Eminent Educators: Studies in Intellectual Influence

Eminent Educators: Studies in Intellectual Influence

Eminent Educators: Studies in Intellectual Influence

Eminent Educators: Studies in Intellectual Influence

Synopsis

Four eminent educators of 20th-century America are profiled in this book: John Dewey, Howard Gardner, Carol Gilligan, and John Ogbu, all of whom caused a major paradigm shift in American education. For each one there is biographical information and analysis of his or her intellectual contributions.

Excerpt

The impetus for this book was a deep desire to write biography. After eight books, some quantitative policy studies, others on educational history, I decided to attempt some form of biography. However, the idea of concentrating one's intellectual efforts--and stamina--on one subject proved forbidding. I was not prepared to devote a decade or more to one figure whom, quite possibly, I would come to detest after such a Herculean effort. Moreover, as the novelist Joyce Carol Oates has so ably pointed out, most biography today concentrates on the warts of a person's life, or as she put it, creates a new genre of "pathobiography." This study is an intellectual history of the thinking of major researchers and has biographical data only as it illuminates their thought.

In discussing my writing plans with a colleague at my university, I was given the solution to my problem. He had wanted to do the first biography of Carl Rogers, the humanist psychologist. However, his editor persuaded him to consider a shorter version, an "appreciation." Thus, this volume is an "appreciation." I concentrate on those intellectual figures whom I consider to have had the greatest influence on American education in this century. The model for my study is Lytton Strachey's classic portrait of the Victorian age Eminent Victorians. Strachey selected his subjects for irony's sake: Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Matthew Arnold, and General Gordon.

I also chose four figures: John Dewey, a philosopher and the father of modern American education; two psychologists, Howard Gardner and Carol Gilligan; and one anthropologist, John Ogbu. All but Dewey are still living and writing and conducting research. The difficult part of this study for me was how to focus on a main theme. Strachey attempted to portray . . .

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