Spring 2021 - EDUC 230 D100

Introduction to Philosophy of Education (3)

Class Number: 3762

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM



Provides prospective teachers and others interested in education an opportunity to examine a variety of educational problems from a philosophical perspective. The central concern of the course is to elucidate the nature of education as a phenomenon distinct from such activities as training, schooling, and socialization. May be applied towards the certificate in liberal arts. Breadth-Humanities.


This course will be offered remotely with both synchronous and asynchronous elements.  Students are expected to be online and available during scheduled class time.

This course offers an examination of the pervasive ideas and practices that inform mainstream education in Canada. Questions regarding what students ought to learn, and how they ought to learn, extend from fundamental notions about the ideal society, the capacities of individuals and communities, and the benefits of schooling. By delving into a selection of topics, and through dialogue with a learning community, the course aims to develop the ability to think through dilemmas, investigate assumptions, question common beliefs, and craft arguments related to salient educational issues of the day.

In this course, students will enter into conversation with philosophers past and present, exploring some contemporary questions, and their relevance to education:
  • Why is Bruce Lee a fine philosopher?
  • What would Plato say about Netflix and the Sony Playstation?
  • What do airports have in common with prisons?
  • If a tree could teach a lesson, what would it teach?
  • What would schools look like if teachers were replaced by artifical intelligence?

In addition to weekly lectures, students will participate in online dialogue with classmates to unpack and analyse course readings and themes. Some themes include: democracy and dystopia, social justice and social reproduction, controversy and contest, voices of the land, discipline and deschooling, and much more.


In working through the course readings and assignments, students will:

  • Become familiar with some foundational ideas put forward by educational philosophers past and present; develop proficiency in the use of language and vocabulary related to philosophical fields;
  • Develop the capacity for reason and reflection (both written and oral) that is apt to navigate through contemporary issues in education;
  • Develop skills of dialogue and conversation that can further promote understanding and insight.


  • Discussion Paper 1 25%
  • Discussion Paper 2 30%
  • Weekly Postings 20%
  • Tutorial Presentations 25%


This course is graded on a combination of online discussion papers and tutorial presentations. More details regarding assignments and grading criteria will be provided on the first day of class.


Attendance, consistent participation, and completion of all assignments are required.



Laptop, Wifi enabled wireless device (smartphones or mp3 player), ear-phones.


Articles and readings will be provided through Canvas website.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).