided. It is not obvious how this conundrum is best handled. One option is to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable indoctrination. Another is to distinguish between indoctrination (which is always bad) and non-indoctrinating belief inculcation, the latter being such that students are taught some things without reasons (the alphabet, the numbers, how to read and count, etc.), but in such a way that critical evaluation of all such material (and everything else) is prized and fostered (Siegel 1988: ch. 5). In the end the distinctions required by the two options might be extensionally equivalent (Siegel 2018).

Education, it is generally granted, fosters belief : in the typical propositional case, Smith teaches Jones that p , and if all goes well Jones learns it and comes to believe it. Education also has the task of fostering open-mindedness and an appreciation of our fallibility : All the theorists mentioned thus far, especially those in the critical thinking and intellectual virtue camps, urge their importance. But these two might seem at odds. If Jones (fully) believes that p , can she also be open-minded about it? Can she believe, for example, that earthquakes are caused by the movements of tectonic plates, while also believing that perhaps they aren’t? This cluster of italicized notions requires careful handling; it is helpfully discussed by Jonathan Adler (2002, 2003), who recommends regarding the latter two as meta-attitudes concerning one’s first-order beliefs rather than lessened degrees of belief or commitments to those beliefs.

Other traditional epistemological worries that impinge upon the epistemology of education concern (a) absolutism , pluralism and relativism with respect to knowledge, truth and justification as these relate to what is taught, (b) the character and status of group epistemologies and the prospects for understanding such epistemic goods “universalistically” in the face of “particularist” challenges, (c) the relation between “knowledge-how” and “knowledge-that” and their respective places in the curriculum, (d) concerns raised by multiculturalism and the inclusion/exclusion of marginalized perspectives in curriculum content and the classroom, and (e) further issues concerning teaching and learning. (There is more here than can be briefly summarized; for more references and systematic treatment cf. Bailin & Siegel 2003; Carter & Kotzee 2015; Cleverley & Phillips 1986; Robertson 2009; Siegel 2004, 2017; and Watson 2016.)

The educational research enterprise has been criticized for a century or more by politicians, policymakers, administrators, curriculum developers, teachers, philosophers of education, and by researchers themselves—but the criticisms have been contradictory. Charges of being “too ivory tower and theory-oriented” are found alongside “too focused on practice and too atheoretical”; but in light of the views of John Dewey and William James that the function of theory is to guide intelligent practice and problem-solving, it is becoming more fashionable to hold that the “theory v. practice” dichotomy is a false one. (For an illuminating account of the historical development of educational research and its tribulations, see Lagemann 2000.)

A similar trend can be discerned with respect to the long warfare between two rival groups of research methods—on one hand quantitative/statistical approaches to research, and on the other hand the qualitative/ethnographic family. (The choice of labels here is not entirely risk-free, for they have been contested; furthermore the first approach is quite often associated with “experimental” studies, and the latter with “case studies”, but this is an over-simplification.) For several decades these two rival methodological camps were treated by researchers and a few philosophers of education as being rival paradigms (Kuhn’s ideas, albeit in a very loose form, have been influential in the field of educational research), and the dispute between them was commonly referred to as “the paradigm wars”. In essence the issue at stake was epistemological: members of the quantitative/experimental camp believed that only their methods could lead to well-warranted knowledge claims, especially about the causal factors at play in educational phenomena, and on the whole they regarded qualitative methods as lacking in rigor; on the other hand the adherents of qualitative/ethnographic approaches held that the other camp was too “positivistic” and was operating with an inadequate view of causation in human affairs—one that ignored the role of motives and reasons, possession of relevant background knowledge, awareness of cultural norms, and the like. Few if any commentators in the “paradigm wars” suggested that there was anything prohibiting the use of both approaches in the one research program—provided that if both were used, they were used only sequentially or in parallel, for they were underwritten by different epistemologies and hence could not be blended together. But recently the trend has been towards rapprochement, towards the view that the two methodological families are, in fact, compatible and are not at all like paradigms in the Kuhnian sense(s) of the term; the melding of the two approaches is often called “mixed methods research”, and it is growing in popularity. (For more detailed discussion of these “wars” see Howe 2003 and Phillips 2009.)

The most lively contemporary debates about education research, however, were set in motion around the turn of the millennium when the US Federal Government moved in the direction of funding only rigorously scientific educational research—the kind that could establish causal factors which could then guide the development of practically effective policies. (It was held that such a causal knowledge base was available for medical decision-making.) The definition of “rigorously scientific”, however, was decided by politicians and not by the research community, and it was given in terms of the use of a specific research method—the net effect being that the only research projects to receive Federal funding were those that carried out randomized controlled experiments or field trials (RFTs). It has become common over the last decade to refer to the RFT as the “gold standard” methodology.

The National Research Council (NRC)—an arm of the US National Academies of Science—issued a report, influenced by postpostivistic philosophy of science (NRC 2002), that argued that this criterion was far too narrow. Numerous essays have appeared subsequently that point out how the “gold standard” account of scientific rigor distorts the history of science, how the complex nature of the relation between evidence and policy-making has been distorted and made to appear overly simple (for instance the role of value-judgments in linking empirical findings to policy directives is often overlooked), and qualitative researchers have insisted upon the scientific nature of their work. Nevertheless, and possibly because it tried to be balanced and supported the use of RFTs in some research contexts, the NRC report has been the subject of symposia in four journals, where it has been supported by a few and attacked from a variety of philosophical fronts: Its authors were positivists, they erroneously believed that educational inquiry could be value neutral and that it could ignore the ways in which the exercise of power constrains the research process, they misunderstood the nature of educational phenomena, and so on. This cluster of issues continues to be debated by educational researchers and by philosophers of education and of science, and often involves basic topics in philosophy of science: the constitution of warranting evidence, the nature of theories and of confirmation and explanation, etc. Nancy Cartwright’s important recent work on causation, evidence, and evidence-based policy adds layers of both philosophical sophistication and real world practical analysis to the central issues just discussed (Cartwright & Hardie 2012, Cartwright 2013; cf. Kvernbekk 2015 for an overview of the controversies regarding evidence in the education and philosophy of education literatures).

As stressed earlier, it is impossible to do justice to the whole field of philosophy of education in a single encyclopedia entry. Different countries around the world have their own intellectual traditions and their own ways of institutionalizing philosophy of education in the academic universe, and no discussion of any of this appears in the present essay. But even in the Anglo-American world there is such a diversity of approaches that any author attempting to produce a synoptic account will quickly run into the borders of his or her competence. Clearly this has happened in the present case.

Fortunately, in the last thirty years or so resources have become available that significantly alleviate these problems. There has been a flood of encyclopedia entries, both on the field as a whole and also on many specific topics not well-covered in the present essay (see, as a sample, Burbules 1994; Chambliss 1996b; Curren 1998, 2018; Phillips 1985, 2010; Siegel 2007; Smeyers 1994), two “Encyclopedias” (Chambliss 1996a; Phillips 2014), a “Guide” (Blake, Smeyers, Smith, & Standish 2003), a “Companion” (Curren 2003), two “Handbooks” (Siegel 2009; Bailey, Barrow, Carr, & McCarthy 2010), a comprehensive anthology (Curren 2007), a dictionary of key concepts in the field (Winch & Gingell 1999), and a good textbook or two (Carr 2003; Noddings 2015). In addition there are numerous volumes both of reprinted selections and of specially commissioned essays on specific topics, some of which were given short shrift here (for another sampling see A. Rorty 1998, Stone 1994), and several international journals, including Theory and Research in Education , Journal of Philosophy of Education , Educational Theory , Studies in Philosophy and Education , and Educational Philosophy and Theory . Thus there is more than enough material available to keep the interested reader busy.

