Epistemology, Ontology And Axiology In Education

Epistemology, Ontology and Axiology can be considered the skeleton of education, research and all academic discourses. This paper highlights the basic orientation of philosophies in education along with their application in curricular planning and classroom implications. Giving a brief overview of the branches of philosophy it talks about its role in education and planning.

Overview Of Educational Philosophies

Epistemology, Ontology and Axiology are the skeletons of education, research and all academic discourses. This paper highlights the basic orientation of educational philosophies, their application in curricular planning, and classroom implications. Giving a brief overview of the branches of philosophy it talks about its role in education and planning. Education is an aim-oriented action by its nature (Acar, 2019).

The question of aims is usually associated with ontological and metaphysical conceptions, especially the thought of temporality. The ontological and metaphysical questions of education are, however, considered monotonous, even useless from the perspective of forward-oriented life-long learning. The majority of activity has always been concerned with epistemology (questions of knowing) and ethics (questions of right action). Traditionally, much of this work, particularly in epistemology, has had a highly individualistic tendency. (Stables & Andrew, 2017). However, the tendency has changed and has become a common task to implement in learning behaviour. Epistemology doesn’t only concern itself with knowledge intrinsically.

While studying epistemology, we select an angle to start. We might use logic as an entrance point to review knowledge by researching certain data elements for its logic about good or bad reasoning. Traditional epistemology cares about knowledge, with what we all know, as something explanatory belief. Or, allow us to put it like this: We believe that once we know what we all know, it’s true. Why would we call it knowledge if it is verified not faithful to the bones? That is knowledge as justified true belief. Of course, an epistemological challenge is to work out how we will justify or, nice is good, validate the true belief.

The way we teach in education is going to be driven primarily by our beliefs or maybe more importantly, by the commonly agreed consensus within a tutorial discipline about what constitutes valid knowledge in the subject area. The nature of data centres on the question of how we all know what we all know. What is the reason that we should believe something is ‘true’? Questions of this kind are epistemological.

Epistemology is a philosophy concerned with the character and validation of data. Most of the school-level teachers in the schools are familiar with the main theories of learning. Still, because instructors in secondary education are hired primarily for their subject experience, or research or vocational skills, it’s essential to introduce and discuss, if only briefly, these main theories (Stables & Andrew, 2017). In practice, even without formal training or knowledge of various theories of learning, all teachers and instructors will approach teaching within one of these main theoretical approaches, whether or not they’re conscious of the lesson terminology adjacent to these methodologies.

An important part of education is aimed toward developing students’ understanding, within a specific discipline, of the standards and values that support the academic study of that discipline, and these include questions of what establishes valid knowledge therein discipline. For many experts in a particular field, these norms are often so strong and embedded that the experts might not even be openly aware of them unless challenged. But for novices, such as students, it often takes a great deal of time to fully understand the fundamental value systems that drive the choice of content and methods of teaching.

Epistemology

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge especially with regards to its methods validity and scope and the distinctions between justified belief (Audi, 2010) In this regard the belief system we have developed has been validated by the experience we have had in our lifetime. For Example, if we believe the firer gets us hurt: the belief has been validated or justified from our experience or the literature we encountered in our study. The belief we developed from the experience tends to be stronger or more justified than the belief we construct from the previous literature.

The obtained beliefs/ knowledge are validated from different experiments for the sustainable knowledge system. The epistemological question involves the theory of knowledge, evidence reason for believing, justification probability and what one ought to believe and any other concepts that can only be understood through one or more of the above. The term “epistemology” comes from the Greek words “episteme” and “logos”. “Episteme” can be translated as “knowledge” or “understanding” or “acquaintance”, while “logos” can be translated as “account” “argument” or “reason”. Just as each of these different translations captures some facet of the meaning of these Greek terms, so does each translation capture a different facet of epistemology itself. Although the term “epistemology” is no more than a couple of centuries old, the field of epistemology is at least as old as any in philosophy.

In different parts of its extensive history, different facets of epistemology have attracted attention. Plato’s epistemology was an attempt to understand what it was to know, and how knowledge (unlike mere true opinion) is good for the knower. Locke’s epistemology was an attempt to understand the operations of human understanding, Kant’s epistemology was an attempt to understand the conditions of the possibility of human understanding, and Russell’s epistemology was an attempt to understand how modern science could be justified by an appeal to sensory experience. (Steup, 2005) Much recent work in formal epistemology is an attempt to understand how our degrees of confidence are rationally constrained by our evidence, and much recent work in feminist epistemology is an attempt to understand how interests affect our evidence and affect our rational constraints more generally.

In all these cases, epistemology seeks to understand one or another kind of cognitive success (or, correspondingly, cognitive failure). This entry investigates the varieties of cognitive success, and some recent efforts to understand some of those varieties. (Steup, 2005) Epistemology talks about the method by which we acquire knowledge. There are various methods of knowledge acquisition. There is a Nepali proverb like ‘ ki parera janinxa ki padhera’ the proverb also talks about experience knowledge and theoretically acquired knowledge. The word padhera refers to reading previous literature whereas parera refers to the experience. So epistemology exists in every activity we do for knowledge acquisition. As it is said epistemology is the theory of knowledge it investigates all the variables of knowledge and its systems like methods process, origin nature, the limit of human knowledge, and justification.

