The School Philosopher

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Greetings and welcome!

I am pleased to have you visiting this blog. There are a great many people out there who are constantly asking the question "What are schools for?" The question could also be asked "WHO are schools for?" I will continue to ask those questions as I discuss learning, students, schools, teachers, and educational bureaucracies (the word has almost been granted permanent pejorative status.) A student of the history of schools in America will find that schools have been created for a variety of reasons, many of them religious, and many of them born of the republican nature of America's formative years.

Pedagogical theories and styles grow from belief - of the nature of learning, of what and why we learn, and what learning is for. We are also confronted with paradoxes. Sometimes we fall into the self-imposed traps of thinking our questions have "either-or" answers. When the discussion gets heated or the fears run high, polarization often occurs and we end up with labeling, name-calling and pidgeonholing. Should we promote phonics or whole language? Should we keep the "new" math or go back to "old math" (whatever that was); do we explore "progressive" education (I have yet to find a clear definition or origin of the term - though some come close) versus "traditional" education (when did the tradition begin and end?)

One of my favorite activities, springing from both passion and necessity, is visiting schools and seeing how they do whatever it is that they do.