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  • –––, (ed.), 2009, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education , New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195312881.001.0001
  • –––, 2016, “Israel Scheffler”, In J. A Palmer (ed.), Routledge Encyclopaedia of Educational Thinkers , London: Routledge, pp. 428–432.
  • –––, 2017, Education’s Epistemology: Rationality, Diversity, and Critical Thinking , New York: Oxford University Press.
  • –––, 2018, “The Epistemology of Education”, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online , doi:10.4324/0123456789-P074-1.
  • Skinner, B.F., 1948 [1962], Walden Two , New York: Macmillan.
  • –––, 1972, Beyond Freedom and Dignity , London: Jonathan Cape.
  • Smeyers, Paulus, 1994, “Philosophy of Education: Western European Perspectives”, in The International Encyclopedia of Education , (Volume 8), Torsten Husén and T. Neville Postlethwaite, (eds.), Oxford: Pergamon, second Edition, pp. 4456–61.
  • Smith, B. Othanel and Robert H. Ennis (eds.), 1961, Language and Concepts in Education , Chicago: Rand McNally.
  • Snook, I.A., 1972, Indoctrination and Education , London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Stone, Lynda (ed.), 1994, The Education Feminism Reader , New York: Routledge.
  • Strike, Kenneth A., 2010, Small Schools and Strong Communities: A Third Way of School Reform , New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Warnick, Bryan R., 2015, “Taming the Conflict over Educational Equality”, Journal of Applied Philosophy , 32(1): 50–66. doi:10.1111/japp.12066
  • Watson, Lani, 2016, “The Epistemology of Education”, Philosophy Compass , 11(3): 146–159. doi:10.1111/phc3.12316
  • Winch, Christopher and John Gingell, 1999, Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Education , London: Routledge.
How to cite this entry . Preview the PDF version of this entry at the Friends of the SEP Society . Look up topics and thinkers related to this entry at the Internet Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO). Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database.
  • PES (Philosophy of Education Society, North America)
  • PESA (Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia)
  • PESGB (Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain)
  • INPE (International Network of Philosophers of Education)

autonomy: personal | Dewey, John | feminist philosophy, interventions: ethics | feminist philosophy, interventions: liberal feminism | feminist philosophy, interventions: political philosophy | feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on autonomy | feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on disability | Foucault, Michel | Gadamer, Hans-Georg | liberalism | Locke, John | Lyotard, Jean François | -->ordinary language --> | Plato | postmodernism | Rawls, John | rights: of children | Rousseau, Jean Jacques


The authors and editors would like to thank Randall Curren for sending a number of constructive suggestions for the Summer 2018 update of this entry.

Copyright © 2018 by Harvey Siegel D.C. Phillips Eamonn Callan

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Top 100 Education Topics For Your Project

education topics

Writing on topics about education is an opportunity to explore this vast field and suggest something new and revolutionary. To write an excellent paper that resonates at the same frequency with success, one should carefully choose the education research topics to work on. Because education has lots of facets, one should are researchable topics in education in areas that precisely fit their interest.

If you’re still not sure about what areas you find exciting or where to begin, take some time to surf through the ocean of researchable topics on education that we have prepared for you!

Education Research Topics

Education research approaches education from a scientific stance and may involve evaluating teaching methods, classroom dynamics, and so on. Research paper topics education is, therefore, essential to choose an impactful topic. Getting the best research topics on education has been made considerably less demanding with this list of research topics in education below.

  • Is the development of critical thinking the major goal education?
  • How approaches to education evolved throughout history.
  • Exploring the major differences between theoretical education and practical education.
  • The phenomenon and roles of apprenticeship in developing educational systems.
  • The differences in concept of basic education across countries and reasons for these differences.
  • Should developing emotional intelligence among the goals of modern education?
  • An exploration of the concept and impact of educational discrimination on students.
  • How the education of mentally challenged people deviate from the norm.
  • Is a grading system still required in modern education?
  • How to make students motivated and interested in education.
  • Does education continue during the entire life?
  • The impact of dress code and school rules on student performance.
  • Discipline: its role and impact on the educational process of learning
  • An exploration of the fundamental facilities needed in private schools.
  • Fundamental approaches to alternative schooling.

Hot Topics in Education

  • How standardized tests are encouraging teach-to-the-test approach and the negligence of non-tested subjects.
  • Why teachers salaries should be increased across all levels.
  • The impact of reduced government education funding on teachers and students.
  • The boon and bane of the internet on education.
  • The impact of bullying and unhealthy psychological atmosphere in class on the quality of education.
  • The impact of religion on the education of students.
  • The positive and negative impact of modern technologies on education.
  • Should Darwin’s theory of evolution be taught as the origin of man in classrooms?
  • The impact of student poverty on their desire to learn.
  • Student loans: forgiveness or free education?
  • A study into why some students fail to complete their education.
  • Factors that negatively affect student mental health.
  • Why college rankings may not be the true measure of educational quality.
  • Should flipped learning be encouraged in high schools and colleges?
  • How to deal with school violence and minimize resultant harm.

Education Debate Topics

  • Is a college degree essential for getting a good job?
  • Do all students have to purchase a laptop?
  • Boarding school does more harm than good to students.
  • College should be free for everyone.
  • Must students have homework?
  • Homeschooling is better than conventional schooling.
  • Should schools teach religion?
  • Should schools teach abstinence-only sex education?
  • Should teachers as much pay as doctors?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?

Education Essay Topics

  • An exposition to the holistic roles of teachers.
  • Education: an overview of the fundamental modern approaches.
  • Education: how to strike a balance between theoretical education and practical education.
  • How to help students deal with information overload.
  • Comparison of modern education with classical school education.

Sex Education Topics

  • The positive and negative effects of sex education on students.
  • A study on what and how to teach in sex education.
  • How to teach students about the need for safe sex.
  • Gender identity: the need to take off the pressure of deciding.
  • A review of the current methods of teaching sex education.

Parent Education Topics

  • Should parents be involved in the educational process?
  • How to know if children are making progress in their learning.
  • Effective communication: evolution of communication as children grow to become adults
  • Kindergarten transition: an expository guide to help parents succeed.
  • How parental discipline and role modelling affects a child’s attitude to education.

Special Education Research Topics

If you have special interests in special education, then you’re in luck because the following research topics in education focus on special education and topics in early childhood special education!

  • Special education: understanding the process and how it works for young children.
  • Special education: an exploration of the available services for preschoolers with disabilities.
  • Best practices in preparing children with disabilities for kindergarten.
  • How parents of special children can boost self confidence in their kids.
  • How to adequately help students with learning disabilities.

Controversial Topics Special Education

The following special education topics focus on current controversies in special education.

  • Should there be free education for children with disabilities?
  • The need to train separate teachers for special education classes.
  • Would separating special education schools from mainstream schools build children’s confidence?
  • Bullying and students with autism.
  • An exploration of collaborative teaching approach for teachers of special children.

Thesis Topics in Education

  • The most effective bullying prevention strategies.
  • A comparative study of education systems in Finland and the USA
  • Commercialization of education: hazards and benefits.
  • Class management and its impact on student behaviors.
  • A look into how efficiently classroom management reduces student stress.

Patient Education Topics

  • Stress management.
  • Living with arthritis.
  • All you need to know about diabetes.
  • Managing hypertension.
  • Dealing with depression.

Health Education Topics

  • Obesity and mental stability.
  • Causes of increase in youth inactivity.
  • Major obstacles to smoking cessation.
  • Preventive medicine for senior citizens.
  • Strategies for improving community health.

Argumentative Essay Topics Education

  • Can an online education effectively replace a traditional one?
  • Is homeschooling better than traditional schooling?
  • Should grades exist?
  • Is higher education worth it?
  • Does class size affect teacher effectiveness?

Controversial Topics in Education

These controversial education topics always manage to raise some eyebrows when people mention them. Ready to explore them?

  • How expository should sex education be?
  • Controversies with the bell curve. How should students be graded?
  • Does the schooling system need to focus also on the development of student morals?
  • How best should the punishment for offenses be meted out?
  • Does handing out condoms to teenagers encourage sexual activity, or prevent pregnancy and disease?

Dissertation Topics in Education

Here are some higher education research topics for your dissertation!

  • Benefits of structured and unstructured play for children from the perspectives of parents.
  • Differences between how introverted and extroverted students learn.
  • Comparison of the quality and effectiveness of education in same-sex schools and versus mixed-sex schools.
  • An exploration of the impact of summaries, audiobooks, and online problem solvers on the classical educational system.
  • A study of the essential qualities every modern teacher must possess.

Action Research In Education Topics

  • Exploring the effect of virtual classes on education.
  • Do pupils in inclusive classes outperform those in non-inclusive classes? Why?
  • The role of a teacher’s authority on the educational process.
  • Effective mediation strategies of teachers during a cultural clash.
  • Should preschool education focus on knowledge or social skills?

