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Audrey Watters on Twitter: "I'm sorry. But I have a rant about "personalized learning" https://t.co/lgVgCZBae7"
"I'm sorry. But I have a rant about "personalized learning" https://www.npr.org/2018/11/16/657895964/the-future-of-learning-well-it-s-personal

"Personalized learning" is not new. Know your history. It predates "Silicon Valley" and it pre-dates educational computing and it most certainly pre-dates Khan Academy and it pre-dates Sal Khan.

Even the way in which Sal Khan describes "personalized learning" -- "students move at their own pace" until they've mastered a question or topic -- is very, very old.

Educational psychologists have been building machines to do this -- supposedly to function like a tutor -- for almost 100 years.

The push to "personalize" education *with machines* has been happening for over a century thanks to educational psychology AND of course educational testing. This push is also deeply intertwined with ideas about efficiency and individualism. (& as such it is profoundly American)

Stop acting like "personalized learning" is this brand new thing just because the ed-tech salespeople and ed reformers want you to buy it. Maybe start asking why all these efforts have failed in the past -- with and without machines. Ever heard of the Dalton Plan, for example?

And good god, don't say past efforts failed because computers are so amazing today. School software sucks. People who tell you otherwise are liars.

Also: as democracy seems to be collapsing all around us, perhaps it's not such a fine time to abandoned shared intellectual spaces and shared intellectual understanding, eh? Perhaps we should be talking about more communal, democratic practices and less personalized learning?

Also: stop taking people seriously who talk about the history of school and the only book they seem to have read on the topic is one by John Taylor Gatto. Thanks in advance.

(On the other hand, keep it up. This all makes a perfect Introduction for my book)"
personalization  personalizedlearning  2018  audreywatters  history  education  edtech  siliconvalley  memory  salkhan  khanacademy  psychology  testing  individualism  efficiency  democracy  daltonplan  johntaylorgatto  communalism  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  tcsnmy  collectivism  us 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Education Debates — davidcayley.com
"Sometime in the 1990's I received a long letter from a teacher named Alex Lawson, asking me to consider doing an Ideas series on the state of education. The letter impressed me by its sincerity, and by the sense of urgency its author clearly felt, but I found the idea somewhat daunting. The subject inspires such endless controversy, and such passion, that I could immediately picture the brickbats flying by my ears. I also worried that my views were too remote from the mainstream to allow me to treat the subject fairly. My three younger children, to that point, had not attended school, and my reading and inclination had made me more interested in de-schooling than in the issues then vexing the school and university systems, which I tended to see as artefacts of obsolete structures. Nevertheless Alex and I kept in touch, and I gradually became able to pictures the pathways such a series might open up. Thinking of it as a set of "debates" or discussions, without getting too stuck on a tediously pro and con dialectical structure, allowed me to reach out very widely and include the heretics with the believers. The series was broadcast, in fifteen parts, 1998 and 1999. I re-listened to it recently, and I think it holds me pretty well. There are a few anachronisms, but my dominant impression was plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Alex Lawson, whose ardour and persistence inspired the whole thing, appears in the third programme of the set. De-schooling gets its day in programmes seven through nine.

This series Inspired a letter I have never forgotten, from a retired military man in rural New Brunswick, who wrote to me afterwards that I had "performed a noble service for our country." I was touched, not only that he saw nobility in what I had done, but that he could see that I had attempted to open up the question of education and provide a curiculum for its study rather than trying to foreclose or settle it.

The series had a large cast of characters whom I have listed below.

Part One, The Demand for Reform: Sarah Martin, Maureen Somers, Jack Granatstein, Andrew Nikiforuk, Heather Jane Robertson
[embedded in this post]

Part Two, A New Curriculum: E.D. Hirsch, Neil Postman
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-two ]

Part Three, Don’t Shoot the Teacher: Alex Lawson, Daniel Ferri, Andy Hargreaves
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-three ]

Part Four, School Reform in the U.S.: Deborah Meier, Ted Sizer
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-four ]

Part Five, Reading in an Electronic Age, Carl Bereiter, Deborrah Howes, Frank Smith, David Solway
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-five ]

Part Six, Schooling and Technology: Bob Davis, Marita Moll, Carl Bereiter
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-six ]

Part Seven, Deschooling Society: Paul Goodman, Ivan Illich, John Holt
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-seven ]

Part Eight, Deschooling Today: John Holt, Susannah Sheffer, Chris Mercogliano
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-eight ]

Part Nine, Dumbing Us Down: Frank Smith, John Taylor Gatto
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-nine ]

Part Ten, Virtues or Values: Edward Andrew, Peter Emberley, Iain Benson
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-ten ]

Part Eleven, Common Culture, Multi-Culture: Charles Taylor, Bernie Farber, Bob Davis
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-eleven ]

Part Twelve, The Case for School Choice: Mark Holmes, Adrian Guldemond, Joe Nathan, Andy Hargreaves, Heather Jane Robertson
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-twelve ]

Part Thirteen, Trials of the University: Jack Granatstein, Paul Axelrod, Michael Higgins, Peter Emberley
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-thirteen ]

Part Fourteen, On Liberal Studies: Clifford Orwin, Leah Bradshaw, Peter Emberley
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/2/the-education-debates-part-fourteen ]

Part Fifteen, Teaching the Conflicts: Martha Nussbaum, Gerald Graff"
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/2/the-education-debates-part-fifteen ]

[find them here too: http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/?category=Education+Debates ]
education  learning  schooling  schools  paulgoodman  ivanillich  johnholt  johntaylorgatto  marthanussbaum  geraldgraff  peteremberley  cliffordorwin  dvidcayley  teaching  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  compulsory  tedsizer  deborahmeier  edhirsch  alexlawson  danielferri  ndyhargreaves  davidsolway  franksmith  deborrahhowes  carlbereiter  bobdavis  maritamoll  institutions  institutionalization  radicalism  susannahsheffer  chrismercogliano  edwardandrew  iainbenson  berniefarber  charlestaylor  markholmes  adrianguldemond  joenathan  andyhargreaves  heatherjanerobertson  highered  highereducation  leahbradshaw  sarahmartin  maureensomers  jackgranatstein  andrewnikiforuk  technology  edtech 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — John Holt, How Children Fail No matter what tests...
"What I love about Holt’s writing is how much of it comes from direct observation of life, and how little of it comes from theory. (This book began as a series of memos Holt wrote to his teaching partner.) However, while I respect these stories and direct observations from the classroom, they can also make for a slower reading experience, and I found myself skipping a lot of sections where Holt describes the specifics of trying to teach his students mathematics.

The writing in this book seemed to me to be much more frustrated and somewhat angrier than the writing in How Children Learn, and there were a few sections that made me cringe a bit from their brutal honesty. (One also needs to keep in mind the book was published in the mid-60s, so some of Holt’s descriptions, particularly one about a retarded child, were a little bit of a shock to me.)

Still, I’ve learned from Holt more than anybody else about how children learn, and there’s a lot to glean from this book. My notes, below — will try my best not to repost the themes I’ve already noted from Teaching As A Subversive Activity, which was obviously much influenced by this book.



Intelligence is a way of operating.



Humans are born intelligent, and children are natural learners.



Small children do not worry about success or failure.



Good thinkers are comfortable with uncertainty and not-knowing.



School make us unintelligent — primarily through fear.



Worst of all: we know how bad school can be, but no matter how bad it is, we still think it’s good for kids.



