Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

By Boyd Henry Bode | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
OUR CHANGING OUTLOOK

It is a commonplace that society provides for its own continuity by means of its schools. If the achievements of the past were not handed on by means of the agencies of formal education, society could not maintain its present level. But in addition to conserving the past, the schools are expected to contribute to progress. The possibilities of the schools for this purpose are so well recognized that reformers are always keen to use them as means of propaganda for the interest that they happen to have at heart. Consequently, there is always pressure for the revision of the educational program. Moreover, the function of conserving the past in itself requires constant revision, because the past is a growing thing. We now have a different past to conserve. Consequently, the education that suited the needs of an earlier generation does not necessarily suit the needs of the present. We have outgrown the classical curriculum, just as we are outgrowing the traditional opposition between vocational and liberal education.

The changes that are brought about in education as a result of social development are likely to represent both a change in content and a change in attitude or outlook. Thus the modifications of the classical curriculum not only introduced additional subject matter, but expressed a different conception of the relation of the individual to

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