Open Education and the American School

Open Education and the American School

Open Education and the American School

Open Education and the American School

Excerpt

The development within each human being of intelligence, self-esteem, and personal dignity is, I believe, crucial to the quality of life. Each individual should be instrumental in affecting important aspects of his life--things, ideas, relationships with others, education--and capable of perceiving, reflecting on, finding meaning in, and enjoying the many dimensions of his existence.

Open education offers practices and assumptions about learning and knowledge significantly different from those found in most schools. Although there is little hard evidence, in theory or in practice, that open education is good for children; although these ideas have been tested by few teachers with few children in few schools for few years; and although it is not clear that children who attend open classrooms develop these and other important qualities in ways which are superior to those who do not, nevertheless, I am convinced that open education both places priority on these qualities of human life and can provide the means most likely to result in their development. By and large, I support the beliefs of open education presented here; furthermore, I believe that it is possible for these assumptions and practices to be introduced into school systems and be accepted and valued by children, teachers, parents, and administrators.

A prevailing climate exists in this country which is potentially hospitable to fresh alternatives to our floundering educational establishment. In this climate, open education may have the opportunity to prove itself in the U.S. school systems.

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