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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Philosophy of Education Syllibus

Philosophy of Adventist Education

3 Semester Hours



Aims of the Course


Students finishing this course will be expected to be familiar with the various philosophical presuppositions that underlie many of the choices made in educational work. They should be able to discuss intelligently the challenges to faith that exist in the academic world and the ways to face them.


They should be conversant with the principles of education that can be logically developed from the Adventist message of the judgment and the work that Adventists must do. They should have a basis for answering the ethical and methodological questions that are dividing Adventist educational systems today.


In particular they should be familiar with Dr. Jan Paulson’s 2003 appeal that Adventist educators cease agitating perplexing and unresolved faith issues, and the history that led up this appeal. They should feel comfortably familiar with the Ellen White book Education. Their future educational choices should be consistent with their philosophical presuppositions.


Notes on Projects:


Projects are assigned at the beginning of the class period where they are found in the outline below. They are due at the beginning of the next class where a project is assigned, or at the review for the final exam, which ever comes first.


Students who have not completed their project when it is due may choose to take a zero either on the project that is not done, or on the project that is being assigned. Students may not be working on two assignments at once. Those choosing to take a zero on the new assignment have until that new assignment would have been due to finish the first assignment.


More information on each of the projects may be found following the class outline.


Required Texts


Education, by Ellen G. White

Fundamentals of Christian Education, by Ellen G. White

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, by Ellen G. White

Handouts as listed below


Note on Reading Assignments: The notation Ed 210, FE 223, CT 101 should be read by the student as “The chapter in the book Education beginning on page 210, the chapter in the book Fundamentals of Christian Education beginning on page 223, and the chapter in the book Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, beginning on page 101.” All such notations denote a chapter rather a page. During this course you will read the entirety of the book Education.


Grading Policy


The scores of various assignments are weighted according to the following scale. The letter grade is drawn from the raw score after they have been weighted and combined. The letter grade is drawn with a degree of subjectivity that may allow the assignment of a grade that closely corresponds to the raw score.


Final Exam             50%

Projects                  25%

Quizzes                  25%


Reading, if not completed up-to-date at the final exam will cause 10% to be deducted from the exam score


Lecture Topics, Reading Assignments, and Projects

Class 1                   No Reading required before Class


Lecture: Presuppositions and Epistemology – The foundations of educational practice



Class 2                   Ed 13; [Optional: CT 49; CT 493]


Lecture: Aims and Objectives of Adventist Education – A Mission Statement from Above

Contrast with Secular Aims; Evaluation of Practice in Light of the Aim


Class 3                   FE 334


Lecture: Adventist Presuppositions and Epistemology – Revelations of the Spirit

Ellen White’s Evaluation of Pragmatism, Existentialism, Post-modernism, etc.


Class 4                   Ed 20


Lecture: Historical models for educational values and choices

Eden as a model; Primal principles related to the nature of man; Faulty Contextualization


Project: Interview with Secondary Principle (non-Adventist) regarding school objectives.


Class 5                   Ed 23


Lecture: The logical error in popular eclectic educational choices.

Philosophy from the story of the Genesis knowledge tree


Class 6                   Ed 28


Lecture: The relation of education to redemption; holistic perspectives organic to sound Biblical

exegesis; the ethics of Adventist Education


Class 7                   Ed 33


Lecture: Jewish educational philosophy as built into the Jewish economy

Considering the outcomes of ancient practices: wealth, family, intelligence among Jews


Class 8                   Ed 45


Lecture: The first campus-model of education; the Schools of the Prophets. Extra-Biblical sources

Basic principles; practicality of the model discussed


Project:   Survey to evaluate correlation between educational privileges and worship choices


Class 9                   Ed 53, 146


Lecture: Biographical models; God’s activity as a Teacher, Trainer

Great men and Bible biographies and passive mentors for today’s generation


Class 10                 Ed 73, FE 438


Lecture: Survey of “Christ’s Example in Contrast with Formalism” and the chapter “The

Teacher Sent from God.”


Class 11                 Ed 84


Lecture: Illustrations from the Training of the Twelve Apostles; Methods and Discipline of Jesus

Problem students in the class-room, help and hints at forging leadership from impetuosity


Class 12                 Ed 99, 102, 113


Lecture: The moral value in the natural sciences; early childhood methods and philosophy;

Psycho-social values and the acquiring of common sense through nature’s lessons


Class 13                 Ed 123


Lecture: Culture and Mental Agility vs Empirical Information Gathering

Shattering the idea of a static IQ; Social grace and end of the best methods in education


Class 14                 Ed 128


Lecture: Science and Science “falsely so called.” Evaluating the relationship between empiricism

and faith. The importance of Christian science in Inspiration.


