The lessons in such schools, however, were mainly those of Bible reading. The educators Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster played a major role in progress toward an elementary-school system. They realized that the root of the problem lay in the lack of teachers and in the lack of money to hire assistants. Therefore, first Bell developed, then Lancaster modified, the so-called monitorial system also called the Lancasterian system , whereby a teacher used his pupils to teach one another.
The use of children to teach other children was not new, but Bell and especially Lancaster took the approach and developed it into a systematic plan of education.
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From to 1, children were gathered in one room and seated in rows, usually of 10 pupils each. An adult teacher taught the monitors, and then each monitor taught his row of pupils the lesson in reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling, or higher subjects. The system and the publicity connected with it expanded the efforts toward mass education, even though, pedagogically , the whole process was so routinized and formalized that opportunities for creative thinking or initiative scarcely existed.
With the Spanish conquerors of the New World , the conquistadores, came friars and priests who immediately settled down to educate the Indians and convert them. Because there was little separation of church and state , the Roman Catholic Church assumed complete control of elementary education, and the early Franciscan and Dominican friars were followed by Augustinians, Jesuits, and Mercedarians. The first elementary school in the New World was organized in Mexico by the Franciscan Pedro de Gante in in Texcoco, followed in by a similar school in San Francisco.
Because such schools in Mexico were designed for Indian children, the monks learned the native languages and taught reading, writing, simple arithmetic, singing, and the catechism. Mestizo children, the issue of Spanish and Indian parents, were often abandoned. Eventually schools promoted by cabildos municipal authorities emerged.
During the 18th century the Enlightenment came to Latin America , and with it a more secular and widespread education. Among famous projects were those of Viceroy Vertiz y Salcedo in Argentina and two model schools, free for children of the poor, by Archbishop Francos y Monroy in Guatemala. In New Spain the College of the Vizcainas became the first all- girl lay institution.
Because of the social structure, riches and administrative privilege were held by the elite—the Creoles—and secondary education was specially organized to serve them. Originally, secondary schools existed only in the monasteries, but when the Jesuits arrived in the late s they founded important colegios secondary institutions to prepare students who wanted to enter the universities. There existed a few special colegios for the Indian nobility, such as the outstanding Santa Cruz de Tlaltelolco in Mexico and San Andres in Quito, both founded by the Franciscans for liberal arts studies.
All these schools were eventually closed because of the jealousy of the Spanish bureaucracy. Though the Dominicans and Franciscans had been pioneers in education, the Jesuits became the most important teachers.
They offered an efficient education, molded to contemporary requirements, in boarding schools, where the elite of the Spaniards born in the Americas studied. When their order was expelled in , education was dealt a severe blow. Therefore, the approach of the study of the history of philosophy can be done either through personality periscope or through the periods, but whichever approach one chooses, he unavoidably runs into the person who had chosen the other.
This is a sign of unity of focus. Thus philosophers are those who seek to solve the problem of their time. In this presentation, the study of the history of African philosophy will be approached principally through the periods, schools, movements and the personalities will be discussed within these purviews. To start with, more than three decades debate on the status of philosophy ended with the affirmation that African philosophy exists.
But what is it that makes a philosophy African?
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Answers to this question polarized actors into two main groups, namely the Traditionalists and Universalists. Whereas the Traditionalists aver that the studies of the philosophical elements in world-view of the people constitute African philosophy, the Universalists insist that it has to be a body of analytic and critical reflections of individual African philosophers.
First, as a racial criterion; a philosophy would be African if it is produced by Africans. African philosophy following this criterion is the philosophy done by Africans. This has been criticized as pejorative, incorrect and exclusivist. It does not matter whether the issues addressed are African or that the philosophy is done by an African insofar as it has universal applicability and emerged from the purview of African system of thought.
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African philosophy would then be that rigorous discourse of African issues or any issues whatsoever from the critical eye of African system of thought. This criterion has also been criticized as courting uncritical elements of the past when it makes reference to the controversial idea of African logic tradition. Further discussion on this is well beyond the scope of this essay. What is however common in the two criteria is that African philosophy is a critical discourse on issues that may or may not affect Africa by African philosophers—the purview of this discourse remains unsettled.
Those who employ this method wish to demonstrate the idea of mutual interdependence of variables. You find this most prominent in the works of researchers working in ubuntu and communalism. This method was propounded by Innocent Asouzu and it harps on the idea of missing link. No variable is useless.
The system of reality is like a network in which each variable has an important role to play i. Other scholars whose works have followed this method include Mesembe Edet, Ada Agada, Jonathan Chimakonam and a host of others. This is a formal procedure for assessing the relationships of opposed variables in which thoughts are shuffled through disjunctive and conjunctive modes to constantly recreate fresh thesis and anti-thesis each time at a higher level of discourse without the expectation of the synthesis.
