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EDUC 5021: Philosophy and History of Education

Open Learning course registration will be unavailable due to maintenance on Friday, September 30, from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.

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

What education is, what purposes it should serve, and how it should be structured is closely entwined with ideas of what a society is and how it functions. This course provides an introduction to key educational philosophers and considers their impact on the history of education.

Learning outcomes

After you have completed the work in this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the social and philosophical theories of Western 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 the historic contexts and shifting values 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 that have played a role in the evolving nature of society.
  • Situate your own instructional experience in the context of educational philosophies.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Biography and Philosophy: The Intersection
  • Module 2: Confucius
  • Module 3: Plato
  • Module 4: Aristotle
  • Module 5: Aquinas to Calvin: Medieval to Reformation
  • Module 6: Rene Descartes
  • Module 7: The Enlightenment, the Moderns
  • Module 8: John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Naturalistic Education
  • Module 9: Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Module 10: Pestalozzi, Froebel and Montesorri
  • Module 11: The Industrial Revolution and Karl Marx
  • Module 12: John Dewey and Pragmatism
  • Module 13: The Post Moderns ... in brief

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:

You may be able to order the text through the TRU Bookstore at Please note, if you choose to source your own textbooks, publishers may offer several package options that include additional resource material not required in your course. You may choose to purchase any package as long as it includes the correct author, title and edition listed for your course.

If you have any questions about obtaining the correct textbook, please contact They will be happy to assist you.


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final project and 70% overall. The following chart shows how the final grade is determined for this course.

Reflective Journal 1 20%
Assignment 1: Interpret a Primary Text 20%
Discussion Forum 1 5%
Reflective Journal 2 20%
Discussion Forum 2 5%
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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