Educology: An Overview

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Christensen, James E (7 May 2021): Educology: An Overview. https://jamesechristensen.com/

Introduction

Educology is the fund of knowledge about the field of phenomena that is denoted by the term education. A fund of knowledge is a collection of recorded true statements. A field of phenomena is a set of existential, observable objects, actions and/or events. Educology is the product of educological inquiry (or research, including retro-search, re-search and neo-search). Educological inquiry is the careful, disciplined set of activities of asking questions, answering questions and verifying answers (with necessary and sufficient evidence) to questions about education as a field of phenomena. Educological inquiry treats education as the dependent variable and examines the effects of other variables upon education and/or the mutual effects of education and other variables. When educological inquiry is successful, it extends and/or emends the set of recorded true statements about education (see J. Christensen, 2020).

Education, Educology and Educological Inquiry

Education is a field of phenomena that is organized into a system. It consists of

  1. elements (teacher, student, content, setting),
  2. relations among the elements (constructive, sustaining, reconstructive, destructive),
  3. activities (teaching, intentional guided studying),
  4. processes (conduced learning),
  5. products (ranges of knowing).

When education is effective, it produces the process of intentional guided learning. A term which denotes intentional guided learning is conduced learning. The process of conduced learning results in a product. The product is a range of knowing by someone (the student). A range of knowing is a cognitive state of mind consisting of some combination of kind, level and form of knowing.

Educological inquiry is the set of activities of systematically asking questions, answering questions and verifying answers to questions (with necessary and sufficient evidence) about the elements, relations, activities, processes and products in the field of phenomena denoted by the term education. An educological inquiry can be a retro-search, which asks about what knowledge has already been established about education. It can be a re-search, which replicates a previous inquiry about education with a view to affirming or disaffirming the results of the previous inquiry. An educological inquiry can be a neo-search, which asks questions that have never been asked before about education.

Educological discipline is the set of rules followed in the conduct of educological inquiry. The discipline includes the rules for

  1. term definition – the rules for presenting a definiens (a set of terms) that is equivalent in meaning to the definiendum (the term being defined) and/or describing the entity, the set of phenomena or the state of affairs that the definiendum denotes,
  2. statement formation – the rules for making clear, sensical, verifiable declarative sentences that function descriptively and that are grammatically, syntactically and semantically correct,
  3. statement transformation – the rules of logic for inferring what other statements are true or false because of the implicative meaning of a statement and
  4. statement verification – the rules for adducing necessary and sufficient evidence to affirm or disaffirm the truth of a statement.

Educology is the set of recorded true statements produced by successful, careful, well-disciplined educological inquiry. The set of recorded true statements constitutes the fund of knowledge about education, and the term educology denotes that fund. Educology includes recorded

  1. facts – true statements that provide verified accurate descriptions about the field of phenomena denoted by the term education,
  2. theories – true statements that provide highly plausible and well supported explanations about how, why and when things happen as they do in education,
  3. evaluations and recommendations – true statements that express carefully considered and soundly reasoned judgments about the worth of states of affairs in education and recommendations for action to take or avoid in relation to desired states of affairs in education and
  4. justifications – true statements that provide sound reasons based on norms (rules and/or standards) for evaluations and prescriptions made for states of affairs in education.

Some basic warranted assertions (true statements) about education which have been produced by educological inquiry (retro-search, re-search and neo-search) include the following.

  1. Education is a system. It consists of the elements of teacher, student, content and setting (physical, social and cultural), all standing in relation to each other. In education, someone, playing the role of teacher, provides opportunities, guidance, help and supervision to someone else, playing the role of student, to study, intentionally and under guidance, some content (some fund of knowledge and/or some exemplification of knowing) within some physical, social and cultural setting. The intentions and expectations of teachers, students and third parties in education are that the students will extend their range of knowing (as some kind, at some level and in some form) about some state of affairs.
  2. Education can be official or unofficial. Official education occurs in schools, colleges, universities and the like. Unofficial education occurs in families, in peer groups, with work colleagues, etc.
  3. Education can be effective or ineffective. Students can undertake to learn intentionally under guidance some range of knowing and not achieve the intended and prescribed range of knowing, in which case the education has been ineffective. Or students can undertake to learn intentionally under guidance some range of knowing and achieve the intended and prescribed range of knowing, in which case, the education has been effective.
  4. Education can be good or bad. Bad education may have either unworthwhile, unethical, immoral intended learning outcomes (prescribed ranges of knowing) or it may use undesirable, unethical, immoral means to achieve intended learning outcomes, or both conditions may exist. Good education has both worthwhile intended learning outcomes, and it employs desirable, ethical, moral means of achieving the intended learning outcomes.
  5. Education either constructs, maintains, reconstructs or destructs social and cultural norms, and vice versa. Both official and unofficial education function, under various circumstances (political, economic, religious, historical, etc.), either to construct, maintain, reconstruct (improve, reform) or destruct (eliminate, eradicate) the prevalent norms of the social and cultural setting in which the education (the teaching and intentional guided studying) is operating. The converse is also true. Under various circumstances (political, economic, religious, historical, etc.), the prevalent norms of the social and cultural setting function to construct, maintain, reconstruct or destruct education (teaching and studying intentionally under guidance some content with the intention that the students learn some prescribed range of knowing).
  6. Learning from education is intentional and guided. Whether official or unofficial, good or bad, when education is effective (when the teaching and the intentional guided studying are successful), the resultant is the process of intentional guided learning by the student or set of students, and the intentional guided learning results in an extension and/or emendment in the cognitive state of students. They have a new range of knowing which they did not have before the activities of teaching and intentional guided studying. Intentional guided learning is the process of conduced learning of some prescribed range of knowing. Conduced learning contrasts with coerced learning, accidental learning and discovery learning. Coerced learning of some range of knowing is the resultant of experiences with socialization, enculturation, indoctrination and psychological conditioning. Accidental learning of some range of knowing is the resultant of chance experiences (misadventures, mishaps, catastrophes and serendipities). Discovery learning of some range of knowing is the resultant of systematic inquiry, careful disciplined research and/or trial & error.

Educology consists of knowledge about all aspects of education, official and unofficial, effective and ineffective, good and bad. It includes knowledge (recorded true statements) about the following.

  1. Patterns and meanings of discourse among teachers, students and third parties while participating in education.
  2. Past states of affairs in education, including what happened, why it happened, what followed.
  3. Extant states of affairs in education, including what happens, why it happens, what will happen given some set of conditions.
  4. Effective practices and relations instrumental for achieving desired states of affairs in education and instrumental for avoiding and/or eliminating undesired states of affairs in education.
  5. Good and bad states of affairs for and in education.
  6. Laws, rules, regulations and policies which govern (mandate, prohibit, allow) states of affairs in education.

For the purposes of conducting educological research (retro-search, re-search, neo-search) as independent researchers and/or engaging in study of educology as students under the guidance of teachers, educology is commonly organized into subsets or subfunds of educology. The organization is done in relation to features or aspects (elements, relations, activities, processes, products) in the field of phenomena of education. The subfund is typically denoted by the expression the educology of [some aspect of education]. The educology of some aspect of education is the set of recorded true statements about some feature or characteristic of the set of phenomena denoted by the term education, including

  1. any aspect of the elements (teachers, students, content and setting) of education,
  2. any relation (e.g. dependent, independent, coincidental, causal, constructive, destructive, reconstructive, sustaining, etc.) among those four elements of education,
  3. any activity (teaching, intentional guided study) in education,
  4. any process (conduced learning) in education and
  5. any product (range of knowing) from education.

Examples of subfunds of educology include the following.

  1. the educology of teachers and teaching
  2. the educology of students and studying
  3. the educology of content and curriculum
  4. the educology of physical, social and/or cultural setting (or context)

Of the educology of teachers and teaching, there can be, for example,

  1. the educology of assessment and evaluation by teachers, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and the activities of assessment and evaluation by teachers,
  2. the educology of effective teaching, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and effective teaching,
  3. the educology of planning for teaching, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and instructional planning by teachers.
  4. the educology of the characteristics of teachers, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and the conation, perception and cognition of those who play the role of teacher.

Of the educology of students and studying, there can be, for example,

  1. the educology of adult education students, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and students who are adults,
  2. the educology of effective intentional guided studying, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and effective intentional guided studying,
  3. the educology of early childhood education students, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and students who are children of ages birth to 8 years,
  4. the educology of student development of mind, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and the development of the minds of students,
  5. the educology of conduced learning, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and the process of intentional guided learning by students of some prescribed range of knowing,
  6. the educology of women, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and students who are women, etc.

