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Extra resources for Education and the Development of Reason (International Library of the Philosophy of Education Volume 8)
Moreover, in spite of its ‘social’ design, the alternative to education was never totally devoid of educational features. In its beginning, when it was concerned with children up to the age of about eleven, perhaps the only significant element of culture it contained, the only suggestion it made to those who enjoyed it that they might recognize themselves as something more and other than potential units in what was coming to be thought of as a ‘productive system’, was the religious instruction, frowned upon in France, but elsewhere part of the curriculum.
Encourage children to look and to touch’), but this misunderstanding of the educational engagement itself, with its often quoted slogan ‘Things, not words’,2 with its taciturn teacher, its erroneous belief that ‘language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known’, its total neglect of literature, its absence of curriculum, its Education: The engagement and its frustrationâ•… 23 accent on crude information, its elevation of inclination, its pragmatic aspirations and with its conviction that a man’s identity is to be found, not in his relation to an inheritance of human understandings, sentiments and beliefs, but in relation to a world of ‘solid things’— all of which I have identified as the first of the current projects for the abolition of ‘School’ and the destruction of education.
Here, in spite of the claim to be concerned with education, any pretence of teaching, learning or understanding has been abandoned. Desirable children will be the outcome of controlled genetic selection, and their ‘behaviour’ will be determined by brains stimulated by electrical currents and by the injection of extracts from other more distinguished brains, by inoculation with chemicals and by other irresistible processes of conditioning. ’ To corrupt ‘School’ by depriving it of its character as a serious engagement to learn by study, and to abolish it either by assimilating it to the activities, ‘interests’, partialities and abridgments of a local world, or by substituting in its place a factory for turning out zombies, are, then, two sides of the current project to destroy education.