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In response to my post "Martin Bickman On The Needless War Between Traditionalists And Progressives," Clyde Greeno (2012) posted on Math-Teach (ellipses in the original):
"The perception that there are two competing extremes . . . . . and the conjectured need for finding a compromising middle ground . . . . . manifest a myopia that persists among educators who focus on those extremes. In reality, those extremes represent two sides of a single coin. The need is not for 'compromise' or for 'finding a middle ground', but for perceiving the entire coin . . . . . by more globally integrating appropriate ingredients from each aspect."
That there WERE IN FACT two competing extremes in the 1900's is clear from Bickman's (2003) "Los Angeles Times" OpEd piece [paraphrasing for brevity; bracketed by lines "bbbbb. . . ."]:
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb "John Dewey . . . . . looked out on an educational landscape torn between similar apparently competing philosophies:
(a) that centered on the notion of "child-study" and the person of G. Stanley Hall <http://bit.ly/NBfLEK>, with a Rousseau-like sentimentality about nature and children, more concerned with what it saw as health and wholeness than with intellectual growth; and
(b) that centered on high academic achievement as defined and organized by curricula and textbooks, led by William Torrey Harris <http://bit.ly/OoqXag>, more concerned with the standard curriculum - arithmetic, geography, history, grammar and literature - the "five windows of the soul," as Harris called them - that rescued the young mind from its immediate narrowness. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb
Greeno wrote: "In reality, those extremes represent two sides of a single coin. The need is not for 'compromise' or for 'finding a middle ground', but for perceiving the entire coin . . . . . by more globally integrating appropriate ingredients from each aspect."
I DISAGREE WITH GREENO'S IMPLICATION THAT "'FINDING A MIDDLE GROUND"- SEE THE SIGNATURE QUOTES BY DEWEY, SCHOENFELD, AND SOWDER - IS NECESSARILY AN INDICATION OF MYOPIA.
As indicated in my post [Hake (2012)], John Dewey DID, in fact, "perceive the entire coin by more globally integrating appropriate ingredients from each aspect." I cite Bickman (2003) who wrote:
"Dewey in a crucial 1902 article, 'The Child and the Curriculum' [Dewey (1902)] at <http://bit.ly/QsVuHi>, CONCEPTUALIZED EACH POSITION SO THAT IT WOULD NO LONGER SEEM A MATTER OF THE CHILD VERSUS THE CURRICULUM."
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH John Dewey (1902) in "The Child and the Curriculum" concluded in his next to last paragraph [EMPHASIS in the original]:
"How, then, stands the case of child vs. Curriculum? What shall the verdict be? The radical fallacy . . . . . . . is the supposition that we have no choice save either to leave the child to his own unguided spontaneity or to inspire direction upon him from without. Action is response; it is adaptation, adjustment. There is no such thing as sheer self-activity possible-because all activity takes place in a medium, in a situation, and with reference to its conditions. But, again, no such thing as imposition of truth from without, as insertion of truth from without, is possible. All depends upon the activity which the mind itself undergoes in responding to what is presented from without. Now, the value of the formulated wealth of knowledge that makes up the course of study is that it may enable the educator to DETERMINE THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE CHILD, and thus by indirection to direct. Its primary value, its primary indication, is for the teacher, not for the child. It says to the teacher: such and such are the capacities, the fulfillments, in truth and beauty and behavior, open to these children. Now see to it that day by day the conditions are such that THEIR OWN ACTIVITIES move inevitably in this direction, toward such culmination of themselves. Let the child's nature fulfill its own destiny, revealed to you in whatever of science and art and industry the world now holds as its own." HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
"Education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing.. . . .[[page 434]]. . . . [It does not mean, as it is often misunderstood,] that we have no choice save either to leave the child to his own unguided spontaneity or to inspire direction upon him from without. But [it recognizes] that no such thing as. . . . . insertion of truth from without is possible. All depends upon the activity which the mind itself undergoes in responding to what is presented from without.. . . . [[page 357]]. . .. " - John Dewey (1974) - as quoted by Ansbacher (2000)