Educational Implication in Nepalese Contexts

Epistemological questions are open-ended and more philosophical where the freedom of a wide range of knowledge exists. Education is a process as well as validation of experiential and theoretical knowledge. For knowledge validation, different tools are being used in educational contexts. In school-level education, questions are designed based on curriculum and desired outcomes. However, epistemology studies how obtained knowledge is tested/ evaluated (Hofer, 2001) Here are some epistemological questions:

Questions of Origin

What is knowledge?

What are the sources of knowledge?

Where does genuine knowledge come from?

How is knowledge acquired?

Questions of Appearance Vs Reality

What is the nature of knowledge?

Is there a real world outside the mind?

If there is a world outside the mind how can we know it?

Question of Testing, Truth and Verification

Is our knowledge valid?

How do we distinguish truth from Knowledge?

What makes Justified belief justified?

What do you don’t know? – You don’t know that you don’t know. Since you don’t know you don’t miss that 

From the above-mentioned examples, we can say that the many questions designed for knowledge testing are based on an epistemological foundation. Mostly the open-ended questions we prepare for checking students’ creativity and learning comprehension are based on this theoretical foundation.

Ontology

“Ontology is a formal, Explicit, specification of a shared conceptualization” – (Gabor,1993)

Ontology is the study of what kinds of things exist around us. The things are in different shapes and sizes. When we say Elephant we have the concept of a huge animal whereas if we listen to the word we make an image of a small insect in our mind. Ontology is the relation between the real object and the concept we have developed with association with the object. In a wider philosophical understanding, it is the branch of Metaphysics. Ontology studies the first principle of knowledge or root of concepts or knowledge to validate the common understanding. Developed wider concepts have multiple constructs, for example, if we take the example of a Laptop, it has multiple variables to make it a device (a set of concepts which is valid and works) the constructs for the laptop can be hardware and software in general.

The concept of Ontology enables teachers and learners to use the abundant information and resources available on a wider range of websites. It helps to organize deliver and make a single domain of knowledge in a specific area. Machinery use of learning activity can’t make a concept rather human agencies are required to organize the random concepts in a systematic view to deliver an acceptable set of knowledge. It provides the required Conceptualization and knowledge representation to meet the challenges which might arise during the learning process, The representation turns out to be an object around which people can transfer and resolve alterations in understanding.

The second advantage is the system can be represented in computational form. That is, a network using an ordinary set of terms for concepts and relations is effortlessly represented in the process of teaching. The representation, once in the process, can be used in various times and situations of applications.

Finally, it is significant to note an ontology is only one way of demonstrating an area of knowledge. The validity of the representation is supported by the use of authorities in raising the demonstration and collecting empirical data that mirror the structure of the ontology.

Instructional Planning Based on Ontological Assumptions

Ontological assumptions in teaching are hidden though they are the major and strong foundation in designing teaching-learning activities. It is a widely accepted fact that we learn better with real object examples. What if the teachers bring a ball to teach the concept of B for ball. It’s not a new concept in teaching however the assumption gives more focus on conceptual teaching. If it is not possible to bring the real object we can definitely draw the picture of the ball: this is what the ontological assumption talks about in teaching-learning activities.

Teachers and subject experts can prepare the plan with graphical representation to relate the concept with the desired learning outcome and students’ cognitive demands. It is obvious that students learn better with graphical representations or real object examples. There has been little effort from teachers in classroom delivery however the teacher should be an expert in multiple fields to incorporate the concept into the given representations.

S/He should design the infographics in such a way that must maintain the triangular relation among students’ cognitive demand, the curricular desired outcome and the pedagogical approaches. The facilitator can organize the multiple learning goals in a single graphical representation considering the aforementioned variable of teaching and transparent manner to present in the instructional procedure. The long-time oral lecture can be monotonous for the students.

In the given context, this assumption helps to maintain an interactive, more participatory, and exciting learning environment in class. The graphical or conceptual representation motivates students more in learning than the sweet-toned long lecture. This design (based on ontological assumption) in teaching allows teachers to embed multiple concepts in a single diagram which can be analyzed from multiple dimensions with little graphical or real object presentation.

While talking about the ontological assumption we can take the example of the STEAM Education concept (Liao, 2016), and the recently launched integrated curriculum (Kyiske, 1998). For example, the teacher inside the classroom can embed all genuine learning skills also called 21st learning skills (Trilling, 2009) which include problem-solving, decision-making, principle application, metacognitive component, situation awareness, risk assessment, teamwork, reasoning, and synthetic activities like writing and summarizing, thinking up new problem and other which may include connecting among other/Multiple concepts or principles.

