School is not work, students are not experts (some thoughts on group work)

School is not work, students are not experts (some thoughts on group work)

In continuation of my previous post, some thoughts on one of progressive education’s favorite tools: group work. 

A good deal of fuss is currently being made of the importance of preparing students to work collaboratively in groups, in preparation for the twenty-first century economy. In the context of these discussions, group work, much like “critical thinking,” is typically presented as a formal skill that can be developed in the absence of any specific context.

On the surface, this is one of those claims that seems eminently reasonable. Because many well-paying jobs in the current economy do in fact require some degree of collaboration among workers, it seems logical that children should be trained to work collaboratively. (more…)

Hannah Arendt takes on progressive education

About a week ago, I was wasting time browsing articles on, and I happened to stumble across a link to Hannah Arendt’s 1954 article “The Crisis in Education.” I’ve had a minor a fascination with Arendt since finally getting around to reading Eichmann in Jerusalem a couple of years ago (and discovering that “the banality of evil” doesn’t quite mean what it’s usually understood to mean), and I had no idea that she had ever written about education in the United States. (more…)