Kilpatrick on Education as Life

Daniel Willingham has an interesting response to Steve Hargadon today in the Britannica Forum (I highly recommend both articles) in which he references an article by William Kilpatrick, which I consider a must-read. In the article, Kilpatrick has some great lines like, “We have for years increasingly desired that education be considered as life itself and not as a mere preparation for later living … it follows that to base education on purposeful acts is exactly to identify the process of education with worthy living itself.” Lots of great ideas here, but the kicker for me was the publication date (below the fold) …

1918

btw, Thanks to early commenters for correcting the name above … still not sure if Thomas or William is correct, it appears both ways.

Wesch

Associate professor of cultural anthropology. Ed Traceur. Hacker. Car-free.

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20 Responses

  1. Larry Irons says:

    Actually, that is Thomas H. Kirkpatrick according to the byline.

  2. Larry Irons says:

    Sorry, that is Kilpatrick ;-)

  3. Censi says:

    Britannica Blog is tightly censores. Any reader comments incopatible with the commercial or ideological interests of Britannica are excluded. Boycott Britannica censorship.

  4. Kilpatrick’s concerns, and most of Mike Wesch’s about significance, etc., have, to my mind, already been addressed by <a href=”http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/index.htm”Gatto. (And a Google video documentary taken when Gatto was still teaching, here). Gatto went further and addressed why such sound ideas and philosophy as expressed by Kilpatrick would continue to reverberate yet never make it into the mainstream of centrally organized, compulsory education. Great ideas for education abound, but they will never be accepted into the system, because the system is designed to reduce learning to a system, and because the system is designed for the benefits of those managing society, not for those managed. John Holt came to pretty much the same conclusion and so quit teaching in schools.

  5. Kilpatrick’s concerns, and most of Mike Wesch’s about significance, etc., have, to my mind, already been addressed by <a href=”http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/index.htm”Gatto. (And a Google video documentary taken when Gatto was still teaching, here). Gatto went further and addressed why such sound ideas and philosophy as expressed by Kilpatrick would continue to reverberate yet never make it into the mainstream of centrally organized, compulsory education. Great ideas for education abound, but they will never be accepted into the system, because the system is designed to reduce learning to a system, and because the system is designed for the benefits of those managing society, not for those managed. John Holt came to pretty much the same conclusion and so quit teaching in schools.

  6. Sarah says:

    I’m not sure that “the system is designed to reduce learning to a system”, and while I acknowledge the probable truth of the marxist assertion that the system is designed to benefit those managing the society I think that the education system is a more dynamic creature which grows and adapts with society. People (teachers, students, aides, parents and clerical staff) are a powerful source of positive growth and are capable of bucking the system in clever and innovative ways. Point of contact is where it matters and where the design of the system can be mitigated. Technology, multiple intelligences, learning as a life long source of pleasure and success. There are lots of tools to use and people are very inventive about how they can be used. I refuse to believe the system is hopeless. I think you need commitment, and Co-ordination – I think it was Ghandi who said something like…..”Our cause will only fail when we are not united against {the oprressors}…”

  7. Tom Panelas says:

    Censi’s accusation is completely untrue, and for such a charge to come from a pseudonymous poster borders on smearing.

    Tell me what ideological “proclivities” are excluded from Britannica’s blog. We have had almost every point of view imaginable represented in discussions of politics, culture, current events, technology, science, and history. Britannica as an organization has been sharply and explicitly criticized by our bloggers and commenters, and those posts stand today.

    Like many blogs that want to maintain civil, intelligent, and manageable discourse, we have a set of guidelines posted. Adhere to them and your comment will appear.

    We also have an e-mail address you can write to if you think a comment of yours has been deleted unfairly. I don’t think we’ve ever heard from Mr./Ms. “Censi” with any such appeal. Instead he or she hurls vague accusations in public without details or evidence.

