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A Comparative Research into Intellectualism and Volitionalism

Author: WangYan
Tutor: LiShenShen
School: Henan University
Course: History of Education
Keywords: intellectualism volitionalism comparative research
CLC: G519
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2005
Downloads: 210
Quote: 0
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Intellectualism and volitionalism are two educational trends of thought which played prominent role in the history of western modern education. The arising of such two trends met the needs of the society and the eras, and also made great influence on the educational development worldwide. Intellectualism stresses the value of knowledge as well as the value of intelligence and rationality, maintains the systematic imparting of knowledge and the development of intellect as the base and the aim of education and the process of teaching. It probes into the effective ways and methods of imparting knowledge and lays great emphasis on the important principles and practical ways of choosing and organizing knowledge. Volitionalism established it’s status by criticizing the standstill, mechanism and rigidity of intellectualism. It regards the cultivation of the skills and capability required by the society as well as the drill of determination as of great importance in education. It maintains that the cultivation of the intelligence and practical ability to solve problems should be done by encouraging students to think and work actively and of their own accord. The two trends lay respectively their base on the two primary aspect of education: the acquisition of knowledge and the cultivation of capability determination, thus developing in two different paths and forming two different theoretical systems. In my paper, by revealing the basic characteristics and making use of approaches of comparative education, a thorough comparison is given to the intellectualism and volitionalism in terms of social background, theory progress, leading exponent, central points of view, common grounds, differences and tendency of development. My paper involves four parts. The first part gives the background of arising, and studies the historical procedure of two theories by dividing such procedure into three periods: the period of laying foundation, of development and of systematization. Then, the leading exponents and their theoretical contribution are discussed. The second part concerns the common grounds of two trends in terms of theoretical foundation, attitudes toward moral education, points of view on experience and their impacts on the times afterward. The third part involves the systematic disagreement of them, which are the differences in primary purposes of education, the aim of morality, the relation between individual and society as well as in, teaching theories. In the last part, an analysis is first given to the tendency of development of intellectualism and volitionalism. A conclusion is made that despite their original dispute, these two trends will get to combination in accordance with the new needs of society and practical situation afterward in view of the conflicts between education and the needs of social development, acquisition of knowledge and cultivation of capability, art education and science education, it is pointed out that we can learn much from the combination of intellectualism and volitionalism to guide the development of education in China. The base of comparative education lies in comparison, and the primary purpose of comparison lies in drawing lesions from the comparative research. The basic purpose of my research is to find the deep thought connotation and the social value of the two theories by giving a multi-level and multi-aspect comparative research to intellectualism and volitionalism and by summing up the advantages and disadvantages as well as the good and bad of them, then we can learn something to guide the development of and the research into the education in China.

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