Welcome to week five focused on theories and theorists. And for lecture one, we shall be looking into the idea of educational philosophy. In order to make this class more interesting, I've invited Professor John MacBeath to be a discussant. And here we have Professor John MacBeath, from the University of Cambridge, to discuss with us on different issues and aspects of this topic. Thank you. We're are talking about educational philosophy, aren't we? Yes. Yes, that sounds very, very grand. We'll see in a bit. Tell me just in a nutshell what is it? What is educational philosophy? Educational philosophy is the current theory that is going to underpin the kind of education that we are going to provide to our students. It can be along perennialism or essentialism or progressivism. It all depends on the government of a country to decide on this, or maybe education agencies to decide on these theories they may find suitable for the students. I think we're going to come back, aren't we, to just discuss those because they sound just a little bit daunting at first and so on. But we'll come to that, I think, but let's move on from there. Okay. One of the things you've said is there are major debates in favor of why they are being mentioned theoretic and there are all sorts of debates around that. But although this disagreement is there something beyond that in studying philosophy? There may be, this may be in disagreement with one another on principles but the fundamentally they serve a common purpose, that is to create a better culture and the humanity. So philosophy is to create better culture and humanity. Yes. And I think we maybe we have to convince people of that because it's not necessarily something that everybody would say. So our job here is to convince people that they will be better because of... The Philosophy. Because of philosophy. So philosophy is more than just a dusty old subject, isn't it? Seems to be more than that. I think you talked about it, the Art of Living, which is somehow very practical. Yes. Philosophy is actually is important because it gives us, guides us in raising children in a certain manner. And you can actually see in what, what Motaigne has said about that and how it is, is an art because it helps people raise children in a certain way. So you're making quite big claims here for the importance of Philosophy. Some being very practical, some known for the upbringing of children but also I think your argument is to see that is, that it's very important in terms of thinking about a curriculum. Yes. It is important in terms of curriculum because it, basically it underscores aims and purpose of education and it also provides framework to think about how do we develop our subjects along certain lines and they decide choice of subjects as what is good for the country, for the nation, for the future. So I think that says Educational Philosophies is extremely crucial to provide us with a framework. So I guess your argument is that when policymakers sit down and decide on a curriculum there is a philosophical background there to that thinking, perhaps even more than they recognize themselves. Yes, you are right. Sometimes they may not recognize it and think exactly in terms of a particular theory but they do think of the future, the needs and based on those needs they come up with the subjects they need teach these children and prepare them. So is your argument that there is a particular specific philosophy that guides curriculum, that guides everything that happens in schools or do you think it's a little more eclectic than that? Well, I think It is more eclectic than a specific philosophy, it's a lot of overlaps and we cannot contact, I mean, put them into boxes and say that only this is applicable for this period. There's always a overlap from one period to the other and there is different needs of parents and students and the nation accordingly they come up with the philosophy that we have. So I guess you might say that there is a cherry picking or something like that. That's it's in the background all the time but it kind of all comes together when we try to translate it into a vision for the school, a curriculum for the school and indeed some of our expectations of children and teachers. Yes, you are right. Yes, it is there the background all the time that guides, as you say, the vision building and what should be in focus for the people, for the country. So it is there to help. So this is all very persuasive, Suseela, but if I'm going to go into a classroom, whether that's gonna be in Malaysia or in the UK or anywhere else in the world and I'm going to talk to teachers about philosophy, what are they going to say to me and how would I persuade them that it's important for teachers to understand and have some kind of background understanding in philosophy. Yes. It may be helpful if you can say to the teacher that it becomes the basis for the curriculum that they're teaching and there's also a possibility of combining certain philosophy together. And how they should be following the Philosophical underpinnings in the curriculum and how that can actually influence and impact their teaching learning and accordingly they orientate themselves. So that will give them a sense of clarity about what this philosophy is all about and how that can be integrated into their teaching learning process. So you're saying that actually it's implicit but that you want to make it explicit and help teachers to recognize that they are, they inevitably have a philosophy of teaching although they never, may never have explored or tried to articulate it. So throughout the course people have become a bit accustomed to nourish think, fair, share. So in this case what would you want them to be doing? Okay. Either in a group or with another peer I think it would be good for a teacher to think about what is his or her educational philosophy and what has influenced his or her thinking and is her or his philosophy changing in light of new learning. So these three questions will be very powerful in terms of understanding, clarifying the importance of philosophy with regard to the teaching process in school. So we hope we have stimulated people to think, well, do I have a philosophy? Do I have a set of values about my teaching and what are they and maybe I should open that discussion with my colleagues. Yes, you are right. Actually is very good to give them a lot of meaning for new discussions along this line, the importance of philosophy in education.