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Jacques Maritain - Educational Philosophy

Jacques Maritain - Educational Philosophy

  1. 1. September 28, 2013 Mary Queen T. Bernardo • Born: November 18, 1882, Paris, France • Died: April 28, 1973, Toulouse, France
  2. 2.  Raised as a Protestant, he became an agnostic before converting to Catholicism in 1906.  An author of more than 60 books, he helped to revive St. Thomas Aquinas for modern times and is a prominent drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Long time friend and mentor of Pope Paul VI  Maritain's interest and works spanned many aspects of philosophy, including aesthetics, political theory, philosophy of science, metaphysics, the nature of education, liturgy and ecclesiology.
  3. 3. • One of the most eminent Catholic philosophers of our time to explore the American system of education. • He believes that it must be based on the Christian idea of man being "more a whole than a part, and more independent than servile." • In his view, education is concerned with "making a man"- a man with "deep-rooted independence with regard to common opinion.”
  4. 4.  Jacques Maritain’s philosophy of education is based upon a single conviction: the integrated education of the person.  An integrated education must be able to point out the deep realities which matter most to the human person: the deepest realities of God, the human person, and persons in communal relationships.  For Maritain, an integrated education is religious; it would have to be in order for the growth toward personhood to reach a sense of accumulating perfection.  Religious knowledge can never be disconnected from the rest of education.
  5. 5. His distinction between the person and the individual, is at the heart of his philosophy of education. • This distinction grounds his anthropology which sees human beings created in the image and likeness of God, whose perfection comes from the experience and exercise of human and divine love, and whose dignity is manifested in the gradual experience of freedom, a dignity rooted in the spiritual reality of the person and which relates the human person to a community of persons to God.
  6. 6. Education at the Crossroads • For Maritain: Education is the process which makes the person fully alive. Wisdom is the key to good life and, There is danger in reducing education to the teaching of sets of skills without a clear focus on the moral and human development of the human person.
  7. 7. Education at the Crossroad • Triple meaning of education 1. Education as shaping and leading toward human fulfillment 2. Intentional task undertaken by adults with regard to youth 3. Particular task of universities and colleges He moves quickly to the heart of his pedagogical conviction that the essence of education must focus upon the “formation…and the inner liberation of the human person. This is achieved by completing through the will what has previously been sketched out in nature (Maritain, 1962).
  8. 8. METAPHYSICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL ISSUES • To discover who or what is human being – a question central to a Christian philosophy of education. • A human being is: – a person by virtue of the spiritual soul, – a material individual – a fragment of a species – a part of the physical universe – a single dot in the immense network of forces and influences, cosmic, ethnic, historic, whose laws we must obey. However, the intellect and will and knowledge and love enable human persons to become a “universe” unto themselves, mainly through knowledge and love.
  9. 9.  Maritain’s (1951) distinction is based upon the conviction that human beings have a natural and supernatural calling; spiritual growth, therefore, is vital in the quest for freedom. This renders all education – in dealing with freedom – to be religious.  Maritain (1962) frequently stresses that institutional education deals directly with the education of the intellect and that through the enlightenment of the intellect it deals directly with the will.  The shaping of the will is throughout more important to man than the shaping of the intellect.
  10. 10. • He considered education to be an art, perhaps in its own way the finest of arts because its object, when perfected, was the most beautiful of all the earthly realities. • Maritain held that the teacher was indeed a cause in the education of youth, but an instrumental cause, necessary for the most part, to be sure, but not the principal cause of education. The student was the principal cause of his own education.
  11. 11. • For Maritain(1943), ordered knowledge is essential in the search for wisdom. The school is directed not toward wisdom but to equip the students’ mind with ordered knowledge, thus, enabling the student to advance toward wisdom in adulthood.
  12. 12. The “What” of Christian Religious Education • The “what” for Maritain probably holds the fewest answers, not because of a scarcity of definitions or distinctions but because the other questions deal with religious education in a more direct way. • The curriculum contains a hierarchy of values which shows that knowledge and love of what is above time are superior to, embrace and quicken, knowledge and love of what is within time. • The virtue of charity becomes the “supreme virtue” • The essence and aim of education are the formation and inner liberation of the human person.
  13. 13. The “Why” of Christian Religious Education • The ultimate end of education concerns the human person in his personal life and spiritual progress, not in his relationship to the environment. • The shaping of the will is far more important than the shaping of the intellect, but it is their interdependence that enable such a conclusion. • Wisdom, unlike philosophy, cannot be taught formally: “wisdom is gained through spiritual experience.”
  14. 14. • Intuition and love are vital virtues because human self- perfection comes through love, and ultimately it is divine love that transforms a human being into a person, “a true original, not a copy.” • Maritain says formal education needs to foster five dispositions: 1. Love of truth 2. Love of justice 3. Existence 4. Work 5. Others
  15. 15. The “Where” of Christian Religious Education • Maritain (1962) contends, “Educators… must not expect too much from education”. • He stresses the importance of formal education, but notes the role of other educational agents, the family and the Church, in the integral education of the student as a person. • Formal learning is only a part of the educational process: “the school system is only a partial I and inchoative agency with respect to the task of education.
  16. 16. The “How” of Christian Religious Education • For Maritain, the “how” is realized through an integrated curriculum, one which lays particular stress upon the liberal arts and humanities. • Maritain insists that educators must be sensitive to the mysterious identity of the student, one to be respected rather than uncovered. • By appealing to the intelligence and the free will of the student, the teacher must make sure that nothing is done without understanding the process. • It is rooted in the conviction that the freedom of independence is dependent upon the internalizations of the two greatest commandments: love of God and love of one’s neighbor as oneself.
  17. 17. The “When” of Christian Religious Education • Education is a gradual and ascending process. • Knowledge advances step by step and depends upon collected wisdom and experience, particularly the aspirations of the human person. • Education in general and religious education in particular cannot ignore the social environment or the concerns and anxieties of the age.
  18. 18. Passages from Education at the Crossroads Jacques Maritain • Teaching is an art; the teacher is an artist • The teacher has further to comfort the mind of the pupil by putting before his eyes the logical connections between ideas which the analytical or deductive power of the pupil's mind is perhaps not strong enough to establish by itself. • The principal agent in education, the primary dynamic factor or propelling force, is the internal vital principle in the one to be educated . . • Any education which considers the teacher as the principal agent perverts the very nature of the educational task. •
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