Teacher-Centered philosophies

Teacher-Centered philosophies

Teacher-centered philosophies of education require that children are educated using certain methods put into action by their teacher, as opposed to student-centered philosophies, in which teaching methods are formed according to the needs and learning styles of individual students. In short, teacher-centered philosophies force the student to adjust to the teacher; with student-centered philosophies, the teacher adjusts to the student. Essentialism and perennialism are the two teacher-centered philosophies.


An essentialist curriculum is structured to develop discipline and a common culture of knowledge. Essentialists value deep knowledge on a few core subjects, as opposed to more general knowledge on a wider array of subjects.

The Essentialist's Platform detailed three main components of essentialism in the classroom. First, students were to be taught by an essentialist teacher who is well-educated and knowledgeable in the core curriculum. The teacher’s role in essentialism was to teach a strict curriculum with knowledge and authority, but the method was at the teacher’s discretion.
The second component was to weave community into the curriculum.

Third is “pass or fail” approach to promoting students to the next educational level; the only way a student could progress was to prove knowledge of the required subjects through grades and testing. “If education abandons rigorous standards and consequently provides no effective stimulus, many persons will pass through twelve years of schooling to find themselves in a world in which ignorance and lack of fundamental training are heavy handicaps,”.


Perennialism is a teacher-centered educational philosophy that focuses on everlasting ideas and universal truths learned from art, history, and literature. The curriculum of perennialism stems from the “Great Books,” a collection of literature deemed in Western culture to be foundational, significant, and relevant, regardless of the time period. These books include the works of Socrates, Aristotle, Homer, Plato, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare.

“The Great Books were the most promising avenue to liberal education if only because they are teacher-proof,”.

Perennialism is similar to essentialism in that teachers guide the educational process. It is also closely associated with the Socratic method of teaching, which promotes an open dialogue between teacher and student. Perennialism in the classroom involves students gaining cultural literacy through the Great Books and proving their understanding through tests, writing, and behavior. A perennialism teacher has a duty to help students to become cultural citizens and to understand the principles of human knowledge.

Reference: Education .com

The author of this article is Assistant Professor, Pioneer Institute of Professional studies Indore. 

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