Fall 2023 - EDUC 250 D100

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

Class Number: 4764

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.



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 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 participation 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.


  • In-class scholarly engagement 10%
  • Student led projects 15%
  • Self and peer evaluations 5%
  • Weekly reflection paragraphs 10%
  • Mini-Conference 10%
  • Learning Portfolio 10%
  • Midterm paper 15%
  • Final paper 25%


A detailed outline of assignments will be provided during the first class.



Gutek, G. (2011). Historical and philosophical foundations of education : A biographical introduction / Gerald L. Gutek. (5th. ed.)
ISBN: 9780137152735

Additional articles and readings will be made available in class or sent via email.  For the list of additional readings refer to individual class schedule.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.