ERIC Number: ED158437
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jun
The Blindly Practical and the Impractically Ideal: Pitfalls for the Unwary in the Specification of Educational Directions.
Walker, Foster N.
The rapidity and complexity of current change create a paradoxical need for educational decision-making that is at the same time rapid and well thought out. A fundamental obstruction to genuinely effective educational planning is a misconceived notion of "practicality." The essence of the misconception is the belief that change in education should proceed without consideration of overall educational ideals. Such ideals are regarded by some practical decision-makers as vague, impossible to attain, and, sometimes, patently absurd. Yet all decision-making is in fact based on underlying assumptions or ideals, whether conscious or subconscious. Even such down-to-earth objectives as "teaching the basics" rest on ideals and assumptions concerning the ultimate purpose of life. Thus, ideals cannot be omitted from decision-making but are often misunderstood or ignored. Decision-making without consideration of underlying ideals is "blindly practical." Yet those who fanatically embrace ideals without gaining illumination of specific practice are "impractically ideal." The more difficult yet best approach to educational decision-making is one of "ideal practicality." In this approach, ideals are invoked with a clear indication of importance to the quality of life and the aims of schooling. This approach ensures that changes will be far-reaching and of long duration since they relate to fundamental concerns and urgent problems. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Canadian School Trustees' Association Congress on Education (1st, Toronto, Ontario, June 17-21, 1978)