Of the educology of content and curriculum, there can be, for example,

  1. the educology of curriculum, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and curriculum,
  2. the educology of mathematics education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and mathematics as content to be taught and studied intentionally under guidance,
  3. the educology of music education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and music as content to be taught and studied intentionally under guidance,
  4. the educology of science education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and science as content to be taught and studied intentionally under guidance,
  5. the educology of vocational education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and the content of vocational subjects to be taught and studied intentionally under guidance, etc.

Of the educology of physical, social and cultural setting (or context), there can be, for example,

  1. the educology of society, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and society,
  2. the educology of economic systems, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and systems of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services of a society (or set of societies),
  3. the educology of culture, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and culture,
  4. the educology of nations, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and nations,
  5. the educology of ethnic groups, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and ethnic groups,
  6. the educology of past states of affairs in education, which is the fund of knowledge about antecedents and consequences of past organizations and manifestations of teaching and intended guided studying,
  7. the educology of good states of affairs in education, which is the fund of knowledge about the relation between education and desirable, worthwhile arrangements in and for education,
  8. the educology of school administration, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and school administration as a social setting,
  9. the educology of school counseling and guidance, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and school counseling & guidance as a social setting,
  10. the educology of elementary education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and the social setting of the elementary school,
  11. the educology of secondary education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and secondary school as a social setting,
  12. the educology of higher education, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and post-secondary school institutions as social settings for education,
  13. the educology of law, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and laws which prescribe, proscribe and permit states of affairs in education,
  14. the educology of assessment & evaluation by third parties, which is the fund of knowledge about the mutual effects of education and assessment & evaluation performed by third parties (other than teachers), etc.

History and Etymology of the Term Educology

Development of educology commenced in the 1950s. Since that time, educology has been extended through publication of research findings in journals and books and through the establishment of departments of educology and the provision of educology courses in universities.

The term educology has been in use in the English language since the seminal work in educology by Professor Lowry W. Harding at Ohio State University in the 1950s and Professor Elizabeth Steiner [Maccia] and her husband and colleague, Professor George Maccia, at Indiana University in the 1960s. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, John B. Biggs and Rachel Elder coined the term independently of Harding, Steiner and Maccia. Other researchers in the English speaking world who worked on developing and extending educology in the 1970s and 1980s included James E. Christensen, James E. Fisher, David E. Denton, Diana Buell Hiatt, Charles M. Reigeluth and M. David Merrill, James F. Perry, Marian Reinhart, Edmund C. Short, John Walton, Catherine O. Ameh, Laurie Brady, Berdine F. Nel, Maryann J. Ehle and others (see J. Christensen, 1981).

In Europe, development of educology in the 1980s and 1990s came from the research of Anton Monshouwer, Theo Oudkerk Pool, Wolfgang Brezinka, Carlos E. Olivera, Nikola Pastuovic and in the early 2000s by Birgitta Qvarsell, Kestutis Pukelis and Izabela Savickiene and Sharon Link. 

Recent contributions to the development of educology have come from the American educologists Theodore W. Frick of Indiana University, Bloomington, and Kenneth R. Thompson of System-Predictive Technologies, Columbus, Ohio and the Australian educologist James E. Christensen of Educology Research Associates. 

The International Journal of Educology (initially published in Australia, later in the USA) commenced publication in 1987. It has served as a forum for the clarification and extension of educology, with the publication of over 100 refereed articles in educology over a period exceeding 30 years.

Some universities have adopted the term for their publications, e.g. the University of Illinois and Indiana University. Other universities have used educology for institutional organization and curriculum arrangements. Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, a number of universities in the Baltic countries and elsewhere in Europe have established departments and faculties of educology and offer courses and degrees in educology. They include Vilnius University (Lithuania), Siauliai University (Lithuania), Vilnius Pedagogical University (Lithuania), Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), Mykolas Romerix University (Lithuania), Kaunas University of Medicine (Lithuania), Klaipeda University (Lithuania), Tallinn University (Estonia), Stockholm University (Sweden), University of Presov (Slovakia) and Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia). 

In addition to academic institutions, some for-profit and not-for-profit organizations have adopted the term in either the name of their organizations or in their publications.

Argument for the Term Educology

The term educology derives from the term education and the suffix -logy. The term was coined to dispel the confusion caused by using the term education to name the activities of teaching and studying intentionally under guidance and calling the fund of knowledge about those activities by the same name, education. A range of arguments for the use of the term educology has been developed over the past sixty years and more. Some have argued that the term educology should be used to name only philosophy of education or only theory of education or only scientific knowledge about education (science of education) or only knowledge about effective practices in education (praxiological knowledge, also spelled praxeology). Evaluation of the different conceptions of the term educology (using the criteria of inclusiveness, exclusiveness, internal consistency, exhaustiveness, external relatedness and fruitfulness) demonstrates that the conception of the term educology as the entire fund of knowledge about education is the conception which most closely conforms with the six criteria. Thus, the argument which seems the most sound (and which has prevailed in the discourse among educologists over the last half of the 20th and the early 21st century) is that it makes the best sense to use the term educology to name the entire fund of knowledge about education including theoretical, philosophical, scientific and praxiological knowledge.

Within common usage of the English language and also within special usages (i.e. technical usages) of that language, several terms have been used to name the fund of recorded knowledge about education. Included among those terms are pedagogy, andragogy, ethology, Education, Education Studies, Professional Education and psychopedagogy. However, it is clear that one term performs the job of naming the fund of knowledge about education even better than these seven: educology. The term educology suits the job best for three compelling reasons.

  1. The term educology names nothing less than the fund of knowledge about education.
  2. The term educology names nothing more than the fund of knowledge about education.
  3. The term educology prevents conceptual conflation of (a) the set of phenomena denoted by the term education and (b) recorded true statements about the set of phenomena.

The concept of the term educology implies the inclusion of the entire fund of knowledge (recorded true statements) about the entire field of phenomena of education, from nascence to senescence, official and unofficial, effective and ineffective, good and bad. It is not limited only to knowledge about the education of children (pedagogy) or to that of male adults (andragogy). It is not knowledge about phenomena other than education, such as knowledge about character development (ethology) or a combination of psychological knowledge and knowledge about the practice of teaching (psychopedagogy). The name educology eliminates the ambiguity which is created by naming the activities of teaching and guided intentional study with the term education and naming the fund of knowledge (recorded true statements) about that set of activities with the same term education.

The power of the term educology to dispel ambiguity can be demonstrated through techniques such as word substitution in sentences. For example, the practice of capitalizing the term education and of adding the term professional or the term studies or the term teacher to the term education are attempts to remove ambiguity. The use of these terms (EducationEducation StudiesProfessional Education and Teacher Education) is not nearly as cogent in dispelling the ambiguity as is the use of the term educology. This can be illustrated with, for example, the sentence,

“In their [education] to qualify as primary school teachers, students study some psychology, sociology and [education].”

The ambiguity created in the meaning of the sentence can be reduced somewhat, but not entirely, by substituting the second education with the terms EducationEducation StudiesProfessional Education and Teacher Education.

  1. In their [education] to qualify as primary school teachers, students study some psychology, sociology and [Education].
  2. In their [education] to qualify as primary school teachers, students study some psychology, sociology and [Education Studies].
  3. In their [education] to qualify as primary school teachers, students study some psychology, sociology and [Professional Education].
  4. In their [education] to qualify as primary school teachers, students study some psychology, sociology and [Teacher Education].

The ambiguity created in the meaning of the sentence can be eliminated entirely by substituting the second education with the term educology.

“In their [education] to qualify as primary school teachers, students study some psychology, sociology and [educology].”

The term substitution of educology for education, to denote the fund of knowledge about teachers teaching and students studying intentionally under guidance some content in some setting with the intention that students learn some prescribed range of knowing, completely eliminates the ambiguity and conforms with the convention for naming funds of knowledge with the suffix -logy: for example, psychology from psyche (mind) plus -logy (knowledge about); sociology from society plus –logy (knowledge about); educology from education plus –logy (knowledge about).

There are at least three compelling reasons for creating new terms in discourse about the set of phenomena in the field of education.

  1. A new term is indicated when a new meaning arises for which there is no satisfactory existing term.
  2. It is indicated when a meaning is misnamed by current usage.
  3. A new term is called for when current usage is ambiguous.

The case for the term educology is supported by all three reasons. The term education functions ambiguously to name a field of phenomena and also to name warranted assertions about the field (or aspects of the field). It is clearly a misnomer to name warranted assertions about a set of phenomena in the field of education with the term education. It is like using the term animals to name zoology, or viruses to name virology or society to name sociology. It is a category mistake. The term educology names a new meaning for which there is no satisfactory existing term. It names, and only names, and names nothing more than, nor less than, knowledge about education (E. Steiner, Chapter 4, in J. Christensen, 1981).

