Shaw on Education

Shaw on Education

Shaw on Education

Shaw on Education

Excerpt

THROUGHOUT most of his long life (1856-1950) George Bernard Shaw was the self-appointed teacher of an intractable class -- humanity. A composite Socrates-Voltaire-Rousseau, he enlarged their arena of instruction by means of the press, platform, pamphlet, and play (his chief "battering ram"); and tried to make his fractious students understand that their obsolete theories of life, sham institutions, and traditional morals were cruelly hindering them from becoming what they could become. He trumpeted from the housetops that he had isolated the only path to economic, political, social, cultural, and spiritual welfare. Perhaps his most eloquent objurgations were reserved for what be called capitalist education, which lay the groundwork for all that was spurious to him in society. It was therefore inevitable that Shaw, fully aware that education is the primary factor in that progressive accumulation and refinement of learnings and ideals which make for social advance, should evolve his own system. Almost all of his writings, including the plays, are permeated with educational ideas.

I have neither set up Shaw as a great educator, nor held it legitimate to dismiss most of his ideas as impracticable. These appraisals were largely influenced by the demands of the . . .

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