Class 15                 Ed 135


Lecture: Business Principles and Methods. Discussion: Enron and its aftermess; the ethical deficit

and its relation to philosophical presuppositions of existentialism.


Class 16                 Ed 159

Lecture: Education and the arts; the roles of poetry and song in sacred history; the failures of other

forms in light of Christian principles, namely sculpture and drama.


Project: Design music policy for a secondary school


Class 17                 Ed 169


Lecture: Mysteries in the Bible; Dealing with modern skeptical thought; the place of doubt in

education; evidence-based faith. Discuss Paulson’s 2003 appeal to professors for restraint


Class 18                Ed 173


Lecture: History and Prophecy—Christianity’s offensive argument in the battle over world-views.

Discussion: Pascal’s Wager – why we don’t need it. The subjective in uninspired history.


Class 19                Ed 185


Lecture: The scope and limit of the Bible as an informant. The Bible as a guide. The Bible as

a source of multidisciplinary information. Discuss practical applications.


Class 20                 Ed 195; FE 425


Lecture: Holistic approaches to the study of physiology for all students. Discuss: Current issues

in health education; childhood, Irish, Philadelphia obesity.


Class 21                 Ed 202


Lecture: Temperance and Dietetics; Discuss “Every student needs to understand the relation

between plain living and high thinking.”


Project: Begin preparing for Midterm Exam. Exam will be within the next week of classes.


Class 22                 Ed 207; Handout “Ellen White on Sports and Games;”


Lecture: Discuss the Handout. How do the ethics that govern the sports arena correlate with those

imposed by a rational development of Christian principles?


Class 23                 Ed 214; FE 416


Lecture:  History of the Manual Training Movement among educational reformers in the 19th

century, its impact on America. Discuss: Adventism and manual training today.


Class 24                 Ed 225

Lecture: The relation of Educational Reform to the Judgement: CharacterBuilding, the means

to the end in Adventist Education. Methods.


Project: Create a fact sheet illustrating in two columns areas of educational choices that have been

laid down for Adventists, and areas that have been left to our discretion.


Class 25                 Ed 230


Lecture: Educational methods in light of Adventist educational philosophy, Lecture A


Class 26                 No Reading Assignment for this Class


Lecture: Discussion regarding “Methods” in the book Education


Class 27                 Ed 240, FE 62, FE 100, CT 100-101


Lecture: Meddling with Mingling – Why Adventist educational institutions instituted non-courting

policies. Issues today. Various views and their coherence.


Class 28                 Ed 246


Lecture: Discussion regarding chapter “The Relation of Dress to Education.” Regulations.

Merits of uniforms considered.


Project: Design dress standards for a secondary school; work, class, recreation, cosmetics, etc.


Class 29                 Ed 250


Lecture: The SabbathSchool and Adventist Education. Family Education. Discuss “The Sabbath

and the family were alike instituted in Eden, and in God’s purpose they are indissolubly

linked together.”


Class 30                 Ed 253


Lecture: Teaching Practical Religion; Faith and Prayer and other spiritual disciplines in Adventist

educational practice. “Should” vs. “How” and “Show” vs. “Tell” in teaching.


Class 31                 Ed 262


Lecture: Helping students with career choices. Desires, amplitudes, needs, impressions – and

a multitude of counselors. Discus “To do our best in the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for the indications of His providence—these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation.”


Class 32                 Ed 275


Lecture: Teacher Qualifications and Efficiency. Preparing teachers, teachers preparing, hiring

instructors with values corresponding to the mission of Adventist education.


Class 33                 Ed 283


Lecture: Modeling “co-operation” in the home and school. The dangers of inconsistent mentors.

Laboratory: Evaluate past experiences in the secondary setting.


Class 34                 Ed 287, FE 277, FE 454


Lecture:  Discipline, Suspension, Expulsion, Caution


Project:  Draw up discipline guidelines for staff at a secondary institution.


Class 35                 FE 92, FE 167, FE 381


Lecture:  Curriculum. Prohibitions and Required Subjects in light of Inspiration.


Class 36                 FE 196


Lecture: The epistemology of Authority. Its dominance in various levels of academia, its

value in light of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.


Class 37                 CT 107, CT 158


Lecture: Home-schooling, a movement and its methods and values. Polarization in current

generation of youth.


