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ERIC Number: EJ859763
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: N/A
Steps to the Corporate Classroom: A Propositional Inventory
Doughty, Howard A.
College Quarterly, v11 n4 Fall 2008
The text for this article derives from Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, which contain the central elements of his extensive critique of education in Benito Mussolini's Italy. In prison from 1926 to 1937, he produced a remarkable amount of writing on many political and cultural subjects, all of which were scribbled out in student notebooks and smuggled from his cell to an awaiting world. His critique of education was especially fascinating, because he advocated a "classical" education for all citizens. The problem for Gramsci was the same as for educators today: how to provide citizens with the intellectual opportunities to make citizenship meaningful. The author describes the steps that Seneca College has taken toward becoming a corporate college which include the imposition of an industrial model of labour relations, the commodification of education and the reduction of active students to passive consumers of educational merchandise. Seneca increasingly displays a comprehensive and exclusive commitment to a definition of education that deskills teachers by transforming them from autonomous academics to standardized technicians "delivering curriculum" to submissive customers. Control over the entire process remains with a hierarchical management structure that regulates every step of the teaching and learning process, quantifying and monitoring each aspect of classroom performance and eliminating as much "variability" as possible in what and how teachers teach, and what and how learners learn, such that every expectation of the corporate agenda is met--including reduction of production costs to the lowest possible level. The author also explains what he means by a propositional inventory. He has arranged seven subtopics through which to focus on one or another element in the complex set of corporatist arrangements within which teachers live their professional lives. Each one contains three propositions and a summary question that, if effectively considered, could help erect a framework upon which it will be possible to construct an alternative vision of what the college could have been and what it still could be and should be. The author does not insist that his idea of Seneca is either optimal or even possible. He does believe, however, that some alternative is fundamental to the redemption of the college and the restoration of its capacity to contribute to the recovery of what is best in civilization, necessary for the society, crucial for the college and vital for the emancipation of the people--including teachers and their students--who live within it.
Descriptors: Citizenship Education, Higher Education, Job Skills, Educational Objectives, Foreign Countries, Teaching Methods, Industry, Human Capital, Power Structure, Role of Education, Social Influences, Social Justice, Ideology, Politics of Education, Labor Force Development
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. 1750 Finch Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M2J 2X5, Canada. Tel: 416-491-5050; Fax: 905-479-4561; Web site: http://www.collegequarterly.ca
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy