PROJECT TOPIC- ARISTOTLE’S THEORY OF EDUCATION: IT’S APPLICATION TO SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NNEWI EDUCATION ZONE OF ANAMBRA STATE
Background to the Study
The greatest legacy that any nation can bequeath to its citizens is sound and worthwhile education. Education indeed is a practical way of attaining individual potentialities and social fulfillment. It is based on the abovesupra stated statement that Okafor (2006) defined education as a process of acculturation through which the individual is helped to attain the development of his potentialities, and their maximum activation when necessary, according to right reason and to achieve his perfect self-fulfillment.
Education is a process of developing knowledge ability in learners in such a way that they use it to improve their society. Nwagwu (2003) upholds that this process of developing knowledge ability in learners can only be best achieved through a body of theories which is seen as ideas, principles and techniques that apply to a subject, especially when seen as distinct from actual practice. Theory according to Hoy and Miskel (1987) is a set of interrelated concepts, assumptions and generalizations that systematically describes and explain regularities in behavior in educational organizations.
It is not for nothing that the use of theory in education is advocated for. The main reason for educational theory is the application and interpretation of education that will bring desired change in the society, to develop a generation of virtuous individuals and thus contribute to the development of good human being. In support of the above notion, Okonkwo (1989) considered educational theory as the theory of purpose, application and interpretation of education and learning.Educational theory is a means to gain knowledge, inculcate the forms of proper conduct and acquire technical competency.
Similarly, Ozurumba(1999) viewed educational theory as the means to develop oneself physically, mentally and socially. The author further stated that educational theory helps for the preparation and application of sound and worthwhile education. Application according to Encarta (2009) is the relevance or value that something has, especially when it is applied to a specific field or area.
The materialization of education activities and its continued existence should be reliable on the development, growth and usage of basic principles and theories. This helps to clarify and make sense out of what seemed to be confusing in the domain of education. In support of the above statement,Amélie (1998) maintained that most ethical theories particularly those of Hume (1711-1776), Rousseau (1712-1778) and Kant (1724-1804) were meant to redirect moral education. Similarly, the practical import of political theories, such as those of Hobbes (1588-1679), Mill (1806-1873), and Marx (1818-1883) is not only directed to the structure of institution, but to education of citizens.
systems, such as those of Leibniz (1646-1716), Spinoza (1632-1677) and Hegel (1770-1831) provide modes for inquiry; and thus implicitly set directions and standards for the education of the enlightenedwhich is the best investment for the people and society at large because education is an important aspect of the work of society. Educational theory raises the countryside issues and promotes knowledge and understanding of people‟s cherished values for the survival of that society.
The survival of any nation or culture therefore depends to a large extent on the quality and adequacy of the education provided for her citizens. One of the essential tasks of education is to enable people to understand themselves through worthwhile education and this worthwhile education can indeed only be achieved through worthwhile curriculum. According to Onwuka(1990), curriculum is a total experience with which the schools at any level deal with educating young people. The curriculum of any school consists of all the situations that the school may select and consistently organize for the purpose of bringing about changes in the behaviour of learners as a means of developing the personality of individuals through all levels of education.
Secondary education is one of the levels of Nigeria Education system. It is the education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage (Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), 2004). The underline principle here is that secondary schools should be able to provide the individuals for useful living within the society and higher education. However, it appears that secondary schools are not living up to expectation in discharging its obligations.
In line with this, Nwanna (2000) upholds that products of today‟s secondary schools can neither usefully live in the society nor move into higher institution without their parents‟ aid or forgery. The author further remarked that they cannot think for themselves or respect the views and feelings of others and love no iota of dignity of labour except for things that will give them quick money.
There is leadership problem in the Nigerian secondary schools system. This informed the reason while Onwuka and Onwuka (2011) submitted that leadership in the school system does not observe rules. They went further stating that any leadership that does not believe in the rule of law should not think of law and order. No wonder Ajayi (2002) stated that secondary education in Nigeria is riddled with crises of various dimensions and magnitude all of which combine to suggest that the system is at crossroad.
In line with this,Okeke(1991) posits that the demand and expectations for education in the past three decades appears to have been unprecedented in the Nigerian history and secondary education has emerged as the largest local industry and there is exaggerated of the benefits of education.According to Coombs (1986), we must ask whether the popular demand for expanded and higher education is guided by blind, dogmatic faith or by expectations enlightened by rational analysis, reflection and imagination.
The crisis of demand and expectations has led to schooling being equated to education and possession of certificate has become identical with education and qualification. According to Ovwata (2000), education is not a magician to all our personal and national problems and needs.The researcher further stated that it is only through the activities of education that the expected change in behaviour could be achieved.
Activities that go on in secondary schools include teaching and learning. Teaching, according to Clark (1995), is the interaction between a teacher and a student under the teacher‟s responsibility in order to bring about the expected change in the student‟s behaviour. The teacher is a key factor in the formation of an ideal human being. According to Atanda and Lameed (2006) teachers are professionals who impart skills, knowledge, information, attitude and among others into the learners.
