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Presents the texts of a series of lectures delivered between 1912 & 1928 on the purposes & practice of education. Preface The aims of education The rhythm of education The rhythmic claims of freedom & discipline Technical education & its relation to science & literature The place of classics in education The mathematical curriculum Universities & their function The organisation of Presents the texts of a series of lectures delivered between 1912 & 1928 on the purposes & practice of education. Preface The aims of education The rhythm of education The rhythmic claims of freedom & discipline Technical education & its relation to science & literature The place of classics in education The mathematical curriculum Universities & their function The organisation of thought The anatomy of some scientific ideas Space, time & relativity


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Presents the texts of a series of lectures delivered between 1912 & 1928 on the purposes & practice of education. Preface The aims of education The rhythm of education The rhythmic claims of freedom & discipline Technical education & its relation to science & literature The place of classics in education The mathematical curriculum Universities & their function The organisation of Presents the texts of a series of lectures delivered between 1912 & 1928 on the purposes & practice of education. Preface The aims of education The rhythm of education The rhythmic claims of freedom & discipline Technical education & its relation to science & literature The place of classics in education The mathematical curriculum Universities & their function The organisation of thought The anatomy of some scientific ideas Space, time & relativity

30 review for The Aims of Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eric Phetteplace

    While Whitehead's conception of living knowledge and speaking to student's interests is refreshing and a great approach, elements of archaic, assumption-prone educational theory still pop up here and there. In the "Classics" chapter, he bloviates about the advantages of Latin (ironically, seeing as it is a dead language) and romance languages, completely ignoring other languages for no justifiable reason. Further, I don't think there's any substance to the "you must read an author in their origi While Whitehead's conception of living knowledge and speaking to student's interests is refreshing and a great approach, elements of archaic, assumption-prone educational theory still pop up here and there. In the "Classics" chapter, he bloviates about the advantages of Latin (ironically, seeing as it is a dead language) and romance languages, completely ignoring other languages for no justifiable reason. Further, I don't think there's any substance to the "you must read an author in their original language" argument; translation is creative, and good translations are as much works of art as originals, they're just as likely to be superior as inferior. His idea of a mathematics education grounded in practice, eschewing esoteric theorems in favor of applications in carpentry/surveying, is much more well-thought-out. Finally, the last three chapters were totally out of left field. They relate to epistemology, but not education, and admittedly I could not follow parts of the argument. My understanding is certainly limited, but to me space-time negates all this talk of spatial vs. temporal: the two are inextricable, and a more pertinent investigation would be into how we ever separated the two in the first place (Euclid? is that the source?) rather than trying to ground science in experience whilst constantly referring to a duality we never experience: when have you ever experienced something purely spatial or purely temporal and not both at once? But I digress. Interesting book, just not what I was expecting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hoàng Nguyễn

    Quả là nhức nhối khi những vấn đề của nền giáo dục được nêu ra gần 100 năm trước lại vẫn còn tồn tại đến tận giờ này. Không những thế, nó còn bị khuếch đại lên. Thời đại ngày nay có không ít người, cả Tây lẫn ta, xem nhẹ việc học những môn mang tính nhân văn và triết học. Họ bảo rằng những môn đấy vô dụng và không cần thiết, ít ra thì cũng không áp dụng được gì trong đời. Nói chuyện gần lấy làm ví dụ: mấy ngày trước, bạn mình còn nói mình nghe về một bài đăng trên tờ BBC của một tác giả chỉ tríc Quả là nhức nhối khi những vấn đề của nền giáo dục được nêu ra gần 100 năm trước lại vẫn còn tồn tại đến tận giờ này. Không những thế, nó còn bị khuếch đại lên. Thời đại ngày nay có không ít người, cả Tây lẫn ta, xem nhẹ việc học