"Though I didn’t enjoy this book as much as How Children Learn, in the past few months, John Holt has had a tremendous impact on my thinking about how I should go about educating my kids, but more importantly, and maybe more surprisingly, he has had an enormous impact on how I think about my own work, so much of which is based on self-guided, self-directed learning. Even, and maybe especially, as someone who liked and excelled at school and is now moderately successful in my chosen career, he’s made me rethink why it is that I do what I do, re-examine some of my “teacher-pleasing” habits, why it was I “succeeded” in school in the first place, and how my “success” in my career, has been, mostly, attributable to methods and ways of operating that I didn’t learn in school, and how, in fact, a great deal of my best work was done outside of school, when I turned my back on formal education, and struck out on my own."
austinkleon  children  johnholt  learning  unschooling  howelearn  howchildrenfail  education  schools  teaching  deschooling  parenting  howweteach  self-directedlearning  self-directed  success  uncertainty  not-knowing  intelligence  fear  schooling  schooliness  process  observation  science  curiosity  questionasking  askingquestions  johntaylorgatto  neilpostman  charlesweingartner  dumbingusdown  teachingasasubversiveactivity  howchildenlearn 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden...
"This sentence put a big lump in my throat: “eventually you have to come to be part of a place — part of its hills and streets and waters and people — or you will live a very, very sorry life as an exile forever.”

Networks are not communities

In a sneaky way, this part of the book shook me most profoundly — because it was written before social media, it doesn’t mention “social networks” explicitly, but so much of it applies to Facebook, Twitter, etc., and how we often mistake those virtual places as real places, with real community.

A real community allows you to be a whole person:
A community is a place in which people face each other over time in all their human variety: good parts, bad parts, and all the rest. Such places promote the highest quality of life possible — lives of engagement and participation.

A network, however, requires only a piece of you:
it asks you to suppress all the parts of yourself except the network-interest part — a highly unnatural act although one you can get used to. In exchange, the network will deliver efficiency in the pursuit of some limited aim. This is, in fact, a devil’s bargain, since on the promise of some future gain one must surrender the wholeness of one’s present humanity. If you enter into too many of these bargains, you will split yourself into many specialized pieces, none of them completely human. And no time is available to reintegrate them. This, ironically, is the destiny of many successful networkers and doubtless generates much business for divorce courts and therapists of a variety of persuasions.

Over time, too much networking leads to a feeling of malnourishment:
If the loss of true community entailed by masquerading in networks is not noticed in time, a condition arises in the victim’s spirit very much like the “trout starvation” that used to strike wilderness explorers whose diet was made up exclusively of stream fish. While trout quell the pangs of hunger — and even taste good — the eater gradually suffers for want of sufficient nutrients.

We all know that feeling from being on Twitter too long.

I’m also thinking now of the ways that a website like NextDoor attempts to bring community together, but really just re-organizes a community as a network — most of the stuff I see happening on my neighborhood message board is atomization, or splitting apart of the community: all you people who aren’t putting out your garbage vs. those of us who are, mom’s groups, cyclists, craigslist-like transactions, etc.
Networks divide people, first from themselves and then from each other, on the grounds that this is the efficient way to perform a task. It may well be, but it is a lousy way to feel good about being alive. Networks make people lonely. They cannot correct their inhuman mechanism and still succeed as networks.

Gatto says that, yes, networks have their place, but that they lack any real “ability to nourish their members emotionally.” He says “the only ones I consider completely safe are the ones that reject their communal facade, acknowledge their limits, and concentrate solely on helping me do a specific and necessary task.” (LinkedIn? Ha.)
I want to repeat this until you are sick of hearing it. Networks do great harm by appearing enough like real communities to create expectations that they can manage human social and psychological needs. The reality is that they cannot. Even associations as inherently harmless as bridge clubs, chess clubs, amateur acting groups, or groups of social activists will, if they maintain a pretense of whole friendship, ultimately produce that odd sensation familiar to all city dwellers of being lonely in the middle of a crowd. Which of us who frequently networks has not felt this sensation? Belonging to many networks does not add up to having a community, no matter how many you belong to or how often your telephone rings.

Gatto sees compulsory school as an “involuntary network with strangers.”

We need less schooling, not more.

When you stop thinking about individual schools as “failing” or “underperforming” and you start seeing our school system as an institution doing exactly what it was designed to do, it, in the words of Zoolander’s Hansel, “changes your whole perspective on shit.” You stop thinking about how you can improve schools, and start wondering if there’s another alternative entirely."
2016  austinkleon  johntaylorgatto  education  community  networks  schools  schooling  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  self-directedlearning  children  parenting  agesegregation  place  socialnetworking  socialnetworks 
july 2016 by robertogreco
On the Wildness of Children — Carol Black
"When we first take children from the world and put them in an institution, they cry. It used to be on the first day of kindergarten, but now it’s at an ever earlier age, sometimes when they are only a few weeks old. "Don’t worry," the nice teacher says sweetly, "As soon as you’re gone she’ll be fine. It won’t take more than a few days. She’ll adjust." And she does. She adjusts to an indoor world of cinderblock and plastic, of fluorescent light and half-closed blinds (never mind that studies show that children don’t grow as well in fluorescent light as they do in sunlight; did we really need to be told that?) Some children grieve longer than others, gazing through the slats of the blinds at the bright world outside; some resist longer than others, tuning out the nice teacher, thwarting her when they can, refusing to sit still when she tells them to (this resistance, we are told, is a “disorder.”) But gradually, over the many years of confinement, they adjust. The cinderblock world becomes their world. They don’t know the names of the trees outside the classroom window. They don’t know the names of the birds in the trees. They don’t know if the moon is waxing or waning, if that berry is edible or poisonous, if that song is for mating or warning.

It is in this context that today’s utopian crusader proposes to teach “eco-literacy.”

A free child outdoors will learn the flat stones the crayfish hide under, the still shady pools where the big trout rest, the rocky slopes where the wild berries grow. They will learn the patterns in the waves, which tree branches will bear their weight, which twigs will catch fire, which plants have thorns. A child in school must learn what a “biome” is, and how to use logarithms to calculate biodiversity. Most of them don’t learn it, of course; most of them have no interest in learning it, and most of those who do forget it the day after the test. Our “standards” proclaim that children will understand the intricate workings of ecosystems, the principles of evolution and adaptation, but one in four will leave school not knowing the earth revolves around the sun.

A child who knows where to find wild berries will never forget this information. An “uneducated” person in the highlands of Papua New Guinea can recognize seventy species of birds by their songs. An “illiterate” shaman in the Amazon can identify hundreds of medicinal plants. An Aboriginal person from Australia carries in his memory a map of the land encoded in song that extends for a thousand miles. Our minds are evolved to contain vast amounts of information about the world that gave us birth, and to pass this information on easily from one generation to the next.

But to know the world, you have to live in the world.

My daughters, who did not go to school, would sometimes watch as groups of schoolchildren received their prescribed dose of “environmental education.” On a sunny day along a rocky coastline, a mass of fourteen-year-olds carrying clipboards wander aimlessly among the tide pools, trying not to get their shoes wet, looking at their worksheets more than at the life teeming in the clear salty water. At a trailhead in a coastal mountain range, a busload of nine-year-olds erupts carrying (and dropping) pink slips of paper describing a “treasure hunt” in which they will be asked to distinguish “items found in nature” from “items not found in nature.” (We discover several plastic objects hidden by their teachers along the trail near the parking lot; they don’t have time, of course, to walk the whole two miles to the waterfall.) By a willow wetland brimming with life, a middle-school “biodiversity” class is herded outdoors, given ten minutes to watch birds, and then told to come up with a scientific hypothesis and an experimental protocol for testing it. One of the boys proposes an experiment that involves nailing shut the beaks of wild ducks.

There is some dawning awareness these days of the insanity of raising children almost entirely indoors, but as usual our society’s response to its own insanity is to create artificial programs designed to solve our artificial problems in the most artificial way possible. We charter nonprofit organizations, sponsor conferences, design curricula and after-school programs and graphically appealing interactive websites, all of which create the truly nightmarish impression that to get your kid outside you would first need to file for 501(c)3 status, apply for a federal grant, and hire an executive director and program coordinator. We try to address what's lacking in our compulsory curriculum by making new lists of compulsions.