Teachers are the implementers of education policies; they are also stakeholders in education. The success of any education system depends to a large extent on the quality of its teachers.Animba (1995) posits that teachers are the most crucial inputs of any education system.
Learning is the process through which certain behavioural change is made in the learner.Offorma (2002) defined learning as the process through which behaviour is initiated, modified and changed. Teaching and learning are interrelated. Through desirable teaching and learning, students are equipped with knowledge and skills which they need to participate effectively as members of the society and contribute towards the development of shared values and common identity.
The place of values and aspirations in Nigerian educational system cannot be over-emphasized. This is supported byOdigie (2007:141) who stated that “increased interest in the basic education of the child over the years has been borne out of the knowledge that an educated healthy child is a foundation for the vibrant economic future of any nation”. Values and aspirations are concerned with quality of human life, particularly that area of human behaviour which is a vital instrument of educational reform.
Therefore, there is need to teach children that which is morally accepted. In line with this, Okeke (1997) argued that education is not an end rather a process and as a process, it is an instrument used by every society to preserve, maintain and upgrade its societal values and aspirations, knowledge and skills so as to guarantee a continuous social equilibrium.Values and aspirations in this contest mean the following:
Respect for the worth and dignity of the individual;
Faith in man’s ability to make rational decisions;
Moral and spiritual principle in inter-personal and human relations;
Shared responsibility for the common good of society;
Promotion of the physical, emotional, and psychological development for all children; and
Acquisition of competencies necessary for self-reliance (FRN, 2004:8).
Values are the standard of conduct, efficiency or worth that the society endorses maintains and transmits to future generations. In relation to this,Akinpelu (2005) upholds that it is only education with the proper guidance of sound educational theories that will enable an individual to preserve, maintain and upgrade its societal values and aspiration, knowledge and skills, make informed choices, broaden their horizon and opportunities and to have a choice in public decision making. Therefore, a vital and robust educational policy inevitably incorporates virtually theories of philosophers on education.
Philosophers such as Socrates (469-399 BC), Plato (428-347 BC), Aristotle (384-322 BC) among othershave always intended to transform the way man sees, thinks, acts, and interacts; they have always taken themselves to be the ultimate educators of mankind. Aristotle, one of the greatest and most influential educational philosophers of all time, was born in 384 before the Common Era (BCE) in the Northern Greek town of Stagira. He spent his early life in Macedonia and at about the age of 18 travelled to Athens to complete his education.
He studied at Plato‟s academy and remained there for about 20 years, as a student and as well as a teacher. Thereafter, there has been no man in western history that has had a more profound influence upon the thinking of all generations from his time than Aristotle (Frost and Bailey, 1981: 59).
Aristotle‟s influence upon the world and western education in particular was so great that most men have been identified with the name Aristotelians‟ because of his systematic, coherent and comprehensive approach to human problems. Right from his day to the present day, many philosophers have either compared their theories with Aristotle‟s or tried to show how they differ from his (Butts, 1980: 93). Theodor (1984) described him as the “master of those who know”.Aristotle lived in a world of his own which is limited both in space and time compared to the world of today.
It is under this space and time dimension that he philosophized. His philosophical ideas on education have expanded from antique to contemporary. His educational theory is necessary to preserve the needs and the interest of the city-state which he described as the highest form of association in which man could find fulfillment and good life (Saunders, 1982: 279). Aristotlewas of the view that the state which is the highest form of community aims at the highest good and the good law giver should enquire how states should participate in the good life (Sinclair, 1983: 59). For him, good life can only be actualized through the instrumentality of education.
Aristotle‟s theories of education are systematic process through which worthwhile knowledge needed in any educated person could be achieved so as to enable such person to function effectively in the society. It is an attempt to address issues relating to teaching and learning that is capable of enabling the society to achieve its envisaged goals. In his view on the theory of knowledge, Aristotle stressed that education should be knowledge oriented.
All knowledge according to Aristotle is acquired through sense perception or sensation. Aristotle upholds that the process of acquiring knowledge begins with sensation. Sensation is the act of perceiving things through sense-organs. This is the first process of acquiring knowledge. Sensation is the passive capacity for the soul to be changed through the contact of the associated body with external objects, which simply means practical education or learning by doing. In each variety of sensation, the normal operations of the appropriate organ of sense result in the soul’s becoming potentially what the object is in actuality.
Thus, without any necessary exchange of matter, the soul takes on the form of the object. For instance, when somebody feels the point of a pin, its shape makes an impression on the finger, conveying this form to the sensitive soul (resulting in information).Heviewed the world as a dynamic place where everything is continually evolving according to some inner purpose. All matter thus, has a potential which it is striving to realize. In terms of education the aim is to help develop the child‟s potentials into what he is best fitted to become. This means that learning programmes of a school should be capable of inculcating into the learners new knowledge that is capable of helping them to live effectively in the society to which they belong.
