The most common educational theories are:
The oldest philosophy as to say that which is founded “on the pillars of the past”. Generally it is called regressive theory. Past is most important in this theory.
Basic Theory: According to this theory, truth is that which is not variable and basic realities never change (status quo in curriculum & education is called perenialism.
This theory is based on the philosophy of idealism in education.
2. Essentialism (life needs something essentials)
A school of thought which is deeply related to perennialism, is called essentialism. In this theory as opposed to Jhon Dewy’s philosophy of interest; discussion on the concept of necessity (essentialism) and the subject matter started.
The exponents of essentialism are not so conservative as to die for each tradition of ancient era and consider the oldest instructions only to be maintainable. But rather, they love the useful and time tested cultural heritage of near past.
It means that only the useful and stable cultural heritage may be adopted. This heritage is very widely known with the name of educational essentials, knowledge of which is very necessary for each student. However, unless and educational innovation is tested (experimented) and witnessed by the world, it cannot be admitted into the essentialism. That is why, Brameld (nd) has called the theory of essentialism “The traditionalist (Peremialist) highway of the culture).”
The philosophy of essentialism is a composite of the idealism and realism in educational philosopher. This appears to be philosophy of the middle class. What so ever may be its name, central importance is given to the selection and explanation of authentic, useful and experimental educational materials.
The Basic Principles
3. Progressivism (Dynamism and innovation in life is necessary)
In this theory instead of past, the present is loved. All new things are adopted very happily and are tested experimentally, and the good / useful things are further promoted. The cost and value of each thing is its “usefulness”.
Patterson and William James are its supporters or pioneers. They are of the opinion that life is ever variable. It moves forward constantly, we should therefore remain ready always for a new solution and reframing.
In this philosophy, variation, evolution, freedom (liberty), experimentation, fruitfulness and continuous diligence hold very important position. Progressivism is the instructional / educational shape of pragmatism.
Braneld (nd) names it as a “free high way of culture” because individual enjoys maximum freedom. The students are trained to solve the practical problems. So that they may be able to lead a successful life and not to remain strayed in the only theoretical and educational things, the central importance in the education is the student (student centered education & curriculum).
The Principles of Progressivism
4. Existentialism (Reason & feelings for existence of life and universe)
Existentialism is a distinctive philosophy (theory) from the traditional philosophers. Here, instead of soul, reason and thought, the human existence and sentiments / feelings relatively are discussed more. It is a protest against idealism of Plato and Hengel
In this theory it is tried to go along with enthusiasm and reason, the explicit and intrinsic or latent together. Mankind is the bearer of emotions and a personality to do deliberations and thinking too.
To expresses abstract thoughts without ant enthusiasm and sentiments is like pinching the dead bones. According to existentialism, the universe has no meaning without human being. In existentialism the human existence is the greatest reality.
5. Reconstructionism (Life needs new adjustment / changing life style of community)
According to this philosophy (theory), there is a dire need of bringing about basic and revolutionary changes in the different societies of the world, because neither the minor reformative steps work in the present day condition and nor the old prescription or tips could deliver goods (could benefit). In addition to that there is a dire need of reconstruction in all fields of life, which could best be done by education.
Reconstructionism is a social philosophy (theory). In this theory preference is given to collective interests, problems and needs. This philosophy is the torch barrier of collectivism instead of progressivism. It means to demolish the old building completely and reconstruct purely a new one on fresh foundation with consultations of all social groups, adopting democratic attitude.