ERIC Number: ED201547
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jan-15
Reference Count: 0
Beyond the Basics: A Culturalogical Concern.
Venables, Thomas J.
This paper examines concepts of educational quality in various societies at different times throughout history. It also identifies major opposing themes which influence educational objectives, including eloquence versus efficiency, prejudice and discrimination versus social equality and educational opportunity, and conflict versus consensus. The purpose of the paper is to call attention to the philosophical notion of educational excellence at a time when this concept is either under attack or ignored in favor of the numerous mandates for mediocrity so often used to justify social inequities. The hypothesis is that our educational system encourages students to be less creative and scholarly than they might be because educators are influenced by the current social thinking that rewards efficiency and disdains eloquence. Earlier societies were influenced by very different philosophies and, as a consequence, aimed at very different educational objectives. For example, the first century orator Quintillian provided a base upon which scholars could build an order of reasonableness and academic criticism. Johan Amos Comenius, a 17th century educational reformer in Czechoslovakia, called for imparting knowledge which would begin with the senses, pass into memory through individual imagination and find expression in creativity. (John Dewey contributed the concept of experiential learning.) More recent educators and educational philosophers who have spoken in favor of academic excellence have been hampered by allegations of discrimination, prejudice, elitism, and contributing to social conflict. The conclusions are that the relationship between education and social goals is more complex than is generally realized and that educators will be doing the greatest service to diverse contemporary society if they move beyond the basics to goals that maximize individual quality. (DB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Dewey (John)
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Teachers of Education (Detroit, MI, February 18, 1981).