". . . .there are several ways to distinguish those who advocate a concept-driven reform curriculum from those who remain defenders of a skills-oriented traditional curriculum. . . . . .They represent different value systems. I believe that rational, reflective discussion and exploration of these issues can bring the two sides closer together. . . . . . . I am told that California schools educate one-seventh of the students in this country. There is too much at stake to continue the fighting, to take a chance on sacrificing the mathematical education of our children by not reaching some agreement on what that education should be." - Judith Sowder (1998)
"An exclusive focus on basics leaves students without the understandings that enable them to use effectively. A focus on 'process' without attention to skills deprives students of the tools they need for fluid, competent performance. The extremes are untenable. So, why have so many people taken extreme positions, and why are things as polarized as they are? More important, what might be done about it?. . . . . . . I remain convinced that there is a large middle ground. . . . . . .One way to reclaim the middle ground, suggested by Phil Daro (2007), is to define it clearly-to specify a set of propositions that will call for some degree of compromise from reformers and traditionalists alike. That middle ground would be broadly encompassing, containing propositions that most people would find reasonable (or at least livable). The short-term goal . . . must be to capture the middle ground for the majority. Efforts must be made publicly to identify the extremists for what they are and to marginalize them. The math wars have casualties-our children, who do not receive the kind of robust mathematics education they should." -Alan Schoenfeld (2004)
REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by <http://bit.ly/> and accessed on 30 August 2012.] Ansbacher, T. 2000. "An Interview with John Dewey on Science Education," Phys. Teach. 38(4): 224-227, April; online to subscribers at <http://bit.ly/InrLvJ>. A thoughtful and well-researched treatment showing the consonance of Dewey's educational ideas with the thinking of most current science-education researchers (as quoted straight from Dewey's own writings, not from the accounts of sometimes confused Dewey interpreters).
Bickman, M. 2004. "Won't You Come Home, John Dewey?" Los Angeles Times, 20 July, p. B13. Originally meaningfully titled by Bickman "THE NEEDLESS WAR BETWEEN TRADITIONALISTS AND PROGRESSIVES AND HOW TO END IT," but changed by as editor to the snappy but senseless "Won't You Come Home, John Dewey?" for a copy see the APPENDIX of Hake (2004a) at <http://bit.ly/SoI0gw>.
Dewey, J. 2011. "The School and Society, The Child and the Curriculum," with an introduction by Philip W. Jackson. Originally published in 1956. Seven Treasures Publications. Amazon.com information at <http://amzn.to/Pt1PTn>, note the searchable "Look Inside" feature.
Greeno, C. 2012. "Re: Martin Bickman On The Needless War Between Traditionalists And Progressives," online on the OPEN Math-Teach archives at <http://bit.ly/O66TZp>.
Hake, R.R. 2004a. "Won't You Come Home, John Dewey?" online on the OPEN AERA-J archives at <http://bit.ly/OF7DWF>. Post of 20 Juy 2004 20:58:22-0700 to AERA-J, Dewey-L, Math-Teach, PhysLrnR, POD, and STLHE-L. The APPENDIX contains a copy of Bickman (2004) which was originally titled more descriptively by the author "The Needless War Between Traditionalists and Progressives and How to End It" - see Hake (2004b).
Hake, R.R. 2004b. "The Needless War Between Traditionalists and Progressives and How to End It" (was "Won't You Come Home, John Dewey?" online on the OPEN AERA-J archives at <http://bit.ly/Ptx232>. Post of 23 Jul 2004 15:06:14-0700 to AERA-J, Dewey-L, Math-Teach, PhysLrnR, POD, and STLHE-L.
Hake, R.R. 2012. "Martin Bickman On The Needless War Between Traditionalists And Progressives," online on the OPEN AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/Pup0Nb>. Post of 29 Aug 2012 10:41:56-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion list and are also on my blog "HakesEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/PuHY6g> with a provision for comments.
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