Learning from Our Mistakes: A Reinterpretation of Twentieth-Century Educational Theory

Learning from Our Mistakes: A Reinterpretation of Twentieth-Century Educational Theory

Learning from Our Mistakes: A Reinterpretation of Twentieth-Century Educational Theory

Learning from Our Mistakes: A Reinterpretation of Twentieth-Century Educational Theory

Synopsis

"Learning From Our Mistakes would be an important addition to academic libraries that support graduate and undergraduate programs in education, psychology, and developmental psychology. Perkinson's analysis challenges the validity of induction as the way human beings learn, building a case instead for the trial-and-error approach.... Throughout the book--from the opening chapter, which traces the epistemological history of education, to the last chapter, which describes Perkinson's proposed theory--[students of educational philosophy will find] themselves challenged by Perkinson's refreshing views. The selected bibliography and the index are appropriate. Levels: upper-division undergraduate and graduate." - Choice

Excerpt

It is difficult to be a teacher today.

Not because students--or parents, or school administrators, or classrooms--are different from what they used to be. No, it is difficult to be a teacher today because our present conceptions of education are still what they used to be. In conducting the various classes over which they preside, most teachers still adhere to a conception of education that dates back to the seventeenth century, a conception I call the transmission theory of education. They view education as a process like printing, wherein the teacher transmits or imposes knowledge into the minds of the students, just as the printing press imposes words on blank sheets of paper.

The transmission theory of education is both false and immoral. Education is not, nor could it ever be, a process of transmission. Moreover, when teachers try to convert education into a process of transmission they demean the humanity of their students and they themselves become authoritarian.

We are badly in need of a new conception of education. Actually, we have one at hand: the conception of education as growth. It is not new. Rousseau proposed it in the eighteenth century. But it remained a romantic, somewhat metaphysical conception of education until the . . .

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