Educational Discourse and Educological Discourse

There is discourse in education and discourse about education. Discourse in education occurs in the form of talk and writing within education (as part of the activities of teaching and guided intentional studying). Discourse in education is one of many phenomena within the set of phenomena which constitutes education. Discourse about education, when it is sound, well founded, warranted and recorded, is educology. These two categories of discourse are illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1: Example of Educational Discourse and Educological Discourse

Educational discourse: Example of discourse in education Educological discourse:
Example of discourse about education
The scenario is that Mark is a single parent who lives in Los Angeles. He works as an insurance adjuster. He has one child, a daughter, Bronwyn, who is just over two years old. Here is a conversation between them.This is an educological analysis of the conversation between Mark and Bronwyn.
Bronwyn: Cat! Cat!

Mark: Did you see the cat? Daddy doesn’t see the cat. Where is it?

Bronwyn: Cat gone. All gone.

Mark: Daddy doesn’t see the cat. Did the cat go away?

Bronwyn: See cat!

Mark: Where did the cat go? Drink your juice now.

Bronwyn: Juice!

Mark: That’s right, drink your juice.

Bronwyn: Drink? Cat! Cat!

Mark: Finish your juice.

Bronwyn: Finish. Juice all gone.

Mark: Good. You’ve finished your juice. Your juice is all gone.
From an educological viewpoint, the conversation between Bronwyn and Mark is typical of the field of phenomena that constitutes education. The episode has all of the distinguishing characteristics of an educational event or episode. Bronwyn is playing the role of student. Mark is playing the role of teacher. The content which Bronwyn is studying intentionally under guidance and Mark is teaching is the syntax (order), semantics (meaning) and grammar (inflections) of the English language. The setting is the physical setting of the home, the social setting of the single parent family, and the cultural setting of urban America. The teaching methods which Mark uses include modeling, asking questions and giving directives. Bronwyn’s sentences are much shorter than Mark’s – one, two or three words. Mark extends the sentences and puts in all of the words required for correct grammatical, syntactical and semantic use of the language. This provides a model for Bronwyn to imitate, reduce, reconstruct and transform into new sentences. Bronwyn’s study methods include imitation, practice, reduction, reconstruction and transformation. Mark’s teaching style is fatherly, caring and supportive. Bronwyn’s study style is natural, unselfconscious and spontaneous.

The activities of teaching. Mark does his teaching as a matter of course, without being selfconscious of his teaching. Educologically, this is significant because it illustrates that it is possible to act intentionally without being fully selfconscious the whole time of the intentionality. This occurs especially when the intentional action has become integrated into a person’s patterns of conduct and thought in the form of habits.

The activities of guided intentional studying. The same is true of Bronwyn’s studying intentionally  under guidance. Intentional, unselfconscious performances are what Bronwyn and Mark are undertaking with each other in the studying and teaching of language.

Methods and intentions in teaching. It is part of Mark’s set of habits to expand what Bronwyn says into full, syntactically, grammatically and semantically correct sentences. His intention is to help Bronwyn to develop her ability to make such sentences, even though he may not be selfconscious of his intentionality because it has become habit.

Methods and intentions in studying. In turn, Bronwyn accepts his guidance and uses it, sometimes unselfconsciously and sometimes consciously, to signify meaning with her words. All of the elements for an educational transaction are present: teacher, student, content and setting, including physical, social and cultural.

Unofficial vs. official education. Mark and Bronwyn are engaged in unofficial (vs. official) education. There is no written lesson plan, instructional program, syllabus, curriculum, assessment or certification of achievement. There are no licensed teachers, principals or superintendents. The conversation is an unofficial educational episode involving a parent and child.

Study, Education and Educology

The term study denotes the set of activities we undertake to learn some range of knowing (of some kind, at some level and in some form).

Study can be undertaken under the guidance of teachers, within education, and study can be done independently, outside of education. For example, in courses of botany, entomology and meteorology, under the guidance of teachers, we can study (by reading, watching videos, examining photographs, conducting laboratory work, completing field trips, writing answers to questions, writing essays, drawing diagrams, etc.) about natural phenomena with a view to achieving conduced learning and thereby developing a range of botanical, entomological and meteorological knowing. Or without guidance from teachers, we can study (by discerning, observing, describing, explaining, predicting, experimenting, hypothesizing, adducing evidence, verifying, etc.) the growth of plants, the habits of insects and the patterns of weather with a view to achieving discovery learning and thereby extending and/or emending botanical, entomological and meteorological knowledge.

Like plants, insects and weather, education is a set of phenomena about which we can study without guidance (conduct inquiry, including retro-search, re-search and neo-research) with a view to achieving discovery learning and thereby produce educology. Like botany, entomology and meteorology, educology is a fund of knowledge which we produce from our well-disciplined and successful study without guidance (inquiry, including retro-search, re-search and neo-search).

Educology is not the study of education because educology is not an activity. Study is an activity. We can study educology intentionally and under the guidance of teachers of educology to achieve conduced learning and thereby extend our range of knowing about education (our educological knowing). We can also study (conduct inquiry without the guidance of teachers) about the set of phenomena which constitute education with a view to achieving discovery learning and thereby extending educology (adding to the fund of recorded true statements about education). In either case of study, the activity of intentional guided study of educology or the intentional unguided study (inquiry) about education to produce educology, the activity of study is not the fund of knowledge about education.

Education is located in the activities of people playing the roles of teachers and students. It is studied intentionally without guidance (retro-searched, re-searched, neo-searched) by experiencing it as a participant and/or an observer. The intentional unguided study (inquiry) about the set of phenomena which constitutes education, if conducted as serious, well disciplined inquiry that follows rules of evidence, can produce educology (recorded true statements about education). Serious, well disciplined inquiry about education is educological inquiry (including educological retro-search, re-search and neo-search).

Educology is located in books, journals, articles and any other recorded media. It is studied by reading it, answering questions about it, reflecting upon its implicative meaning, engaging in discussions about it, writing essays about it, etc. The study of educology, either conducted independently without guidance or conducted under the guidance of teachers, can lead students to learn an educological range of knowing.

Theory and Educology

Educology is the fund of knowledge about education, so it is not accurate to characterize educology as theory, and only theory. In educology, there are facts, but not only facts. There are also theories, and the facts are systematized by the theories. Educological inquiry develops and uses theory to extend and organize educology. Educological inquiry also uses theory to focus and guide inquiry (retro-search, re-search and neo-search). Three kinds of theory commonly developed and used in educological inquiry are descriptive, explanatory and normative theory.

Descriptive theory consists of well-defined terms. Educological inquiry formulates and uses well-defined terms to denote, discern, observe and describe aspects or features in the field of phenomena of education. For example, clear, unambiguous and semantically sound definitions of the terms teacherstudentcontent and setting are used to denote, discern, observe and describe teachers, students, content and settings within the field of phenomena of education.

Explanatory theory consists of a system of mutually implied statements. Educological inquiry develops and uses explanatory theory to provide reasons for why things happen as they do in education and to predict what will happen under a given set of circumstances. The predictions serve as hypotheses which can be tested. The verification or falsification of hypotheses provides evaluations of the adequacy or inadequacy of the explanatory theory. Through the evaluation of explanatory theory, the theory is affirmed, or revised, or abandoned for a more suitable explanatory theory.

Normative theory consists of norms (explicitly stated sets of standards and/or rules) which are appropriate to use in making and justifying evaluations (judgments about the morality, the ethicality, the instrinsic and/or the extrinsic worth of something) and prescriptions (recommendations about what proper, moral, ethical action ought to be taken). Normative educological inquiry is conducted to establish which sets of norms (rules and/or standards) are appropriate and justifiable to use to make and justify (a) evaluations of states of affairs in education and (b) prescriptions for actions to take in the field of phenomena of education.

Disciplines Requisite for Producing Educology

Educology is a fund of knowledge, not a discipline. Educological inquiry uses a set of disciplines to produce educology. The set of disciplines requisite for producing educology includes the sets of techniques and rules which are necessary for conducting at least three categories of inquiry:

  1. analytic inquiry, which requires the use of the principle of necessity reasoning,
  2. normative inquiry, which requires the use of the principle of normative reasoning,
  3. empirical inquiry (including experimental and non-experimental inquiry), which requires the use of the principle of observation (including extrospection and introspection).

The term educological inquiry denotes the activities of asking questions about some aspect of education, formulating answers to those questions, and presenting 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 explanatory theories and educological justificatory arguments (see J. Christenen, 2016).

