Shifting the Old Order of Things in Education

Despite the seeming diversity of social, cultural and political influences on educational policies and practices across the globe, the received wisdom around what constitutes a sound education system is, I would suggest, pretty similar from one country to another. That is a pity. While the external superstructure of schooling can vary considerably from place to […]

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Hyperbole and Bad Faith

Each new week brings with it the publication of yet another book telling us how technological developments will damage, or are already damaging, humankind. We are becoming more stupid and less sociable; we are abandoning literature and we are eroding our attention span; we are sabotaging our privacy and we are relinquishing our right to […]

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The Learning Society: social and economic progress through education

The printing press sowed the seeds of social and economic progress, heralding a time when ‘change itself [became] the archetypal norm of social life’ (McLuhan). It then took another three centuries and more before the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment were able to reframe the concept of progress as no longer merely change-as-happenstance but rather as a conscious effort to transform society for the […]

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Learning in Abundance

So I then came to define education as learning under the assumption of scarcity, learning under the assumption that the means for acquiring something called knowledge are scarce. So said Ivan Illich during a series of interviews with David Cayley, first published in 1992, and re-published a couple of years ago in Ivan Illich in […]

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Disputation and Debate in Education

Disputes and controversies and disagreements abound in every sphere of human knowledge and activity. That is the very nature of human discourse. The world would be a dreadful, boring place if we all agreed with each other all of the time on everything (some people, strangely, would define their heaven in just those terms). A […]

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