So here we are! 100 topics in education, that will help you ace your next essay or research. Ready to write that fantastic paper? Let’s do it with our best academic writers !

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Research Topics & Ideas: Education

170+ Research Ideas To Fast-Track Your Project

Topic Kickstarter: Research topics in education

If you’re just starting out exploring education-related topics for your dissertation, thesis or research project, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll help kickstart your research topic ideation process by providing a hearty list of research topics and ideas , including examples from actual dissertations and theses..

PS – This is just the start…

We know it’s exciting to run through a list of research topics, but please keep in mind that this list is just a starting point . To develop a suitable education-related research topic, you’ll need to identify a clear and convincing research gap , and a viable plan of action to fill that gap.

If this sounds foreign to you, check out our free research topic webinar that explores how to find and refine a high-quality research topic, from scratch. Alternatively, if you’d like hands-on help, consider our 1-on-1 coaching service .

Overview: Education Research Topics

  • How to find a research topic (video)
  • List of 50+ education-related research topics/ideas
  • List of 120+ level-specific research topics 
  • Examples of actual dissertation topics in education
  • Tips to fast-track your topic ideation (video)
  • Free Webinar : Topic Ideation 101
  • Where to get extra help

Education-Related Research Topics & Ideas

Below you’ll find a list of education-related research topics and idea kickstarters. These are fairly broad and flexible to various contexts, so keep in mind that you will need to refine them a little. Nevertheless, they should inspire some ideas for your project.

  • The impact of school funding on student achievement
  • The effects of social and emotional learning on student well-being
  • The effects of parental involvement on student behaviour
  • The impact of teacher training on student learning
  • The impact of classroom design on student learning
  • The impact of poverty on education
  • The use of student data to inform instruction
  • The role of parental involvement in education
  • The effects of mindfulness practices in the classroom
  • The use of technology in the classroom
  • The role of critical thinking in education
  • The use of formative and summative assessments in the classroom
  • The use of differentiated instruction in the classroom
  • The use of gamification in education
  • The effects of teacher burnout on student learning
  • The impact of school leadership on student achievement
  • The effects of teacher diversity on student outcomes
  • The role of teacher collaboration in improving student outcomes
  • The implementation of blended and online learning
  • The effects of teacher accountability on student achievement
  • The effects of standardized testing on student learning
  • The effects of classroom management on student behaviour
  • The effects of school culture on student achievement
  • The use of student-centred learning in the classroom
  • The impact of teacher-student relationships on student outcomes
  • The achievement gap in minority and low-income students
  • The use of culturally responsive teaching in the classroom
  • The impact of teacher professional development on student learning
  • The use of project-based learning in the classroom
  • The effects of teacher expectations on student achievement
  • The use of adaptive learning technology in the classroom
  • The impact of teacher turnover on student learning
  • The effects of teacher recruitment and retention on student learning
  • The impact of early childhood education on later academic success
  • The impact of parental involvement on student engagement
  • The use of positive reinforcement in education
  • The impact of school climate on student engagement
  • The role of STEM education in preparing students for the workforce
  • The effects of school choice on student achievement
  • The use of technology in the form of online tutoring

Level-Specific Research Topics

Looking for research topics for a specific level of education? We’ve got you covered. Below you can find research topic ideas for primary, secondary and tertiary-level education contexts. Click the relevant level to view the respective list.

Research Topics: Pick An Education Level

Primary education.

  • Investigating the effects of peer tutoring on academic achievement in primary school
  • Exploring the benefits of mindfulness practices in primary school classrooms
  • Examining the effects of different teaching strategies on primary school students’ problem-solving skills
  • The use of storytelling as a teaching strategy in primary school literacy instruction
  • The role of cultural diversity in promoting tolerance and understanding in primary schools
  • The impact of character education programs on moral development in primary school students
  • Investigating the use of technology in enhancing primary school mathematics education
  • The impact of inclusive curriculum on promoting equity and diversity in primary schools
  • The impact of outdoor education programs on environmental awareness in primary school students
  • The influence of school climate on student motivation and engagement in primary schools
  • Investigating the effects of early literacy interventions on reading comprehension in primary school students
  • The impact of parental involvement in school decision-making processes on student achievement in primary schools
  • Exploring the benefits of inclusive education for students with special needs in primary schools
  • Investigating the effects of teacher-student feedback on academic motivation in primary schools
  • The role of technology in developing digital literacy skills in primary school students
  • Effective strategies for fostering a growth mindset in primary school students
  • Investigating the role of parental support in reducing academic stress in primary school children
  • The role of arts education in fostering creativity and self-expression in primary school students
  • Examining the effects of early childhood education programs on primary school readiness
  • Examining the effects of homework on primary school students’ academic performance
  • The role of formative assessment in improving learning outcomes in primary school classrooms
  • The impact of teacher-student relationships on academic outcomes in primary school
  • Investigating the effects of classroom environment on student behavior and learning outcomes in primary schools
  • Investigating the role of creativity and imagination in primary school curriculum
  • The impact of nutrition and healthy eating programs on academic performance in primary schools
  • The impact of social-emotional learning programs on primary school students’ well-being and academic performance
  • The role of parental involvement in academic achievement of primary school children
  • Examining the effects of classroom management strategies on student behavior in primary school
  • The role of school leadership in creating a positive school climate Exploring the benefits of bilingual education in primary schools
  • The effectiveness of project-based learning in developing critical thinking skills in primary school students
  • The role of inquiry-based learning in fostering curiosity and critical thinking in primary school students
  • The effects of class size on student engagement and achievement in primary schools
  • Investigating the effects of recess and physical activity breaks on attention and learning in primary school
  • Exploring the benefits of outdoor play in developing gross motor skills in primary school children
  • The effects of educational field trips on knowledge retention in primary school students
  • Examining the effects of inclusive classroom practices on students’ attitudes towards diversity in primary schools
  • The impact of parental involvement in homework on primary school students’ academic achievement
  • Investigating the effectiveness of different assessment methods in primary school classrooms
  • The influence of physical activity and exercise on cognitive development in primary school children
  • Exploring the benefits of cooperative learning in promoting social skills in primary school students

Secondary Education

  • Investigating the effects of school discipline policies on student behavior and academic success in secondary education
  • The role of social media in enhancing communication and collaboration among secondary school students
  • The impact of school leadership on teacher effectiveness and student outcomes in secondary schools
  • Investigating the effects of technology integration on teaching and learning in secondary education
  • Exploring the benefits of interdisciplinary instruction in promoting critical thinking skills in secondary schools
  • The impact of arts education on creativity and self-expression in secondary school students
  • The effectiveness of flipped classrooms in promoting student learning in secondary education
  • The role of career guidance programs in preparing secondary school students for future employment
  • Investigating the effects of student-centered learning approaches on student autonomy and academic success in secondary schools
  • The impact of socio-economic factors on educational attainment in secondary education
  • Investigating the impact of project-based learning on student engagement and academic achievement in secondary schools
  • Investigating the effects of multicultural education on cultural understanding and tolerance in secondary schools
  • The influence of standardized testing on teaching practices and student learning in secondary education
  • Investigating the effects of classroom management strategies on student behavior and academic engagement in secondary education
  • The influence of teacher professional development on instructional practices and student outcomes in secondary schools
  • The role of extracurricular activities in promoting holistic development and well-roundedness in secondary school students
  • Investigating the effects of blended learning models on student engagement and achievement in secondary education
  • The role of physical education in promoting physical health and well-being among secondary school students
  • Investigating the effects of gender on academic achievement and career aspirations in secondary education
  • Exploring the benefits of multicultural literature in promoting cultural awareness and empathy among secondary school students
  • The impact of school counseling services on student mental health and well-being in secondary schools
  • Exploring the benefits of vocational education and training in preparing secondary school students for the workforce
  • The role of digital literacy in preparing secondary school students for the digital age
  • The influence of parental involvement on academic success and well-being of secondary school students
  • The impact of social-emotional learning programs on secondary school students’ well-being and academic success
  • The role of character education in fostering ethical and responsible behavior in secondary school students
  • Examining the effects of digital citizenship education on responsible and ethical technology use among secondary school students
  • The impact of parental involvement in school decision-making processes on student outcomes in secondary schools
  • The role of educational technology in promoting personalized learning experiences in secondary schools
  • The impact of inclusive education on the social and academic outcomes of students with disabilities in secondary schools
  • The influence of parental support on academic motivation and achievement in secondary education
  • The role of school climate in promoting positive behavior and well-being among secondary school students
  • Examining the effects of peer mentoring programs on academic achievement and social-emotional development in secondary schools
  • Examining the effects of teacher-student relationships on student motivation and achievement in secondary schools
  • Exploring the benefits of service-learning programs in promoting civic engagement among secondary school students
  • The impact of educational policies on educational equity and access in secondary education
  • Examining the effects of homework on academic achievement and student well-being in secondary education
  • Investigating the effects of different assessment methods on student performance in secondary schools
  • Examining the effects of single-sex education on academic performance and gender stereotypes in secondary schools
  • The role of mentoring programs in supporting the transition from secondary to post-secondary education

