12 June 2004

Thoughts on Schooling

I came across Thoughts on Schooling posting on the Gurteen Knowledge-log (RSS feed URL link). This Gurteen is not, as it sounds, a small place in Ireland, but a knowledge management expert's on-line knowledge management system making heavy use of XML-based technologies such as RSS feeds and metadata. The content of this posting is interesting, I have long been a fan of Illich anti-institutional appraoch to education, but so is the actual website architecure and the use of a Moveable Type platform for an integrated knowedlge management system like this.

I am a huge fan of John Holt and you will find much about him on this website and in my knowledge-letters so I was delighted to find this nice little summary of some of John Holt's ideas on education and schooling in Robert Patersons weblog.

Just a taste:

I think children learn better when they learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it, and how they want to learn it, learning for their own curiosity and not at somebody else's order.

Reading this, got me to thinking and searching the web some more on the subject of schooling and making the link between three people whose ideas and writings I greatly admire. John Holt of course but also Ivan Illich and Alfie Kohn.

Ivan Illich also has some interesting things to say on schooling. This is how chapter 1 of his book Deschooling Society starts:

Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.

And to complete the trio Alfie Kohn who also has a great deal to say about schooling, teaching methods and the negative role of rewards and punishment.

Posted by mofoghlu at June 12, 2004 1:06 PM | TrackBack