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robertogreco : prussia   9

The Invented History of 'The Factory Model of Education'
[Follow-up notes here: ]

"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 Emergence of Compulsory Schooling and Anarchist Resistance | The Anarchist Library
"It is a philosophically Platonic, Prussian-inspired compulsory school system that exists today, not only in North America, but one that is being rapidly becoming globalized in form, function and content.

The emergence of universal schooling was necessarily tied to the health and hegemony of the modern State: the two are intricately linked. Thus, the most articulate and powerful opposition to schooling has always come from anarchists, three of whom I want to mention briefly here; William Godwin, Leo Tolstoy and Francisco Ferrer.

Godwin is frequently recognized as the first anarchist philosopher, with the publication of Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) the first articulated refutation of the State, and his 1797 book, The Enquirer the first published rejection of national schooling. He had tried to open a school in 1783 and when it failed, turned to writing. Godwin believed that compulsory schooling would become an immensely malleable instrument in the hands of government to manipulate and effect public opinion for their own uses.
Before we put so powerful a machine under the direction of so ambiguous an agent, it behooves us to consider well what it is that we do. Government will not fail to employ it, to strengthen its hands, and perpetuate its institutions.[10]

Godwin’s position was that genuine education should directed towards the veneration and pursuit of truth and justice, but that national schooling would always subordinate those goals to their larger political interests.

Had the scheme of a national education been adopted when despotism was most triumphant, it is not to be believed that it could have for ever stifled the voice of truth. But it would have been the most formidable and profound contrivance for that purpose, that imagination can suggest. [11]

Thus schools were mere tools, and critically influential tools, built for the maintenance and proliferation of State ideologies and patriotism. Godwin’s position was particularly interesting because he was married to Mary Wollstonecraft, the writer and feminist, who was a vocal advocate for compulsory schooling, arguing that it would be the best means for inculcating an ethic of equality and allowing equal access for men and women.[12]

Leo Tolstoy, Christian anarchist and celebrated novelist, on the other hand, was more interested in children than writing about them. He established a school for peasant children on his estate, called, like journal he founded exploring his thinking about schools and children, Yasnaya Polyana. Significantly, Tolstoy differentiated between education and culture in a way that I consider striking and still relevant. He wrote that
Education is the tendency of one man to make another just like himself... Education is culture under restraint, culture is free. [Education is] when the teaching is forced upon the pupil, and when then instruction is exclusive, that is when only those subjects are taught which the educator regards as necessary.[13]

Tolstoy’s school was centered around the idea of free inquiry and foreshadowed Summerhill[14] in many ways. He held that since teaching and instruction were only means culture transmission when they were free, students should be left to learn what they wanted to learn, directing both themselves and the kinds of classes they wanted taught. Without compulsion, education was transformed into culture.[15] Tolstoy was less concerned with state schooling (although he opposed it) and more interested in anarchist pedagogy.

Like Tolstoy, Francisco Ferrer was an active anarchist when he opened his school, the Modern School, in Spain in the 1901. Ferrer was most interested in creating an institution where children could be free of dogmatic ideological interests and could develop in an atmosphere not intended to forge good citizens, religious individuals or even inculcate strong morals. “Since we are not educating for a specific purpose, we cannot determine the capacity or incapacity of the child”[16]

Ferrer was intent upon loosing schools from both hegemonic teaching and State control. At the turn of the 20th Century it was becoming evident that no only were schools forging citizens but industrial workers, and that government control was essential to their nature.
They know, better than anyone else that their power is based almost entirely on the school. ... [They want schools] not because they hope for the revolution of society through education, but because they need individuals, workmen, perfected instruments of labor to make their industrial enterprises and the capital employed in them profitable... [They] have never wanted the uplift of the individual, but his enslavement; and it is perfectly useless to hope for anything but the school of to-day.[17]

Much like Godwin, Ferrer regarded schools as powerful governmental tools, made all the more dominant by their compulsory nature. After developing his school, sparking the rise of the Modern School movement[18], starting the International League for the Rational Education of Children as well as a journal L’Ecole Renovee, Ferrer was executed in Spain in 1909 for plotting an insurrection.