But the truth is we don’t know how to teach our children about nature because we ourselves were raised in the cinderblock world. We are, in the parlance of wildlife rehabilitators, unreleasable. I used to do wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and the one thing we all knew was that a young animal kept too long in a cage would not be able to survive in the wild. Often, when you open the door to the cage, it will be afraid to go out; if it does go out, it won’t know what to do. The world has become unfamiliar, an alien place. This is what we have done to our children.

This is what was done to us."



"If you thwart a child’s will too much when he is young, says Aodla Freeman, he will become uncooperative and rebellious later (sound familiar?) You find this view all over the world, in many parts of the Americas, in parts of Africa, India, Asia, Papua New Guinea. It was, of course, a great source of frustration to early missionaries in the Americas, who were stymied in their efforts to educate Indigenous children by parents who would not allow them to be beaten: “The Savages,” Jesuit missionary Paul le Jeune complained in 1633, “cannot chastise a child, nor see one chastised. How much trouble this will give us in carrying out our plans of teaching the young!”

But as Odawa elder and educator Wilfred Peltier tells us, learning -– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of non-interference, in the right of all human beings to make their own choices, as long as they’re not interfering with anybody else. As Nishnaabeg scholar and author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson tells us, learning –– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of consent, in the right of all human beings to be free of violence and the use of force. Simpson explains:
If children learn to normalize dominance and non-consent within the context of education, then non-consent becomes a normalized part of the ‘tool kit’ of those who have and wield power… This is unthinkable within Nishnaabeg intelligence.


Interestingly, the most brilliant artists and scientists in Euro-western societies tell us exactly the same thing: that it is precisely this state of open attention, curiosity, freedom, collaboration, consent, that is necessary for all true learning, discovery, creation."



"We no longer frame people as either “civilized”or “savage,” but as “educated” or “uneducated,” “developed” or “developing” (our modern terms for the same thing). But we retain the paternalistic attitudes of our forebears, toward our children and toward the “childlike” adults we find all over the world — a paternalism in which the veneer of benevolence is underpinned by the constant threat of violent force.

Control is always so seductive, at least to the "developed" ("civilized") mind. It seems so satisfying, so efficient, so effective, so potent. In the short run, in some ways, it is. But it creates a thousand kinds of blowback, from depressed rebellious children to storms surging over our coastlines to guns and bombs exploding in cities around the world."
education  unschooling  children  childhood  carolblack  attention  culture  society  learning  wildness  wild  wilderness  thoreau  ellwoodcubberley  williamtorreyharris  schooling  schools  johntaylorgatto  outdoors  natureanxiety  depression  psychology  wellness  adhd  mindfulness  suzannegaskins  openattention  miniaodlafreeman  paulejeune  wilfredpeltier  leannebetasamosakesimpson  consent  animals  zoos  nature  johannhari  brucealexander  mammals  indigenous  johnholt  petergray  work  play  howwelearn  tobyrollo  chastisement  civilization  control  kosmos  colonization  colonialism 
may 2016 by robertogreco
The Invented History of 'The Factory Model of Education'
[Follow-up notes here: http://www.aud.life/2015/notes-on-the-invented-history-of-the-factory-model-of ]

"Sal Khan is hardly the only one who tells a story of “the factory of model of education” that posits the United States adopted Prussia’s school system in order to create a compliant populace. It’s a story cited by homeschoolers and by libertarians. It’s a story told by John Taylor Gatto in his 2009 book Weapons of Mass Instruction. It’s a story echoed by The New York Times’ David Brooks. Here he is in 2012: “The American education model…was actually copied from the 18th-century Prussian model designed to create docile subjects and factory workers.”

For what it’s worth, Prussia was not highly industrialized when Frederick the Great formalized its education system in the late 1700s. (Very few places in the world were back then.) Training future factory workers, docile or not, was not really the point.

Nevertheless industrialization is often touted as both the model and the rationale for the public education system past and present. And by extension, it’s part of a narrative that now contends that schools are no longer equipped to address the needs of a post-industrial world."



"Despite these accounts offered by Toffler, Brooks, Khan, Gatto, and others, the history of schools doesn’t map so neatly onto the history of factories (and visa versa). As education historian Sherman Dorn has argued, “it makes no sense to talk about either ‘the industrial era’ or the development of public school systems as a single, coherent phase of national history.”"



"As Dorn notes, phrases like “the industrial model of education,” “the factory model of education,” and “the Prussian model of education” are used as a “rhetorical foil” in order make a particular political point – not so much to explain the history of education, as to try to shape its future."



"Many education reformers today denounce the “factory model of education” with an appeal to new machinery and new practices that will supposedly modernize the system. That argument is now and has been for a century the rationale for education technology. As Sidney Pressey, one of the inventors of the earliest “teaching machines” wrote in 1932 predicting "The Coming Industrial Revolution in Education,"
Education is the one major activity in this country which is still in a crude handicraft stage. But the economic depression may here work beneficially, in that it may force the consideration of efficiency and the need for laborsaving devices in education. Education is a large-scale industry; it should use quantity production methods. This does not mean, in any unfortunate sense, the mechanization of education. It does mean freeing the teacher from the drudgeries of her work so that she may do more real teaching, giving the pupil more adequate guidance in his learning. There may well be an “industrial revolution” in education. The ultimate results should be highly beneficial. Perhaps only by such means can universal education be made effective.

Pressey, much like Sal Khan and other education technologists today, believed that teaching machines could personalize and “revolutionize” education by allowing students to move at their own pace through the curriculum. The automation of the menial tasks of instruction would enable education to scale, Pressey – presaging MOOC proponents – asserted.

We tend to not see automation today as mechanization as much as algorithmization – the promise and potential in artificial intelligence and virtualization, as if this magically makes these new systems of standardization and control lighter and liberatory.

And so too we’ve invented a history of “the factory model of education” in order to justify an “upgrade” – to new software and hardware that will do much of the same thing schools have done for generations now, just (supposedly) more efficiently, with control moved out of the hands of labor (teachers) and into the hands of a new class of engineers, out of the realm of the government and into the realm of the market."
factoryschools  education  history  2015  audreywatters  edtech  edreform  mechanization  automation  algorithms  personalization  labor  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  mooc  moocs  salkhan  sidneypressey  1932  prussia  horacemann  lancastersystem  frederickjohngladman  mikecaulfield  jamescordiner  prussianmodel  frederickengels  shermandorn  alvintoffler  johntaylorgatto  davidbrooksm  monitorialsystem  khanacademy  stevedenning  rickhess  us  policy  change  urgency  futureshock  1970  bellsystem  madrassystem  davidstow  victorcousin  salmankhan 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Future of Big-Box Schooling
"The fundamental flaw which is structurally embedded in our education system is the fallacy of social engineering – the false belief that it is possible to institute a top-down, mechanical structure, impose it on a complex living system, and expect predictable results. The entire superstructure of goals, objectives, state standards, curricula, and tests is fundamentally built on the assumption that learning is a mechanical process, in which the proper ingredients can be fed into the pipeline and the proper product will emerge at the other end. (Of course, the fact that this persistently does not happen, John Taylor Gatto argues, is no accident, but reflects the fact that it is not actually in the interests of the existing power structure to have a large population capable of exercising independent critical intelligence.)"



"Every culture is different, and as anthropologist Meredith Small points out, every culture makes trade-offs: it would be romantic to assume that there is some perfect balance to be found. But because a traditional culture embodies learning which takes place over many generations, in which thousands of years of observation and trial-and-error allow for a multi-generational wisdom about human nature to evolve, it is possible that nuanced and workable ways of relating to children may exist in traditional cultures from which modern societies can learn and benefit.