The Educological Perspective

The educological perspective is inclusive of the following perspectives in discourse about the field of phenomena of education or about aspects of the field:

  1. the scientific perspective (accurately characterizing what happens, why it happens and what will happen, given some specified set of circumstances in education);
  2. the empirical non-scientific perspective (accurately characterizing what happens in education, but without theoretically generated predictions and hypotheses);
  3. the praxiological perspective (accurately prescribing what to do, what to avoid doing, what relationships to establish and what relationships to avoid to achieve desired states of affairs and outcomes in the field of phenomena of education);
  4. the historical perspective (characterizing what has happened and why it has happened in education in the past);
  5. the jurisprudential perspective (characterizing what is legally allowed, prohibited and required in education);
  6. the analytic philosophical perspective (characterizing the implicative meanings of terms and sentences used in the discourse among teachers, students and third parties in education);
  7. the normative philosophical perspective (characterizing what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable, ethical or unethical and sound or not sound for and in education).

Educological inquiry uses one, or a selection, and sometimes all of these perspectives. For example, in conducting educological inquiry about secondary education, it would be typical to address the questions of:

  1. What set of phenomena does the term secondary education denote? (an analytic philosophical educological question);
  2. What is good and what is bad secondary education? (a normative philosophical educological question);
  3. What are current and prevailing practices and states of affairs in secondary education, why are they that way and what are the most probable outcomes of those practices and states of affairs (a scientific educological question);
  4. What are current and prevailing practices and states of affairs in secondary education? (an empirical non-scientific educological question);
  5. What are effective practices and optimal relations which achieve desired results in secondary education? (a praxiological educological question);
  6. What have been past practices and states of affairs in secondary education, what have been their antecedents and what have been their consequences? (a historical educological question);
  7. What laws, rules and regulations govern secondary education? (a jurisprudential educological question).

Well founded and warranted answers to these questions are all part of the educology of secondary education.

Education as the Dependent Variable

In contrast to other viewpoints (in the sense of arrangements of discourse, e.g. sociology, anthropology, psychology), the educological perspective treats education as the dependent variable, and it is used to conduct inquiry (retro-search, re-search, neo-search) about the effects of other factors, such as social settings, economic activity and political attitudes, upon the field of phenomena of education.

Treating education qua education, the educological perspective conceives of education as a system made up of the elements of teacher, student, content and setting, all standing in relation to each other. The educological perspective analyzes the relations among these four elements. For example, it examines what set of relations does

  1. the setting (physical, social, cultural) have to teachers, students and content?
  2. a teacher (or set of teachers) have to students, content and setting?
  3. a student (or set of students) have to teachers, content and setting?
  4. content have to teachers, students and setting?

All other educological questions derive from this basic set of four questions.

Of course, regardless of what questions are asked about a field of phenomena or how a field is described or characterized, that field remains unchanged. Spoken or written discourse about the way a plant uses sunlight, water and soil to grow does not affect the plant in its use of those things. We can use spoken or written discourse, however, to take effective action in relation to a plant to influence its growth.

And so it is with the different arrangements of discourse (or viewpoints) about the field of phenomena of education. None of the arrangements (sociology, anthropology, psychology, educology, etc.) changes the form and function of education. All can be used to take some kind of action in relation to the education to achieve some intended outcome or desired goal, aim, objective or state of affairs.

The Domain of Educology

The domain (or territory) of educology is the set of all phenomena within education. Inquiry (retro-search, re-search, neo-search) from an educological perspective is undertaken about this set of phenomena with the intention of producing warranted assertions, or knowledge, about education. Part of the domain or territory of educology is represented in the following table.

Table 2: Categories of Phenomena within Education

EducationAge levels in educationBasic components of educationDerivative components of educationBasic activites in educationBasic process in effective education
Official education: Conducted in schools, academies, colleges, institutes & universities with written lesson plans, instructional programs, syllabii, curricula, assessments or certifications of achievement, licensed teachers, enrolled students, principals, superintendents, boards of trustees or governors and rules, regulations, policies & codified laws which specify prohibitions, options and requirementsEarly childhood

Primary

Secondary

Adult, further, tertiary
Teacher

Student

Content

Setting (physical, social, cultural)
Intentions
Strategies
Methods
Styles
Resources
Language
Curriculum
Teaching

Studying intentionally under guidance
Conduced learning (developing a range of knowing intentionally and under guidance)
Unofficial education: Conducted in families, peer groups, work places, recreational events, etc. (outside of schools, academies, colleges, institutes & universities and without written lesson plans, instructional programs, syllabii, curricula, assessments or certifications of achievement, licensed teachers, enrolled students, principals, superintendents, boards of trustees or governors and rules, regulations, policies & codified laws which specify prohibitions, options and requirements)Early childhood

Middle childhood

Adolescence

Early adulthood

Middle adulthood

Senescence
Teacher

Student

Content

Setting (physical, social, cultural)
Intentions
Strategies
Methods
Styles
Resources
Language
Teaching

Studying intentionally under guidance
Conduced learning (developing a range of knowing intentionally and under guidance)

Logic, Techniques and Products of Educological Inquiry

The relationship between educological inquiry and educology is the relationship between a set of activities and the product of the activities. Educological inquiry is a set of activities (asking, answering, verifying) which uses a logic and a set of techniques to produce a set of recorded warranted assertions about education or some aspect of education (see J. Christensen, 2016).

Logic of inquiry. The set of disciplines which is used in the verification of statements (the warranting of assertions) is the logic of an inquiry. At least three principles of verification are used in educological inquiry.

  1. Principle of necessity reasoning. There is the principle of necessity reasoning, in which the logic requires that a statement be judged true (i.e. warranted) when it is necessarily implied by a set of true statements. The principle of necessity reasoning is the same as the principle of deduction.
  2. Principle of normative reasoning. There is the principle of normative reasoning, which is used to produce evaluations and prescriptions (and justifications of evaluations and prescriptions). Evaluations are statements of the form, “X is good.” Prescriptions are statements of the form, “Person A ought to do X.” Justification is a set of reasons organized into an argument which verifies, validates and vindicates evaluations and/or prescriptions. Evaluations and prescriptions are judged to be true when they are consistent with a set of norms to which all persons can rationally adhere if they were in the same set of circumstances.
  3. Principle of observation. There is the principle of observation, in which the logic requires that a statement be judged true (i.e. an assertion be affirmed as warranted) if it is consistent with necessary and sufficient observable evidence (i.e. evidence which can be accessed by extrospection and/or introspection).

Techniques of inquiry. The actual behaviors performed and the procedures followed in adducing evidence to verify a statement (warrant an assertion) are the techniques of an inquiry. Examples include conducting surveys, experimentation, drawing analogies, running simulations, locating documents, taking notes, classifying objects, defining terms, clarifying concepts, etc.

Products of inquiry. The product of successful inquiry about education is educology. Educology is the set of recorded warranted assertions (written statements which are judged to be true) about some aspect of the activities of teaching and intentional guided studying and about the process of conduced learning (guided intentional development of a range of knowing). The set of recorded warranted assertions can be classified into at least three categories, viz. analytic, normative and empirical knowledge about education.

Discipline for forming educology. The logic and techniques for conducting inquiry about education, or some aspect of education, constitute the discipline requisite for conducting sound and productive educological inquiry (retro-search, re-search and neo-search). The product of sound, well disciplined and fruitful educological inquiry is educology. (See Table 3.)

Table 3: The Descipline Requisite for Producing Educology

Kind of inquiryLogic of inquiryProduct of inquiryTechniques of inquiry
Analytic educological inquiryPrinciple of necessity reasoningWarranted analytic assertions (analytic educology)Conceptual analysis, propositional analysis, definition, explication, illustration, model case, contrary case, borderline case, invented case, related concept, unrelated concept, practical consequences, term substitutions, subscripts, invented terms, statistical analyses (analysis of variance, correlation, etc.)
Normative educological inquiryPrinciple of normative reasoningWarranted normative assertions (normative educology)Evaluation, prescription and justification of evaluation and prescription with value clarification, value validation, value vindication, rational value choice
Empirical educological inquiryPrinciple of observation (extrospection and introspection)Warranted empirical assertions (empirical educology)Survey, experimentation, quasi-experimentation, analogy, unobtrusive measures, case studies, participant observation, systematic observation, simulations, ethnographies, naturalistic studies

Critical Categories for Arrangement of Educology into Subfunds

The product of successful educological inquiry is educology, and educology can be arranged into subsets or subfunds of educology. Two categories which are critical for the arrangement of the product of educological inquiry (retro-search, re-search, neo-search) are

  1. the phenomena about which inquiry is conducted and
  2. the purpose of the inquiry.

