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Future of Education: Deschooling society?

Earlier this year, while in Rome, I was interviewed by Robin Good on a wide range of topics. He’s been posting the interview in small (5-10 min) recordings. The most recent recording is on the future of education – i.e. is deschooling society possible? Short answer: not likely – society is an institutionalizing system. We are embedded, even shepherded into systems from school to employment, to mortgages, to retirement. Some educators have started using networked technologies to reduce the institutional field of education, but these are still a minority. It’s possible to see the development of an alternative system driven by this minority…but much work remains if there is even a slim prospect of a non-institutional model of learning in the future.


  1. Deans wrote:

    As a teacher I’m not sure that i want to deschool society. There is a role for the teacher who is able to recognise the level of his/her students and can adapt material to suit their needs. There is a place for the ordering and chunking of material to help learners sift through what is relevant and what is not, and the trained teacher has knowledge of how people learn and can accelerate that process. I want my learners to learn but part of my role is to help them acquire the conceptual knowledge that the field demands.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  2. So long as its so obvious that teachers (and others stitched into that fabric) have not read Deschooling Society.. I agree, not likely at all. And it needs to be read along with Energy and Equity and Tools of Conviviality too, IMO.. Its depressing how shallow such discussion goes in the education sector.. they hear the title and respond to that. I’ve met leading teacher trainers in universities who don’t even know who Illich is! or Postman for that matter!!

    Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 4:42 am | Permalink
  3. Deanz wrote:

    Such superiority and arrogance! I was hoping to open up a dialogue on the role of the teacher in formal education according to current theories of the connected learner. Should we suppose that the community play the role of pedagog in the structuring and guidance of those less well versed in the educational domain as others. If the response of the above poster is anything to go by, I don’t think we could or should.

    Friday, December 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  4. Hi Dean – for me, educational reform is driven by the realization that society functions in a series of interlocking systems. I tried to get at that in the interview. We are not able to make a fundamental change in one area without an associated cascading impact in other areas. Educational theorists that do not heed this reality will likely face frustrations as they seek to realize their vision. A limited group of educators know of Illich, Papert, Postman, Vygotsky, etc. It seems as if Zuckerberg, Page & Brin, and Gates have had a much greater educational impact than even the most passionate theorists. Simple rule: play within the interlocking systems or face marginalization.

    Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

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  1. Learning is bigger than schooling | TechTicker on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    [...] omitting important points in the process, yet George’s response to Robin Good (above and discussed here) has really set me off on a train of [...]