Aristotle emphasized that education should be value oriented. He conceived the overall aim of education as that which inculcates good habit. It is this good habit that he called virtue. This will no doubt enable the citizens to participate and perform those acts that are worthy of good men who will live in a good and happy society. This is because; if the citizens are well, the society in which they live will also be well. In his view, good life can only be actualized through the instrumentality of education. To this effect; (educational planners ought to put into consideration societal values and aspirations while designing the school curriculum).
Aristotle held that virtue can only be acquired by practice. Thus, he posited that one becomes just by performing just acts; temperate by performing temperate acts, brave by performing brave acts. Aristotle further maintained that if children are accustomed to the right moral habits from an early age, doing the right thing will become second nature to them (Allan, 1998). The purpose of the state is to educate the people, to make them virtuous (virtue is the life principle of the state).
The goal of the state is to educate with a view towards its own institutions (moral education for the survival of the society). This means that whatever that will go on in the school should be that which is capable of taking care of societal values and aspirations. Thus, this makes school system a microcosm of what goes on in the larger society (Nwagwu, Ijeoma and Nwangwu, 2004).
Aristotlealso stressed on the theory of learning. He positsthat the school should not focus on what sort of actions are morally permitted and which ones are not, but rather on what sort of qualities someone ought to foster in order to become a good person. For example, murder as an inherently immoral or impermissible sort of action, if then committed by someone, it means that the person who committed murder is severely lacking in several important virtues, such as compassion and fairness.
For Aristotle, since there is music education, mathematics education, biology education, physics education, there should also be moral education that will take care of the societal values and aspirations. Here Aristotle upheld that the actual development of new knowledge generally comes about by instruction and the process of learning means constructing the mind of the learner a picture of reality that corresponds with the real world outside. At birth an individual‟s mind is like a blank slate but with capacities it acts on impressions coming into it from the outside world (Barnes, 1995). The role of the teacher is to help the child organize this vast range of empirical experiences, to help provide some structure for all these disparate elements.
To Aristotle, teaching and learning are always about an object and should have content. In his teaching act, the teacher instructs a learner about some object, some body of knowledge, or some discipline. Teaching and learning never represent merely an interpersonal relationship or the expression of feelings; they are always about discipline inquiry into some aspect of reality. To this effect, the school should cultivate and develop each person‟s rationality (Nwanna, 2000).
The prevailing circumstances surrounding educational practice in Nigeria ranging from crisis of policy formulation and implementation, crisis of examination malpractice, crisis of indiscipline among staff and students, established cases of educated illiterates, crisis in curriculum policies and activities, crisis of demand and expectation appear to have posed some doubts on the worthwhileness of Nigeria‟s educational system (Nwagwu, 2003). These abnormalities therefore, aroused the interest of the researcher to investigate if Aristotle‟s theory of education is applicable to secondary schools curriculum in Nnewi Education zone of Anambra state.
PROJECT TOPIC- ARISTOTLE’S THEORY OF EDUCATION: IT’S APPLICATION TO SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NNEWI EDUCATION ZONE OF ANAMBRA STATE
Statement of the Problem
It appears that the crisis of demand and expectations has led to schooling being equated to education, while possession of certificate has become synonymous with education and qualification. Part of the crisis is that the type of education demanded by many citizens may not necessarily be the kind that will serve the best interest of individuals and the nation in the new emerging globalized world. As observed by the existing situations, schools are not being representatives of what is obtainable in the larger society. Products of schools as well seem to be incapable of taking care of societal values and aspirations.
Today, teaching and learning appear to be no longer about an object or discipline inquiry into some aspects of reality. It is rather a mere interpersonal relationship or the expression of feelings. Indeed, secondary school graduates seem to no longer differentiate themselves from secondary school dropouts in terms of showing good taste or refinement. Societal dispositions and value aspirations appear to be no longer held to a high esteem.
Products of today‟s secondary schools can neither usefully live in the society nor move into higher institution without their parents‟ aid or forgery. They cannot think for themselves or respect the views and feelings of others. They love no iota of dignity of labour except for things that will give them quick money. Greatly, these seem to determine the crisis in the education system. Against these back drops, it becomes questionable on the capability of the secondary school system in transforming Nigerian society to a better society. This being the case, one may ask if Aristotle‟s theory of education is enshrined in the secondary school curriculum and taught in the study area, hence the problem of this study.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine Aristotle‟s theory (AT) of education with a view to determining its application in secondary schools in Nnewi Education zone of Anambra state. Specifically, the study seeks to:
1. ascertain in what ways teaching and learning are made practical as enunciated by (AT) in secondary schools in Nnewi Education zone.
2. find out in what waysschool core curriculum activities reflect moral education in secondary schools in Nnewi Education zone in line with (AT).
3. determine teacher‟s role that can help students in secondary schoolschools in NnewiEducation zone to cultivate the right moral valuesas enunciated by (AT).