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The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto
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For example, one exercise might consist of the following instructions from the teacher:
"Today I am going to show an object to you and I want you to just look at it for one minute in absolute silence, At the end of that time, please write what you saw first and what question you have about the object. Remember, no talking, because once someone talks it disrupts and alters the others' thinking."
This is a book with ideas that will challenge the way you have always thought about education. Indeed, it will make you question what our educational system is doing. If the purpose of an education is the creation of a well-rounded individual who questions and reasons and analyzes, then one will have to conclude that it has been an abject failure. Indeed, our society is increasingly split along two lines - a well-educated, erudite group that has developed a mocking attitude toward traditional conventions and manners and a non-educated group that carries a growing anti-intellectual bias.
For further information about the Paidea Proposal, you can visit the Radical Academy Site. As a father who has seen his son prosper under such a program, I would recommend that any parent seriously interested in obtaining a true education for their child explore the possibilites presented in this book.
As a lifelong learner and a teacher, what I found most valuable in Adler's book is his concept of the three elements of learning: (a) the acquisition of knowledge, (b) the ability to apply it, and (c) the capacity to use it to deepen understanding.
In simple, straightforward language, Alder describes (a) why we need to teach all of the students in the first twelve years of schooling to do all three (i.e., acquire, apply, and deepen), not just the first and second as is most often the case, and (b) how to do it.
This simple but profound book helped me to become a better teacher and lifelong learner. It can do the same for you.
Robert E. Levasseur, Ph.D., president of MindFire Press ([...]
Adler's Paideia proposal "breaks" education into three types which students should receive in equal measure:
(a) knowledge acquisition: this is where direct teacher/student instruction goes on, and where the student learns to store and recall facts.
(b) developing of intellectual skill: this is where the student "learns by doing," and practices the skill under the teacher's facilitation.
(c) increase in understanding and insight: this is where students learn to evaluate, analyze, synthesize, and create ideas from ideas. Students engage in teacher-led discussion and reflections while learning "higher order thinking" skills.
I agree with these goals, but disagree much with Adler's approach. A key criticism I have of Adler's writing is that, like many philosophers of education, he speaks of students as they exist in theory rather than in practice, and tends to see them as a big monolithic group (while he says he doesn't).
Put differently and bluntly, if I had a child, I might be tempted to send it to a Paidiea school, but would be hesitant to suggest that every child should be forced into this model.Read more ›
Of particular benefit is his concept of the three different categories of education, that of content knowledge, intellectual skill, and enlarged understanding of ideas and values. Each one is essential for a complete education, and each one requires a different type of mode to instruct properly. One cannot teach intellectual skill in the same manner that one teaches content knowledge. This section has revolutionized and dramatically improved my ability to teach high school math and physics, and it is applicable to all disciplines.
I buy these books 5-10 at a time and give them as gifts to fellow teachers. A good companion to this book is Robert Hutchins' The Great Conversation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This short manifesto gives a cogent overview of what public schooling should be setting out to achieve, the rationale for doing so, and how to get started. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Paul Vitols
This book was mentioned in a Master level class, so I was curious. This thought process goes against the theory that students should be challenged according to their ability. Read morePublished on April 3, 2014 by Peggy in New Mexico
The book was required for a course I took, and I saved money by purchasing it here instead of the school bookstore. Read morePublished on November 21, 2012 by Matthew Barnes
Great book, good condition and arrived on time for my class. Thank you for allowing me to review this purchase.Published on May 10, 2010 by Mary A. Mooney
It's well-written, clear and concise - an easy read. Unfortunately, it consists largely of a proposal that would, IMO, be counterproductive in education. Read morePublished on November 13, 2007 by Daniel Brady