Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: Lessons Learned

Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: Lessons Learned

Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: Lessons Learned

Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: Lessons Learned


In 1962, ASCD's Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus for Education provided bold insights on the psychological foundation of education. Some of the most compelling questions in education today were first asked in this groundbreaking work, which included chapters by preeminent scholars Arthur Combs, Earl Kelley, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers. Although we cannot predict what current information future generations will need to know, the book's Introduction states, creating schools that encourage the development of persons with adequate, fully functioning personalities is the best way to contribute some degree of stability to an uncertain future.

Decades later, in preparing Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: Lessons Learned, editor H. Jerome Freiberg invited distinguished scholars in the field of affective/humanistic education and psychology to review these four chapters from the 1962 book to provide a context for lessons learned for future generations of educators. Each author in Lessons Learned works with teachers, administrators, and schools and offers a distinct perspective on the human side of teaching and learning. Their analyses raise significant issues, such as whether an emphasis on academic standards ignores the education of the whole student, and what schools that are committed to an environment of trust and respect look like. Lessons Learned promises to further the cause of education that focuses on the person. By understanding the evolution of our educational past, says Freiberg, perhaps we can shape a future that will better meet the needs of generations that come after us.



There comes a time when present generations need to have a reminder of the past, for the past shapes the future. Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus for Education, ASCD’s 1962 Yearbook, was the culmination of decades of thinking and debate about what the new era of living should be. Earl C. Kelley, Carl R. Rogers, Abraham H. Maslow, and Arthur W. Combs, preeminent psychologists, were invited by ASCD to prepare papers that would become the heart of the 1962 Yearbook. Their works make up the first part of the book. The 19 members of the Yearbook Committee wrote Chapters 6–15. The goal of Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus for Education is stated in the first page:

It may seem paradoxical to say that Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A
New Focus for Education
is timely. How can it be timely in a period in
which attention in education is riveted on the technological revolu
tion, alternative proposals for organizational structures, and updating
knowledge in government-favored academic areas? Perceiving, Behav
ing, Becoming
is timely precisely because continuous consideration of
the basic foundations of the educational program is inescapable. Re
gardless of what technological devices are adopted, what organiza
tional patterns prevail, what curriculum content emerges, the three
basic foundations of education—social, psychological and philo
sophical—are central in the making of the educational program.

Essentially, the 1962 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development provides bold new insight on one of the
three foundations, the psychological, with related implications affect
ing social and philosophical aspects. Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming
deals with the truly adequate person, adequate in the sense of Web
ster’s synonym sufficient and in the sense of the authors’ equivalent

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