ERIC Number: EJ764586
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: N/A
Is There an America in Italy's Future?
Kilpatrick, William K.
Journal of Education, v186 n2 p71-86 2005
When the author first heard that Italy wants to adopt the American model of education, his immediate reaction was, "Why would you want to do that?" American schools can scarcely teach students to read and write. American students are abysmally ignorant about history, geography, and world affairs. In international assessments of achievement, American students consistently rank near the bottom of developed countries in math, science, and reading skills. Worse yet, as he understands it, the American model that Italy has in mind is one which many Americans are in the process of rejecting. That model can handily be referred to as the 3 C's model: "child-centered," "constructivist," and "critical thinking." This model has not produced any positive result but it has produced a number of catchy slogans: "Teach the child, not the subject"; "What students learn is unimportant, rather we must teach students to learn "how" to learn"; "Teachers shouldn't emphasize "mere facts," instead they should encourage critical thinking"; and finally, "You can always look it up." The foremost critic of the 3 C's model is professor E.D. Hirsch at the University of Virginia. His book "The Schools We Need" is, according to this author, the most important book on educational theory of the last 30 years. If there is an American model worth emulating, it is the one described by Hirsch, not the one prescribed by the constructivists. Is there an America in Italy's future? If that means modeling Italian education on the failed policies of educators who mouth slogans such as "learning to learn," but offer nothing concrete, then the author thinks Italians would do better to look elsewhere. There are educational ideas coming out of America that are worth looking at. Foremost among these are the fact-friendly prescriptions offered by Hirsch, who offers a clear analysis of educational theory, bases his conclusions on a wealth of recent research, and offers comprehensive and detailed remedies for the problems he criticizes.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Educational Policy, Educational Philosophy, Educational Strategies, Constructivism (Learning), Critical Thinking, Models
Boston University School of Education. 621 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. Tel: 617-353-3230; Fax: 617-353-3924; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.bu.edu/education/jed/index.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy; Virginia