Discipleship or Pilgrimage

Philosophy plays a significant role in education by enabling institutions and educators to adopt better teaching methodology and programs that enhances the learning process. The relevancy of educational philosophy in providing educated citizenry, who inhibit thoughtful and insightful problem-solving skills, has formed the basis of which philosophers promote different activities. However, the un-endless engagement into educational activities by philosophers has been eluded as a process of treating learners or future teachers as extension of parental professionalism, which has diverted the significance of philosophy in education.  This has resulted into worshipful students whose ideologies are borrowed and lack individualism. In providing the book’s report, this paper highlights the significance of epistemology of sport in the education process.

In Tony Johnson’s book, Discipleship or Pilgrimage?: The Educator’s Quest for Philosophy, he gives an implicit analysis why educational philosophers should engage in unending activities that gives meaning to teaching or learning processes. Ganly (2007) notes the argument by Johnson that educational philosophy should be able to provide students with effective and sufficient educational processes that help in creating individualism. Johnson had argued that, by integrating philosophy in education, each child would be considered to inhibit a unique characteristic that gives self-assessment of the very roots of his or her self-knowledge. In most cases, educational philosophies are either teacher-centered or student-centered in their attempt to enhance education processes.

Ganly (2007) adds the notion by Johnson that teacher-centered educational philosophy, also known as perennialism, usually views student’s knowledge as an enduring process that continuously seek the truth based on individual’s value of reasoning. Johnson (1995) had noted that, on the other hand, student-centered philosophy termed as progressivism that normally enhances individual’s belief by promoting students interaction in valuing their learning process.  However, a lot of concerns have been raised regarding the place and value of educational philosophy in enhancing both students’ learning and educators’ teaching processes.

As pointed out by Johnson (1995), philosophy in education has been viewed by some scholars as an aspect of enhancing educational supremacy by incorporating teaching and learning processes that tend to owe allegiance to the parental educational discipline. He adds that, the manner in which educational programs and courses that prepare future teachers originating by the accreditation agency, or enhance the sense of traditional allegiance, depicts this concern. In Tony Johnson’s book, Discipleship or Pilgrimage?: The Educator’s Quest for Philosophy, he gives an implicit analysis why educational philosophers should engage in unending activities that gives meaning to teaching or learning processes.

Philosophy in Education as Promoting Discipleship

According to Johnson (1995), most of educational philosophers normally assume the right of an individual to know and learn thereby valuing educational professionalism that are destructive by sticking to traditional educational settings. He notes that educational philosophers have chosen the conforming way in preparing the future teachers. He sees the reason behind this as being in need to maintain the status quo rather than producing creative leaders, who can promote democracy in the society. According to him, dating from the past, educational philosophers have fashioned the college and university programs and course. This has made possible training future educators, who act as spokesmen for their past practical men in creating worshipful students or learners, who adapts into their liberal arts.

Additionally, Johnson (1995) notes that educational philosophy trend evolved from the old moral philosophy course that maintains the status quo of conservatism based on the old time educational systems. Based on this conformity, four major educational philosophies are normally incorporated as approaches that enhance teaching and learning processes. However, Johnson (1995) argues that this is irrespective of the fact that some of them use authoritarian approach in retaining conservatism in educational systems. The approaches include; perennialism, essentialism, progressivism, and reconstructionism.

Ganly (2007) points out that Johnson had implied that perennialists normally see education as an informative tool that ensure that learners acquire rightful understanding of Western civilization that would potentially enable them to solve problems in any given period of time. This concept concurs with Johnson (1995) who notes that the collective purpose of education as denoted by prominent educators is to pass on the best western practices into every new generation. He argued that in doing so, educators would teach their students ideas that are long-lasting and enable them to seek unchanging everlasting truths. This concept is seen to instill the old educational principles among the learners and future educators whose minds keep on developing.

However, Johnson (1995) notes that cultivating and modeling the intellect of an individual is the basis for which education is denoted as worthy. He notes that by educational philosophers continuing to marshal their professionalism in fashioning future teachers, philosophy in education will still be regarded as an irrelevance in providing effective leaders who are able to solve the social problems in the society.

