The blending of Idealism and Realism had born Perennialsm and Essentialism on educational theories that stood unchallenged until 1900s. When theory goes to practice, some things change in translation. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between Perennialsm and Essentialism. The four main differences are the purpose of education, the content of the school curriculum, the place of students and the role of teachers.
The most notable difference between these two theories is their purpose of education. Perennialsm determines the purpose of education as an effort to conserve cultural heritage through tailoring immature and less knowledge human to be an elite who owe goodness, enlightenment, intellect and character. This causes students were graduated from high school ‘essentially illiterate’. Essentialism however, wedded to exploiting knowledge by using manual art rather than classic vintage to empower human with skill to reach full and rich life. This makes students can survive in society as they are favored by industry.
Comparing both types of theories we notice another difference. It is the content of school curriculum that is applied by both of them. Essentialism leaves the classics and decided to do drill on 3Rs. Essentialists believe instruction in the 3Rs as vocational emphasis will create students who are competitive and productive to pass the challenge of the market and use the standardized testing as a yardstick of student progress and teachers’ quality. On the other hand, Perennialsm considers students are inherently alike so that they pursue the same curriculum for 12 years to accept three distinct modes of teaching and learning. Relies on didactic method, Perennialists believe in testing to measure students’ achievement and reeducating teachers to do school reform.
Yet another difference between these two types of educational theories is the place of students. Perennialsm put students as the object. Students are passive learners, immature, and incompletely formed human beings who need to be taught to honor endured concepts. Conversely, Essentialism believes that students have mind to acquire knowledge and skill. Students are subject who can promote themselves. This makes students has competences that make them ready to take part in society by dedicating his life at work after they graduate from their schooling time.
The last notable difference of opinion is about the role of teachers. Coaches are the main role of teachers offered by Perennialsm. The reason behind this is because teachers are person who knew everything, mature and become the model of the best human endeavor. Teachers hold the authority and the one who can dictate students. On the contrary, the main role of Essentialist teachers is as experts. They guide students to understand manual arts and prepare their students in accordance with the need of the market.
It doesn’t matter what educational theory decides to choose. Teachers are eclectic. They will not stop teaching or trembling when ones argue that they misinterpretation on philosophy of education into their class practice.