It is an encounter between philosophers of rival schools of thought and between different philosophical traditions or cultures in which one party called nwa-nsa the defender or proponent holds up a position and another party called nwa-nju the doubter or opponent doubts or questions the accuracy of the position. On the whole, this method points to the idea of relationships among interdependent, interrelated and interconnected realities existing in a network whose peculiar truth conditions can more accurately and broadly be determined within specific contexts. This is the foremost school in systematic African philosophy which equated African philosophy with culture-bound systems of thought.
The concern of this school was nationalist philosophical jingoism to combat colonialism and to create political philosophy and ideology for Africa from the indigenous traditional system as a project of decolonization. Thoughts of members of the Excavationism movement like Kwame Nkrumah, Leopold Sedar Senghor and Julius Nyerere in the early period can be brought under this school. There is also the philosophic sagacity school whose main focus is to show that standard philosophical discourse existed and still exists in traditional Africa and can only be discovered through sage conversations.
But since philosophical sagacity thrives on the method of oral interview of presumed sages whose authenticity cannot be independently verified, what is produced distances itself from the sages and becomes the fruits of the interviewing philosopher. So the sage connection and the tradition became defeated.
Their enterprise falls within the movement of Critical Reconstructionism of the later period. Another prominent school is the hermeneutical school. Its focus is that the best approach to studying African philosophy is through interpretations of oral traditions and emerging philosophical texts. The confusion however is that they reject ethnophilosophy whereas the oral tradition and most of the texts available for interpretation are ethnophilosophical in nature.
The works of Okere and Okolo feasted on ethno-philosophy. This school exemplifies the movement called Afro-constructionism of the middle period. Yet critics have found it convenient to identify their discourse with ethnophilosophy from literary angle thereby denigrating it as sub-standard.
Their enterprise remarks the movement of Afro-constructionism of the middle period. Perhaps the most controversial is the one variously described as professional, universalist or modernist school. It contends that all the other schools are engaged in one form of ethnophilosophy or the other, that standard African philosophy is critical, individual discourse and that what qualifies as African philosophy must have universal merit and thrive on the method of critical analysis and individual discursive enterprise. It is not about talking, it is about doing.
Some staunch unrepentant members of this school include Kwasi Wiredu, Paulin Hountondji, Peter Bodunrin to name a few. They demolished all that has been built in African philosophy and built nothing as an alternative episteme.
This school champions the movement of Afro-deconstructionism and the abortive Critical Reconstructionism of the middle and later periods respectively. Perhaps, one of the deeper criticisms that can be leveled against the position of the professional school comes from C. They agitate that 1 there is nothing as yet in African traditional philosophy that qualifies as philosophy and 2 that critical analysis should be the focus of African philosophy; so what then is there to be critically analyzed?
Professional school adherents are said to forget in their overt copying of European philosophy that analysis is a recent development in European philosophy which attained saturation in the 19 th century after over years of historical evolution thereby requiring some downsizing. Would they also grant that philosophy in Europe before 19 th century was not philosophy? The aim of this essay is not to offer criticisms of the schools but to present historical journey of philosophy in the African tradition. It is in opposition to and the need to fill the lacuna in the enterprise of the professional school that the new school which can be called conversational school has recently emerged in African philosophy.
They make the most of the criterion which presents African philosophy as a critical tradition that prioritizes engagements between philosophers and cultures and projects individual discourses from the thought system of Africa. Their projects promote partly the movements of Afro-eclecticism and fully the conversationalism of the later and the new periods respectively.
The Excavators are all those who sought to erect the edifice of African philosophy by systematizing the African cultural world-views. Some of them aimed at retrieving and reconstructing presumably lost African identity from the raw materials of African culture, while others sought to develop compatible political ideologies for Africa from the native political systems of African peoples. Members of this movement have all been grouped under the school known as ethnophilosophy, and they thrived in the early period of African philosophy.
Their concern was to build and demonstrate unique African identify in various forms. The Afro-deconstructionists sometimes called the Modernists or the Universalists are those who sought to demote such edifice erected by the Excavators on the ground that their raw materials are substandard cultural paraphernalia.
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They are opposed to the idea of unique African identity or culture-bound philosophy and preferred a philosophy that will integrate African identity with the identity of all other races. They never built this philosophy. Their opponents are the Afro-constructionists, sometimes called the Traditionalists or Particularists who sought to add rigor and promote the works of the Excavators as true African philosophy.
Members of this twin-movement have variously been grouped under ethnophilosophy, philosophic sagacity, professional, hermeneutical and literary schools and they thrived in the middle period of African philosophy.
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