Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eliot Eisner is a God

I think Eliot Eisner is brilliant.  The question is how do we make his ideas come to life in a climate where there is little funding for materials and enrichment....where teachers' input and ideas seem to have little value to those in charge......where the money from the LIF fund is going to hire assistants, not teachers (although half the funding came from the teachers' walkout....where we don't even have enough textbooks......where funding is cut for Science World....where teachers can't even agree on what is important within the school....

Here are his thoughts on education....

The ultimate aim of education is to enable individuals to become the architects of their own education and through that process to continually reinvent themselves.  I start with the assumption that in a certain significant sense, mind is not present at birth.  Minds are invented when humans interact with the culture in and through which they live.  Brains are biological.  They are conferred at life's beginnings.  Minds are cultural; and although there is not sharp line between what is biological and what is cultural - they define each other - the overriding perspective I want to commend is that schools have something to significant to do with the invention of mind.  The invention of mind in schools is promoted both by the opportunities located in the curriculum and by the school's wider culture.  They are found in the forms of mediation through which the curriculum and schooling as a culture take place.  In this sense, the curriculum is...a mind-altering device.
The important outcomes of schooling include not only the acquisition of new conceptual tools, refined sensibilities, a developed imagination, and new routines and techniques, but also new attitudes and dispositions.  The disposition to continue to learn throughout life is perhaps one of the most important contributions that schools can make to an individual's development.
- Elliot W. Eisner