Educational Implication of Ontological Assumption

While designing and under the process of implementation the teacher tries to develop a visual representation of tasks and concepts to be taught that shows a clear view of the content and cognitive demands of the learners. The teacher can present two competitive infographics or real objects in the classroom to ask students for differentiating between the presented examples. This activity helps to develop Conceptual understanding, rational development, and reasoning power in the learners.

Axiology

Axiology is one of the branches of philosophy which deals with value and examines it. It is known as the theory of value in the educational setting and it examines the value concerning the value under ethics in a particular way. It talks about the notion of good or bad/evil. In a general sense, the philosophical ground for the term Axiology is the science of value as it discusses the value from philosophical dimensions. Theory of value related to gained knowledge. It is the objective format for measuring intangible attitude and value. Values can be viewed as Objective and subjective the axiological assumption measure the level of development. In the process of assessing the axiological assumption particularly based on the Ethic and Esthetic view. In which ethic deals with morality, behavioural norms, and behaviour whereas esthetics deals with something good or bad.

Educational Planning of Axiological Assumption

Good education is a joint effort of the school and parents. Though the school can do a lot for the children it cannot do everything. The home is the first place where he/ she gets his/her education. So parents should give time to their children. Parents should monitor their wards watching of TV programs and allow only those programs which are educative and morally conducive to the integral growth of their wards.

Education must give supreme priority to the development of the rational potential within each pupil. Educators must stress the importance of the development of both the intellect and will and teach pupils how to think. Knowing how to think in order to make good decisions will make it possible for students to cope with life’s problems and to steer themselves on to the course for a good life.

To carry out this objective, the school must re-organize pupils’ experiences in order to enhance their meaning, thereby enabling them to direct more fully and more competently the course of their own future experiences.  Whereas the goal of education is the development of the rational potential of the pupil, education must include those subjects that assist in the intellectual development of the pupil because they contain the accumulated wisdom of civilized man, humanity ought to be given dominance. Yogic activity should be included in the curriculum. Education is life itself; therefore, the curriculum too must be life itself. It cannot be limited to academics.

A problem-centred, pupil-centred, experience-centred curriculum featuring such approaches as shared activities, critical evaluation, pupil involvement in decision-making, and community service projects.

Lessons should be taught as realistically as possible. The teacher must never impose ethical codes or standards of behaviour: these should arise out of the social situations and the pupil’s evaluation of his own behaviour. The teacher ought to provide as many real experiences and opportunities to discuss virtuous acts and lives as possible.

Pedagogical Implication of Axiological Assumption

  • Work in group
  • Give equal opportunity to all the students and keep them alert.
  • Respect students. Use personalization and the student’s imagination.
  • Involve the students more and give them more opportunities.
  • Encourage student’s generated activities
  • Motivate them; expose them to a variety of questions.
  • Active in constructing knowledge makes use of collaborative work to facilitate learning.
  • Encourage pupil participation.
  • Time and space for values. Focus on children’s social and emotional well-being in the
  • Classroom, a crossing the whole school and throughout school services.
  • Focus on skill and competencies and commitment.
  • Promote independence
  • Support reflection and self-evaluation.
  • Listen and act upon the voices of learners.
  • Closed attention should be paid to the learner’s knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes.
  • Tailoring pedagogies that are appropriate to children’s development.
  • Taking a more flexible, theme-based approach, where appropriate.
  • Develop higher-level critical thinking skills and core values.

Conclusion

This article delves into the fundamental aspects of educational philosophies, specifically focusing on Epistemology, Ontology, and Axiology. These philosophical frameworks serve as the underpinning structure for educational endeavors, research, and academic discussions. The exploration begins by emphasizing the crucial role of these philosophical branches in shaping curricular planning and classroom practices.

Epistemology, concerned with the nature and validation of knowledge, is intricately woven into the fabric of education. The traditional emphasis on individualistic tendencies in epistemology has evolved, becoming a shared responsibility in learning behavior. The paper underscores the significance of teachers’ familiarity with major learning theories and their application in the classroom.

Ontology, as the study of existence and the relationship between concepts and reality, plays a vital role in educational contexts. It aids in organizing and representing knowledge, offering a structured view of subjects and facilitating computational representation. The article emphasizes the importance of ontological assumptions in instructional planning, promoting conceptual teaching through graphical representations and real-world examples.

Axiology, the branch of philosophy dealing with values, ethics, and aesthetics, introduces the dimension of morality and goodness in education. The educational planning based on axiological assumptions highlights the need for a joint effort between schools and parents to foster the rational potential of students. Axiological considerations urge educators to prioritize the development of intellect and will, emphasizing subjects that contribute to the accumulated wisdom of humanity.

The article concludes by recognizing the interconnectedness of Epistemology, Ontology, and Axiology in shaping educational practices. It emphasizes the need for a holistic approach that incorporates these philosophical foundations to create a meaningful and impactful learning environment. As education continues to evolve, a deep understanding of these philosophical underpinnings will be crucial for educators, policymakers, and stakeholders in navigating the complexities of the educational landscape.

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