The use of these categories makes possible the arrangement of subfunds of educology.

Phenomena of inquiry. The something which is investigated in the conduct of inquiry (including retro-search, re-search and neo-search) is the set of phenomena being inquired about, or the phenomena of inquiry, or the object of knowledge. The phenomena which constitute education can be classified into many categories. Six of the critical categories are:

  1. discourse of the participants in education and the implications of the discourse,
  2. worthwhile policies, practices, outcomes and states of affairs for and within education,
  3. education in past times and ages,
  4. existing educational phenomena,
  5. effective educational practices,
  6. legal language which guides and regulates education.

Purpose of inquiry. The intended outcome of an inquiry is its purpose. At least seven purposes of inquiry can be distinguished:

  1. characterization,
  2. description,
  3. explanation,
  4. prediction,
  5. prescription,
  6. evaluation and
  7. justification.

Characterization is a set of statements which identifies the essential properties which distinguish one category of phenomena from another. Description is a set of statements which elucidates and represents a state of affairs as it exists. Explanation is a set of statements which provides reasons for why a state of affairs is as it is. Prediction is a set of statements which foretells how a state of affairs will be. Prescription is a set of statements which tells what, how and when to do something in order to achieve a desired state of affairs. Evaluation is a set of statements which reports that a state of affairs is good (or bad) or relatively better (or worse). Justification is a set of statements which presents a coherent argument about why a course of action ought to be taken (or not be taken) and/or why a state of affairs is good (or bad), better (or worse), ethical (or unethical), valuable (or worthless).

Subfunds of educology. An arrangement of educological assertions in relation to a nominated set of purposes and a specified set of features within education constitutes a subfund of educology. At least seven major subfunds of educology can be distinguished with respect to phenomena of inquiry and purpose of inquiry. They include

  1. analytic philosophical educology,
  2. normative philosophical educology,
  3. historical educology,
  4. scientific edcuology,
  5. empirical non-scientific educology,
  6. praxiological educology,
  7. jurisprudential educology.

Other arrangements, of course, are possible. Examples include the

  1. educology of culture,
  2. educology of curriculum,
  3. educology of early childhood,
  4. educology of economic systems,
  5. educology of gender equity,
  6. educology of learning,
  7. educology of mind,
  8. educology of moral judgment,
  9. educology of motivation,
  10. educology of play,
  11. educology of school administration,
  12. educology of society,
  13. educology of social class,
  14. educology of social justice,
  15. educology of women, etc.

Culture, curriculum, early childhood, etc. are phenomena of inquiry. Thus, the subfunds of educology in the second list are arranged in relation to some subset of phenomena found in the field of phenomena of education. The subfunds of educology arranged by phenomena of inquiry typically include

  1. analytic philosophical,
  2. normative philosophical,
  3. historical,
  4. scientific,
  5. empirical non-scientific,
  6. praxiological and
  7. jurisprudential

educology within them. For example, the educology of women implies all seven subfunds. Thus, within the educology of women, there is the

  1. analytic philosophical educology of women,
  2. normative philosophical educology of women,
  3. historical educology of women,
  4. scientific educology of women,
  5. empirical non-scientific educology of women,
  6. praxiological educology of women and
  7. jurisprudential educology of women.

(See Table 4.)

Table 4: Critical Categories for Arranging Educology into Subfunds of Educology

Subfund of educologyPhenomena of inquiry (phenomena inquired about or object of inquiry)Purpose of inquiry
Analytic philosophical educologyAll discourse within educationCharacterization, description, explanation, prediction, prescription, evaluation, justification of discourse within education,
Normative philosophical educologyIntrinsically and extrinsically good and bad states of affairs for and within educationCharacterization, description, explanation, prediction, prescription, evaluation, justification of intrinsically and extrinsically good states of affairs for and within education
Historical educologyEducation of past times and agesCharacterization, description, explanation, evaluation, justification of education in past times and ages
Jurisprudential educologyLegal discourse which guides and regulates educationCharacterization, description, explanation, prescription, evaluation and justification of legal discourse which guides and regulates education
Scientific educologyExtant educational phenomenaCharacterization, description and theory-generated explanation & prediction of educational phenomena
Empirical non-scientific educologyExtant educational phenomenaCharacterization, description (without theory-generated explanation or prediction) of educational phenomena
Praxiological educologyEffective educational practicesCharacterization, description, explanation, prediction, prescription, evaluation, justification of effective educational practices

Four Meanings of the Term Philosophy of Education

At least four meanings of the term philosophy of education can be distinguished:

  1. philosophy of education1 – analytic philosophy of education, which is the fund of knowledge about meanings of concepts and propositions in discourse among teachers, students and third parties, or discourse within education (this subfund of educology is analytic philosophical educology);
  2. philosophy of education2 – normative philosophy of education, which is the fund of knowledge about worthwhile states of affairs among teachers, students and third parties in education (this subfund of educology is normative philosophical educology);
  3. philosophy of education3 – analytic philosophy of educology, which is the fund of knowledge about the meanings of concepts and propositions in educological discourse, or discourse about education;
  4. philosophy of education4 – normative philosophy of educology, which is the fund of knowledge about worthwhile states of affairs in educology (in careful, well-disciplined discourse about education).

The first two (philosophy of education1 and philosophy of education2) are subfunds of educology. The third and fourth (philosophy of education3 and philosophy of education4) are knowledge about educology, not about education. Therefore, they are meta-educology, or knowledge about knowledge about education.

Philosophy of education1 (analytic philosophy of education or analytic philosophical educology) is an arrangement of warranted assertions which describes and characterizes the necessary implications of concepts and propositions used in discourse within education, among teachers, students and third parties. The theorizing of James Gribble, George F. Kneller, John B. Magee, Gilbert Ryle, Israel Scheffler and B. Othanel Smith, for example, exemplifies philosophy of education1 (analytic philosophy of education, or analytic philosophical educology).

Relevant to the explication of the term philosophy of education is the concept of the term language of education. The term functions ambiguously. It can denote (a) language or discourse which occurs among teachers, students and third parties in education, and it can also denote (b) language or discourse which is about the activities of teachers, students and third parties in education. In its first sense, the term language of education denotes language in education. In its second sense, the term language of education denotes language about education. These two denotations of the term language of education can be distinguished by subscripts:

  1. language of education1 is language in education;
  2. language of education2 is language about education.

What people say while engaged in the role of teaching or in the role of studying under guidance are examples of [language of education]1 or language in education. Educology is [language of education]2 or language about education. Educology is only that language or discourse about education which is recorded and which is warranted with evidence. Obviously not all assertions (statements) about education are warranted with the necessary and sufficient evidence to be deemed true. False statements and nonsensical statements do not belong in educology.

Philosophy of education2 (normative philosophy of education or normative philosophical educology) is normative knowledge about education. This arrangement of educology requires the use of the three disciplines (analytic, normative, empirical). Questions of what is desirable and undesirable for and in education (normative questions) lead on to questions of meaning (analytic questions) and questions of the actual consequences of actions or practices (empirical questions). To settle normative questions competently, we must also be able to settle questions of meaning and questions of actual consequences.

Normative philosophical educology addresses questions such as,

  1. Is an inquiry approach to the teaching of natural sciences an intrinsically better one than an expository approach?
  2. Should understanding, acceptance and appreciation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transgender human beings be taught in schools?

Philosophy of education2 (normative philosophy of education or normative philosophical educology) describes and characterizes that which has worth in education. The theorizing of Ernest Bayles, John Dewey and John Butler, for example, exemplifies philosophy of education2 (normative philosophy of education or normative philosophical educology). Normative philosophical educology is part of educology. It is a subfund of educology. Its focus is upon desirable and undesirable or relatively desirable and undesirable states of affairs, relationships, entities, practices, situations and the like within (and for) education.

Philosophy of education3 (analytic philosophy of educology) is the fund of analytic knowledge about the implicative meaning of words and sentences in discourse about education. For analytic philosophy of educology, language (or discourse) about education is the object of knowledge. Analytic philosophy of educology provides descriptive theory for educology. Descriptive educological theory consists of well-defined terms that can be used in educological inquiry to discern, observe and describe phenomena in education. Examples of descriptive educological theory include the following well-formed definitions.