These three were hardly on their own, there were many who resisted compulsory schooling right from its first proposal, from various political stances and rationales, some laudable some reprehensible, all over Europe and America. The point in highlighting Godwin, Tolstoy and Ferrer is to make clear that resistance to compulsory schooling is also at heart resistance to centralized control. In that, alternatives of all kind are built on ideals of self-reliance, community control of resources, and the idea that democracy has to be local."
matthern  education  schooling  schools  anarchism  anarchy  2003  plato  rousseau  voltaire  condorcet  diderot  louis-renedelachalotais  history  prussia  horacemann  williamgodwin  tolstoy  franciscoferrer  unschooling  deschooling 
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
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: ]
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
SpeEdChange: Why is China the model rather than Finland?
"Finland, an egalitarian, democratic, & socialist nation can not be allowed to be model, in our leaders' eyes. That would suggest much about America is wrong in ways which would threaten everything from Bill Gates' fortune to place of privilege in future held by Obama's daughters.

If Finland is allowed to be a model it might mean that the US would need to accept social mobility, & the children & grandchildren of NYTimes editorial & corporate employees would no longer be guaranteed admission to elite schools. If Finland is a model, there's a chance for all to succeed, which means that both the achievement gap & income gap might close.

How much better for the ruling elite to celebrate hierarchical, brutally divided societies where "the little people" have no voice and no influence?

So American "leaders" look to China now* as they did to Soviet Union in 1958 & Prussian Empire in 1858 because they want education to fail most children, because they want society to remain as it is."
edreform  policy  finland  china  1958  1858  2011  publicschools  socialism  egalitarianism  billgates  barackobama  arneduncan  education  politics  hierarchy  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  society  capitalism  havesandhavenots  prussia  deschooling  unschooling  stasis  change  gamechanging  irasocol  money  class 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Emergence of Compulsory Schooling and Anarchist Resistance | Institute for Social Ecology
"The history of the development of Western schooling is a complex and meandering thing, but I think it is worth looking at in a very abbreviated form here. A little insight into the logics and basis for contemporary compulsory schooling might be useful to social ecologists."
socialecology  schooling  schools  history  matthern  prussia  education  unschooling  deschooling  compulsory  learning  policy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Returning School to Humanity
"we expect students to be "on time" not because it is educationally important [NBIIEI]...but because we are training workers to be on time. We create "standards" for each grade level NBIIEI...but because we are teaching single-tasking & work conformity. We test individually, blocking collaboration (which we call "cheating") NBIIEI...but because we are manufacturing workers for assembly line.

While people worry about testing averages, about whether schools should be run as public goods or for corporate profit, about number of school days, about what topics to emphasize, the real question, as the 21st Century rolls on, needs to be the very designed structure of our schools. They were created by a certain kind of society for a certain kind of economic reality. Whether that was ever good or bad is a question for another time, but for today I believe we need to begin to return our schools back to the "natural humanity" of the time before the assembly line began to rule our lives."
irasocol  schools  prussia  us  history  industrialization  education  learning  tcsnmy  change  reform  unschooling  deschooling  policy  progressive  individualized  standards  standardizedtesting  cheating  collaboration  factoryschools  factories  apprenticeships  mentoring  mentorship  hiddencurriculum  curriculum  rules  grades  grading  gradelevels  purpose  taskoriented 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Why are Classrooms so Powerful?
"I look at modern classrooms as a learning technology that was first developed in 18th century Prussia & then spread out throughout the world. We will look at school architecture before the emergence of classrooms & see how the classroom is one of several state institutions that developed during the period that Michel Foucault has called “the great confinement.” Like prisons & mental hospitals, classrooms captured & constricted bodies in order to render them as docile subjects. Their purpose was as much disciplinary as educational, developed as part of the new bureaucratic state apparatus that brought unruly people under social control. The power of the classroom as a technology gave teachers the ability to better regulate large groups of students, in order to inculcate them w/ a standardized curriculum. Pushed to the extreme, monitorial classrooms of the 19th century could hold 1000+ pupils, all performing the same acts, under the watchful eyes of senior students & the instructor."
schooldesign  history  control  power  classrooms  schools  schooling  education  learning  instruction  prussia  lcproject  tcsnmy  gamechanging  society  prisons  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  conformity  classroom 
august 2009 by robertogreco

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