Class 38                 Handout on Public Education and Ministry to Public Universities


Lecture: Discussion: Currents in public university ministry. Dangers, liabilities, opportunities.


Class 39                 FE 520


Lecture: Funding Adventist Education, ethics, values, and methods


Class 40                 FE 492


Lecture: Colonization. Criticism of societal tendencies to undermine integration. Application to

Adventist educational centers.


Class 41                 CT 465, CT 474


Lecture: Graduate educational systems in Adventist education. Discussion: Training Adventist

medical professionals and physicians


Class 42                 CT 500-555


Discussion: The reading.


Class 43                 Begin Review for Exams


Examine School Calendar for Dates and Scheduling of Exams


Project Details


Project: Interview with Secondary Principle (non-Adventist) regarding school objectives.


The interview may be by phone. You will likely need to buy a phone card. You may interview any public-school principal or principal of a private/Christian school, excepting that they must be in the state of Arkansas. You may not chose the same principal as another student.


Design the interview before you call. Ask the principal if he/she has ten minutes or so to help you with an assigned interview for a class on educational philosophy. Your questions should reveal the following: Why did he/she get into educational administration? In what ways, if any, do his educational goals differ from those of the those that are over him? What outcomes does the school under his direction aim to instill in its graduates?


When you hand the assignment in it should be in the form of an interview transcript, with your words being nearly word-for-word and the answers being as close to word-for-word as you can manage.


Project:   Survey to evaluate correlation between educational privileges and worship choices


The survey may be conducted in a parking lot or by a random calling of phone numbers. You need 30 qualifying surveys. Persons that do not qualify for the survey include 1. People you know  2. Persons still in school.


Here are the survey questions:


  1. What grade-level of education did you complete?  (ie, 7th grade, 11th grade, 2 years of college, bachelor’s degree, one year of graduate school)
  2. How often do you read the Bible?
    1. More than once per week
    2. Weekly
    3. Monthly
    4. Several times each year
    5. Annually or less
    6. I do not attend religious services


  1. Would you have an interest in a free Bible study class if one was available? (Recommend for those that say “yes.”)


Work with four other students to tally results (so that there are 120 surveys tallied on your assignment.) Students may share their results with as many others as they desire. When you hand the assignment in, it should be in the form of two columns, with education level in one and frequency of religious attendance in the other. Following the columns should be a paragraph of your own evaluating the data in light of the question “Does an increase in educational achievement increase or decrease the likely-hood of religious attendance in Southwest Arkansas, or neither?” At the top of your assignment list the four persons who contributed results to your study.


Project: Design music policy for a secondary school


The policy should be enforceable and defensible. Issues: What about computers with CD players? Approved musical CD’s and tapes? What to do with contraband? How to define contraband? Or eliminate all music? Canned music for backgrounds to special music? Policies for what staff play in their homes when students are around? Or no such policy?


Project:  Draw up disciplinary guidelines for staff at a secondary institution


The goal of your guidelines is to help the staff save the students, to help prevent disciplinary problems by giving advice and setting up a system for handling disciplinary issues. Remind the staff of principles that should guide them in choosing when and how to administer discipline, and of what ought to be done to prevent the need for discipline.


Project: Create a fact sheet illustrating in two columns areas of educational choices that have been

laid down for Adventists, and areas that have been left to our discretion.


Examples of items that might go in one column or another:

The number of students in our schools

The location of our campus

The arrangement of the daily class schedule

The nature of student housing

The names of books that should be studied


The list should be long. YOU MAY COMPARE WORK on this project AFTER you have at least 25 items on your own list. Lists will be graded for completeness.


Project:   You may suggest your own project to replace any one or two of those projects suggested here. Have your proposed project suggestion approved before you begin working on it. (smile).


For the Word Doc:

(3) Comments

    • Haggai, I am not sure this is a question. But the book Education very much reveals Ellen White’s philosophical suppositions and conclusions including in the areas of epistemology (how do we know what is true?) and in the field of axiology (what has value? and why? What is morally excellent?)

  1. Hello brother Prewitt.
    I’ve been listening to your sermons on AudioVerse.
    All my life people told to study the Bible. But no one really taught me how to do it.
    By now I figured out a way to do when I need to teach Sabbath School but it is not suficient. Since you are a Bible teacher, are you willing to help me to understand and to know how to study the Bible by myself? Please!
    Please contact me. I really would appreciate your help.
    My email is: [email protected]. I will be waiting for an answer.
    Many thanks

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