Tertiary Education

  • The role of student support services in promoting academic success and well-being in higher education
  • The impact of internationalization initiatives on students’ intercultural competence and global perspectives in tertiary education
  • Investigating the effects of active learning classrooms and learning spaces on student engagement and learning outcomes in tertiary education
  • Exploring the benefits of service-learning experiences in fostering civic engagement and social responsibility in higher education
  • The influence of learning communities and collaborative learning environments on student academic and social integration in higher education
  • Exploring the benefits of undergraduate research experiences in fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry skills
  • Investigating the effects of academic advising and mentoring on student retention and degree completion in higher education
  • The role of student engagement and involvement in co-curricular activities on holistic student development in higher education
  • The impact of multicultural education on fostering cultural competence and diversity appreciation in higher education
  • The role of internships and work-integrated learning experiences in enhancing students’ employability and career outcomes
  • Examining the effects of assessment and feedback practices on student learning and academic achievement in tertiary education
  • The influence of faculty professional development on instructional practices and student outcomes in tertiary education
  • The influence of faculty-student relationships on student success and well-being in tertiary education
  • The impact of college transition programs on students’ academic and social adjustment to higher education
  • The impact of online learning platforms on student learning outcomes in higher education
  • The impact of financial aid and scholarships on access and persistence in higher education
  • The influence of student leadership and involvement in extracurricular activities on personal development and campus engagement
  • Exploring the benefits of competency-based education in developing job-specific skills in tertiary students
  • Examining the effects of flipped classroom models on student learning and retention in higher education
  • Exploring the benefits of online collaboration and virtual team projects in developing teamwork skills in tertiary students
  • Investigating the effects of diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus climate and student experiences in tertiary education
  • The influence of study abroad programs on intercultural competence and global perspectives of college students
  • Investigating the effects of peer mentoring and tutoring programs on student retention and academic performance in tertiary education
  • Investigating the effectiveness of active learning strategies in promoting student engagement and achievement in tertiary education
  • Investigating the effects of blended learning models and hybrid courses on student learning and satisfaction in higher education
  • The role of digital literacy and information literacy skills in supporting student success in the digital age
  • Investigating the effects of experiential learning opportunities on career readiness and employability of college students
  • The impact of e-portfolios on student reflection, self-assessment, and showcasing of learning in higher education
  • The role of technology in enhancing collaborative learning experiences in tertiary classrooms
  • The impact of research opportunities on undergraduate student engagement and pursuit of advanced degrees
  • Examining the effects of competency-based assessment on measuring student learning and achievement in tertiary education
  • Examining the effects of interdisciplinary programs and courses on critical thinking and problem-solving skills in college students
  • The role of inclusive education and accessibility in promoting equitable learning experiences for diverse student populations
  • The role of career counseling and guidance in supporting students’ career decision-making in tertiary education
  • The influence of faculty diversity and representation on student success and inclusive learning environments in higher education

Research topic idea mega list

Education-Related Dissertations & Theses

While the ideas we’ve presented above are a decent starting point for finding a research topic in education, they are fairly generic and non-specific. So, it helps to look at actual dissertations and theses in the education space to see how this all comes together in practice.

Below, we’ve included a selection of education-related research projects to help refine your thinking. These are actual dissertations and theses, written as part of Master’s and PhD-level programs, so they can provide some useful insight as to what a research topic looks like in practice.

  • From Rural to Urban: Education Conditions of Migrant Children in China (Wang, 2019)
  • Energy Renovation While Learning English: A Guidebook for Elementary ESL Teachers (Yang, 2019)
  • A Reanalyses of Intercorrelational Matrices of Visual and Verbal Learners’ Abilities, Cognitive Styles, and Learning Preferences (Fox, 2020)
  • A study of the elementary math program utilized by a mid-Missouri school district (Barabas, 2020)
  • Instructor formative assessment practices in virtual learning environments : a posthumanist sociomaterial perspective (Burcks, 2019)
  • Higher education students services: a qualitative study of two mid-size universities’ direct exchange programs (Kinde, 2020)
  • Exploring editorial leadership : a qualitative study of scholastic journalism advisers teaching leadership in Missouri secondary schools (Lewis, 2020)
  • Selling the virtual university: a multimodal discourse analysis of marketing for online learning (Ludwig, 2020)
  • Advocacy and accountability in school counselling: assessing the use of data as related to professional self-efficacy (Matthews, 2020)
  • The use of an application screening assessment as a predictor of teaching retention at a midwestern, K-12, public school district (Scarbrough, 2020)
  • Core values driving sustained elite performance cultures (Beiner, 2020)
  • Educative features of upper elementary Eureka math curriculum (Dwiggins, 2020)
  • How female principals nurture adult learning opportunities in successful high schools with challenging student demographics (Woodward, 2020)
  • The disproportionality of Black Males in Special Education: A Case Study Analysis of Educator Perceptions in a Southeastern Urban High School (McCrae, 2021)

As you can see, these research topics are a lot more focused than the generic topic ideas we presented earlier. So, in order for you to develop a high-quality research topic, you’ll need to get specific and laser-focused on a specific context with specific variables of interest.  In the video below, we explore some other important things you’ll need to consider when crafting your research topic.

Get 1-On-1 Help

If you’re still unsure about how to find a quality research topic within education, check out our Research Topic Kickstarter service, which is the perfect starting point for developing a unique, well-justified research topic.

Research Topic Kickstarter - Need Help Finding A Research Topic?

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Greetings and Regards I am a doctoral student in the field of philosophy of education. I am looking for a new topic for my thesis. Because of my work in the elementary school, I am looking for a topic that is from the field of elementary education and is related to the philosophy of education.

shantel orox

Masters student in the field of curriculum, any ideas of a research topic on low achiever students


In the field of curriculum any ideas of a research topic on deconalization in contextualization of digital teaching and learning through in higher education

Omada Victoria Enyojo

Amazing guidelines


I am a graduate with two masters. 1) Master of arts in religious studies and 2) Master in education in foundations of education. I intend to do a Ph.D. on my second master’s, however, I need to bring both masters together through my Ph.D. research. can I do something like, ” The contribution of Philosophy of education for a quality religion education in Kenya”? kindly, assist and be free to suggest a similar topic that will bring together the two masters. thanks in advance


Hi, I am an Early childhood trainer as well as a researcher, I need more support on this topic: The impact of early childhood education on later academic success.


I’m a student in upper level secondary school and I need your support in this research topics: “Impact of incorporating project -based learning in teaching English language skills in secondary schools”.

Fitsum Ayele

Although research activities and topics should stem from reflection on one’s practice, I found this site valuable as it effectively addressed many issues we have been experiencing as practitioners.

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Designing Assignments for Learning

The rapid shift to remote teaching and learning meant that many instructors reimagined their assessment practices. Whether adapting existing assignments or creatively designing new opportunities for their students to learn, instructors focused on helping students make meaning and demonstrate their learning outside of the traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. This resource distills the elements of assignment design that are important to carry forward as we continue to seek better ways of assessing learning and build on our innovative assignment designs.

On this page:

Rethinking traditional tests, quizzes, and exams.

  • Examples from the Columbia University Classroom
  • Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

Reflect On Your Assignment Design

Connect with the ctl.

