Agony in Education: The Importance of Struggle in the Process of Learning


Enchanted with novelty and obsessed with power, control, and efficiency, technocrats eagerly and imprudently plow under what they deem anachronistic relics. Utility and ease are their passwords, and the poor individual with sole recourse to personal resources and ingenuity is viewed as a waste of time and energy. What this means for education is that uniformity, predesigned programs, and abdication to an elite corps of experts have come to dominate and characterize our institutions. As antidotes for the technological age, Kuhlman suggests motifs and imagery from the classical world, such as agon, arete, and paideia. He reminds us of the agonies of the artist in the gestation of the great, soul-fulfilling creations of our past. He wonders if truly great accomplishments are possible without the pain and agony of individual struggle. He suggests that the individual psyche is withering on the vine because it is not expected to undergo the suffering necessary to transform it into an educated self.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1994


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