Education And The Discipline Meaning In Education
Most at times seeing or hearing the word education, many people always think of places like schools, colleges, polytechnics, and universities. And when hearing the word, many people often confuse it with schooling or at times they might also look to particular jobs like teaching or tutoring and the problem with this is that education as a discipline entails much more than schooling or particular jobs like teaching or tutoring.
Apparently, education as a field of study is analyzed on different characteristics of a discipline. The term education has a multifaceted meaning. Therefore, before analyzing the nature of education as a discipline it is necessary to first analyze the meaning of the term ‘education’, before going into the discipline meaning in education.
What is Education?
The term “Education” in English, ‖ was taken or derived from the Latin words Educare, Educere, and Educatum. And the term “Educatum”‖ denotes the act of teaching, it also means to train or mold. The terms Educare and Educere mean to bring up, to lead out, or to draw out propulsion, or impetus from inward to outward. These all terms mainly indicate the development of the latent faculties of the child.
The term education stands for both the study of the field and for the formal enterprise (or system) that is being studied. To understand this dual meaning very well, consider these two definitions of education.
The first is a standard definition from the American Heritage Dictionary:
- The act or process of educating or being educated.
- The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process.
- A Program of instruction of a specified kind or level.
- The field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning.
- An instructive or enlightening experience.
The second is from the essay on “Education”, by William Frankena in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas:
- As the activity of one doing the educating, the act or process of educating or teaching engaged in by the educator.
- The process or experience of being educated or learning that goes on in the one being educated.
- As the result produced and in the one being educated by the double process of educating and being educated.
- As a discipline or study of education.
From these definitions, it is clear that the term “Education” is used in three senses: Knowledge, Subject, and Process.
In the first sense, all formal and informal knowledge gained by an individual during his or her lifetime is termed as his or her education. When a person achieves a degree up to a certain level, we do not call it education. For example, if a person has secured a Master's Degree then we utilize education in a much-narrowed sense and call or say that the person has achieved education up to Masters Level.
In the second sense, education is used in a sense of discipline. For example, if a person had taken education as a paper or as a discipline during his study in any institution then we utilize education as a subject. As a field of study education is a contemplative search for theory and science of the process of educating. In the third sense, education is used as a process. In fact, when we talk of education, we talk in the third sense i.e. education as a process. As an enterprise, it contains various systems of education and, therefore, primarily an activity. However, in this study, we are dealing only with the second meaning of education i.e. education as a subject or discipline that is taught at various levels. The subject relates itself to the preparation of educators and the study of teaching-learning conditions. Most precisely the discipline of Education can be defined as the study of the process of educating. It studies various factors, methods, and elements involved in the process of educating. In this view, educators look to act with people rather on them. Their task is to educe (related to the Greek notion of educere), to bring out or develop potential. Such education is:
- Deliberate and hopeful. It is learning we set out to make happen in the belief that people can ‘be more’;
- Informed, respectful, and wise. A process of inviting truth and possibility.
- Grounded in a desire that at all may flourish and share in life. It is a cooperative and inclusive activity that looks to help people to live their lives as well as they can.
It also studies various principles and ideas govern this process. A major purpose of education as a field of study is to help to understand and improve the enterprise. As an activity, the education enterprise is highly complex. Its immediate purpose relates to the intellectual, moral, social, and physical development of our students, and its functions, socially and civically, to maintain and improve a democratic way of life, such complexity, with competing goals and values, requires strong analytical thinking and understanding so that the system is operated in a thoughtful and effective way. Therefore the discipline of education has been designed to prepare scholars who are responsible for both the field of study of education and the educational enterprise.
Education in Primitive and Early Civilized societies
The term education can be applied to primitive societies only in the sense of enculturation, which is the process of cultural transmission. A primitive person, whose culture is the totality of his universe, has a generally fixed sense of cultural progression and timelessness. The model of life is relatively static and absolute, and it is transmitted from one generation to another with little deviation. As for prehistoric education, it can only be inferred from educational practices in surviving primitive societies.
The purpose of primitive education was to guide their children to become good members of their tribe or band. There is a marked emphasis upon training for citizenship because primitive people are highly concerned with the growth of individuals as tribal members and the thorough comprehension of their way of life during the passage from prepuberty to postpuberty.
Because of the variety in the countless thousands of primitive societies, it is difficult to describe any standard and uniform characteristics of prepuberty education. Nevertheless, certain things are practiced commonly within cultures. Children actually participate in the social processes of adult activities, and their participatory learning is based upon what the American anthropologist Margaret Mead called empathy, identification, and imitation. Primitive children, before reaching puberty, learn by doing and observing basic technical practices. Their teachers are not strangers but rather their immediate community.
