Schools for Growth: Radical Alternatives to Current Educational Models

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L. Erlbaum Associates, 1997 - Education - 152 pages
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A passionate deconstruction and reconstruction of learning, development, and schooling that urges teachers to explore and create new educational opportunities for themselves and their students, Schools for Growth: Radical Alternatives to Current Educational Models asks the following questions:
Can we create ways for people to learn the kinds of things that are necessary for functional adaptation without stifling their capacity to continuously create their growth?
Can schools become environments that support children to perform not only as learners but as developers of their lives?

This book challenges educators to look at the deeply-rooted assumptions about schooling, learning, and development and urges that the way psychology and education have constructed our conceptions of what it means to teach, to learn, and to grow may be the most serious impediment to the learning and developing of children. Beyond the criticism, the author presents an original methodological reformation of what learning and development are as relational activities and then takes readers on a visit to three radical independent school settings.

Arguing that current educational models have been misguided by scientific psychology, the author states that the dominant model of human development actually hinders development. Moreover, as learning theory has become infused with developmental theory over the past 30 years, the overly cognitive manner in which psychologists have come to think about thinking, learning, and development has become further insinuated into education. Both theories--learning and developmental--fail o recognize the human capacity for relational-revolutionary activity and for performance. The prevalent mode of education--acquisitional learning--is grounded in a world view that gives primacy to knowledge and knowing which Holzman believes is inconsistent with ongoing developmental activity.

The author focuses on "developmental learning"--a social constructionist, activity-theoretic conception of development which includes a transformation and synthesis of Vygotsky and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. She also discusses educational projects that are self-conscious attempts to break with key elements of modern epistemology and the dominant psychological paradigm as they are perpetrated in contemporary educational theory and practice. Their specific philosophies and practices highlight important methodological issues raised in the attempt to create "postmodern schools"--schools more concerned with growing than knowing.

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