Re: Nate's interesting question

From: Bramble House (
Date: Mon Mar 07 2005 - 00:40:27 PST

...just to follow-up on Jay's and Nate's provocative statements, and the
conversations, the question, it seems to me, can be more concerned with our
own experience,
that if we were to deconstruct education based on our own experiences, which
is the
basis of most postmodern deconstruction, and we were to find it wanting...
what then?
If not state-sanctioned curriculum/schooling... then what?
(the impulsive reaction, no doubt, is that "it was good enough for me, so
why not
for young folk following in.. my...footsteps?" The road to ruin... and so
on. ... )

There is, indeed, a need for the basics of reading/writing (and here I'll
impose a wee idiosyncrasy, that
writing ought to be both typing and script, hand-writing, legibility with
pen/cil and so on) - and
arithmetic... and then what? If we truly critique what is worth knowing,
what is worth teaching?

It seems to me this is the heart of the question... not just what are
schools for, but
what is really worth knowing? A critical education is not an impossible
curriculum, and given the
ambiguity of popular culture, a critical experience with "knowledge" would
be valuable, ... and yet,
if not in "schools" then where? How?

For example, a history of one's nation-state is critical because we live
within distinct
nation-states, and yet, each nation has an anxious history of violence and
persecution that is
always disguised in realms of, what do we do? Really. How do
we teach a history
that is honest, when documented history is contradictory to state-sanctioned
history? And
is critical history possible when a nation-state is paying for an

Content questions are useful, as they can lead to context. And while it is
useful to understand
how people/children learn, it is also useful to consider how what people
learn is framed by forces
much larger than the 'how'...

I reviewed a Canadian book years ago that proposed a radical approach to
education, one that
involved apprenticing to kinds of professions and not just book-learning...
the idea was kind of cool,
really, that rather than classrooms one organized kinds of work-study
programs. Not just learning a
trade, but learning how one works in the world, how one's craft makes sense
in the world and the community,
and so on... stuff like that is possibly global, not just Western.
I don't know. Really, though, these are excellent questions.

Me thoughts.

Diane Hodges

La Maison Bramble House
19 Valois Bay Avenue
Pointe Claire, QC H9R 4B4

Tel: (514) 630-6363
Fax: (514) 344-2994

----- Original Message -----
From: <willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at>
To: "Xmca" <>
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2005 10:03 PM
Subject: Re: Nate's interesting question

> Mike Cole wrote:
> >So I take it that what you are arguing is that one of the positive
> >benefits of compulsory
> >education is that it reduces child labor, increases social capital,
> >and provides future workers with skills that will be important for
> >labor in the years to come? This will be somehow real labor, not
> >slavery.
> >
> >
> In my most optimistic moments I would say schooling is a developmentally
> leading activity. That optimism leaves soon after early childhood.
> I am not sure I would say education increases social capital and at best
> it only narrows the playing field. I am also not saying anything about
> worker skills. I am not even sure what these skills would be. My
> concerns lie mostly in the ethical position of certain predetermined
> ends if schooling is "deconstructed". If we have any grasp of history
> and / or current affairs we have to acknowledge certain undesireable
> activities coming to front.
> So Mike, if we get rid of schooling in middle and late childhood, what
> should they do in their spare time. Sadly, the unsuprvised hours of
> 3-5:00 give me little to be optimistic about. Maybe Wal-Mart offers a
> solution since they are already violating child labor laws left and right.
> If not schooling - then what?

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