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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] RE: Deschoolin Society / Creating Learning Communities

Yes, Dennis. There is much to be said in favor of our institutions and
personally I am inclined toward correcting the wrongs rather than dumping the
whole thing - a revolution played out over time. That goes for schools, for
governance, for marketing/consumer behavior, for law and the penal system, etc.,
etc.    (01)

School is a preparation for life in society, which, among a lot of things,
includes the inculcation of broadly held values. Looking at the world scene,
there is still so much to be agreed upon on that score.    (02)

A great thing about the school where I used to teach - a giant inner-city
college - was the mix of student backgrounds. In part this was by design, in
part by happenstance. The design was to have streams of pre-university students
and students in career programs mixing by having to take a number of the same
courses, notably in humanities and English. A (hidden) problem, I thought, was
the mostly middle-class background of the teaching staff and for many fairly
narrow personal experiences in the face of students from all nearly all social
strata and of a variety of races and cultures (many fairly fresh immigrants).
There was, unavoidably, a bit of one-fits-all set-up.    (03)

While individualized teaching undoubtedly has many merits, cross-layered social
interaction is also very important - especially in a world with increasing
blending of populations.    (04)

Best students were those of recent Asian background. They felt they owed it to
their parents to perform well. In turn, their parents paid much attention to the
kids' study habits. They exerted close supervision. The lesson here is that
education is a societal enterprise (through our institutions) as well as a
family affair (to say nothing of religious education, youth movements, Samba
schools, what-have-you). What ought be of concern is the pressure business puts
on its employees; this invariably takes away from attention to family and
society. I believe this is an issue that the captains of industry and industrial
management at all levels needs to be confronted with.    (05)

Unbridled competition is said to be a good thing, but that is a pretty mindless
opinion.    (06)

Henry    (07)

"Dennis E. Hamilton" wrote:    (08)

> Henry,
> Thanks for forwarding this to the list.
> I found it interesting enough to discuss it with the next person who called
> me on the phone!
> It also reminds me that Eugene had started a reading group on Ivan Illich's
> book(s) and that it disappeared.  (I am one of the culprits that didn't
> follow through.)  Maybe one step we could take would be to revive that
> activity.
> The Illich - Drucker (and Maslow) connection is also worth exploring.  But I
> suggest the thing to do is take another run at Illich's ideas.
> I want to say more.  I think it is about the language of disaffection.  I
> find that I have to restrain myself and listen for the positive aspects of
> the experiences that people describe (such as an account about studying at
> The International University in Japan) and let the generalizations about
> what's wrong with education and society and our economic modes just slip
> past while I look for the positive in what is being reported.  I find that
> it works for me if I discount the negativity and keep looking for the gems.
> The second thing I notice is that this is a gigantic topic.  "Education" is
> not separate from civic life and the working of society and the absorbtion
> of culture.  And vice versa.  We are speaking of major disruptions to alter
> the model for schooling in our society.  People's lives (and the
> institutions of society, including economic life) are not organized for
> this.  It leaves me with a lot to ponder.
> What is there in this to be *for*?  It is easy to be against something,
> there just isn't much power in it.  What, then, can I be *for* while I look
> at this?  I say it is for a sustainable (global) society that works for
> everyone.  Everyone.  Including our co-inhabitants of this planet, whether
> embracing our culture or another.  I am going to look deeper into this from
> that perspective.
> -- Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Henry K van Eyken [mailto:vaneyken@sympatico.ca]
> Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 08:59
> To: Bill Ellis
> Cc: albert.m.selvin@verizon.com; jackpark@thinkalong.com;
> corbetre@webster.edu; mindyr@synmhs.usa.com
> Subject: Re: Deschoolin Society / Creating Learning Communities
> Dear Mr. Ellis.
> I cannot but be sympathetic to your cause. That is not to say that some of
> the points strike me as needing thoughtful contemplation. Allow me to single
> out :he very first one:
> * Everyone has the right to decide what s/he wants to learn and have the
> chance to learn it.
> Off hand, it seems to me important that the children from infancy upwards do
> not have that right. In a world where we are increasingly dependent on one
> another, it is important that children be raised with an awareness of and
> concern for people everywhere as well as of the limits to our globe's
> capability to sustain us all.
> [ ... ]
> ******************* INVITATION ***********************
> Making Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society" become real.  Read it on:
>     <http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/illich/deschool/intro.html>
> -------------------------------------------------------
> [ ... ]    (09)