Summer 2021 - EDUC 250 D100

Studies in the History of Education in the Western World (3)

Class Number: 2369

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM



A study of major trends in educational practice from antiquity to the present. May be applied towards the certificate in liberal arts. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


This course will be offered remotely.  Students are expected to be online and available during scheduled class time.

This course stretches back into ancient Greek times, and forward into the twenty-first century, to examine the history of education in the Western world, with an emphasis on recognizing similarities and differences in educational trends and how they appear in various forms throughout history. Our main focus will be on how key issues in education—what it means to be educated, why do we educate, whom do we educate—have evolved over centuries, considering the influences of great thinkers and the times in which they emerged. Based on this trajectory, students will have the opportunity to consider the interactive nature of society and education and imagine how education will be in the society of the future.


The theme of this course is that innovative philosophers and educators, in interaction with their cultural contexts, developed educational theories as well as practices that continue to influence teachers today. By examining the life stories, ideas and contributions of the leading figures in the history of education, this course seeks to make visible the connection between education and the great transforming events that have shaped our educational present.

The general objective of this course is to prepare students to think critically about Western education by considering the philosophy, theory, and praxis from which it has grown.

Specific Course Learning Objectives: Through successfully participating in this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and classify key philosophers and educators who influenced the development of education
  • Analyze the interactive relation of thinkers, the culture of their time, and educational developments
  • Understand how disenfranchisement of diverse groups from education is related to social and class struggle
  • Trace historical changes in key educational issues such as what constitutes education, who has the right to be educated, and what approaches can best be used to educate.
  • Examine the information explosion of the late 20th and early 21st century and how that impacts the “what”, “who” and “how” of education

Students will be encouraged to investigate these different and conflicting perspectives and the educational issues they provoke in relation to developing their own educational philosophy.


  • Projects and student lead questions 15%
  • Weekly Paragraphs 15%
  • presenting an educational perspective in a form of a Mini Conference 20%
  • Mid-term paper outline with annotated bibliography 20%
  • Analytical paper 30%


There is no final exam for this course.



Some articles and readings will be made available on canvas or sent via email. For the list of additional readings refer to individual class schedule. The main textbook for this class is the following.

Gutek, G. L. (2000). Historical and philosophical foundations of education: Selected readings. Prentice Hall.

Please note, as SFU has moved to virtual learning in the Summer semester, having the hard copy of the textbook is not necessary. You can access the book to borrow for free to read online through the following link:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  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 ( or 778-782-3112).