Aspects of learning in many (not all) traditional cultures include:

• Immersing young people in adult activity rather than segregating them by age.
• Immersing children in multi-age groups where they can learn from older children.
• Immersing young people in nature rather than confining them indoors for most of the day.
• A blurring of the boundaries between work and play.
• Allowing for physical movement and engagement with new tasks or knowledge rather than requiring a sedentary existence as the condition for learning.
• Allowing the time for freedom, experimentation, choice, fluidity, play.
• Learning through deeper personal relationships, mentorships, apprenticeships, rather than from teachers who are not known on a personal level.
• Control over the timing, form and content of learning which resides in the child and/or in adults who know the child as an individual, rather than control being located in distant “experts” and one-size-fits-all “standards.”
• Allowing for extended transformative experiences in which young people make independent choices to discover their unique gifts, rather than step-by-step controlled sequences which attempt to dictate the process as well as the outcome of learning.

These strategies can work for learning to identify medicinal plants in a rainforest, for learning to anticipate and respond to the moods and movements of wild caribou, for learning to build a sustainable house out of mud brick, and they can work for learning how to design software applications or conduct a biological field study or write an elegant and compelling essay.

So if modernized societies are beginning to discuss moving from 20th century “big-box” schooling to a more 21st century networked model of learning, one possibility is that we may see a convergence of learning styles between ancient and modern cultures. As Sugata Mitra has discovered, unlettered street children can teach themselves how to use computers when given free access to the technology. So does it make sense to remove indigenous children from their traditional cultures and put them into outdated factory-style schools? Or should traditional people consider skipping that step, and deciding for themselves how they may want to use, ignore, adapt, blend, or hybridize new technologies and information in an open-network self-regulating manner?

When a new form of knowledge is truly vital and desired by a population, and access to the necessary resources is available, there is no question of needing to make education compulsory — you couldn’t stop the spread of knowledge if you tried. Look at how computer technology and expertise spread through the developed world. Personal computers were not invented by people in schools, and the vast majority of the population did not learn how to use them in schools. It was an open-access / open-source process – an organically expanding, networking, self-correcting, self-regulating and incredibly effective process – just like the early spread of literacy in many parts of Europe before the institution of widespread schooling.

Whether this is always good, of course, is another question. New technologies always change our lives, and not always for the better. Television has burned a wide swath through many cultures, including our own, leaving obesity, isolation, and advertising-driven insecurity and depression in its wake. I’m uneasy about the aggressive marketing of cell phones and technology to remote areas like Ladakh: once people from a sustainable culture suddenly require cash to feed a technology habit, many negative consequences ensue. But ultimately, it’s still better to be in control of what you adopt and what you choose not to adopt –– to be able to take what you need and leave the rest, absorb new things at a rate of your own choosing, than to be forced into an obsolete model of schooling just as the developed world begins to seriously discuss moving beyond it."
carolblack  ellwoodcubberly  johntaylorgatto  kenrobinson  meredithsmall  culture  knowledge  diversity  local  education  learning  children  parenting  sugatamitra  society  indigeneity  indigenous  howweteach  howwelearn  pedagogy  unschooling  deschooling  colonization  standardization  standardizedtesting  standards  relationships  mentoring  apprenticeships  internships  agesegregation  work  play  control  authority  hierarchy  colonialism 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Original Factory Education Was a Personalized Learning Experiment | Hapgood
"But if you’re looking for the first model of education truly derived from factory structure and informed by its values, my guess is it would be the Madras System (and its variant in the Lancaster System).

Developed in England by Andrew Bell in the last years of the 1700s, the Madras System used better performing students to teach poorer performing students. It did this by applying a factory model of division of labor and rigid mechanical instruction in a facility that was patterned directly on the factories of the day.

Unlike our schoolrooms today (which, perhaps you’ve noticed, look very little like factories?) both the Madras system and the Lancaster system took place in large warehouse or barn-like spaces where small groups of students gathered around work stations divided by ability.

At each work station, an older student tutored the younger ones. As the students practiced skill application repeatedly they could move up into more challenging groups. Students who had progressed through all the stages could then be employed as leaders of the groups. A school of 500 students could be served with one schoolmaster in this way, with all the students receiving personal tutoring from the monitors, who were trained in the system themselves. (This is why the Lancaster and Bell systems are sometimes referred to as “monitorial systems”.)



I’m not here to criticize the Madras System. In fact, there’s aspects of the system which I believe in pretty strongly. Bell’s insight that students learn best when they teach each other remains as true today as then, and his focus on “doing” rather than simply listening was admirable at a time when lecture was overvalued. At the same time, Gladman’s remarks regarding the rigidity of such systems strike me as an accurate summary of the issues that have plagued such systems since then.

Similarly, I know my history in this area is limited. It’s almost wholly gained from years of watching videos of people making claims that seem odd and then executing some Google searches to see if primary materials support the claims made by smug TED lecturers.

And so I could be wrong here. But after years and years of looking up this stuff I’ve found the more I know, the more it drifts away from this Ron Paul-John Taylor Gatto history of education. And the further I get into this area, the weirder it gets. The personalizers in history are the firm believers in applying factory principles to education. The Prussians are in fact the softies, arguing for teachers as trained craftsmen who can inspire students to think for themselves.

The point Salman Khan fingers as the date factory education began is in fact the date it began to die.

I’m not arguing for the current system, or that the system as constructed isn’t overly authoritarian and geared toward compliance over creativity and inspiration.

I’m not arguing against various forms of personalization, even. I think we ought to be doing more to bring out the unique gifts of our students.

But if my history holds up (and I’ve been looking at this for enough years to think it will) the idea that the history of education is an ages long struggle between the Mannian “factories” and the proponents of “personalization for empowerment” is odd at best, and backwards at worst.

I think history does have lessons for us. But in order to learn them, we have to engage with history in all it’s messiness, not the history of think tanks and TED talkers. If you’d like *that* sort of conversation, feel free to school me in the comments.
madrassystem  andrewbell  factoryschools  prussia  education  history  2014  mikecaufield  shermandorn  johntaylorgatto  horacemann  salmankhan  personalization  monotorialschooling  schooling  schools  teaching  learning  salkhan 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Schools We Need | Erik Reece | Orion Magazine
"A few years ago, on the first day of my Freshman Comp class, an argument broke out over whether or not “Redskins” was a racist name for a professional football team. I hadn’t expected or planned this debate, but I let it rage for half the class, trying to direct and redirect the lines of argument as best I could. It seemed like productive chaos, and afterward, the class did not emerge from the debate divided, but rather heartened, it seemed, that everyone had been given a chance to voice diverse opinions. Something important happened that day: the students created a democratic space in which to debate and consider ideas. It wasn’t because of anything I did, but simply because I didn’t get in the way of the students’ own grappling over questions of perspective, personal background, and the ability of words to both empower and harm."



"When deregulated corporations destroy entire ecosystems and the Supreme Court grants those same corporations more “rights” to express themselves as “persons” (very rich persons), the need for a more Jeffersonian form of schooling—one that emphasizes serious critical inquiry in the service of citizenship—is imperative to the future of democracy. We need schools, as novelist Mark Slouka recently wrote, that produce “men and women capable of furthering what’s best about us and forestalling what’s worst.”

THE GOOD NEWS is we can begin revitalizing both education and democracy by implementing a curriculum that incubates what I will call the “citizen-self.” As teachers, I believe our purpose should be twofold: 1) to provide the opportunity for individual self-invention among students, and 2) to create a space where that individual takes on the role and the responsibility of the social citizen. The pedagogy I have in mind combines the Romantic idea of the bildung, the cultivation of one’s own intellectual and psychological nature, with the Pragmatist view that such individuality must be vigorously protected by acts of citizenship. That is to say, it encourages Deborah Meier’s “habit of mind” toward the goal of helping each student determine what she or he truly thinks and feels about an issue or an idea, and it encourages what psychologist and philosopher William James called a “habit of action,” a way of translating such thinking into citizenship. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that the first part cultivates the inner self, while the second shapes the outer self. But these two selves cannot be separated; each depends upon and strengthens the other.