  1. The term education denotes a system consisting of the four elements of teacher, student, content and setting, all standing in relation to each other.
  2. The term teacher denotes a person who provides opportunities, guidance, help and supervision to someone (the student) to study some content with the intention that the person (the student) learns some range of knowing.
  3. The term student denotes a person who accepts opportunities, guidance, help and supervision to undertake a set of activities to learn some range of knowing.
  4. The term content denotes (a) a selection of a fund of knowledge organized for the purposes of teaching and studying intentionally under guidance and/or (b) a selection of a range of knowing organized for the purposes of teaching and studying intentionally under guidance.
  5. The term setting denotes (a) a physical place in which teaching and studying intentionally under guidance take place, (b) a social context in which teaching and studying intentionally under guidance take place and (c) a cultural context in which teaching and studying intentionally under guidance take place.

Philosophy of education4 (normative philosophy of educology) is the fund of normative knowledge about educology. It includes warranted assertions about

  1. appropriate ways to form statements from well-defined terms such that the statements express clear, unambiguous and testable propositions,
  2. appropriate ways, through logical operations, to transform statements, from the implicative meaning of the statements, into other statements which are true (or false) because of the original statements,
  3. appropriate ways to adduce the necessary and sufficient evidence requisite to verify statements,
  4. ethical norms (rules and/or standards) that are imperative to follow in the conduct of inquiry about education.

Other terms which are commonly used to denote normative philosophy of educology include the terms educational research methods, education research methodologies and research methods for education. Although these terms are in common usage, they are also terms which can lead to confusion because they do not distinguish between education and educology. The term philosophy of educology denotes both analytic philosophy of educology and normative philosophy of educology, and philosophy of educology is part of meta-educology.

Education, Educology and Meta-Educology

Education is a field of phenomena. Educology is the fund of knowledge about that field. Meta-Educology is knowledge about educology. For educology, the object of knowledge is education. For meta-educology, the object of knowledge is educology (see J. Christensen, 2018).

Education

An example of education is the scenario in which a girl, Susan, says to her cousin, Laura, “Let’s play cat’s cradle.” Laura says that she doesn’t know how. Susan says that it’s easy, and Susan shows Laura the basics of wrapping a loop of string around each wrist and using the middle fingers to form the initial cat’s cradle pattern. Laura pays attention to Susan’s instructions and demonstration and practices making cat’s cradle patterns, and they proceed with playing the game.

Educology

An example of educololgy is the recorded true statement,

“Children teach each other, study intentionally under guidance from each other and learn intentionally under guidance from each other a range of games, such as cat’s cradle, hopscotch, red light green light, Simon says, etc.”

Meta-Educology

An example of meta-educology is the recorded true statement,

“The statement, Children teach each other, study intentionally under guidance from each other and learn intentionally under guidance from each other a range of games, such as cat’s cradle, hopscotch, red light green light, Simon says, etc., is an empirical statement which is verifiable by the principle of observation (extrospecton).”

Just as successful educological inquiry produces educology, so too does successful meta-educological inquiry produce meta-educology.

Meta-Educological Inquiry

Meta-educological inquiry consists of the activities of asking questions, answering questions and adducing the necessary and sufficient evidence to verify the answers about (1) the necessary implications, (2) the value and worth and (3) the attribution and provenance of discourse about education. At least three categories of meta-educological inquiry can be distinguished: (1) analytic, (2) normative and (3) empirical.

Analytic meta-educological inquiry requires the use of the principle of necessity reasoning as its logic of inquiry. It produces warranted analytic meta-statements as its product of inquiry. Its techniques of inquiry include concept isolation, propositional isolation, concept analysis, propositional analysis, definition (including classificatory, synonymy, equivalent expression definition), identification of definition functions (including reportive, stipulative, programmatic functions), explication, model case, contrary case, borderline case, invented case, related concept, unrelated concept, term substitution, subscripts, invented terms, social context technique, result in language technique, practical results technique. Its phenomenon of inquiry (phenomenon about which inquiry is conducted) is the entire set of discourse about the the field of phenomena of education. Its purpose of inquiry is description and explanation of the implications of all discourse about the the field (or aspects of the field) of phenomena of education. The statement,

“The statement, Individualization is instruction that is adapted to individual needs, is an analytic statement verifiable by the principle of necessity reasoning,”

is an example of an analytic meta-educological statement.

Normative meta-educological inquiry requires the use of the principle of normative reasoning as its logic of inquiry. It produces warranted normative meta-statements (evaluations and prescriptions) as its product of inquiry. Its techniques of inquiry include value clarification, value validation, value vindication and rational value choice. Its phenomena of inquiry (phenomena about which inquiry is conducted) are intrinsically and extrinsically good and bad states of affairs for and within discourse about the field of phenomena of education. Its purpose of inquiry is description, explanation, prediction, prescription and justification of intrinsically and extrinsically good states of affairs for and within discourse about the field of phenomena of education. The statement,

“The statement, Individualization is instruction that is adapted to individual needs, is a good statement for beginning inquiry about individualization of instruction in education,”

is an example of a normative meta-educological statement.

Empirical meta-educological inquiry requires the use of the principle of observation (extrospection) as its logic of inquiry. It produces warranted empirical meta-statements as its product of inquiry. Its techniques of inquiry include location of recorded texts, authentication of recorded texts and citation of recorded texts. Its phenomena of inquiry (phenomena about which inquiry is conducted) is extant recorded statements (i.e. texts in articles, journals, papers, books, etc.) about the educational process. Its purpose of inquiry is description, attribution and provenance of extant discourse about the educational process. The statement,

“The statement, Individualization is instruction that is adapted to individual needs, is found on p. 272 of The Teacher’s Handbook (Dwight W. Allen & Eli Seifman, Eds., 1971),”

is an example of an empirical meta-educological statement.

Table 5: Critical Categories for Forming Analytic, Normative and Empirical Meta-Educology

Critical categoryCategory details for analytic meta-educologyCategory details for normative meta-educologyCategory details for empirical meta-educology
Kind of inquiryAnalytic meta-educological inquiryNormative meta-educological inquiryEmpirical meta-educological inquiry
Logic of inquiryPrinciple of necessity reasoningPrinciple of normative reasoningPrinciple of observation (extrospection)
Product of inquiryAnalytic meta-educology, i.e. warranted analytic meta-assertions, which are the same as verified analytic meta-statementsNormative meta-educology, i.e. warranted normative meta-assertions, which are the same as verified normative meta-statements (evaluations and prescriptions)Empirical meta-educology, i.e. warranted empirical meta-assertions, which are the same as verified empirical meta-statements
Techniques of inquiryConcept isolation, propositional isolation, definition (classificatory, synonymy, equivalent expression), definitional function (reportive, stipulative, programmatic), explication, model case, contrary case, borderline case, invented case, related concept, unrelated concept, term substitution, subscripts, invented terms, social context technique, results in language technique, practical results techniqueValue clarification, value validation, value vindication, rational value choiceLocation, authentication & citation of recorded texts consisting of educological statements
Phenomena of inquiry (phenomena inquired about or object of inquiry)All discourse about education or some aspect of educationIntrinsically and extrinsically good and bad states of affairs for and within discourse about education or some aspect of educationRecorded text containing statements about education or some aspect of education
Purpose of inquiryCharacterization, description, explanation of the necessary implications of discourse about education or some aspect of educationCharacterization, description, explanation, prediction, evaluation, prescription and justification of intrinsically and extrinsically good states of affairs for and within discourse about education or some aspect of educationDescription, attribution and provenance of recorded statements about education or some aspect of education
Subfund of educologyNone (not a part of educology): analytic meta-educology is a fund of knowledge at a second level of discourse, above and outside of educologyNone (not a part of educology): normative meta-educology is a fund of knowledge at a second level of discourse, above and outside of educologyNone (not a part of educology): empirical meta-educology is a fund of knowledge at a second level of discourse, above and outside of educology

Responsibilities of Educological Researchers

It is the responsibility of educological researchers to be expert in both educological inquiry and meta-educological inquiry. Both activities are required in the task of competently making warranted assertions about education or some aspect of education. It is the educological researcher’s responsibility to identify significant problems about education or some aspect of education and to solve those problems. It is also the educological researcher’s obligation to clarify:

  1. What kind of problem is being posed to solve, i.e. what logic of inquiry does the problem require?
  2. What product of inquiry does the problem imply?
  3. What techniques of inquiry does it indicate?
  4. Which phenomena of inquiry demand its focus?
  5. What purpose of inquiry does the problem serve?

To ask and answer these five questions is to undertake meta-educological research. If the educological researcher omits these questions, the researcher risks derailment at the very beginning of the inquiry. Much work can be wasted and invalid results perpetrated if an analytic question is mistaken for an empirical one, or an empirical one, for a normative one. Each kind of question implies its appropriate logic, product, techniques, phenomena and purpose of inquiry. Analytic questions must be treated as analytic questions for the results to be valid, and so it is for normative and empirical questions. This is why educological researchers, in order to do their job properly and correctly, must be able to undertake expert meta-inquiry at the second level of discourse, i.e. at the level of warranted assertions about statements about education or some aspect of education.