In contrast to the spontaneous and rather unregulated imitations in prepuberty education, postpuberty education in some cultures is strictly standardized and regulated. The teaching personnel may consist of fully initiated men, often unknown to the initiate though they are his relatives in other clans. The initiation may begin with the initiate being abruptly separated from his familial group and sent to a secluded camp where he joins other initiates. The purpose of this separation is to deflect the initiate’s deep attachment away from his family and to establish his emotional and social anchorage in the wider web of his culture.
The initiation “curriculum” does not usually include practical subjects. Instead, it consists of a whole set of cultural values, tribal religion, myths, philosophy, history, rituals, and other knowledge. Primitive people in some cultures regard the body of knowledge constituting the initiation curriculum as most essential to their tribal membership. Within this essential curriculum, religious instruction takes the most prominent place.
Education in the earliest civilizations
The history of civilization started in the Middle East about 3000 BCE, whereas the North China civilization began about a millennium and a half later. The Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations flourished almost simultaneously during the first civilizational phase (3000–1500 BCE). Although these civilizations differed, they shared monumental literary achievements. The need for the perpetuation of these highly developed civilizations made writing and formal education indispensable.
Education as a Discipline
Education is a relatively new discipline that combines aspects of Psychology, history, philosophy, sociology, and some practical studies. Its domain is the whole complex of the process of educating. The discipline of education is nowadays a compulsory subject used for educating teacher educators. Education is, of course, also a field of research that aims to understand the process of education. The main problems and questions education deals with what content should be taught to pupils and students (the question of the curriculum)? How should the content be taught (the question of teaching method)? What other educational goals shall be pursued in addition to teaching knowledge and skills (the question of values)? In other words, education has to answer the questions of truth, learning, and morals. It has to reflect on the higher goals of education beyond passing on random knowledge and skills. The study of education would be the reflexive effort of looking at the reality of education and trying to understand how it is practiced.
This is a serious question that whether education can be called a discipline, and there are three schools of thought on the subject. The first suggests that since education borrows from and combines with other, more traditional, disciplines and often focuses on practice, it should not be called a discipline but a field of study or a second-level discipline. Using the same rationale (that many areas within education bring together a traditional discipline within an educational frame), the second school of thought calls education an inter-discipline. In addition, education has its own set of problems, questions, knowledge bases, and approaches to inquiry; the third school of thought pushes for accepting education as a discipline.
One reason for the lack of consensus around the use of 'discipline‘ for education is that as a field of study, education may be seen as one of a set of academic program anomalies in which enterprise itself is primarily an activity. Within universities, this includes schools and colleges that are considered professional schools: engineering, nursing, medicine, law, social work. In the words of Klein 1990,8 We could say that education, as a professional school, is a second-level discipline in that it focuses on a unique activity-education- by borrowing, considerably, from many traditional disciplines.
Looking specifically at areas in education that bring together a traditional discipline and education, we could use the term inter-discipline to describe education. Considering education as an inter-discipline suggests that the work of scholarship in education should focus on bringing together the disciplines as a means of solving problems and answering questions that cannot be satisfactorily addressed using single methods or approaches.
At this point, it would be well worth examining education as a discipline. Not only does education have its own set of problems, questions and knowledge bases, and approaches to the inquiry but also that which is borrowed from other disciplines often becomes transformed within the study of education. To evaluate education on different criteria of a discipline, objectives of studying education as a discipline should be considered first because objectives of study delimit and decide the nature and scope of any field of study.
Education is a discipline that is concerned highly with the methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments as opposed to various nonformal and informal means of socialization (e.g., rural development projects and education through parent-child relationships).
Education can also be seen as the transmission of the values and accumulated knowledge of a society. In this sense, it is equivalent to what social scientists term socialization or enculturation. Children—whether conceived among New Guinea tribespeople, the Renaissance Florentines, or the middle classes of Manhattan—are born without culture.
Education is designed to guide the young generations in learning a culture, molding their behavior in the ways of adulthood, and directing them toward their eventual role in society. In the most primitive cultures, there is often little formal learning—little of what one would ordinarily call school or classes or teachers. Instead, the entire environment and all activities are frequently viewed as schools and classes, and many or all adults act as teachers.
However, as societies grow to be more complex, the quantity of knowledge to be passed on from one generation to the next generation becomes more than any one person can know, and, hence, there must evolve more selective and efficient means of cultural transmission, and the outcome or the result is formal education—the school and the specialist called the teacher.
As society becomes ever more complex and schools become ever more institutionalized, the educational experience becomes less directly related to daily life, less a matter of showing and learning in the context of the workaday world, and more abstracted from practice, more a matter of distilling, telling, and learning things out of context.
This concentration of learning in a formal atmosphere allows children to learn far more of their culture than they are able to do by merely observing and imitating. As society gradually attaches more and more importance to education, it also tries to formulate the overall objectives, content, organization, and strategies of education. Literature becomes laden with advice on the rearing of the younger generation. In short, there develop philosophies and theories of education.