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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

EDUC 5021: Philosophy and History of Education

NOTE: To register for this course, please email or call 250-377-6067.

What education is, what purposes it serves, and how it is structured is closely entwined with ideas of what a society is and how it functions. Students engage in an introduction to key educational philosophers and considers their impacts on the history of education.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify the social and philosophical theories of society and consider the implication of these theories in education.
  • Discuss the evolving structures and priorities within education as part of a much larger picture.
  • Identify and analyze historic contexts including Indigenous and global views, and shifting values in society, from which various social and philosophical theories originate.
  • Describe the relevance of philosophy and history of education in the practice of education.
  • Articulate a relevant understanding of a variety of philosophical and social theorists and contexts including Indigenous and global views, that have played a role in the evolving nature of society.
  • Situate your own instructional experience in the context of educational philosophies.

Course topics

  • Week 1: Personal Lenses Define Philosophy—Creating an Ethical Space
  • Week 2: Indigenous Philosophies of Education and Epistemologies
  • Week 3: Idealism in Education
  • Week 4: Realism in Education
  • Week 5: Existentialism in Education
  • Week 6: Naturalism in Education
  • Week 7: Pragmatism and Progressivism in Education
  • Week 8: Perennialism in Education
  • Week 9: Liberalism in Education
  • Week 10: Humanism in Education
  • Week 11: Constructivism in Education
  • Week 12: Social Reconstructionism and Critical, Feminist Pedagogy in Education

Required text and materials

Online MEd students are responsible for sourcing and/or ordering their own books. Please see the list of required textbooks here: Students may be able to order the text through the TRU Bookstore at

If students have any questions about obtaining the correct textbook, please contact


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 70% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory project.

Assignment 1: Group Forum Discussions 10%
Assignment 2: Personal Philosophy Journal 1 15%
Assignment 3: Interpreting a Primary Text 20%
Assignment 4: Personal Philosophy Journal 2 15%
Assignment 5: Group Forum Discussions 10%
Mandatory Final Project: Personal Philosophy of Education 30%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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