Learning about Education: An Unfinished Curriculum

Learning about Education: An Unfinished Curriculum

Learning about Education: An Unfinished Curriculum

Learning about Education: An Unfinished Curriculum

Synopsis

This is an introductory text for students of education and will be of interest to those concerned about the future of education and schooling. It focuses upon the role that education and schooling have played in the creation, maintenance and transformation of the human species. It also considers the negative and positive consequences of schooling and education. The book invites readers to draw their own conclusions from many of its arguments.

Excerpt

The pace of modern life, the need to understand almost instantly; can seriously damage our chances of understanding anything properly. If I were asked quickly what education means, I would probably say ‘teaching’ or ‘schools’. Yet I would sense that it means more than that and hope that the questioner would not probe too deeply.

But it is each person’s right to know what education means. Teachers, and trainee teachers particularly, need to know where the word comes from as well as the activities and attitudes which it describes. If they do not know, with confidence, their part in the whole and their place in a history, they can become touchy technicians, frustrated by what they have to do and the changes they are ceaselessly expected to make. This is an eternal danger as well as an immediate issue for teachers. They can so easily become ‘deprofessionalized’ and ‘deskilled’ and depressed. If they know what education means clearly, economically and accurately for themselves, their self-esteem and self-determination would be much more sure.

David Hamilton realized this timeless truth years ago and set about developing a course which would respect teachers’ rights to know about education. There would be psychological knowledge, political history, and so on: not as subjects but as sources of insights. Since the earliest relationships, human beings have been learning about growing up, about thinking and about ways of guiding learners. There were schools two thousand years ago but at the same time what we now call schools are relatively modern inventions. David Hamilton invites his readers to take an idea at a time, see where it came from, how its forms altered and what it means for education today and tomorrow. He writes as a warm person who has thought and researched so that he can explain without pomposity or waffle. This book was a long time in the making and that gives it a rare quality.

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