Welcome to my website. Since 1972, my research interests have been focused on the questions of what is education, what is knowledge about education and how can that knowledge be organized in ways that are coherent and fruitful.
In my intellectual journey of addressing these questions, I have adopted an educological perspective. The term educology was introduced to me in 1972 by my colleague James E. Fisher in the early days of our careers when we were both Assistant Professors in the College of Education at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. He also introduced me to his mentors, Professors Elizabeth Steiner [Maccia] and George Maccia, at Indiana University, Bloomington. Both of them, by the early 1970’s had completed substantial work in the conceptualization and clarification of educology, and I learned at lot from them and from Fisher. I remain eternally grateful for their guidance.
I understand the educological perspective to be one of looking at situations and states of affairs in terms of
- whether there are educational transactions taking place within in them and
- to what extent other factors are influencing the elements, relations, activities and processes in education.
So from an educological perspective, we think of education as the dependent variable, and we ask how or to what extent do other variables affect education. The educological perspective leads us to think about the set of phenomena denoted by the term education
- not in terms of the sociology of education, but in terms of the educology of society,
- not in terms of the psychology of education, but the educology of psyche, mind and mental functions,
- not in terms of the economics of education, but the educology of economic arrangements, relationships and processes,
- not in terms of the politics of education, but the educology of political processes,
- not in terms of the anthropology of education, but the educology of cultural processes,
- not in terms of comparative education, but in terms of comparative educology.
I conceive of the term educology as meaning the same as the fund of knowledge about the field of phenomena that is education. The term educology derives from a combination of the terms education and logy. It has been in use since the seminal work in educology by Professor Lowery W. Harding at Ohio State University in the 1950’s and Professors Elizabeth Steiner [Maccia] and George Maccia at Indiana Univesity in the 1960’s.
I understand educology to consist of that discourse which is made up of warranted assertions, valid explanatory theories and sound justificatory arguments about all and any aspects of the education. Educology is nothing more than, and nothing less than, the entire and comprehensive fund of knowledge about education. Education is a field of phenomena about which we can conduct inquiry and research. Educology is the fund of knowledge produced from well disciplined and successful inquiry and research about education.
I distinguish between warranted assertions (knowledge) and the rules (the discipline) that we follow to warrant an assertion. With this distinction, we can identify at least three sets of disciplines to produce educology, viz.
- analytic discipline, i.e. the use of the principle of necessity reasoning to warrant an assertion about education,
- normative discipline, i.e. the use of the principle of evaluative, prescriptive and/or justificatory reasoning to warrant an assertion about education,
- empirical discipline, i.e. the use of the principle of observation (including extrospection and introspection) to warrant an assertion about education.
I take the set of activities of inquiry and of research to be the same, i.e. to be the activities of asking questions, formulating answers to those questions and adducing necessary and sufficient evidence to warrant that the answers which are formulated are necessarily true (in the case of analytic educological facts) or very highly probably true (in the case of empirical educological facts) or are valid, sound and fruitful (in the case of educological theories).
I take the educological perspective to be inclusive of at least the following perspectives in discourse about the education (or aspects of the education):
- scientific (i.e. characterizing what is),
- praxiological (i.e. characterizing what is effective),
- historical (i.e. characterizing what has been),
- jurisprudential (i.e. characterizing what is legally allowed, prohibited and required),
- analytic philosophical (i.e. characterizing meanings of terms and sentences) and
- normative philosophical (i.e. characterizing what is good and bad, desirable and undesirable and ethical and inethical).
It is my position that sound educological understanding provides the basis for rational, constructive action within the education. Through studying educology, we can develop educological understanding towards several ends, e.g. towards
- heightened sensitivity for discerning, recognizing and appreciating the nuances of educational situations,
- effective participation within educational situations as teachers, students, counsellors, coaches, managers, etc.,
- articulation of sound characterizations and theories (both explanatory and justificatory) about educational situations and
- resolution of problems connected with educational situations.
In addition to philosophical educology (i.e. philosophical knowledge about education), I also make the distinction of philosophy of educology (i.e. knowledge about how to produce knowledge about education).
Philosophical educology addresses questions such as what is good and desirable in education.
In contrast, philosophy of educology addresses questions such as
- what constitutes a warranted assertion about education,
- what constitutes a valid explanatory theory for a set of established facts about the education and
- what constitutes a valid justificatory argument for educational situations or states of affairs.
The focus of my work has been mainly, and continues to be, on questions addressed by philosophy of educology.
I see applications for the philosophy of educology in
- the naming of organizational units in universities (e.g. faculties, departments, schools and colleges of educology, rather than of education),
- the naming of subjects and courses in universities (e.g. Introduction to Educology, the Educology of Curriculum, the Educology of Early Childhood Education, the Educology of Secondary Education, the Educology of Higher Education),
- the naming of professional organizations (e.g. the American Educological Studies Association, the Australian Association for Research in Educology, etc.),
- the naming of professional journals (e.g. the Australian Journal of Educology, the British Journal of Educological Research),
- the organization of curriculum within units of educology (e.g. programs for a Bachelors in Educology, an MA in Educology, a PhD in Educology,
- the substance of research methods courses (e.g. research methods for conducting educological research and producing educology)
- the achievement of thinking, speaking and writing clearly about educational matters,
- the exercise of well informed, intelligent and constructive action in relation to educational issues and challenges.
Introduction to educology
For those of you who would like an introduction to educology, read “Educology: An Overview” on this website. Other sources readily available online are the website Educology at http://educology.indiana.edu/ and the monograph Educology Is Interdisciplinary: What Is It? Do We Need It? Why Should We Care? by Theodore W Frick (2019) at http://educology.indiana.edu/Frick/TIEtheory.pdf.