Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
EDUCATION AND THE SOCIAL CURRICULUM

Education and Society. One of the social institutions upon which falls much of the responsibility for the readjustment of the home and family, and especially that part relating to child and youth, is the school. And education at large must be counted upon to assume its major portion of guidance for the newer relationships of the new generation. One of our first tasks, therefore, will be to ascertain the scope and purpose of the school as a social institution, its relation to the other institutions, and its larger meaning in directing the social processes of education. With the school in its professional aspects and technique this book is not concerned; but in the social objectives of education we find one of our chief interests. For, after all, education in its larger meanings comes nearer combining and coördinating the other great social forces than does any other single process.

The School as a Social Institution. What are the purposes of the school and education? In the words of a single definition, adapted to modern situations and social change, what is the school? Can we state an adequate concept of the school in such terms as will enable us to measure the success or failure of the modern school and the modern curriculum? In general, we may say that the school has two larger purposes, the one having to do with the transmission of knowledge and wisdom and the other having to do with individual and social guidance. In terms of society's best concepts, the school is that institution through which is transmitted to each generation the wisdom of the race and through which the individual and society receive guidance in continuous efforts for adjustment and progress. According to this concept knowledge alone does not constitute education. Nevertheless, it should be clear that adequate guidance of the individual and the race must be based upon knowledge and experience of the past and of the present. Whether or not this concept of the school and of education is adequate to the needs of the student of social problems may be tested by simple application to modern situations.

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