những môn mang tính nhân văn và triết học. Họ bảo rằng những môn đấy vô dụng và không cần thiết, ít ra thì cũng không áp dụng được gì trong đời. Nói chuyện gần lấy làm ví dụ: mấy ngày trước, bạn mình còn nói mình nghe về một bài đăng trên tờ BBC của một tác giả chỉ trích chương trình giáo dục năm đầu tiên của đại học Việt Nam vì dám cho sinh viên học những môn "thừa thãi" như Mác Lê-nin và Tư tưởng Hồ Chí Minh. Mình không đánh giá gì quan điểm của bài đăng đấy, vì ý kiến cá nhân là của cá nhân, nó đúng trong một phạm vi hẹp thuộc về suy nghĩ chủ quan, nhưng mình cũng muốn nói lên suy nghĩ của mình về bài đăng đấy. Như Whitehead đã viết, "Tầm quan trọng của tri thức nằm trong việc sử dụng nó, trong việc sử dụng thành thạo chủ động của ta đối với nó - nghĩa là, nó nằm trong sự hiền minh." Whitehead cật lực lên án hành vi nhồi nhét những kiến thức tiêu chuẩn và tư tưởng thực hành vào đầu học sinh mà không thông qua quá trình khơi gợi hứng thú nơi bọn trẻ để cho chúng tìm đến "tri thức đích thực". Biết cách vận hành một cỗ máy thì hay, nhưng chỉ biết mỗi cách vận hành cỗ máy ấy thôi thì không thể biết cỗ máy ấy sẽ hữu ích trong bối cảnh thế nào, người vận hành cũng sẽ không cảm thấy việc vận hành cỗ máy ấy hay ho đến mức được thúc đẩy, tìm tòi thêm kiến thức để phát triển bản thân. Những thứ đấy, muốn có, thì Whitehead bảo cần phải có sự "hiền minh". Whitehead cũng nhấn mạnh rằng, "Bạn không thể là người hiền minh mà không thể có nền tảng tri thức nào đó; nhưng bạn có thể dễ dàng sở đắc tri thức mà không có sự hiền minh." Về việc giáo dục các môn học thuộc về ngành Nhân văn và Triết học, các môn đấy là những môn không có ảnh hưởng rõ rệt hay tức thời. Những tư tưởng của chúng rất tinh vi, len lỏi vào trí não của người học, đóng vai trò lèo lái suy nghĩ và hành vi của họ. Như Whitehead đã viết trong chương III, chương bàn về cái nhịp của giáo dục, sự hiền minh là cách thức mà ta nắm được tri thức, là công cụ để ta xử lý tri thức, là đòn bẩy để ta bổ sung thêm giá trị cho những kinh nghiệm sẵn có của ta. Từ đây, ta có thể rút ra được rằng, chỉ ôm khư khư một mớ tư tưởng chuẩn mực mà không cần tham khảo thêm bất kỳ luồng ý kiến nào nữa là sai lầm chí tử. Sự giáo dục các môn thuộc ngành Nhân văn và Triết học cốt là để khai tử cái sai lầm chí tử ấy. Nói về Mác Lê-nin và Tư tưởng một chút. Mình học đủ hai quyển đấy để mình biết được rằng, cỗ máy chính quyền hiện tại đang vận hành đất nước này không xấu, dù nó cũng chưa được tốt. Rằng về bối cảnh lúc bấy giờ, tư tưởng của Karl Marx và của Lenin là phù hợp với xã hội Việt Nam. Rằng, nếu một bộ máy chính trị mà thật sự hư hỏng thối nát, nó đã tự sụp đổ mà không cần bất kỳ tác động nào quá lớn từ bên ngoài. Rằng, yêu nước không có nghĩa nhân dân phải yêu mến chính quyền. (Nực cười thay cho những người hay bảo sách Tư tưởng là sách "mị dân", câu này được viết hẳn trong đấy, và được yêu cầu học thuộc để biện chứng hồi mình còn đi học.) Mình đọc bản dịch của Đại học Hoa Sen với nhan đề, "Những mục tiêu của giáo dục và các tiểu luận khác", được dịch bởi các vị Hoàng Phú Dương, Tiết Hùng Thái, Hà Dương Tường; được hiệu đính bởi Phạm Viêm Phương, Hà Dương Tường; giới thiệu bởi Bùi Trân Phương.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    A lot of interesting ideas and quotes for my blog, but the second half of the book was too erudite for me. It therefore took me ages to read as I was looking for excuses not to pick it up. In the end (again), I had to force my self to complete it. Today’s book review is: “The Aims Of Education” (1929 ©), by Alfred North Whitehead. The book is a collection of papers and presentations (speeches) given by the author on a number of topics: education, freedom and discipline, science, the function of u A lot of interesting ideas and quotes for my blog, but the second half of the book was too erudite for me. It therefore took me ages to read as I was looking for excuses not to pick it up. In the end (again), I had to force my self to complete it. Today’s book review is: “The Aims Of Education” (1929 ©), by Alfred North Whitehead. The book is a collection of papers and presentations (speeches) given by the author on a number of topics: education, freedom and discipline, science, the function of universities and the nature of thought itself. Although a relatively small work, it is quite deep and scholastic / academic in tone, which will not be to everyone’s taste. Whitehead was a mathematician who emigrated to America and became a philosopher in his later years. Apparently, Cambridge had a lecturer time limit of twenty-five years and he was forced into retirement. He lectured in London for another dozen years before moving to Harvard where he also spent a little