  • Resources and References

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Cite this resource: Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (2021). Designing Assignments for Learning. Columbia University. Retrieved [today’s date] from

Traditional assessments tend to reveal whether students can recognize, recall, or replicate what was learned out of context, and tend to focus on students providing correct responses (Wiggins, 1990). In contrast, authentic assignments, which are course assessments, engage students in higher order thinking, as they grapple with real or simulated challenges that help them prepare for their professional lives, and draw on the course knowledge learned and the skills acquired to create justifiable answers, performances or products (Wiggins, 1990). An authentic assessment provides opportunities for students to practice, consult resources, learn from feedback, and refine their performances and products accordingly (Wiggins 1990, 1998, 2014). 

Authentic assignments ask students to “do” the subject with an audience in mind and apply their learning in a new situation. Examples of authentic assignments include asking students to: 

  • Write for a real audience (e.g., a memo, a policy brief, letter to the editor, a grant proposal, reports, building a website) and/or publication;
  • Solve problem sets that have real world application; 
  • Design projects that address a real world problem; 
  • Engage in a community-partnered research project;
  • Create an exhibit, performance, or conference presentation ;
  • Compile and reflect on their work through a portfolio/e-portfolio.

Noteworthy elements of authentic designs are that instructors scaffold the assignment, and play an active role in preparing students for the tasks assigned, while students are intentionally asked to reflect on the process and product of their work thus building their metacognitive skills (Herrington and Oliver, 2000; Ashford-Rowe, Herrington and Brown, 2013; Frey, Schmitt, and Allen, 2012). 

It’s worth noting here that authentic assessments can initially be time consuming to design, implement, and grade. They are critiqued for being challenging to use across course contexts and for grading reliability issues (Maclellan, 2004). Despite these challenges, authentic assessments are recognized as beneficial to student learning (Svinicki, 2004) as they are learner-centered (Weimer, 2013), promote academic integrity (McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, 2021; Sotiriadou et al., 2019; Schroeder, 2021) and motivate students to learn (Ambrose et al., 2010). The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning is always available to consult with faculty who are considering authentic assessment designs and to discuss challenges and affordances.   

Examples from the Columbia University Classroom 

Columbia instructors have experimented with alternative ways of assessing student learning from oral exams to technology-enhanced assignments. Below are a few examples of authentic assignments in various teaching contexts across Columbia University. 

  • E-portfolios: Statia Cook shares her experiences with an ePorfolio assignment in her co-taught Frontiers of Science course (a submission to the Voices of Hybrid and Online Teaching and Learning initiative); CUIMC use of ePortfolios ;
  • Case studies: Columbia instructors have engaged their students in authentic ways through case studies drawing on the Case Consortium at Columbia University. Read and watch a faculty spotlight to learn how Professor Mary Ann Price uses the case method to place pre-med students in real-life scenarios;
  • Simulations: students at CUIMC engage in simulations to develop their professional skills in The Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center in the Columbia School of Nursing; 
  • Experiential learning: instructors have drawn on New York City as a learning laboratory such as Barnard’s NYC as Lab webpage which highlights courses that engage students in NYC;
  • Design projects that address real world problems: Yevgeniy Yesilevskiy on the Engineering design projects completed using lab kits during remote learning. Watch Dr. Yesilevskiy talk about his teaching and read the Columbia News article . 
  • Writing assignments: Lia Marshall and her teaching associate Aparna Balasundaram reflect on their “non-disposable or renewable assignments” to prepare social work students for their professional lives as they write for a real audience; and Hannah Weaver spoke about a sandbox assignment used in her Core Literature Humanities course at the 2021 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium . Watch Dr. Weaver share her experiences.  

​Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

While designing an effective authentic assignment may seem like a daunting task, the following tips can be used as a starting point. See the Resources section for frameworks and tools that may be useful in this effort.  

Align the assignment with your course learning objectives 

Identify the kind of thinking that is important in your course, the knowledge students will apply, and the skills they will practice using through the assignment. What kind of thinking will students be asked to do for the assignment? What will students learn by completing this assignment? How will the assignment help students achieve the desired course learning outcomes? For more information on course learning objectives, see the CTL’s Course Design Essentials self-paced course and watch the video on Articulating Learning Objectives .  

Identify an authentic meaning-making task

For meaning-making to occur, students need to understand the relevance of the assignment to the course and beyond (Ambrose et al., 2010). To Bean (2011) a “meaning-making” or “meaning-constructing” task has two dimensions: 1) it presents students with an authentic disciplinary problem or asks students to formulate their own problems, both of which engage them in active critical thinking, and 2) the problem is placed in “a context that gives students a role or purpose, a targeted audience, and a genre.” (Bean, 2011: 97-98). 

An authentic task gives students a realistic challenge to grapple with, a role to take on that allows them to “rehearse for the complex ambiguities” of life, provides resources and supports to draw on, and requires students to justify their work and the process they used to inform their solution (Wiggins, 1990). Note that if students find an assignment interesting or relevant, they will see value in completing it. 

Consider the kind of activities in the real world that use the knowledge and skills that are the focus of your course. How is this knowledge and these skills applied to answer real-world questions to solve real-world problems? (Herrington et al., 2010: 22). What do professionals or academics in your discipline do on a regular basis? What does it mean to think like a biologist, statistician, historian, social scientist? How might your assignment ask students to draw on current events, issues, or problems that relate to the course and are of interest to them? How might your assignment tap into student motivation and engage them in the kinds of thinking they can apply to better understand the world around them? (Ambrose et al., 2010). 

Determine the evaluation criteria and create a rubric

To ensure equitable and consistent grading of assignments across students, make transparent the criteria you will use to evaluate student work. The criteria should focus on the knowledge and skills that are central to the assignment. Build on the criteria identified, create a rubric that makes explicit the expectations of deliverables and share this rubric with your students so they can use it as they work on the assignment. For more information on rubrics, see the CTL’s resource Incorporating Rubrics into Your Grading and Feedback Practices , and explore the Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE Rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). 

Build in metacognition

Ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the assignment. Help students uncover personal relevance of the assignment, find intrinsic value in their work, and deepen their motivation by asking them to reflect on their process and their assignment deliverable. Sample prompts might include: what did you learn from this assignment? How might you draw on the knowledge and skills you used on this assignment in the future? See Ambrose et al., 2010 for more strategies that support motivation and the CTL’s resource on Metacognition ). 

Provide students with opportunities to practice

Design your assignment to be a learning experience and prepare students for success on the assignment. If students can reasonably expect to be successful on an assignment when they put in the required effort ,with the support and guidance of the instructor, they are more likely to engage in the behaviors necessary for learning (Ambrose et al., 2010). Ensure student success by actively teaching the knowledge and skills of the course (e.g., how to problem solve, how to write for a particular audience), modeling the desired thinking, and creating learning activities that build up to a graded assignment. Provide opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills they will need for the assignment, whether through low-stakes in-class activities or homework activities that include opportunities to receive and incorporate formative feedback. For more information on providing feedback, see the CTL resource Feedback for Learning . 

Communicate about the assignment 

Share the purpose, task, audience, expectations, and criteria for the assignment. Students may have expectations about assessments and how they will be graded that is informed by their prior experiences completing high-stakes assessments, so be transparent. Tell your students why you are asking them to do this assignment, what skills they will be using, how it aligns with the course learning outcomes, and why it is relevant to their learning and their professional lives (i.e., how practitioners / professionals use the knowledge and skills in your course in real world contexts and for what purposes). Finally, verify that students understand what they need to do to complete the assignment. This can be done by asking students to respond to poll questions about different parts of the assignment, a “scavenger hunt” of the assignment instructions–giving students questions to answer about the assignment and having them work in small groups to answer the questions, or by having students share back what they think is expected of them.

Plan to iterate and to keep the focus on learning 

Draw on multiple sources of data to help make decisions about what changes are needed to the assignment, the assignment instructions, and/or rubric to ensure that it contributes to student learning. Explore assignment performance data. As Deandra Little reminds us: “a really good assignment, which is a really good assessment, also teaches you something or tells the instructor something. As much as it tells you what students are learning, it’s also telling you what they aren’t learning.” ( Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode 337 ). Assignment bottlenecks–where students get stuck or struggle–can be good indicators that students need further support or opportunities to practice prior to completing an assignment. This awareness can inform teaching decisions. 

