Restructuring American teacher education using the philosophy of Ortega y Gasset

Anne Wienke Nordholm, Marquette University


Education is the codification of a culture's knowledge which has been deemed critical and worthy of transmission from one generation to another. Those individuals and groups responsible for codification and transmission must be given the authority, education, and resources to perform that function effectively. Teachers who have been given the right and responsibility to direct education, and to enculturate the young, must have a thorough understanding of the cultural reality. Thomas Kuhn who is credited with bringing the term "paradigm" into common usage suggests that research which is paradigm-directed or intending to be paradigm-shattering must begin by locating the responsible group. The university must be examined as the responsible group able to produce paradigm- shattering research in teacher education. Currently, the paradigm which is shaping universities and teacher education programs is inadequate. The following five conditions are evidence of this insufficiency. First, the educational system in America is vulnerable because it is fragmented by policies derived in the absence of a unifying and powerful national philosophy. Second, there exists no single formal body in American universities responsible for deliberately and consistently designing and evaluating the unique mission of each university within a cultural context. Third, university administrators grant to most schools of education a lethal autonomy. Fourth, narrowly-defined faculty scholarship and fragmented curricula obstruct the professional preparation of emerging teachers. Fifth, tendencies toward isolationist policies disconnect universities and teacher education programs from each other and from the communities in which they reside. Paradigms are the philosophical underpinnings which give justification and direction to action. The purpose of this dissertation is to stimulate a paradigm shift in American teacher education programs using the philosophy and educational theory of Jose Ortega y Gasset. The university context in which teacher education presently exists must be reconsidered so that teacher education may become central to the mission of the university. The paradigm that Ortega offers is one which fosters systematic, principle-centered inquiry into mission, epistemology, scholarship, curricula, and community relationships of universities and their teacher education programs. Reform in education will be stymied until teacher education is considered in a broader ontological, epistemological, and cultural framework.

Recommended Citation

Nordholm, Anne Wienke, "Restructuring American teacher education using the philosophy of Ortega y Gasset" (1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9626938.