Thomas Jefferson believed that the fundamental American impulse of this citizen-self should be anti-industrial, anti-corporation, and should cultivate a generalist approach to education and work. Jefferson also believed that both politics and education best succeed at the local level. This has proven true time and again in my own experience."



"Taking pride in one’s place can also lead to a desire to take responsibility for that place, which is, after all, the crux of citizenship. Teachers can foster this impulse by focusing assignments on local issues, allowing chemistry, biology, English, and civics classes to be driven by a problem-solving impulse. Such learning is inevitably interdisciplinary because real problems, and real learning, rarely break down along clear disciplinary lines. If a strip mine is polluting a local source of drinking water, that is clearly a biological and chemical problem, but it is also an ethical problem grounded in lessons of history. To solve it, many fields of knowledge must be brought to bear. And to articulate the solution will require some skilled rhetoric indeed. Working to solve that problem becomes at once an experiment in stewardship (the opposite of vandalism) and citizenship (participatory democracy).

It also goes some distance toward breaking down the artificial, but very real, wall between school and life, between learning and doing. The rejection of this false dichotomy was one of the primary goals of the American Pragmatist educators like John Dewey and Jane Addams. Of the turn-of-the-century settlement school movement, Addams wrote that it “stands for application as opposed to research, for emotion as opposed to abstraction, for universal interest as opposed to specialization.” Specialization has, too often, been the enemy of educating the citizen-self. It encourages careerism as the only goal of education, and its narrowness can result in an abdication of responsibility concerning problems that lie outside of one’s specialty. These narrowly focused specialists can cause problems. Financial specialists caused the economic collapse, genetic specialists have created crops that require far more pesticide application, and we don’t yet know the full havoc caused by deep-water drilling specialists. But as we saw with BP’s cagey initial reaction to the Gulf disaster, as well as Monsanto’s outrageous contempt for farmers and seed-savers, specialization also seems to create a troubling loss of empathy.

Empathy, what Jane Addams called emotion, has largely disappeared from American public life. Our politics and punditry are too divisive, the gap between rich and poor too wide, the messages from the media too preoccupied with what William James called “the bitch-goddess SUCCESS.” We think of public life as a playing field of winners and losers, when we should be thinking about it, to borrow from Dewey, as a single organism made up of thousands of single but interconnected cells—a whole that needs all of its parts, working cooperatively. In other words, we should be thinking about how our educational institutions can be geared less toward competitiveness and more toward turning out graduates who feel a responsibility toward their places and their peers.

Here is the crux of the matter: As we enter an era of dwindling resources and potential mass migration due to climate change, we are going to need much more empathy—perhaps more than ever before—if we hope to retain our humanity. Empathy must be the measure of our students’, and our own, emotional and ethical maturity."



"How do we recover, how do we reinvent, the country that Jefferson and Franklin envisioned? We must become better citizens, and that transformation must begin—and really can only begin—in better public schools.

PUTTING MY STUDENTS in situations where they might learn and practice the art of real democracy has become a large part of my own teaching, and it is with these goals in mind that I often take them to a place in eastern Kentucky called Robinson Forest. It is a brilliant remnant of the mixed mesophytic ecosystem, and it is home to the cleanest streams in the state. Yet only a short walk away from our base camp you can watch those streams die, literally turn lifeless, because of the mountaintop removal strip mining that is happening all around Robinson Forest.

A few years ago, I had one student (I’ll call him Brian) who had only signed up for one of my classes because it fit his schedule. He was, in his own words, “a right-wing nut job,” and he disagreed with virtually everything I said in class. But he was funny and respectful and I liked having him around. On our class trip to Robinson Forest, we all hiked up out of the forest to a fairly typical mountaintop removal site. The hard-packed dirt and rock was completely barren, save for a few non-native, scrubby grasses. To call this post-mined land a “moonscape,” as many do, is an insult to the moon.

Brian was quiet as we walked, and then he asked, “When are they going to reclaim this land?”

“It has been reclaimed,” I said. “They sprayed hydro-seed, so now this qualifies as wildlife habitat.”

“This is it?”

“This is all the law requires.”

Brian went quiet again, until finally he said, “This is awful.”

Then he asked, “What do you think would happen if every University of Kentucky student came to see this?”

I pulled the old teacher trick and turned the question back on him: “What do you think would happen?”

Brian paused, and then said, “I think mountaintop removal would end.”"
teaching  education  civics  criticalthinking  writing  howweteach  howwelearn  us  environment  erikreece  citizenship  tcsnmy  democracy  specialization  generalists  empathy  emotion  history  deborahmeier  thomasjeffereson  benjaminfranklin  publicschools  johntaylorgatto  2011  learning  highschool  engagement 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Reinventing Administration - Notes + Links / Casey A. Gollan
"For months-and-months I’ve been sitting on a slowly-changing monster of an essay draft titled Reinventing Administration, borne out of my experiences in the last couple of years working with and fighting against the people in charge of Cooper Union. Inspired by Heather Marsh’s awesome serialized blog posts on collaboration, today I’m going to start noodling-in-public on different thoughts until this topic is out of my system and my drafts folder. While Cooper is the subject of these writings, it’s kind of interchangeable: an object through which I hope to address the challenge of reforming institutions who seem to have…gotten away from themselves. The problems here are not unique, and the questions we (the community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors) have had to ask form a kind of rubric against which to check out-of-whack leadership at schools everywhere.

Here are some topics that come to mind, which I’ll link up like a table of contents if they come into existence, and add to as I go:

• How did Cooper Union get into a death spiral?
• Is all money dirty? Or, how can anybody sleep at night knowing that an egalitarian institution is funded by businessmen who’re widening inequalities elsewhere?
• Legacy, as in cobwebs.
• Preservation vs. building a new city.
• Transparency, accountability, and other cans of worms.
• Asynchronous collaboration walks into a meeting an falls over laughing.
• Community theater (as in appeasement and “fake consensus” not showtunes. Okay, well, maybe showtunes.)
• Bottlenecks. (Hierarchies vs. networks)
• Who are administrators? Where did they come from? And could we do this without them?
• Who does a bland Public Relations department serve?
• A look at work by others on “Open Government” and “Open Society”
• Git and Github as a metaphor and possibly a working toolkit for Open Government
• Where to stop the technological steamroller
• Pushing the right leverage point — growth — in the wrong direction. Or, growing down and replicating as an alternative to fattening up.
• Does everything inevitably get away from you in the worst possible way, Peter Cooper? Or can you design a non-stifling system that supports its original intention.
• Do we need classroom teaching? An imagined debate between John Taylor Gatto, who learned everything he needed to know smoking cigarettes by the river, and Margaret Edson, whose experiences with schooling are heartwarming rather than traumatic.
• Can classroom teaching be saved? (Picking IRL education up where Clay Shirky left off…and kicked it while it’s down.)"
caseygollan  cooperunion  2013  administration  education  highered  teaching  learning  schools  schooling  deschooling  unschooling  clayshirky  hierarchy  hierarchies  leadership  management  bottlenecks  communitytheater  collaboration  asynchronous  legacy  egalitarianism  inequality  technology  git  github  opengovernment  transparency  johntaylorgatto  petercooper  systems  systemsthinking  opensociety  adminstrativebloat  questions  anarchism  governance  heathermarsh 
april 2013 by robertogreco
As we approach the twenty-first century it is... - Notes + Links / Casey A. Gollan
"As we approach the twenty-first century it is correct to say that the United States has become a nation of institutions…Nearly a century ago a French sociologist wrote that every institution’s unstated first goal is to survive and grow, not to undertake the mission it has nominally staked out for itself.

Thus the first goal of a government postal service is not to deliver the mail; it is to provide protection for its employees and perhaps a modest status ladder for the more ambitious ones. The first goal of a permanent military organization is not to defend national security but to secure, in perpetuity, a fraction of the national wealth to distribute to its personnel.