Triangulate the performance data by collecting student feedback, and noting your own reflections about what worked well and what did not. Revise the assignment instructions, rubric, and teaching practices accordingly. Consider how you might better align your assignment with your course objectives and/or provide more opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills that they will rely on for the assignment. Additionally, keep in mind societal, disciplinary, and technological changes as you tweak your assignments for future use. 

Now is a great time to reflect on your practices and experiences with assignment design and think critically about your approach. Take a closer look at an existing assignment. Questions to consider include: What is this assignment meant to do? What purpose does it serve? Why do you ask students to do this assignment? How are they prepared to complete the assignment? Does the assignment assess the kind of learning that you really want? What would help students learn from this assignment? 

Using the tips in the previous section: How can the assignment be tweaked to be more authentic and meaningful to students? 

As you plan forward for post-pandemic teaching and reflect on your practices and reimagine your course design, you may find the following CTL resources helpful: Reflecting On Your Experiences with Remote Teaching , Transition to In-Person Teaching , and Course Design Support .

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is here to help!

For assistance with assignment design, rubric design, or any other teaching and learning need, please request a consultation by emailing [email protected]

Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework for assignments. The TILT Examples and Resources page ( ) includes example assignments from across disciplines, as well as a transparent assignment template and a checklist for designing transparent assignments . Each emphasizes the importance of articulating to students the purpose of the assignment or activity, the what and how of the task, and specifying the criteria that will be used to assess students. 

Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) offers VALUE ADD (Assignment Design and Diagnostic) tools ( ) to help with the creation of clear and effective assignments that align with the desired learning outcomes and associated VALUE rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). VALUE ADD encourages instructors to explicitly state assignment information such as the purpose of the assignment, what skills students will be using, how it aligns with course learning outcomes, the assignment type, the audience and context for the assignment, clear evaluation criteria, desired formatting, and expectations for completion whether individual or in a group.

Villarroel et al. (2017) propose a blueprint for building authentic assessments which includes four steps: 1) consider the workplace context, 2) design the authentic assessment; 3) learn and apply standards for judgement; and 4) give feedback. 


Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., & DiPietro, M. (2010). Chapter 3: What Factors Motivate Students to Learn? In How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching . Jossey-Bass. 

Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., and Brown, C. (2013). Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(2), 205-222, .  

Bean, J.C. (2011). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom . Second Edition. Jossey-Bass. 

Frey, B. B, Schmitt, V. L., and Allen, J. P. (2012). Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. 17(2). DOI:  

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., and Oliver, R. (2010). A Guide to Authentic e-Learning . Routledge. 

Herrington, J. and Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23-48. 

Litchfield, B. C. and Dempsey, J. V. (2015). Authentic Assessment of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 142 (Summer 2015), 65-80. 

Maclellan, E. (2004). How convincing is alternative assessment for use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 29(3), June 2004. DOI: 10.1080/0260293042000188267

McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, J. (2021). Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t Need that Lockdown Browser! Faculty Focus. June 2, 2021. 

Mueller, J. (2005). The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 1(1). July 2005. Mueller’s Authentic Assessment Toolbox is available online. 

Schroeder, R. (2021). Vaccinate Against Cheating With Authentic Assessment . Inside Higher Ed. (February 26, 2021).  

Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A., and Guest, R. (2019). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skills development and employability. Studies in Higher Education. 45(111), 2132-2148.    

Stachowiak, B. (Host). (November 25, 2020). Authentic Assignments with Deandra Little. (Episode 337). In Teaching in Higher Ed .  

Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Authentic Assessment: Testing in Reality. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 100 (Winter 2004): 23-29. 

Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S, Bruna, D., Bruna, C., and Herrera-Seda, C. (2017). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 43(5), 840-854.    

Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice . Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Wiggins, G. (2014). Authenticity in assessment, (re-)defined and explained. Retrieved from

Wiggins, G. (1998). Teaching to the (Authentic) Test. Educational Leadership . April 1989. 41-47. 

Wiggins, Grant (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment . Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation , 2(2). 

Wondering how AI tools might play a role in your course assignments?

See the CTL’s resource “Considerations for AI Tools in the Classroom.”

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Easily distribute, analyze, and grade student work with Assignments for your LMS

Assignments is an application for your learning management system (LMS). It helps educators save time grading and guides students to turn in their best work with originality reports — all through the collaborative power of Google Workspace for Education.

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Bring your favorite tools together within your LMS

Make Google Docs and Google Drive compatible with your LMS

Simplify assignment management with user-friendly Google Workspace productivity tools

Built with the latest Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards for robust security and easy installation in your LMS

Save time distributing and grading classwork

Distribute personalized copies of Google Drive templates and worksheets to students

Grade consistently and transparently with rubrics integrated into student work

Add rich feedback faster using the customizable comment bank

Examine student work to ensure authenticity

Compare student work against hundreds of billions of web pages and over 40 million books with originality reports

Make student-to-student comparisons on your domain-owned repository of past submissions when you sign up for the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Google Workspace for Education Plus

Allow students to scan their own work for recommended citations up to three times

Trust in high security standards

Protect student privacy — data is owned and managed solely by you and your students

Provide an ad-free experience for all your users

Compatible with LTI version 1.1 or higher and meets rigorous compliance standards

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“Assignments enable faculty to save time on the mundane parts of grading and...spend more time on providing more personalized and relevant feedback to students.” Benjamin Hommerding , Technology Innovationist, St. Norbert College

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Assignment on Inclusive Education

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Inclusive Education ,How we can solve with different theories

Related Papers

Imran Ahmad Sajid

assignment on education

Dr Andrew Azzopardi


International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (IJHSS)

This study focused on academic teaching staff effectiveness in mainstreaming disability interventions for students with special needs in public universities in Kenya; a case of the University of Nairobi. University of Nairobi (UoN), like most public universities, has a disability mainstreaming policy, as a requirement and a performance indicator of the Government of Kenya, in accordance with Kenya's Persons with Disability Act (2003) and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007), where all Government institutions are required to mainstream disability in their functions and operations. Thus, the university, UoN admits students with varying special needs. This study aimed at investigating how the academic teaching staff has been sensitized and in-serviced in knowledge, skills, and attitudes that can enable them to interact effectively with students living with disabilities in the teaching-learning process. The question is, how many of the professionally trained teaching staff is acquainted with skills, and knowledge of handling and interacting with students living with different types of disability in public universities? The objectives of the study focused on examining the awareness level of academic staff on disability policy interventions, teaching strategies applied by academic teaching staff, utilization of resources and assessment procedures in lessons where there were students with disabilities. The findings of this study were meant to inform university disability policy and practice, identify gaps in the implementation of disability interventions for students with disability and identify further opportunities and practice in-servicing of academic teaching staff in knowledge, skills, and attitudes in handling students living with different disabilities. A case study design was employed, and the study targeted undergraduate and postgraduate students with disabilities. The questionnaire, interview schedule, focus group discussions, observation, and document analysis guide were key tools for data collection. A sample size of 250 academic staff members and 800 students was drawn from the target population of 68,000 students, 2,500 academic staff, and 5,400 administrative and technical staff respectively. Stratified random sampling was employed where students were divided into two strata; those with a disability and those without a disability. All those with a disability were purposively selected for the study and those without a disability a 50% rule was applied.

