1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

What does Ontological and Epistemological mean in relation to educational research

Discussion in 'Primary' started by nadeemshaikhuk, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. nadeemshaikhuk

    nadeemshaikhuk New commenter

    Hi,
    Im on my PGCE Primary course and I have to provide a critical analysis on a major piece of educational research that has had an impact on classroom practice (Im probably going to look at the Plowden Report 1967).
    Basically, the critical analysis has to be from an Ontological and Epistemological (as well as Historical, Pedagogical and Political) perspective.
    Can someone advise what Ontological and Epistemological mean - ive searched the Internet but the definitions dont seem to make sense.
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. nadeemshaikhuk

    nadeemshaikhuk New commenter

    Hi,
    Im on my PGCE Primary course and I have to provide a critical analysis on a major piece of educational research that has had an impact on classroom practice (Im probably going to look at the Plowden Report 1967).
    Basically, the critical analysis has to be from an Ontological and Epistemological (as well as Historical, Pedagogical and Political) perspective.
    Can someone advise what Ontological and Epistemological mean - ive searched the Internet but the definitions dont seem to make sense.
    Thanks in advance
     
  3. Dictionary? Reading list? Tutor?
     
  4. Ontology (as understood in a philosophical context) relates to questions of being and existence, while epistemology is about knowledge (how we acquire it and know what we know).

    As I don't have the full question, the question of ontology could relate to how the report 'came to be', while the epistemological side might be about assumptions in the report about learning and how children acquire knowledge (ideas about this are updated over time) and thus what the report proposes to do to support it.

    Ontology could also pick up on psychology and how society considered 'the self'. A quick search shows that Plowden proposed to change the term 'educationally sub-normal' to 'slow learner' for instance. As physical punishment is also forbidden, it could be said to be part of a more humane approach, but might also be about seeing learning as something requiring 'positive reinforcement' over punishment. You'd have to read the report in detail to see if this was motivated by newer ideas on children's psychology.

    These ontological ideas could also have an effect on ideas about acquisition of knowledge and what knowledge is best to learn (i.e. epistemology).
     
  5. Thank you tifur. On the issue of how things come to be, I think from time to time problems or issues come to the fore, and these are addressed by a focus on these problems and subsequent changes in practice. I think also education is a part of the wider society, and will be brought into line by government with the general political thinking of its time, independent of educational thinking. .I started teaching in the 70s, It was far more individualistic then, not just the teaching in the classroom, but in the staffroom the respect given to colleagues with regard to different views and styles of teaching. I couldn't see, no matter how demonstrably effective a teacher's or school's teaching was, that individuality sitting comfortably with a government legislating top down and requiring command and control from the top.
     
  6. You might want to check out the 'William Tyndale Affair' after Plowden that eventually lead to that state control.

    Likewise educationengland.co.uk has an article on Plowden by Derek Gillard that has a chapter called 'the psychological basis of the report' - I think ontology would mostly be about the assumptions they had about children's minds. Gillard says it's based on Piagetian theory (Jean Piaget).

    I suspect there will be loads of material on this report. Good luck.
     
  7. nadeemshaikhuk

    nadeemshaikhuk New commenter

    Thanks tifur for that. Make sense now.
    The full question is here:
    A critical analysis, from a variety of perspectives, of a major piece of educational research that has had an impact on classroom practice.
    You choice should not be random. You should have a clear rationale which will form part of the introduction. Suitable rationales might include:
    • An area of particular personal interest
    • An area highly relevant to your first block practice
    • The insight it provides into current/future education debate
    Whatever your choice, you should reflect on the research from a variety of perspectives including:
    • Pedagogical
    • Historical
    • Political
    • Ontological & Epistemological
    I obviously cannot analyse the whole of the Plowden report but assume will have to pick out one aspect of it - I was thinking of looking into STREAMING
     

Share This Page