Be Masters in That You Teach and Continue to Learn: Medieval Muslim

Be Masters in That You Teach and Continue to Learn: Medieval Muslim Thinkers on Educational Theory

Comparative Education Review, v.50 n.3 (2006)


Insufficient awareness of the educational achievements of the past bears the risk of not recognizing what is genuine progress in the field of education and what is mere repetition. In other words, without knowledge of the history of education, we may fail to achieve the level of understanding and reasoning reached by former generations while, at the same time, keeping ourselves busy with self-postulated problems, the solutions to which have long been available in the stores of historical knowledge. Part of the issue is that there is a tendency in contemporary Western research on education to neglect theories, philosophies, and intellectual movements originating from cultures and civilizations other than the occidental one. For instance, studies in education in the West are often concerned with the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian foundations of a European-centered history of learning, while educational concepts and practices of other cultures and civilizations are not given adequate consideration. This is somewhat surprising in view of the complex challenges Western societies are facing at the beginning of the third millennium. In fact, the increasing ethnic and religious diversity of the population in nearly every large city in North America and Europe (and in most institutions of primary, secondary, and higher learning) seems to call rather urgently for a change in the approach toward education, both nationally and internationally. At the same time, it seems necessary to recognize fully that the study of educational thought is a key tool for a better understanding of cultures, civilizations, and religions other than “our own.”

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