Education: Let Us Get On ...

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¶ Dewey said, " 'Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.' When this had gone through the long and circuitous route to the classroom, it was understood to mean that the schools should not be overly concerned with preparing the child for anything except possibly the strenuous social activity which we have mentioned. The high school should not worry about whether it was preparing the student for college, and the elementary school should not concern itself with preparing the child for high school...The school was to be merely a specialized environment, in which the child lived and grew. One would think that the teachers had been brought up on an intellectual diet consisting exclusively of Rousseau's Emile."

Worst of all, says Woodring, is the perversion of the doctrine that the school must concern itself with the "whole child." To some teachers, this has come to mean that no aspect of a child's development is any more important than any other, and that consequently every course he might take, from boat-building to botany, must be on a par.

In other words, says Psychologist Woodring, the new philosophy "has failed to tell us what is more important and what is less [important] in education." It has completely failed to realize that the best education for a changing world is "a thorough grounding in those things which [are] least likely to change." In short: "There is no dearth of facts, of principles, or higher truths for us to teach and to learn. Let us get on with the learning and the teaching."

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