Basic Questions of Education: What to Ask Ourselves When Educating the Young

What are the basic, underlying questions that inform education as a human enterprise? This work challenges scholars in education and related fields with its combination of original research and theory. It systematically identifies and examines underlying questions of education.


“This book summarizes key views on education in extremely well thought-out schemes of questions with corresponding suggestions for researchers, teachers and students, using a highly valuable method of inquiry in the process. Now it is for us to take this book and use it to bring out the Socrates within us.” – Prof. Hans van der Meij, Twente University

“By dispelling widely held notions about what education, schools, and teachers should be able to (but cannot) accomplish, it brings sharp focus to the inherent uncertainty and inefficiency of the nature of education. It rejects purely empirical, technical definitions of education and instead construes it as a moral, benevolent enterprise that brings students to the good. By arguing that education is not a solely empirical field and is instead a domain of action, Dillon convinces that, though difficult, our work as researchers and practitioners in education is to practice education rightly…today. The most promising way to ensure our right practice is the continual process of our inquiry—the asking and address of the right questions. – Prof. Andrea M. Guillaume, California State University, Fullerton

“A signature contribution of this work is the recognition that these questions [of education] can never be answered once and for all. As conditions, values, resources, and interests change over time, these questions will repeatedly arise to be readdressed anew. The most significant, enduring contribution one could make, therefore, is to further our understanding of the importance and interrelationship of these questions and to offer ways in which they can be addressed.” – Prof. Nick L. Smith, Syracuse University

Table of Contents

Preface by Prof. Hans van der Meij, Twente University
Part One: The Nature of Education
1. The First Questions of Education
Part Two: The Elements of Education
2. A Scheme of Questions
3. Seven Elemental Questions
4. Uses of a Scheme of Questions
Part Three: The Domains of Education
5. The Questions of Curriculum
6. The Questions of Teaching and Learning
7. The Question of Excellence in Teaching
8. The Question of Prerequisites to Learning
9. Controversial Questions and Issues of Education
Part Four: Educational Research
10. Research as a Questioning-Answering Process
11. Classification of Research Questions
12. Usage of Questions in Educational Research
13. Practice of Research Questions
14. Pedagogy of Research Questions
Part Five: Educational Practice
15. Teacher Questions
16. Student Questions
17. Issues of Questioning