Table 6: Education, Educology and Meta-Educology and Corresponding Levels of Discourse

Level of discourseDistinguishing characteristics of the level
Level 2 discourse (discourse about educology)Fund of knowledge: meta-educology (warranted assertions about statements about education)
Level 1 discourse (discourse about education)Fund of knowledge: educology (warranted assertions about education)
Level 0 (no discourse)Phenomena: education (teachers teaching and students studying intentionally under guidance some content in some physical, social and cultural setting with the view in mind that the students learn intentionally under guidance some range of knowing)

Knowledge About Education Vs. Knowing About Education

There is knowledge about education, and there is knowing about education. Knowledge is recorded warranted assertions. Knowing is the learned ability to perform consciously, purposefully, intelligently, adequately and with warranted certainty in relation to some state of affairs.

Educological Knowledge. Educology is one among many funds of knowledge. It is the fund of recorded warranted assertions about the field of phenomena of education. It is located in the discourse of books or any other medium suitable for recording statements, e.g. magnetic tape, microfilm, microfiche, computer memory, CDs, DVDs. Knowledge about education (or some aspect of education) is related to knowing about education (or some aspect of education), but it is quite distinct from it as well.

An example of educology (educological knowledge) is the following recorded true statement.

“The probabilities that students will achieve some nominated range of knowing are maximized when the students want to achieve the nominated range of knowing as specified in some set of intended learning outcomes, they like their teacher, they like their study activities, they like each other, and they perceive themselves as succeeding in achieving progress in learning the nominated range of knowing.”

Educological Knowing. From an educological viewpoint, knowing is an ability which is realized (vs. potential). It is learned (vs. being inherited or being instinctual). It is an ability to perform with some intention (i.e. it is a purposeful performance). The performance is done in relation to some state of affairs. The performance is executed competently and with warranted certainty. The performance takes some form, or is manifested in some way (at least five forms of knowing can be distinguished). An example of knowing is that of knowing about education. Knowing about education is educological knowing. It is the learned ability to perform intentionly, competently and with warranted certainty in relation to the elements, relations, activities, processes and products of education. Knowing is located within the function of people. It is their cognitive function in relation to education. People can know, but not be demonstrating that knowing at any one instant. An instance of demonstrated knowing is an exemplification of knowing. For example, a woman sitting on a bus one morning may be able to ice skate. While she is not ice skating at that moment, she still knows how to ice skate. When she actually ice skates later that afternoon, she is providing an exemplification of her knowing how to ice skate. When she teaches her students that afternoon how to execute a three-point turn, her demonstration of the three-turn is an exemplification of knowing how to do a three-turn organized for purposes of teaching and guided study. As students, people can study the recorded propositions in educology and exemplifications of educological knowing (live in-person or recorded in some medium – sound, photographs, film, DVD, etc.) in order to extend their educological knowing. In doing so, they extend their cognitive function in relation to the elements, relations, activities, processes and products of education. Through their study, they might improve their function with respect to their conduct as teachers, students, counselors, coaches, trainers, mentors, curriculum developers, educational administrators and managers, or educological researchers (including retro-researchers, re-searchers and neo-searchers).

Transience of Knowing vs. Permanence of Knowledge and Representations of Knowing. It is the nature of human beings that we are mortal. We all die, and our knowing dies with us. But educology and recorded exemplifications of educological knowing do not die. While a person’s cognitive function ceases with the death of that person, recorded propositions about education remain in the recorded media, and recorded exemplifications of educological knowing also remain in the recorded media. Each person who comes anew as a student to the fund of educology and the recorded exemplifications of educological knowing has the opportunity to extend her or his educological knowing. In addition, new generations, through successful educological research (retro-search, re-search, neo-search) have the opportunity to contribute to the revision and extension of the fund of warranted assertions which constitutes educology and to the set of recorded representations of exemplifications of knowing.

The Range of Educological Knowing

Kinds, Levels and Forms of Knowing. At least four kinds of educological knowing can be distinguished. Each of the kinds may be manifested in at least five forms and at four levels. The four kinds are 

  1. knowing-that-one
  2. knowing-that
  3. knowing-how and 
  4. knowing-to.

The five forms are

  1. linguistic,
  2. emotional,
  3. imaginal,
  4. physiological and 
  5. physical.

The four levels are

  1. preconventional,
  2. conventional intermediate,
  3. conventional expert and  
  4. postconventional.

The four kinds of knowing are distinguishable with respect to the object or states of affairs in relation to which the knowing is performed. The five forms of knowing are distinguishable with respect to the manner in which the knowing is manifested. The four levels of knowing are distinguishable with respect to the degree of expertise with which the knowing is performed.

Range of Knowing. The combination of kinds, forms and levels of knowing constitutes a range of knowing. A range of knowing may vary from narrowly restricted to widely extended. It is possible for a person to develop knowing-that-one without knowing-how or knowing-that without knowing-to. It is possible for a person to develop, for example, knowing-how at a conventional expert level in a linguistic form, but not in a physical form. An extensive range of knowing constitutes understanding.

Table 7: Range of Knowing as Combinations of Levels, Kinds and Forms of Knowing

Levels of knowingKinds of knowingForms of knowing
Fourth level:
postconventional knowing
Knowing-that-one
Knowing-that
Knowing-how
Knowing-to
Linguistic
Emotional
Imaginal
Physiological
Physical
Third level:
conventional expert knowing
Knowing-that-one
Knowing-that
Knowing-how
Knowing-to
Linguistic
Emotional
Imaginal
Physiological
Physical
Second level:
conventional intermediate knowing
Knowing-that-one
Knowing-that
Knowing-how
Knowing-to
Linguistic
Emotional
Imaginal
Physiological
Physical
First level:
preconventional knowing
Knowing-that-one
Knowing-that
Knowing-how
Knowing-to
Linguistic
Emotional
Imaginal
Physiological
Physical

Knowing-That-One. Knowing-that-one about education is the ability to perform adequately in relation to unique states of affairs within education. A teacher, Ms. Woods, recognizes, is acquainted with and appreciates Michael’s moods, motivations, aspirations and capabilities, not as an adolescent or a middle class child or a student in his 9th year of school, but as Michael, in all of his uniqueness. This is an example of a teacher’s knowing-that-one. Ms. Woods is able to manifest her knowing-that-one of Michael in talking with Michael (linguistic knowing), in anticipating Michael’s behavior (imaginal knowing), in making gestures to which Michael will respond positively (physical knowing). Knowing-that-one of education gives the knower (e.g. teacher, student, counselor, administrator, manager, curriculum developer, researcher) sensitivity to recognize, be acquainted with and to appreciate the uniqueness of particular participants (teachers, students, third parties) and the uniquenes of particular states of affairs in education.

Knowing-That. Knowing-that about education is the ability to perform adequately in relation to states of affairs within education as members of categories. A teacher, Ms. Woods, can, for example, classify Michael’s behavior as typical of 15-year-olds. She can categorize Michael’s capabilities as characteristic of middle level achievers and relate his aspirations and motivations to what one might expect of middle class adolescents. She can manifest her knowing-that in writing a report (linguistic knowing), in having a feeling of familiarity and towards Michael’s behavior as typical of boys of his age (an emotional knowing), in imagining how Michael will resemble his mates in a year’s time (imaginal knowing), in making gestures and managing body language towards boys of Michael’s kind (physical knowing). Knowing-that gives the knower adequacy and power with respect to theory (i.e. knowing-that gives theoretical adequacy). The knower with knowing-that about education can describe and explain (i.e. theorize) about the field of phenomena of education in terms of categories, classifications and relationships of features or aspects of education. The knower can do this, if she or he has knowing-that, with necessary and sufficient evidence and sound inferences.

Knowing-How. Knowing-how is the ability to use a set of procedures to achieve an intended result. A teacher, for example, starts class by having the children line up outside the classroom, enter the classroom in single file and take their seats as assigned seats. The teacher has learned that this set of procedures achieves an orderly entry into the room and focuses the attention of pupils upon what is to happen next in the lesson. In this example, this teacher is manifesting knowing-how. When the teacher is giving directions, the knowing-how is being manifested as linguistic knowing-how. It can be manifested in gestures and body language (physical knowing), in feelings (emotional knowing), in anticipation (imaginal knowing). Knowing-how is the basis for effective action within education.

