Some Common Assumptions of Education

Posted on December 30, 2012


photo by Night Owl City CC-By-NC

Post #3 on Earl C. Kelley’s Education for What is Real.

I’ve returned to this list of Kelley’s assumptions several times every year of my teaching career, just to check in, to see if I’ve changed my mind about these ideas, and to continually challenge myself to remain thoughtful. (For the record, it’s not the only book I turn to for that end.) Every time I return to this list I find that a different item resonates with me in a slightly different way. This time it’s #7, for reasons I’m currently sorting out as I plan for next semester.

One note: Kelley clarifies that not all teachers and school administrators proceed on these assumptions; they are, in his words, the “usual,” not the “universal.”

I’ll just leave them here for you. Anything I add would be mere noise. Here they are, “Some Common Assumptions of Education”:

  1. We assume that the child goes to school to acquire knowledge, and that knowledge is something which has existed for a long time and is handed down on authority.
  2. We assume that subject matter taken on authority is educative in itself.
  3. We assume that the best way to set out subject matter is in unassociated fragments or parcels.
  4. We assume that a fragment or parcel of subject matter is the same to the learner as to the teacher.
  5. We assume that education is supplementary to and preparatory to life, not life itself.
  6. We assume that since education is not present living, it has no social aspects.
  7. We assume that the teacher can and should furnish the purpose needed for the acquiring of knowledge.
  8. We assume that working on tasks devoid of purpose or interest is good discipline.
  9. We assume that the answer to the problem is more important than the process.
  10. We assume is is more important to measure what has been learned than it is to learn.

This is the third in a series of posts about Earl C. Kelley’s Education for What is Real. If you’re interested, you can find my first post about the book HERE, in which I attempt to trace the origins of my particular copy of the book, and the second post HERE, in which I discuss the drift of the book’s argument.

photo credit: Night Owl City via photopin cc