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Popular Educational Classics

A Reader

Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis

The last half century has created deep tensions in how we analyze educational and social change. Educators, policymakers, and concerned citizens have had to cope with competing belief systems in evaluating and acting upon school policies and practices. This illuminating book untangles many of the roots of those persistent debates that have divided the nation for so long. It offers readers a critical opportunity to reflect on our continuing ideological struggles by examining popular books that have made a difference in educational discourse.
The editor has specifically selected key books on social and educational controversies that speak to wide audiences. They frame contextual issues that so-called «school reformers» have often neglected – much to the detriment of any real educational progress. Ultimately, this text is meant to stir our consciences, to disorder our certainties, and to compel us to treat education and culture with both reason and passion. It is highly relevant for courses in social foundations of education, school reform, educational policy studies, philosophy of education, history of education, politics of education, curriculum studies, and teacher education.
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Chapter Fourteen: John Goodlad, A Place Called School: Prospects for the Future (1984)


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John Goodlad, A Place Called School: Prospects for the Future (1984)

Jessica A. Heybach

Schools have the critical responsibility to enculturate young people into our social and political democracy. They [schools] succeed only with constant educational renewal, both because each group of students brings new challenges and because social and political shifts create corresponding changes in priorities for learning. The needed renewal is neither simple nor easy; it requires simultaneous changes inside schools and the education of educators as well as active engagement by a caring public.1


The life and work of John I. Goodlad (1920–2014) cannot easily be captured and summarized in a single book chapter, but the above quote comes close to crystallizing Goodlad’s scholarship and its impact on the discipline of education. So much has already been written about Goodlad and his work that I fear this chapter may be redundant; however, the complex contextualized image of schools as outlined by Goodlad over decades of serious investigation should never be allowed to fade from the educator’s consciousness. He stands as a giant in the field of educational thought and research, and his text A Place Called School should be required reading for all who seek to understand from where today’s fervor regarding educational change came—and to where we might go if we listen closely to the quieter, more philosophical lessons of this text. In the strange world...

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