over a dozen years. The book is really in two parts for me: the parts I understood and agreed with wholeheartedly (the first half of the book) and the later part (mainly dealing with the “organization of thought” and “the anatomy of some scientific ideas“) which I believe I understood, but which I disagreed with. Metaphysically speaking, Whitehead poses that reality is what we (individually) perceive it to be and the normalization of perception is (what we agree on collectively) what we “scientifically” say is the “real” world. In a strange way, the only things which can be real are those which we perceive to be real and on which we can agree with others in their perceptions. This “relativism” of a perceived real world has consequences, but I’m not sure I have ever been able to get my head around them. (I went through this in a political theory class back in my own university days.) While I feel I understood what Whitehead was trying to express, I found it extremely dry reading and in the end (after several weeks of having the book on my bedside table), I had to force myself to read the last 30-40 odd pages. My difficulty was less my “disagreement” with his proposition, as the general feeling of its irrelevance in “my” real world. I don’t really care if all the universe is really changing and even mountains are eventually reduced to sand. For my lifetime, they are mountains. I recognize that in a billion or so years, the Earth will no longer be here (or the mountain), but for now, I still need to climb it, ski it, or build a train tunnel through it and I (we) can still ascertain (agree) on it’s location, height, circumference, etc. It is as real as I need it to be. If this review seems a bit negative, let me also high-light the books strengths (or at least the parts I agree with), too. The book’s title refers to the first lecture in the book and describes what we as a society should hope to gain by educating our youth. It describes the “rhythm” of education in a person’s life. It also relates Whitehead’s views on subjects to be taught and their order of learning. As mentioned above, he goes on to discuss the value of a liberal education, the use of classics in education, and the role of a university in developing the leaders society requires. Whitehead does not neglect the necessity of practical and technical training in the spectrum of education . He simply notes they will be sufficient for the masses and remain a minimum standard for the well developed (pre-) university graduate. This seems an extremely elitist view until one recognizes that education is a lifetime endeavor and returning to school (university) is not (or it should not be) prohibited for those who start their working lives as tradesmen and technicians. Final recommendation: moderate to strong recommendation. This book is a definite “classic” and I feel I am “better” for having experienced it. But, and this is a rather large qualification for me, it isn’t a book I left feeling many others would be interested in. Primarily because of the nature of the subject matter, but also because of the way it’s expressed (extremely erudite language), this is not a book (I believe) many will force themselves to wade through. Very reminiscent of a description I once heard of the book “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking, this is a book you want people to see on your coffee table, but which nobody ever actually reads. Stick to the first bits on education, liberal arts and the purpose of a university, and leave the rest for when you tire of insomnia.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Selection of Whitehead's conference addresses, save one. Below are some of my highlights on certain chapters: The Aims of Education (1917) p2-"Let the main ideas which are introduced into a child's education be few and important, and let them be thrown into every combination possible." p3-"The only use of a knowledge of the past is to equip us for the present. No more deadly harm can be done to young minds than by depreciation of the present....The communion of saints is a great and aspiring assemb Selection of Whitehead's conference addresses, save one. Below are some of my highlights on certain chapters: The Aims of Education (1917) p2-"Let the main ideas which are introduced into a child's education be few and important, and let them be thrown into every combination possible." p3-"The only use of a knowledge of the past is to equip us for the present. No more deadly harm can be done to young minds than by depreciation of the present....The communion of saints is a great and aspiring assemblage, but it has only one possible hall of meeting...the present; and the mere lapse of time through which any particular group of saints must travel to reach that meeting-place, makes very little difference." p4-"Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilisation of knowledge." p5-"keeping knowledge alive, of preventing it from becoming inert...is the central problem of all education." p6-The belief that "the mind is an instrument, you first sharpen it, and then you use it...