It was this philistine potential that teaching the young for pay would inevitably expand into an institution for the protection of teachers, not students - that made Socrates condemn the Sophists so strongly long ago in ancient Greece."
military  bureaucracy  growthmentality  growth  survival  mission  putpose  institutions  sophists  socrates  dumbingusdown  johntaylorgatto  self-preservation 
december 2012 by robertogreco
La Educación Prohibida | Un proyecto audiovisual para transformar la educación…
"La Educación Prohibida es una película documental que se propone cuestionar las lógicas de la escolarización moderna y la forma de entender la educación, visibilizando experiencias educativas diferentes, no convencionales que plantean la necesidad de un nuevo paradigma educativo.

La Educación Prohibida es un proyecto realizado por jóvenes que partieron desde la visión del quienes aprenden y se embarcaron en una investigación que cubre 8 países realizando entrevistas a más de 90 educadores de propuestas educativas alternativas. La película fue financiada colectivamente gracias a cientos de coproductores y tiene licencias libres que permiten y alientan su copia y reproducción.

La Educación Prohibida se propone alimentar y disparar un debate reflexión social acerca de las bases que sostienen la escuela, promoviendo el desarrollo de una educación integral centrada en el amor, el respeto, la libertad y el aprendizaje."

[Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Y9OqSJKCc ]
tolstoy  democratic  democraticschools  freeschools  escuelaactiva  sudburyschools  sudbury  2012  asneill  summerhill  españa  perú  español  prussia  schooliness  montessori  waldorf  rudolfsteiner  johntaylorgatto  williamkilpatrick  rosaagazzi  agazzisisters  johannheinrichpestalozzi  olvidedecroly  célestinfreinet  olgacossettini  emmipikler  reggioemilia  mariamontessori  ivanillich  paulofreire  schooling  history  schools  parenting  learning  education  progressive  deschooling  unschooling  colombia  ecuador  uruguay  argentina  chile  laeducaciónprohibida  spain 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Against School - John Taylor Gatto
"Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks & traps & fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees & consumers; teach your own to be leaders & adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically & independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they'll never be bored. Urge them to take on the serious material, the grown-up material, in history, literature, philosophy, music, art, economics, theology - all the stuff schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, & they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell phone, & through shallow friendships quickly acquired & quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, & they can."
arifleischer  ellwoodcubberley  capitalism  karlmarx  georgepeapody  compulsory  alexanderinglis  standardizedtesting  jamesbryantconant  oretesbrownson  williamjames  christopherlasch  marktwain  hermanmelville  margaretmead  boredom  horacemann  society  culture  philosophy  psychology  economics  learning  education  deschooling  schooling  unschooling  2003  johntaylorgatto 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Schools We Need | Erik Reece | Orion Magazine
"Empathy, what Jane Addams called emotion, has largely disappeared from American public life. Our politics and punditry are too divisive, the gap between rich and poor too wide, the messages from the media too preoccupied with what William James called “the bitch-goddess SUCCESS.” We think of public life as a playing field of winners and losers, when we should be thinking about it, to borrow from Dewey, as a single organism made up of thousands of single but interconnected cells—a whole that needs all of its parts, working cooperatively. In other words, we should be thinking about how our educational institutions can be geared less toward competitiveness and more toward turning out graduates who feel a responsibility toward their places and their peers."
education  economics  environment  pedagogy  democracy  williamjames  thomasjefferson  deborahmeier  johntaylorgatto  janeaddams  empathy  activism  engagement  citizenship  place  sensemaking  belonging  ownership  humanity  humanism  policy  unschooling  deschooling  relevance  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Pragmatic suggestions for schoolers from unschoolers (Guest Post by Patrick Farenga) « Cooperative Catalyst
"None of this easy, I know. John Holt got fired from some of his teaching positions because many teachers and parents felt his students were having too much fun, even though he could prove his students’ grades improved in his classes. Ironically, as Holt notes in Instead of Education, while some of his fellow teachers complained how their students wanted their classes to be more like Holt’s, it was ultimately the parents who demanded that Holt stop making his classes so engaging and be “more like school.”

It isn’t educational techniques that will ultimately help children learn, but rather sincere relationships with other people. As my friend Aaron Falbel said in an interview several years ago, “Indeed, it is a great joy and privilege to help someone do something that he or she wants to do, if you are asked to help. It’s when that help or teaching is not wanted that the ambiguities and unequal aspects of our relationships come into play…"
patfarenga  johnholt  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  relationships  fun  lcproject  schooldesign  johntaylorgatto  self-promotion  schools  schooling  schoolsurvival  teaching  learning  education  ivanillich  trust 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Critical pedagogy - Wikipedia
"Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education described by Henry Giroux as an "educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action."[1]

Based in Marxist theory, critical pedagogy draws on radical democracy, anarchism, feminism, and other movements that strive for what they describe as social justice. Critical pedagogue Ira Shor defines critical pedagogy as:

"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129)"
criticalpedagogy  education  pedagogy  criticaleducation  democracy  philosophy  henrygiroux  authoritarianism  authority  freedom  knowledge  teaching  learning  schools  power  control  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  activism  marxism  anarchism  anarchy  feminism  socialjustice  justice  iraschor  habitsofmind  habitsofthought  reading  writing  literacy  depth  tcsnmy  wisdom  personalconsequences  socialcontext  empowerment  process  experience  depthoverbreadth  politics  paulofreire  michaelapple  howardzinn  jonathankozol  johnholt  johntaylorgatto  matthern  foucault  michelfoucault 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Bartleby Project
""The Bartleby Project begins by inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for these tests; it asks them to act because adults chained to institutions and corporations are unable to; because these tests pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which is poisoning the future of the nation." Read John Taylor Gatto's full statement on the Bartleby Project (it's long)."
bartlebyproject  standardizedtesting  education  activism  schools  protest  johntaylorgatto  unschooling  deschooling  learning  policy  politics  2011  charlesleadbeater  gevertulley  asneill  naturalchildproject 
march 2011 by robertogreco
radio free school: Learning to learn-and is there a problem here?
"I take issue w/…his thinking that we have to learn to learn.<br />
<br />
I don't think so. I am getting really tired of this ridiculous notion that masquerades as a fundamental truth or wisdom, when really it is a manufactured & unquestioned belief readily perpetrated by 'school type' thinking. <br />
<br />
"Learning to learn" is another brainwashing concept that gets bandied about making people feel again that they have to go to school in order to learn…how to learn?<br />
<br />
We already know how to learn—until someone tells us otherwise. Or until they unknowingly mess it up for us. When we need to learn something—we learn it. <br />
Some learn things faster than others. Some will never be able to learn a skill to any level of proficiency. So how can a person "learn how to learn?" <br />
<br />
I also question the idea that what we need in this world more than anything else are problem solvers. In an interview w/ JTGatto we discussed that notion. He said that problem solvers are often the cause of even worse problems."
unschooling  deschooling  learning  learningtolearn  education  schools  johntaylorgatto  radiofreeschool 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Race To Somewhere « The Free School Apparent
"My criticism of the film comes from the feeling that it does not go far enough. I had two boys with me and they just acted as if this was not their problem. And it isn’t. Because they are involved in the process of curing this disease. They are students of a Free School. … the only school profiled [The Blue School] as a solution to this monumental problem, can only be afforded by the upper class. The mere fact that I did not see a brown skinned face amongst their student body, signaled to me that this was not for everyone. … There are many grassroots efforts and individuals who are actively working to form an approach to educating that will serve a wider spectrum. The Village Free School in Portland, The Free School in Albany, the many Sudbury Schools. There is John Taylor Gatto, Matt Hearn, Chris Mercogliano, Jerry Mintz from AERO and others whom I would have loved to hear from in this film. There was no word from the home-schooled or unschooled."
racetonowhere  freeschools  unschooling  deschooling  reform  education  schools  change  gamechanging  blueschool  learning  missedopportunities  johntaylorgatto  matthern  democratic  schooling  schooliness  brooklynfreeschool  sudburyschools  villagefreeschool  aero  chrismercogliano  jerrymintz 
december 2010 by robertogreco
There has to be more… « The Principal of Change
"Now though, how do schools help students engage in their own learning? We have set curriculum that tells us what students need to know. As long as we meet that, have we done our job as a teacher? If I have a student who loves dinosaurs, but it is not in my curriculum, what compels me to let the student learn about this?

