Due to the fact that a particular unified theory of education is absent in pedagogical science, we should talk about a paradigmatic approach. In many ways, paradigms of philosophy have become the basis of theories and paradigms of education. According to the approach, there are several paradigms that allow characterizing the process of obtaining knowledge, attitude to the processes of reality, and put forward a methodology for assessing the facts of reality.
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All paradigms have a different attitude to reality where the difference lies in the ontology of the paradigms. The question of being is associated with the idea of the world: for positivism, the important thing is the idea that reality can be measured, there is one reality or truth. Constructivism assumes that reality must be interpreted; the theory considers “an intent to increase understanding of the phenomena within a specific cultural and contextual setting”. (Walsham, 1995, p. 384) Pragmatism sees the truth in the fact that reality must be revised, discussed, and interpreted in the light of new events constantly. “Subjectivism is about how we perceive reality”, and critical says that reality is built by society. (Kivunja & Kuyini, 2017, p. 28) The way this or that paradigm interprets reality speaks of how adherents relate to such things as knowledge, the process of comprehending the truth, and education.
The ideas of pragmatism and critical paradigm are fundamental to the educational process. The idea of considering thinking as a tool, as an adaptation to the environment in order to achieve goals successfully, is essential. This thought boils down to the fact that truth is defined as the usefulness of an idea. The method of research design suggested by Klein provides “the lenses through which field data are construed, documented, and organized”. (Klein, 1999, p. 76) The methodology typical for the critical paradigm is also necessary for the learning process since open-ended observations, questionnaires, focus groups, and journals form the basis of research activities.
To conclude, the theories and paradigms presented have various advantages, disadvantages, and research perspectives. It is vital to move away from the formed paradigms and incorporate them in own learning process only the most necessary. The combination of the critical paradigm methodology and the ontology of pragmatism is successful and can be in many ways useful in research activities.
Kivunja, C., & Kuyini, A. B. (2017). Understanding and applying research paradigms in educational contexts. International Journal of higher education, 6(5), 26-41.
Klein, H., & Myers, M. (1999). A Set of Principles for Conducting and Evaluating Interpretive Field Studies in Information Systems. MIS Q., 23, 67-94.
Walsham, G. (1995). The Emergence of Interpretivism in IS Research. Information Systems Research, 6(4), 376-394.
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