[is] one of the most fatal, erroneous, and dangerous conceptions every introduced into the theory of education." -The "golden rule of education" is whatever you do, it must be relevant to the present. -"The problem of education is to make the pupil see the wood by means of the trees." -"There is only one subject-matter for education, and that is [p7] Life in all its manifestations." p8-"The curves of history are more vivid are more informing than the dry catalogues of names and dates..." p9-"a common external examination system is fatal to education." (p13 'educational waste') -"The pupils have got to be made to feel that they [p10] are studying something, and are not merely executing intellectual minuets." p11-"What education [p12] has to impart is an intimate sense for the power of ideas, for the beauty of ideas, and for the structure of ideas, together with a particularly body of knowledge which has peculiar reference to the life of the being possessing it." p13-"The object of this address is to suggest how to produce the expert without loss of the essential virtues of the amateur." - by amateur he means 'generalist' -"the school is the true educational unit" - advocates local control of schools (both in 'approved' curriculum and unique completion certificates). The Rhythmic Claims of Freedom and Discipline (1923) p30-"[Wisdom] concerns the handling of knowledge, its selection for the determination of relevant issues, its employment to add value to our immediate experience. This mastery of knowledge, which is wisdom, is the most intimate freedom available....The only avenue towards wisdom is by freedom in the presence of knowledge. But the only avenue towards knowledge is by discipline in the acquirement of ordered fact. Freedom and discipline are the two essentials of education" p31-"There can be no mental development without interest" p32-"The environment within which the mind is working must be carefully selected. It must, of course, be chosen to suit the child's stage of growth, and must be adapted to individual needs." -Introduces his 3 stages: Romantic, Precision, Generalisation p37-"education should begin in research and end in research." The Place of Classics in Education (1923) -classics are dying because 90% of pupils never read classics in the original again after finishing school, and by way of this classics teachers are also decreasing p74-"the whole claim for the importance of classics rests on the basis that there is no substitute for first-hand knowledge." Universities and their Function (1928) p93-"The task of a university is to weld together imagination and experience." p97-"The whole art in the organization of a university is the provision of a faculty whose learning is lighted up with imagination. This is the problem of problems in university education" p98-"Knowledge does not keep any better than fish....[Instead] it must come to the students...just drawn out of the sea and with the freshness of its immediate importance." p99-A faculty should not be weighed based on its publications. Brilliant teachers often contribute in their teaching as much as researching contribute in their research. The best measure is the "contribution of thought", not words.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicolas Name

    One of the better education books that I've come across, that actually deal with many of the philosophical concerns underneath, instead of presenting certain dogmas and uncritical thoughts. With that said, as a philosophy book, it's wanting. On many instances, it's clear that he is merely presenting his own views of what education should be, while the appropriate response may have been to express doubt, present/address an opposing argument, or to, at the very minimum, note that the following is One of the better education books that I've come across, that actually deal with many of the philosophical concerns underneath, instead of presenting certain dogmas and uncritical thoughts. With that said, as a philosophy book, it's wanting. On many instances, it's clear that he is merely presenting his own views of what education should be, while the appropriate response may have been to express doubt, present/address an opposing argument, or to, at the very minimum, note that the following