Damene M A T S A N A Malado

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was investigating the practices and challenges of inclusive education in four selected primary schools of Mareka Woreda, Dawro Zone, SNNPR/ Ethiopia. To this effect the study used phenmological qualitative research design. The number of participants was thirty five. From the total number of participants four general education teachers, two special education teachers, four school principals, four cluster supervisors, three woreda educational experts, eight children with special educational needs and four peers of children with special educational needs were selected by purposive sampling technique. Two elders and four parents of children with special educational needs were selected by snowball sampling technique based on their contribution in inclusive education practices by which the first participant indicated by school principals and community leaders. Also, four sample schools were selected by purposive sampling technique based on their current experiences with inclusive education practices. As tools of data collection the study used focus group discussion, participant observation, semi- structured personal interview and document analysis. The data were analyzed by verbatim and narrative description. The findings indicated that in all participant primary schools inclusive education service practiced. It is evident that socio-cultural factors; economic factors; school related factors and the effects of policy environments in general affected the implementation of inclusive education but school principals, teachers and students had positive attitudes on the practices of inclusive education. Based on the findings it was concluded that in the participant primary schools there is need to improve the skills of general classroom teachers through CPD program to handle and support CWSENs, provision of scholastic materials, change of parental attitude and arising the awareness of stakeholders in the existing policies, strategies, laws and conventions are suggested as essentials to practice inclusive education. Key words: Inclusive education, Disability, Attitude, Special Education, and policy

Meloney Trimmingham

Anyi Milena Alvarez Cogollo

claudia saldana

The aim of this qualitative study is to explore how art, as a semiotic tool, transforms children with disabilities. To achieve this purpose, one must listen to the voices of teachers and childcare workers in the field of special education. The study’s preliminary findings found three main categories through data analysis: 1) Teachers’ perceptions of art; 2) How children with disabilities respond to art; and 3) Teaching practices through art. These findings show that children with disabilities can establish a connection with teachers through music. With music practices, teachers become aware of what the child wants to express, and of what the child is learning and developing. The study further shows the importance to understand how children respond to art through the diverse disciplines and the development of the practice routines. In addition, the study identifies the necessity to continue researching the area of art, semiotics, and children with disabilities


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Inclusive Education Strategies: A Textbook

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Education students create culturally diverse lesson plans

Adams State University Title V 25-year celebration

Article by Julie Waechter, special assignment for Adams State

As part of Adams State University’s 2023 celebration of 25 years as a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), teacher education students developed lesson plans to “decolonize the curriculum.” The project was a collaboration between Adams State’s School of Education and Title V, which administers the HSI grants.

“The intent is to address and challenge colonial perspectives, biases, and power structures in education,” according to Andréa Benton-Maestas, Title V PPHOA Activities Director.

Anna Torello, Project Director of Title V’s Cornerstone to Capstone program, detailed the approach, “Decolonization calls for the respect of others’ histories, lived experiences, voices, cultures, and perspectives. It also requires students to critically think about the issues of power, including the ways that hierarchical assumptions and inequalities rooted in gender, class, race, ethnicity, and other variables influence classroom dynamics.”

Dr. Justine Schwarz, Emerson Mason

Project participants included nine undergraduates in Reading & Writing Connection, taught by Dr. Justine Schwarz, assistant professor of teacher education, as well as eight graduate students in Multicultural Perspectives, taught by Dr. Kimba Real. Rael, an Adams State alumna and the 2016 San Luis Valley Educator of the Year, is the Pre-K–12 Principal in Centennial School District R1 in San Luis.

Students chose works by Latinx authors, then built lesson plans for grades K-12 for their student teaching and reflected on how the process impacted their learning. Books used in the project included Dreamers by Yuvi Morales, Areli is a Dreamer by Areli Morales, A Gift from Abuela by Ceclia Ruiz, Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte, River of Mariposas by Mirelle Ortega, The Princess and the Warrior by Duncan Tonatiuh, and The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea.

“Embracing diversity is more than just creating a classroom library of culturally diverse books. This project turned literature into a window to explore another culture,” Schwarz noted.

Describing the lesson plan she created, undergraduate Asia Caldon said, “This lesson plan supports an inclusive environment for discussion, cross-cultural understanding, and empathy among students. The extension assignment allows students to incorporate their own cultural backgrounds and experiences into their creative work.”

Schwarz added, “Culturally responsive classrooms not only improve academic outcomes, but also foster greater interest in learning, higher motivation, and increased confidence. Learning about one’s cultural background is linked to positive racial and ethnic identities, enriching the educational experience for all.”

The School of Education plans to display the lesson plans for other students who may potentially incorporate them into their curriculum/lesson planning. Plans also include a group podcast/reflection on the project by participating students. The work will be showcased for HSI Week in September, Benton-Maestas added.

Adams State University

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9 Common Types of Assignment in Education

Education assignments take different formats based on the unit you are studying and the goals a tutor wants to achieve. The concept being tested will also dfetermine the type of assignment.

assignment on education

Here are the 9 most common types of assignments you will find in a class setting.

If you as what is assignment in education, the most obvious answer you will get is an essay. Essays come with topics and prompts that direct the student on the issues to study. A student may also be required to craft a topic around a subject.

An essay-assignment requires you to adhere to the instructions provided. You must also follow a set academic structure and format your paper by adhering to particular rules. A sample, example, or template will help you to produce a better essay.

  • Case studies

A case study involves examining a particular situation from an academic lens. You are mainly required to use the knowledge acquired while studying a specific topic. For instance, you may study the civil rights movement and are asked to study Rosa Park’s influence. The cases help you to understand a concept better.

  • Creativity assignments

A creativity exercise is one of the types of assignment in education that examine the ability of the student to practice what he has learned in class. Once you learn to write a short story or film script, the assignment may require you to write one. The results will help your tutor to evaluate your level of understanding.

The education system is supposed to teach kids the power of collaboration. Some of the assignments will involve group work. The students are supposed to work on an essay or collect data together. It ensures that students can learn to work as a team, a skill they will need in workplaces and when completing personal projects.

Group work requires a team leader. In this social distance era, the team has to discover ways to collaborate. They can use online tools for meetings and document editing. This is the ultimate test for collaboration.

  • Field assignments

Field assignments involve collecting data, interviews, and observations. It may also involve a visit to historical sites, watching games, and observing phenomena like the launch of a rocket. It is a type of education assignment that brings the student face to face with an actual situation. It takes the students away from the library, giving them a different learning experience.

The tests came with questions about past topics. The tutor in such a case wants to assess how well you understood past topics. It will help him to improve your performance in future topics. It will also help you to determine how well you understood the topic and whether you need further clarification.

  • Future-tests

The questions or tests focus on topics that you are yet to cover. It is a model of assignment on education that will prepare the student for what is to come. Assignments on future tests require you to read ahead. You will be better prepared for the next lesson. It also tests your diligence in the search for new materials that can be used to make the topics easier to understand.

  • Practical tests

The tests involve practical work. You build a robot or enact a play. It is also an application type of assignment. The tutor wants you to innovate and test the skills or concepts you have learned.

Research assignments want you to discover a mystery behind a subject or topic. You have to collect data, review literature, and develop a hypothesis. It is the purest form of academic writing.

The different kinds of writing assignments combine with practical work to assess your ability to demonstrate your knowledge. You can get help on all these assignments by choosing to pay someone to do my homework online. They also require a strategy that will help you to achieve the set objectives.

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The AI Classroom Hype Is All Wrong, Some Educators Say

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Many educators who have used generative artificial intelligence tools in their work have called the emerging technology a “game changer.”

Some say it’s been especially helpful in reducing the time it takes to do planning or administrative work , such as creating schedules, crafting lesson plans, and writing letters of recommendation for students. Teachers say they work an average of 57 hours a week , but less than half of that time is spent teaching.

“I think the use of AI has streamlined many aspects of teaching and has saved much prep time for teachers,” said a high school fine arts teacher in California in an open-ended response to an EdWeek Research Center survey conducted in March and April.

But amid all the encouragement to try the technology, there are plenty of educators who haven’t tried AI tools and don’t plan to start . These educators are more skeptical of the technology and don’t believe it should be used in K-12.

In open-ended responses to the EdWeek Research Center survey, educators shared their reasoning:

It could degrade critical thinking skills

   ai is not as wonderful as you all make it out to be. how do we expect our next generation to learn to think if all we teach them is how to use ai.

— District-level administrator, Ohio

   AI is driving a wedge between critical thinking and imagination.

— High school foreign language teacher, New Jersey

   AI are machines. They have been trained using stolen data. Students should be learning, questioning, problem-solving, and doing their own work. Teachers should as well. I do not believe AI can ethically be used.

— High school English teacher, Louisiana

   Students should not use AI until they have demonstrated some level of mastery on a subject. Students should not even use a calculator until they can do arithmetic calculations without tools. Problem solving starts in the mind, not on a keypad.

