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Deschooling Society (Open Forum S) Paperback – July 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Open Forum S
  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714508799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714508795
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Must reading for anyone in education.
NJ Man
Peer networks, mainly as amateur clubs, have long existed, but Illich doesn't explore why people don't turn to them for other educational needs.
K. Collins
I read this book a few years ago, and still reread it from time to time.
Wafaa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By David Culp on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that will change the way you see the world and yourself. It's difficult for us who were "successful" in government schools to look back at the process objectively, to remember the wasted time, the cartoonish simplification of everything, and the process' lack of applicability to our lives. You may need this book to help you reconsider that which has become so large a part of your own feeling of self-worth. You will then see why it is almost impossible to discuss true school reform with people - they still have their blinders on.
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94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a heartfelt series of essays that illuminate the nature of learning and the perverse consequences of professionally imposed schooling requirements. Far from the assumed engine of equality, modern schooling promotes inequality and social stratification. It's powerful and graded liturgy convinces the majority of people that their inferior status derives from a failure to consume sufficient quantities of expensive educational services. Illich links schooling and modern ideas of education to the belief in endless progress and the ultimate abolition of "Necessity." What starts out as a program in humanism ends up as a formula for the destruction of what it is to be human.
This is a book about aliveness.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By "-nicole-" on June 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book 10 years ago and still find myself thinking about it.
If you're looking for material that will justify your worst suspicions as to the actual effectiveness of modern schooling while inspiring in you a desire for change, you're on the right track. But be warned. This book is far more than an essay on the failings of our educational system.
Education is merely the author's proving ground for one simple premise: it is the nature of the institution to produce the opposite of itself. This basic paradigm may be applied to any institutionalized need. You'll find yourself analyzing the role of healthcare in well-being, financial services in prosperity, the food industry in nutrition, and so on...
Find this book and buy it.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on June 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is on my list of "The Ten Best." It does more than brilliantly advocate a turn away from education as an institutional product. It speaks for the adoption of a whole new worldview.

Illich eshews the usual reformers' clichés about our need for more schools, more school funding, etc., etc. He is much more radical and deep than that. He sometimes quotes and is often categorized with "deconstructionist" philosophers such as Foucault. However Illich is a thousand times more accessible and grounded than Foucault. And if after reading Illich, you feel the need for even more grounded advice about the benefits of homeschooling, I highly recommend you read the works of John Holt, starting perhaps with his "How Children Learn" and "How Children Fail." Holt brings the philosophy of homeschooling down to the everyday and individual.

But Illich looks at the big picture - at how our lives have been hijacked by a consumer mentality. It's not that he's giving suggestions about how schools could be improved. It's not that he's advocating any adjustments to our current teaching methods at all, and he's certainly not giving directions on how to transplant the pedagogical tools of the school into the "safer" environment of the home. It's that he's against the whole IDEA of schools and teaching in the first place. But wait! Before you gasp and turn away, read further.

Perhaps the most telling summary of his global objection lies in his pages on how schooling converts verbs into nouns in our lives. The modern mandatory educational system is created by and in turn promotes a constant reification, a constant restructuring of every intangible human capacity into a tangible need - into a consumer demand for service to be supplied by some institutional provider.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a love/hate relationship with Ivan Illich's book "Deschooling Society" (and several other of his works). At the same time, and maybe for that reason, it is also one of the most read books in my collection. Before explaining my ambivalence, a brief summary of the book is due:

The first two chapters attempt to outline the problem(s). Schooling, Illich writes, is failing to do what it promised - to educate in any broad sense, to bring up the poor and better their condition, to do any of this without ever-growing bureaucracies and ballooning budgets. In fact, formal schooling has become a largely self-perpetuating juggernaut that seems more content with perpetuating a belief in its necessity than actually facilitating learning (learning, of course, being defined as something a bit broader than just absorbing the teachings of credentialed teachers).

The next few chapters discuss schooling and its relation to what Illich sees as a culture that ritualizes progress, materialism, and consumption/production. Schooling, he argues, is a coercive institution whose job is largely to create people who are told their place (whether as worker or consumer) and can handle/are okay with leaving authority to others (in schooling, the teaching is always up to the designated teacher; students are there to listen).

The last three chapters outline Illich's attempts at a solution. Here he draws on his ideal of convivial institutions that will be the full subject of his subsequent book Tools for Conviviality.
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