Sunday, April 15, 2012

Orr's Six Myths about education

Orr quotes Elie Wiesel as saying Education "emphasised theories instead of values, cponcepts rather than human beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and efficiency rather than conscience". This is not a new criticism of an education system- it is rather one that challenges the Western rational approach to knowledge collection and use. Weisel and Orr with him are sitting on a rationale that would have education being about values and conscience. (not so different from the base and justification for many of our integrated private schools in New Zealand)
Having experienced the formal education system both as a receiver (what a passive word) and a giver (under a plethera of role titles)for more years than I can count on my fingers, I am very inclined to agree with critiques that give knowledge, its reception and use a priviliege for the rational and indeed support the false dualism of the intellect and the spirit. What you replace it with is the moot point. Clearly Orr wants to replace it with the notion that "all education is environmental education" and lists curriculum content that would provide that. This is a seductively partisan view and one which is quite cleverly argued. I'm in the process of exploring other readings (Design for Sustainability and FritjofCapra ) where an holistic and integrated world is pictured and ways to support that are explored.
I'll just keep on with it I think and I look forward to our next gathering.

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