    Tom Panelas
    Encyclopaedia Britannica

  8. Ruth Howard says:

    Ive followed you here from the Learning Technologies Conference 2008 online community. I wont be attending that here in Australia but Ill be catching up on recorded versions. I loved your various videos, thanks to you Michael and your fab students, so much fun so much serious fun!Ive watched 4 of your vids! (my 3 year old is elsewhere!) Im a new teacher tho Ive had other work so a later career move. Im very interested in whats happening online and its meaning for work and education.

    Im responding to many things and yor vids were very emotionally provocative and I like that! But just on ‘The system’ of education as part of a much larger system…I had a very moving and weird experience this week where I was attending a talk for women in a community venue. My child needed to be minded along with others. There were many new refugee children attending this centre, their mothers attending other meetings…. I ended up spending time with the children instead of meeting up with my women’s group but basically I was hyper alert to the women walking across the lawn outside, community workers, counsellors, social workers etc. And the women working as childcare workers inside the fence where I was also…and the very emotional/physical/financial difficult needs of the women who were attending the various meetings inside.

    I had a recognition that there was the middle classes educated to contend with the lower income classes needs. The educated middle class women- fabulous and compassionate as they are were earning their living from the difficult circumstances of those less fortunate. It was all so topsy turvey and THE SYSTEM inbuilds this disastrous heart wrenching incongruency.

    I appreiate it as a very personal insight but it was so strong. Intensified by the fact that the childcare workers didnt know the names of the children nor their country of origins and had little info. There was all this training/info yet not the connections with those that most need it. And the children had very specific needs in my observation-security, to be safe, connected in a strange place. I ended up just staying with a tiny Burmese(I found out) girl. Finally she slept. Very withdrawn, left on her own in a pram, she wasnt ready to move beyond it at that time.

    Im using your platform to express recent experiences, but these pathways ultimately all connect! Yes the Youtube dialogue about connections moved me as well as the inherent learning through connections emphasis and lack of it when there’s disconnect!

  9. Karen M Siemens says:

    I came here through a link in my Webheads email. As I scanned your comments and the articles by Steve Hargadon and Daniel Willingham a number of questions I’ve been pondering came to mind:

    My observation is that this century is the century of the common man. People have long recognized that “the authorities” in society are fallible, biased and manipulate people to achieve their own ends (for society’s supposed good). The common man put up with this situation because he had no recourse. With web 2.0 he does. So here are my questions –

    1. Will education as we have known it survive? What could or will replace it?

    Students have often endured education because there was no other way to access the knowledge they needed and/or the diploma/certificate/degree they needed as a ticket to pursue their goals. Now one has to wonder if there are other better ways. I am almost finished a diploma in teaching ESL and I also teach. While the course I took is widely recognized, some of the foundational knowledge I had hoped to acquire simply wasn’t there. Should I jump through more educational hoops or should I pursue that knowledge in other ways?

    2. Have teachers even realized that #1 is one of the questions of this century? Or, will they be like the media, talking on and on, not realizing that fewer and fewer people are listening?

    As a teacher and a parent, I am amazed at the attitude of many educators, who though they are technologically proficient, still seem only capable of thinking inside the educational classroom box. As my 16-year-old reflected, “They’re nice people (her online-school teachers), but they went to university and got brainwashed. Most of them can only think of education that way.”

    I don’t know what it is like where you live, and these questions may seem far out to you, but in my area (southern BC) we have declining school enrollment in both K-12 and college along with exploding online schools. Both the online and homeschool communities are actively exploring non-classroom education. I think that is only the beginning.

    Karen

  10. Dan Howitt says:

    Dan Willingham’s response is very interesting indeed.

    Dan Howitt.

  11. Robert Fuller says:

    This being my very first time doing this, (blog reply), and given the limited time I have to do this, I get the impression that much of this is more pro individualistic learning, via electronic media replacing traditional classroom environment. While I can’t deny the value of electronic aids in education, to think of a future without the ‘live’ verbal interaction with teachers and fellow students in a classroom, depresses me.

  12. Jill Windsor says:

    Hi All!

    I am a secondary teacher from Ontario, Canada and have been reading the fascinating activity that has occured in your anthropology class. I am not only excited about the activities, but the collaboration amongst peers (whom may not otherwise speak for not of the virtual world) is extremely thrilling. I showed your you tube videos to secondary teachers and you all rocked their world!!!!!! Thank-you all!!!!!!!
    :) Jill Windsor, Literacy Resource Teacher

  13. Mauricio says:

    I have to disagree with mr. Robert Fuller, I think the blogthread, same as most of the work of wesh isn’t trying to take out “‘live’ verbal interaction”, on the contrary, it’s just trying to make classes interactive.
    there’s this great article from douglas adams I remembere every time I read or watch something like this, the link below:

    http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/19990901-00-a.html

  14. Patrick S. says:

    The Kilpatrick quote is very intriguing in some of its implications for education outside of the classroom, particularly as it relates to Web 2.0.

    Karen M Siemens makes an interesting observation in calling this the century of the common man. I have seen this, particularly with the proliferation of technology where I live, in China. Here, migrant workers may have little beyond the clothes on there back…and the mobile phone in their pocket. They may have little formal education, but they have access to the Internet through the internet cafes on every corner; therefor, they are not ignorant of the broader world, and have formed meaningful opinions. And these opinions have been formed, out of necessity, in the context of “living itself” (I’ll leave the “worthy” judgment up to someone else).

    I teach, mostly outside the bounds of formal education, and find this a challenge. Web 2.0 = Accessibility. Q.E.D. I must consider it as an educator, as a tool for helping my students.

  15. Bubblesort says:

    Mr. Panelas,

    Cesni’s post is not smearing. It is simply a statement that may or may not be true. It is true that she did not support her accusation with evidence, though. I went to your principles and guidelines page and found the following rules:

    * No bigotry
    * No profanity
    * No advocating violence or flagrantly immoral conduct
    * No pornography or links thereto
    * No personal attacks. Intellectual argument is fine, but please, nothing ad hominem.
    * Nothing that would offend most reasonable people
    * No purely or primarily commercial messages
    * No spam. As a definition of spam, we like that of blogher.org: “nonsense unrelated to the discussion,” though we reserve the right, on occasion, to delete even relevant nonsense or irrelevant sense.

    Most ideas will fall into one or more of these categories, since Britannica failed to define it’s terms. Is Michaelangelo’s David pornographic? Is it ok for me to advocate democracy? In some cultures democracy is considered immoral (places where it is considered immoral to dissent, for example). Any adjective applied to a person can be seen as ad hominem, depending on your point of view.

    These guidelines beg the question: Who enforces this?

    Further down the page Britannica answers this question:

    “We invite readers to write comments about the blog posts and the comments of others. Try to keep your comments succinct and on the topic of the thread. We don’t have a formal word limit for comments, but if something is painfully long we may delete it. Of course, if you write something long and brilliant, it will probably get posted, but in general we ask that you not prattle on endlessly or repeat ad nauseum comments and arguments you’ve made in earlier visits to the Britannica Blog.

    Comments are “moderated,” which means yours won’t appear immediately after you submit it; it’ll be published after a blog administrator has read it and decided it’s okay. If days pass and you haven’t seen your comment appear, we probably found something about it objectionable or disruptive and deleted it.”

    Britannica restricts comments by asking commentators to be succinct, and they warn that they will delete comments that are “painfully long,” which is another arbitrary term. The entire page is full of arbitrary terms, allowing moderators to pick and choose what they censor.

    Britannica has a moderated comment system. The act of moderation is censorship.

    In short, Mr. Panelas, you provided the very evidence that Cesni failed to produce. This is irrefutable evidence that Britannica censors.

    Bubblesort,

    Annonymous College Student

    P.S. — If you have a problem with the idea that anonymous posters can make valid points, Mr. Panelas, then I would offer some advice: Get off the internet.

  16. Bubblesort says:

    Oh, and one last point: Mr. Panelas is not listed as an author on the blog that he linked to his name. He is as anonymous as I am, but worse, since I didn’t hide my identity behind a lie.

  17. well, i was enrolled at an online school and the curriculum is quite great *

  18. although online schools are good, i think we also need human interaction which we can only get from offline schools ~,,

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