Technically, if the student shows they know and understand the curriculum, we have done our job.

How sad is the above statement?

As I gain experience as an educator, why do I continuously feel that if all we have done as a school is taught the curriculum, we have failed our kids?"
change  johntaylorgatto  education  curriculum  curriculumisdead  engagement  teaching  schools  unschooling  deschooling  learning  tcsnmy  interests 
october 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Four
"By establishing "measuring sticks" which declare their own superiority, the wealthy and powerful - the Ivy Leaguersof America - get to win before the race they so enjoy is run. And by winning, they get to preserve the fruits of victory for themselves and their offspring - the best schools, the Ivy League educations, the top-paying jobs in the economy, and the agenda-setting jobs in government…

While "white" kids get creativity and stories in their early grades, teaching them about the world and giving them dreams, "poor" kids get KIPP and scripted instruction, chants and memorizations. If they ever get past that, they find themselves so far behind their "white" peers that continuing the race seems genuinely hopeless."
irasocol  education  us  history  wealth  power  inequality  woodrowwilson  dianeravitch  ellwoodcubberley  henrybarnard  disparity  johntaylorgatto  thomasjefferson  kipp  standards  standardizedtesting  perpetuation  colonialism  unschooling  deschooling  policy  politics  lcproject  waitingforsuperman  learning  sorting  teaching  incomegap  assessment  grades  grading  culture  society 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Two
"It was one thing for Henry Barnard to design an education system which would divide American children up in the most effective way for capitalist industrialism. It was one thing to import a system from authoritarian Prussia designed to foster compliant nationalism and train imperial soldiers [1]. But we would not be living with that system today if not for a system of religious and national mythology embracing that system and making it seem the inevitable result of a progressive, God-inspired nation."

"The power of this civil religion is that, in education as in economics, it converts arguments for change from political disagreement into heresy."

"for it is Cubberley's "victory" over Montessori and Dewey which permanized the system, which created the canonical text under which almost all of our school's operate."
irasocol  education  us  history  publicschools  schools  schooling  calvinism  ellwoodcubberley  harlondalton  johntaylorgatto  americanmyths  montessori  johndewey  danielboone  policy  classideas  deschooling  unschooling  religion  assimilation  meltingpot  michellerhee  henrybarnard  colonialism  lcproject 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Three
"to understand the debate in America today you need to think of two names: Ellwood Cubberley and Rudyard Kipling. Mann is sweet, Dewey brilliant, Barnard essential to the process, but it is Cubberley who made the US ed system virtually unchangeable & Kipling who may offer explanation re: why?"

"Just how enduring this inevitability is can easily be seen in both education & political spheres. In education "we" continue to pursue the scientific & the "proper technique" (though we now say "evidence-based practice") despite never finding an actual way to measure human learning."

"The problem, then as now, is unequal beginnings on that path to either Americanness or Whiteness. Not only is a single conception of life, of government, of learning, of behavior, declared "correct" and thus all others declared "incorrect""
irasocol  education  history  rudyardkipling  edwardsaid  johntaylorgatto  ellwoodcubberley  johndewey  horacemann  schools  us  policy  classideas  woodrowwilson  colonialism  michellerhee  markzuckerberg  terryeagleton  tfa  danielwillingham  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  cv  teachforamerica 
september 2010 by robertogreco
12 Things Really Educated People Know
"1. Establish an individual set of values but recognize those of the surrounding community and of the various cultures of the world.

2. Explore their own ancestry, culture, and place.

3. Are comfortable being alone, yet understand dynamics between people and form healthy relationships.

4. Accept mortality, knowing that every choice affects the generations to come.

5. Create new things and find new experiences.

6. Think for themselves; observe, analyze, and discover truth without relying on the opinions of others.

7. Favor love, curiosity, reverence, and empathy rather than material wealth.

8. Choose a vocation that contributes to the common good.

9. Enjoy a variety of new places and experiences but identify and cherish a place to call home.

10. Express their own voice with confidence.

11. Add value to every encounter and every group of which they are a part.

12. Always ask: “Who am I? Where are my limits? What are my possibilities?”"
johntaylorgatto  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  community  self  identity  purpose  glvo  values  culture  personhood  relationships  mortality  creativity  make  making  experience  wisdom  criticalthinking  truth  curiosity  love  reverance  empathy  wealth  well-being  vocation  selflessness  homes  home  confidence  voice  participation  teaching  principles  philosophy  knowledge  life  advice 
september 2010 by robertogreco
The Public School Nightmare
"Bertrand Russell once observed that American schooling was among the most radical experiments in human history, that America was deliberately denying its children the tools of critical thinking. When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That's if you want to teach them to think. There is no evidence that this has been a State purpose since the start of compulsion schooling."
johntaylorgatto  bertrandrussell  education  history  unschooling  deschooling  frederichfroebel  kindergarten  schools  schooling  us  criticalthinking  tcsnmy  compulsory  responsibility  privacy  lcproject  solitude  respect  children 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Shikshantar - The Peoples' Institute for Rethinking Education and Development
"Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalyzing radical systemic transformation of education in order to facilitate Swaraj-development throughout India."
alternativeeducation  education  india  learning  deschooling  activism  development  dialogue  organizations  research  unschooling  lcproject  factoryschools  tcsnmy  transformation  gamechanging  ivanillich  johnholt  kenrobinson  johntaylorgatto  schools  schooling  schooliness  paulofreire  dialog 
august 2010 by robertogreco
America Via Erica: Coxsackie-Athens Valedictorian Speech 2010 [Wow. Wish I was this wise and aware at that age. Go read the whole thing.]
"A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition—a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class & doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared."

