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November 10, 2011

“The question that makes the difference between being optimistic or pessimistic about what is happening in schools is whether getting the ideas into the system in simplified form prepares the way for the deeper form or betrays it. I say, “Marry the man today and change his ways tomorrow!””

Papert, Seymour (2005). You can’t think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(3/4), 366 -367 .

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1 Response

  1. It is clear that getting computers into schools for every student all the time will allow some teachers and some students to engage fully with the resources and capabilities of the computer, and that not all teachers, administrations, and parents will approve. This is particularly true in areas of controversy, such as sex education, evolutionary biology, and global warming, but is also true for math and programming, where many people take a narrowly utilitarian view of education as job training, not as expanding horizons or preparing for active citizenship, and especially not enjoying learning for its own sake.

    Much depends on the training or education, as the case may be, of teachers, administrators, politicians, and the public concerning education. There is the 18th century Prussian model, based on factory automation concepts, with the focus on job training and a concept of citizenship based entirely on obedience, vs. the John Dewey Democracy and Education model, among others. The Prussian model was much favored in colonial education systems during the Age of Empire, and persists in nominally free former colonies through well-known processes of social inertia and other forces, including government corruption.

    The Prussian concept, and that of the extremely conservative churches that supported it, can be summed up as

    “When I want to hear _your_ opinion, I’ll *tell* it to you.”

    Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814)

    You must fashion [the person], and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will.

    Addresses to the German Nation