— High school math teacher, Texas

   AI and use of computers in the classroom has diminished everyone's ability to think, learn and reason. It's too easy to punch in a subject and get an immediate answer, which may or may not be correct. How many times have we heard "the computer model says this or that," so therefore that's the end of the discussion. Now I hear AI says this or that. Machines do not and can never have the capabilities of the human mind and the human experience. They can never have the ability to reason. They can never have the ability to rely on "gut instinct," which is correct most of the time. They can never have the ability to say "something just isn't right here." All they can do is look at the data that is fed into them and go from there. And that data is totally dependent on the character of the human or humans feeding it into them.

— District-level administrator, Texas

   I feel AI is used less as a resource and more as a crutch. I was shaken when I found out how many yearbook groups have used AI to write their entire yearbook and make the theme and set the ladder and put it together. We don't like students using AI because it's considered "plagiarism" but yet some teachers use it for everything. I don't mind AI as a brainstorming tool but when you give AI the ability to do all your work is when I have issues with it.

— Middle school teacher, Missouri

The human touch is better

   i have never used ai for anything in my job. i would think we still have to follow through with the actual teaching. ai can't do what i do.

— High school math teacher, Michigan

   While AI is the future, it's more important that teachers know their subject matter, and AI should only be used as a supplement to the teacher's scope of knowledge. To use it beyond that is ineffective as the presentation of the knowledge will be presented with less passion and clarity.

— Middle school physical education teacher, Virginia

   While I believe AI is here to stay, I do not believe that it should be used to simply replace the human aspect of the learning experience. If AI is used by instructors or teachers heavily, then the computer is essentially doing the teachers' jobs for them and the teacher is simply the middle person who repeats what the computer tells them.

— High school career-technical education teacher, Missouri

   AI concerns me in that educators need to know their "stuff" before blindly having AI create lessons, etc., to administer in class. I have tried AI and caught multiple errors in its creation. If I had used what AI created, I would have considered myself unethical in teaching students through that lesson because it contained many errors.

— District-level administrator, Alabama

   Utilizing AI to develop assessments is impersonal. If the general scientific community can acknowledge that generative AI utilizes biased information to create material, why would we rely on these tools to create unbiased assessments?

— High school social studies teacher, Montana

The K-12 system isn’t prepared

   i think that ai is a very dangerous phenomenon for learning and education. it seems like it is thrust upon us and unleashed without adequate preparation to handle the consequences for learning and teaching. i think this should be the number one topic for governments and academic institutions to address immediately..

— High school foreign language teacher, Pennsylvania

   I fear AI is yet another trend that education professionals are running headlong into without sufficient forethought and planning.

— Elementary fine arts teacher, Virginia

   I have never used AI and never will. I think it gives fuel to a fire that we won't be able to control.

— Elementary teacher, North Carolina

Concerns about how it affects their jobs

   last year, i spent a lot of time talking with english teaching colleagues about how to tackle the new problem of ai generated student work. we researched apps to check for plagiarism and ai produced writing and didn't find a good source to help us. this new issue is requiring teachers to rethink the types of assignments we give and the ways we ask students to produce writing in class so we can ensure they are producing original works. it's frustrating and time consuming..

— High school English teacher, Minnesota

   Artificial Intelligence will render my job unnecessary within five years. My students use Grammarly and ChatGPT to write their essays, and they even use it to email their teachers. Commercials show corporations praising their staff for using it to email each other. If humans no longer need to learn how to communicate well in writing—if AI does it for us—then what I have been teaching students for decades is no longer needed. What's more, my students already realize this and are showing it in their attitudes and efforts in writing class.

— Middle school English teacher, Massachusetts

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Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.

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  • Teaching centers

The end or the beginning? Reframing the future of writing assignments in the age of AI

A person typing on a laptop with floating digital interfaces, including text, charts, and a small AI robot icon, symbolizing AI integration in technology.

With the rise of ChatGPT, much concern has emerged about the viability and future of writing assignments. In this presentation, Kirk Wilkins presents a framework for reframing the discussion about writing in the age of AI. Grounded in best practices and research, this framework will inspire instructors to renew their teaching practice.

Kirk Wilkins

Kirk Wilkins

Kirk joined Missouri Online in June of 2023 after spending the last several years working in higher education. A former English teacher, he is committed to offering students a meaningful, engaging, and rich learning experience. His interests include authentic or alternative assessments, process-centered teaching, universal design for learning, effective feedback, and the intersections of learning with creativity, user experience design, multimedia, and artificial intelligence.

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IE 11 Not Supported

Microsoft deal makes khan academy's ai assistant free for teachers, microsoft is giving k-12 teachers in the u.s. free access to khan academy’s ai assistant, which can help students practice lessons and help teachers devise lesson plans, quizzes and assignment instructions..

A person blurred in the background holding out their hand palm up in focus in the foreground. Hovering above their palm are the words "Ai" and "ChatGPT" as well as symbols to indicate digital connectivity.

‘It Would Have Been Easier To Look Away’: A Journalist’s Investigation Into Corruption in Maduro’s Venezuela

Off-camera, director Juan Ravell asks Venezuelan journalist Roberto Deniz, “Has this investigation been worth it?”

Deniz considers the question and then answers, “Professionally, I always say it’s been worth it.”

“And personally?” Ravell asks.

“That answer is more complicated,” Deniz says, adding, “… It would have been easier to look away.”

That conversation is part of FRONTLINE’s new documentary, A Dangerous Assignment: Uncovering Corruption in Maduro’s Venezuela , made in collaboration with the independent Venezuelan news site . The 90-minute documentary, which premieres on streaming platforms and PBS stations May 14 ( check local listings ), tells the story of a corruption scandal spanning from Venezuela to Europe to the U.S. and what has happened to the journalists who helped uncover the story, including Deniz.

As Deniz recalls in the excerpt above, “I didn’t know who I was investigating. I didn’t understand all the connections I would find or the sheer size of the operation.”

In the documentary, Deniz details how an investigation into complaints of the low quality of food distributed by a Venezuelan government program uncovered a connection to Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman who was a close associate of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the biggest contractor for the food program.

The food program, known as Local Committees for Supply and Production (Comité Locales de Abastecimiento y Producción or CLAP), had been implemented by President Maduro in 2016 when the Venezuelan economy was in freefall and the country was consumed by hunger. As the documentary reveals, Deniz and his colleagues uncovered how the CLAP program was enriching Saab.

In the aftermath of’s reporting in early 2017, Saab sued Deniz for criminal defamation and denied the facts of their reporting. Facing threats, harassment and possible jail time, Deniz and his editors made the hard decision to leave Venezuela.

Nonetheless, Deniz continued his reporting from exile. As he began to untangle the web of Saab’s business network, Deniz would come to find that he was not the only one investigating the Colombian.

Across the world, other journalists and governments were also looking into Alex Saab.

The journalists’ work helped expose a larger corruption scandal that reached into the highest ranks of Venezuelan government and spanned continents drawing the attention of law enforcement.

Pursuing this story made Deniz and his colleagues targets of the Maduro government. In addition to being sued for criminal defamation by Saab, Deniz has a warrant out for his arrest as a result of his reporting, and his family’s home was raided.

As Deniz notes in the excerpt, “Alex Saab’s story shows us how a regime maintains power.”

A Dangerous Assignment is a story about corruption in Venezuela, and what happens when journalists investigate the powerful.

For the full story, watch A Dangerous Assignment: Uncovering Corruption in Maduro’s Venezuela . The documentary will be available to watch at and in the PBS App starting May 14, 2024, at 7/6c. It will premiere on PBS stations ( check local listings ) and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel at 10/9c and will also be available on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel . The documentary is an Assignment Film production for GBH/FRONTLINE in association with The director is Juan Ravell. The producer is Jeff Arak. The reporter is Roberto Deniz. The executive producer for is Ewald Scharfenberg. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

Max Maldonado

Max Maldonado , Tow Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Newmark Journalism School Fellowships , FRONTLINE

More stories.


Where Does School Segregation Stand, 70 Years After Brown v. Board of Education?


‘A Dangerous Assignment’ Director and Reporter Discuss the Risks in Investigating the Powerful in Maduro’s Venezuela


FRONTLINE's Reporting on Journalism Under Threat

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Risks of Handcuffing Someone Facedown Long Known; People Die When Police Training Fails To Keep Up

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