On the other hand, Cohen (2006) also agrees with Johnson’s position when he pointed out that essentialist normally believe that educational philosophers and institutions should adopt common intellectual and moral standards as disciplinary and systematic approach in preparing future educators. He notes that this educational philosophy, normally, has conservative perspective that highlights the training of future teachers to be the future anchors in instilling respect for the old educational authority and discipline among their students. This is to create worshipful educational systems that agitate for common knowledge development even in times where the curriculum changes.

Johnson notes that, at the time where philosophy was experiencing the identity crisis, most of the colleges and educational philosophers ignored Dewey’s philosophical approach and stuck to their parental perspective. According to him, this led to the defeat of classical rationalism as teachers’ trainers taught courses and publish out educational resources that emanated from the dominant traditional educational approach, which narrowed the prospect of educational philosophy. Johnson further notes that Dewey’s philosophy of education depicted learning as an active process, which should not be based on some kind of a long and restrictive schooling. Johnson adds that fostering education and learning processes among the students can only be relevant if they are involved in the real-life educational experience and challenges.

As noted by Johnson (1995), educational trainers for future teachers should provide a democratic philosophical model that is not only worth, but which can encourage the current and future educational philosophers. He points out that this would enable them reflect the relevance of the educational field, what it should be, and what is expected from the field. He adds that constructing imagery educational philosophy would help in eliminating the concept of parental discipline where ones’ professionalism is associated with his or her parental educational philosopher. Johnson believed that this would allow the reconstruction of the educational field into autonomous and expansive discipline, thereby, transforming the learning and teaching processes.

Educational Philosophy as Pilgrimage

Just like discipleship, Johnson’s (1995) concept of educational philosophy as pilgrim normally sees autonomous educators engaging in unending activities in an attempt to justify their contribution in the education sector. He notes that Lipman, through his philosophical novels for children and youths, dramatized educational philosophy that can transform classroom into a self-corrective premise of inquiry that uses dialogue as a teaching methodology. This is to restore the natural connection between philosophy and education. Johnson adds that Lipman believes that it is necessary to dramatize and engage in activities that present philosophy in education.

As pointed out by Cohen (2006), education is more than a process of teaching students how to learn, but it should reveal learner’s knowledge of how to cleverly dialogue with questions by providing insightful answers. This concurs with the concept of progressivists, such as John Dewey, who believe that students can only develop as meaningful problem solvers and thinkers in the society based on their individual experience in physical and cultural context. Johnson (1995) adds to this debate noting that educational philosophy also requires the empowerment of the current and future generation through engaging in conversational model in addressing issues primarily affecting them.

For instance, Light (2008) notes that, in the past, philosophy in educational was regarded as meaningless based on educators invariable practices that assume learning to be deeply embedded in the Western cultures. This prompted educators to assume that their western practices were adequately enough in enhancing and measuring the process of internalizing knowledge among students. It is such a notion that presented knowledge as being conceived from preexisting entity and depicted learning as the process that denotes this reality from the individual’s mind.

Light (2008) points out Johnson’s argument that, by reconstructing philosophy in education, especially in understanding the different aspect of epistemology in sports, educators will be able to adopt effective, holistic, and ecological approach towards learning. He argues that Johnson had implied that by understanding the concept of the mind from the body, learner from the learned, and subject from an object, educators would be able to develop constructive educational approaches that brings relevancy of philosophy in education.

Contributing to the ideas of Johnson, Light (2008) argues that behaviorism has been a dominating factor in educational philosophy that has adversely shaped the teaching and learning programs adopted by different institutions. This concept tend to echo the concerns of Dewey’s vision as noted by Johnson in which learning is based on the ability of the learner to use his or her experience in utilizing the cognitive approaches in devising problem solving strategies. This approach is significant in physical education, especially sports, where one is able to separate his thoughts from action and self from others. Johnson (1995), on his part, had noted that it is only through encompassing an educational philosophy that one can obtain a clear meaning and truth, and this will enable humankind to live peacefully and prosper with one another.


In conclusion, Johnson Tony’s book has illustrated the need to reconstruct educational philosophy to enable it promote educational systems, which can enhance individualism among educators and students. The other three scholars have equally agreed with Johnson on the need for educational philosophers to use practical physical approaches in their teaching. The book has thus continued to influence today’s education philosophers in designing what would enable learners to understand their capabilities in devising thoughtful and effective problem-solving strategies.

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