[Update 22 Jan 2014: now made into a comic: http://scudmissile.tumblr.com/post/108840471396/pretentioususernametosoundsmart-gooseko ]
valedictorians  ericagoldson  johntaylorgatto  unschooling  deschooling  criticalthinking  passion  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  learning  education  policy  schools  schooliness  schooling  courage  authoritarianism  slavery  busywork  pleasing  democracy  publiceducation  industrial  goals  process  graduation  emptiness  sameness  mediocrity  cv  storyofmylife  innovation  rote  memorization  standardizedtesting  testing  grades  grading  commencementspeeches  rotelearning  commencementaddresses 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Invitation to an Open Conspiracy: The Bartleby Project
"The Bartleby Project begins by inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for these tests; it asks them to act because adults chained to institutions and corporations are unable to; because these tests pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which is poisoning the future of the nation.
johntaylorgatto  thebartlebyproject  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  education  activism  learning  standardizedtesting  via:cervus 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Not The Boss Of Me | Matt Hern - Everywhere All the Time: A New Deschooling Reader
"Everywhere, All the Time: A New Deschooling Reader and is greatly expanded and improved. It still features a pile of classic writing from Tolstoy, Illich, Holt and Bhave, more recent analysis from folks like Grace Llewellyn, Satish Kumar and John Gatto and stories from Sudbury Valley, Summerhill and the Albany Free School; but there is now a lot more added. ... great essays from Emma Goldman, Tagore, Gustavo Esteva, Madhu Prakash, and Pat Farenga; stories from unschooled kids, reports from places like the Pedro Albizu Puerto Rican High School in Chicago, a bunch of terrific photos, stories from projects in Israel, Turkey, Thailand, India and Mali, and lots more. It is a lot better and more comprehensive collection than D.O.L, and should be inspiring and engaging for people whether they are already familiar with deschooling ideas, are looking to get a grasp of the range of unschooling and alternative-to-school thinking, or want to read about some great projects from around the world. "
matthern  books  deschooling  unschooling  education  learning  homeschool  ivanillich  johnholt  johntaylorgatto  gracellewellyn  sumerhill  albanyfreeschool 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Educator, heal thyself of faulty premises
"The fact is learning is uniquely idiosyncratic and resists quantification. An abundance of assessments does not imply validity, nor does complexity of assessment confer objectivity. Simply stated, the belief that we can precisely measure learning is a myth." ... "We must consider what we actually know of the nature of learning and respect children as innately and powerfully curious. We need schooling that empowers children to think and act for themselves. "We must humbly admit that we can’t know for certain what each individual should study and for how long, given the ever-increasing pace of social and economic change. And all the while, we must set aside our differences long enough to see the common ground we all share: a deep concern for the future well-being of our children, our culture and our world."
learning  messiness  education  unschooling  change  deschooling  society  myth  assessment  children  schools  lcproject  philosophy  research  johntaylorgatto  homeschool  via:cburell  sudbury  brucesmith  tcsnmy  authority  alternative  leadership  individuality  self-directed  self-directedlearning  testing  well-being  democratic  democracy  pedagogy  cv  sudburyschools 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Against Networked Learning « Learn Online
"This great school crisis is interlinked with a greater social crisis in the community. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent. Nobody talks to them anymore, and without children and old people mixing in daily life, a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name community hardly applies to the way we interact with each other at all. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that." - John Taylor Gatto
unschooling  deschooling  community  loneliness  life  learning  schools  schooling  education  johntaylorgatto  networks  isolation  society  social 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Confederacy of Dunces: The Tyranny of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
[dead link, try: https://thesunmagazine.org/issues/204/confederacy-of-dunces ]

"Those of you with a historical imagination will recognize Thomas Jefferson's prayer for schooling - that it would teach useful knowledge. Some places do: the best schooling in the US today is coming out of museums, libraries, and private institutes...

Consider the difference between librarians and schoolteachers. Librarians are custodians of real books and real readers; schoolteachers are custodians of schoolbooks and indentured readers. Somewhere in the difference is the Rosetta Stone that reveals how education is one thing, schooling another."
johntaylorgatto  books  reading  education  learning  schools  libraries  librarians  pedagogy  reform  change  museums  unschooling  deschooling  freedom  authenticity  activism  schooling 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Richard Stallman and how easily we have traded away our freedom to share.
"Whilst Stallman calls for “sharing” , in New Zealand schools we identify “relating to others” and “participating and contributing” as worthy...But listening to our current arguments over copyright, DRM, A2K makes me suspect that many of us no longer understand what sharing might be .... probably because we have unconsciously adopted the thinking of consumerism and business ... we can only imagine living in a society predicated upon consumption and the accumulation of personal advantage/ wealth."
ivanillich  johntaylorgatto  consumerism  society  sharing  richardstallman  alankay  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  learning  education  community  libraries  museums  artichokeblog  pamhook 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Chris Corrigan Unschooling Resources
"A list of articles and resources I have collected on unschooling. This page will change periodically as we find more great resources about and for unschooling."
unschooling  homeschool  deschooling  reference  books  johntaylorgatto  ivanillich  schooling  education 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Natural Life Magazine #40 - What Really Matters by John Taylor Gatto
"What if you forgot all about the globe & concentrated instead on finding a place where you could feel at home for the rest of your life? What if you shaped your own work so that it served your spirit & the spirits of your loved ones, friends and neighbor
anarchism  culture  education  learning  life  johntaylorgatto  schooling  society  deschooling  unschooling  government  gamechanging  economics  globalization  local  relationships  schools  children 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Education: Do We Really Need Schools Or Do We Need To Better Understand What Education Should Really Be? - Robin Good's Latest News
"how devastatingly negative, traditional school really is...to avoid the pitfalls of those paralyzing psychological handicaps that the traditional education system imposes on everyone...Against School: How Public Education Cripples our Kids, and Why"
education  informal  learning  schools  deschooling  history  politics  gamechanging  johntaylorgatto  unschooling  homeschool 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Hidden curriculum - Wikipedia
"A hidden curriculum is a side effect of an education, "[lessons] which are learned but not openly intended”[1] such as the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in the classroom and the social environment.[2]

Any learning experience may teach unintended lessons. [3] Hidden curriculum often refers to knowledge gained in primary and secondary school settings, usually with a negative connotation where the school strives for equal intellectual development.[4] In this sense, a hidden curriculum reinforces existing social inequalities by educating students according to their class and social status. The unequal distribution of cultural capital in a society mirrors a corresponding distribution of knowledge among its students.[5]"
curriculum  education  networkedlearning  participation  schooling  wikipedia  johntaylorgatto  johndewey  ivanillich  paulofreire  deschooling  reform  change  learning  neilpostman  jonothankozol 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Education’s Hidden Messages « Ed Tech Journeys
"Hidden messages are being delivered by our educational system to our students each and every day. The basic structure of our schools provides students with powerful lessons that don’t appear in the curriculum. These hidden lessons are unconsciously rei
education  reform  change  reality  schools  learning  children  lcproject  deschooling  johntaylorgatto 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Open Space Technology and the legacy of Education [pdf]
"For those who are deeply embedded in the social norms created by schooling, freedom shock is a palpable emotional experience, overcome only after significant reflection and personal transformation."
education  learning  freedom  johntaylorgatto  teaching  culture  society  alternative  change  constraints  reform  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  filetype:pdf  media:document 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Nuts And Bolts - John Taylor Gatto
"Here is a preliminary list of strategies to change the schools we have. I intend to develop the theme of change further in a future book, The Guerrilla Curriculum: How To Get An Education In Spite Of School, but I’m out of time and breath, so the brief
johntaylorgatto  schools  change  reform  future  lcproject  learning  education 
september 2007 by robertogreco
'I'm a Saboteur.'
"Brainpower is more important than ever, but education seems more backward than ever. John Taylor Gatto, an award-winning teacher, now aims to overthrow the public-school establishment for which he worked for 30 years."
education  entrepreneurship  schooling  schools  teaching  thinking  learning  pedagogy  parenting  unschooling  homeschool  johntaylorgatto  reform  change  psychology  youth  philosophy  policy  culture  business 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Getting Flat, Part 2 | Linux Journal
"What if the old industrial schooling system is as threatened by open source as the old proprietary software system?" + "The flat world is different. The flat world really does reward individuality, creativity, freedom, initiative."
education  opensource  linux  homeschool  criticalthinking  behavior  schools  learning  flatworld  docsearls  johntaylorgatto  culture  globalization  business  thinking  world  schooling  parenting  intelligence  society  children  global  economics  ideas  hierarchy  creativity  software  thomasfriedman 
july 2007 by robertogreco
School's out and home's in, says education rebel - National - theage.com.au
"Home is where the heart is: John Taylor Gatto says children learn best at home where curriculums can be tailored to meet their needs."
johntaylorgatto  schools  education  learning  children  homeschool  curriculum  reform  alternative 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Why Schools Don’t Educate by John Taylor Gatto
"This article is the text of a speech by John Taylor Gatto accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990. It is reprinted with permission of the author."
schools  schooling  teaching  homeschool  children  learning  life  parenting  society  education  politics  sociology  psychology  independent  change  culture  community  curriculum  johntaylorgatto 
september 2006 by robertogreco
The Richest Man in the World Has Some Advice for Us about College... (P.S. He didn’t take it himself) by John Taylor Gatto
"Whatever education is, one thing is certain: It doesn’t take place locked in seats following the commands of total strangers, your obedience measured regularly by short answer tests. And it’s education we need to meet the future, not schooling."
homeschool  education  schools  schooling  children  teens  future  schooldesign  politics  economics  johntaylorgatto 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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