Knowing-To. Knowing-to is the realized ability to exercise conscious intention, will and choice in a rational way that is consistent with a set of freely and rationally chosen norms (i.e. standards and/or rules). A synonym for knowing-to is conative knowing. Conative knowing is a state of knowing-to, as distinct from knowing-that-one, knowing-that or knowing-how. Individuals have achieved a state of knowing-to when they can say (and mean and justify it), “I am willing to do that.” That state of willingness, or knowing-to, is the same as conative knowing. Conative knowing is the ability to choose rational courses of action which are consistent with standards and rules by which to regulate, control and direct one’s self. Conative knowing is the basis for living a rational, principled life. Conative knowing gives us the ability to set goals and make plans in relation to criteria and to make choices consistent with chosen plans and goals. Conative knowing, or knowing-to, is the realized ability to consciously and thoughtfully live consistently by a set of standards and rules. An example of knowing-to is a teacher consciously choosing to treat each and every student respectfully, courteously and fairly.

Other Possibilities of Knowing. While the examples just given of knowing-that-one, knowing-that, knowing-how and knowing-to were ones in which a teacher manifested the four kinds and five forms of knowing, other players in education are capable of learning these kinds and forms of knowing about education. These include students, counselors, coaches, mentors, administrators, managers, curriculum specialists and any one interested in knowing about education from a professional viewpoint or from the viewpoint of extending one’s liberal education. One can develop educological knowing as a liberal study as well as a professional study.

Levels of Knowing. At least four levels of knowing are possible (preconventional, conventional intermediate, conventional expert and postconventional). The four levels relate to the distinctions of beginner, intermediate, expert and expert innovator. One who has preconventional knowing is just at the beginning of learning some kind and form of knowing about education. The person has not yet achieved the conventions for a range of knowing. At the conventional intermediate level, the person has learned the conventions for a range of knowing. At the conventional expert level, the person has learned the conventions for a range of knowing and can perform them habitually, efficiently, unerringly and with a high degree of warranted confidence. The postconventional level is being manifested when the knower is creating innovations which have not yet become conventions. Innovative expert performers within education and researchers who are engaged in neo-search about education, if successful, are performing at the postconventional level of knowing. They are setting new standards or conventions of knowing about education.

Educological Understanding

An extensive range of educological knowing leads to educological understanding. There can be degrees of understanding. Degrees can range from little understanding to extensive understanding. Extensive educological understanding is the realized ability to perform purposefully, intelligently, competently and with warranted certainty to resolve challenges, solve problems and achieve desired results within some state of affairs in education.  Extensive educological understanding is educological knowing at the conventional expert and/or postconventional levels of knowing in the four kinds of knowing and in the five forms of knowing.

Rational Constructive Action in Education

Within matters educational, experience is highly prized. It is commonplace to believe that because we have experienced education as students for 10, 12 or more years that we have an extensive understanding of education. While it is true that experience within education is important for developing educological understanding, experience alone is insufficient to develop an extensive range of educological knowing. All of us experience disease, but this does not qualify us as medical practitioners. We occupy space and exist in time, but this experience does not transform us into physicists. So it is with educological knowing. To develop educological understanding, we must engage in experiences with an educological perspective such that the significant and important features of the experience may be discerned, reflected upon, evaluated and appreciated educologically. To develop a range of conventional expert and/or postconventional level knowing about education, we must, as students, study intentionally under guidance educology and representations of educological knowing in addition to having experience within education as teachers, students or third parties. Rational constructive action within education (as teachers, students or third parties) requires educological understanding at the conventional intermediate levels, at the very least, but preferably at the conventional expert and postconventional levels of knowing. Without educological understanding, naive uninformed action can be taken, but not rational, well-informed action. If naive uninformed action is constructive, it will be by accident, not by educological knowing. The way to rational constructive action within education is through coming to know as much as one can about education from an educological perspective. Educological knowing requires study of educology and study of exemplifications of educological knowing. The study of educology is achieved by reading and comprehending, reflecting upon and taking intelligent well-informed action in relation to warranted assertions about education. The study of exemplifications of educolocical knowing is achieved by observing exemplifications (either live in-person or audio-visual recordings) of educological knowing, reflecting upon, modeling and practicing the exemplifications until they become a part of one’s own range of educological knowing. Educology and exemplifications of educological knowing provide concepts, propositions, facts and theory about education, cognitive structure for reasoning about education and effective practices for taking rational constructive action in and for education.

Uses of Educology

Liberal and Professional Education. Educology has uses in the curriculum of liberal education as well as professional education. Liberal education is undertaken to extend one’s ability to function as a free person with self determination within a free and democratic society. Professional education is undertaken to function as an effective, ethical and accountable practitioner, e.g. a teacher, counsellor or mentor, within education. Sound educological understanding provides the basis for undertaking rational, constructive action within education and for engaging in sound, well informed discourse about education. Through studying educology, one can develop educological understanding towards several ends, e.g. towards

  1. heightened sensitivity for, to and within educational situations,
  2. effective participation within educational situations (as teacher, student, counsellor, coach, manager, etc.),
  3. articulation of sound theory and justificatory arguments about educational situations and
  4. resolution of problems connected with educational situations.

The liberal and professional uses of educology are described, explained and illustrated in a number of educological works (see, for example, E. Steiner, Educology for the Free, 1981).

Naming Professional Organizations. Another important use of educology is the naming of professional organizations whose purposes are to conduct research, produce knowledge and disseminate knowledge about education. For example, the conflation of (1) object of inquiry with (2) product of inquiry is removed by making the change of name from:

  1. the American Educational Research Association to the American Educological Research Association,
  2. the Australian Association for Research in Education to the Australian Association for Research in Educology,
  3. the Comparative Education Society to Comparative Educology Society and
  4. the Society of Professors of Education to the Society of Professors of Educology.

Naming organizational units. Likewise, educology has an important use for naming organizational units whose purpose it is to teach and extend knowledge about education. The use of educology in the naming of organizational units within academies, institutes, colleges and universities dispels conflation of concepts and confusion in discourse about education. For example, the name change from:

  1. college of education to college of educology,
  2. school of education to school of educology,
  3. faculty of education to faculty of educology and
  4. department of education to department of educology

removes the conflation of (1) object of inquiry with (2) product of inquiry and makes clear that the purpose of the units is to teach and study knowledge about educational phenomena and extend knowledge about education.

Structuring Programs, Curricula and Courses. Within organizational units of educology (university faculties, colleges, schools, departments) the six critical categories of

  1. kind of inquiry
  2. logic of inquiry
  3. techniques of inquiry
  4. phenomena inquired about
  5. purpose of inquiry
  6. products of inquiry

have important applications for making decisions about

  1. course titles and descriptions,
  2. curriculum arrangements and
  3. organization of academic staff.

Use of these categories reduces the likelihood of category mistakes, nonsensical contradictions and wasteful duplication in educological programs, curricula, courses and organization of staff. The application of the six categories also increases the probability of arrangements of academic staff and curricula which have coherency, clarity and flexibility, without ambiguity or equivocation. The benefits of using the six critical categories include the likelihood of producing an organization which (1) makes sense to those whom it arranges and (2) contributes to cooperative effort towards the worthwhile goal of extending knowledge about education.

The Role of Units of Educology. From an educological perspective, the proper role of a unit of educology (i.e. a faculty, school, college, department or division of educology) within a university is to provide a favorable and supportive environment in which

  1. educologists may conduct research about education and extend educology,
  2. teachers of educology may successfully guide their students in extending their range of educological knowing and understanding,
  3. users of educology may consult with educologists about ways and means of resolving issues and meeting challenges in education,
  4. meta-educologists may conduct research about discourse about education and extend meta-educology,
  5. teachers of meta-educology may successfully guide their students in extending their range of meta-educological knowing and understanding and
  6. users of meta-educology may use their meta-educological understanding as educologists in the conduct of their educological research.

Table 8: Key Roles in a Unit (Department, Faculty, College, School) of Educology

RolesActivitiesProducts
EducologistResearch about the set of phenomena in educationEducology, i.e. recorded warranted assertions about education
Teacher of educologyManagement of guided study of educologyStudents with an extended range of educological knowing
User of educologyUse of educological understanding in addressing problems & issues in educationAchievement of a desired state of affairs in relation to education
Meta-educologistResearch about discourse about educationMeta-educology, i.e. recorded warranted assertions about recorded warranted assertions about education
Teacher of meta-educologyManagement of guided study of meta-educologyStudents with an extended range of meta-educological knowing
User of meta-educologyUse of meta-educological understanding in addressing problems & issues in discourse about educationAchievement of a desired state of affairs in relation to discourse about education

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