Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Everything Old is New Again

This quote might sound familiar if you pay attention to battles over school reform, or even if you just read my post about Sir Ken.
“Instead of being self-reliant, discreet and full of intellectual pluck, our modern boys and girls are made absolutely dependent on their teachers and on text-books; they have scarcely and idea of their own except on topics which have not been touched upon in school” (15)

Kids these days, right? Well, except it was kids those days, as in the 1890's and early 1900's.

That's right, I'm reading through that book I mentioned last night, and it's both exciting and frustrating at the same time. Exciting due to my intense fascination with the teaching methods he's advocating, which goes by the name of Inquiry these days and I will probably touch on later, and frustrating because it seems that nothing really changed in a hundred years. Maybe Britain reshaped their education system to be more in line with this, and I'll look this up for another blog post, but remember how I said that Pink Floyd did it better? If they did institute those reforms, they certainly took their time.

I get especially frustrated because I feel like I'm arguing against myself because I, if pressed to give my ideal educational system, would be in the same camp as these people. It's just when someone comes along talking about how we need to reform this and we need to change that, I start to wonder what they're selling. I know it's doom and gloom language for a purpose, but they end up sounding like either hucksters, cranky old people, end-of-times zealots or all three. We've needed to do all these things for a hundred years, failed to do so, and generally turned out ok. Maybe the words "should" and "ought" could enter the vocabulary.

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