Schooling for compliance and conformity v. preparing students for a life of learning

Richard Elmore said:

I was trained, as a student, to value schooling primarily as a vehicle for gaining adult approval and control. I learned that lesson well. I also learned it in an environment that prepared me not at all for a life of learning.

I see these patterns reproducing themselves in many of the hundreds of classrooms I have observed over the past fifteen years in my professional work. Students are schooled for adult approval and conformity to highly standardized, institutionalized expectations, created by people in positions of public authority who have no knowledge whatsoever of how learning works as an individual and social activity.


Image credits: Personality set for life, wackystuff, and PS 98 First Grade Report Card, Herbert Maruska

Social development report card

First grade report card, 1951

2 Responses to “Schooling for compliance and conformity v. preparing students for a life of learning”

  1. These report cards are all quite cute until you get to the one that reads, “I obey cheerfully.” Yikes!

    Some of this is still pretty important for younger kids: cover mouth when coughing still is a topic in my house.

    I’d like to see a McLeod rewrite of these:
    – Ability to rabble rouse (exceeds expectations)
    – Keeps the dialog moving forward (exceeds expectations)
    – Tells truth to power (exceeds expectations)

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