is an opinion, instead of merely presenting the form as fact. My favorite passages of the work was found in Chapter 5, On the Place of Classics in Education. In public schools, at least in the U.S., it's clear to me that a classical education, with a focus on philosophical issues, thinking, or training, is clearly lacking. There are political reasons for this phenomenon, but as a whole, it doesn't bode well on the stated aims of education most commonly professed by politicians, educators, administrators, and parents alike- the education of the whole person, the development of the individual self, vs. mere increases in output and productivity, as education is most commonly assessed, organized, and designed to produce. Great chapter. However, many other parts of the book fall short. Would recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Kinsey

    Philosophy books are hard! It took me almost two months to finish this one. For me, the most interesting and valuable section of this work was section 7: "Universities and Their Function." Should be yearly required reading for all those working in higher ed. It's material that is easily forgotten. I also found his learning theory of "romance - precision - generalization" fascinating. I wish someone would write an update outlining how we might integrate this approach into the realities of 21st cen Philosophy books are hard! It took me almost two months to finish this one. For me, the most interesting and valuable section of this work was section 7: "Universities and Their Function." Should be yearly required reading for all those working in higher ed. It's material that is easily forgotten. I also found his learning theory of "romance - precision - generalization" fascinating. I wish someone would write an update outlining how we might integrate this approach into the realities of 21st century teaching. He also makes the best case for technical dedication I've ever read, and every piece of evidence he provides is still valid almost a century later. A few noteworthy passages: "You cannot put life into any schedule of general education unless you succeed in exhibiting its relation to some essential characteristic of all intelligent or emotional perception. It is a hard saying, but it is true; and I do not see how to make it any easier. In making these little formal alterations you are beaten by the very nature of things. You are pitted against too skillful an adversary, who will see to it that the pea is always under the other thimble." "During the school period the student has been mentally bending over his desk; at the University he should stand up and look around."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wellbaum

    As a public school teacher with a recently acquired masters degree and multiple teaching licenses, it seems odd that my experience with higher eduction did not include Whitehead as a required reading. His name came up in a course on the history of higher education and I was intrigued by the thought of a foil to Dewey. Numerous courses taken at both the undergraduate and graduate level required reading/interpretation/application of Dewey, but not Whitehead. Given, his is a British perspective, an As a public school teacher with a recently acquired masters degree and multiple teaching licenses, it seems odd that my experience with higher eduction did not include Whitehead as a required reading. His name came up in a course on the history of higher education and I was intrigued by the thought of a foil to Dewey. Numerous courses taken at both the undergraduate and graduate level required reading/interpretation/application of Dewey, but not Whitehead. Given, his is a British perspective, and much more intellectual/philosophical, but many of his thoughts are as salient now as they were in the early 20th century. Particularly interesting was his discussion on "Universities and their Function." The ideas posited in this section of the book I thought would be good for application in the high schools of the 21st century, if only we could get administrators, business leaders, and politicians to look at education in the light of Whitehead's intellect.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This is a brief look at Alfred North Whitehead's philosophies on education and criticisms of the educational system (which are many). It's something I subjectively identified with having gone to a parochial schools with uniforms or a dress code. His criticism of the American educational system is harsh, but true. If you're fed up with the educational system then this is the book for you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Whitehead's reference to Hegel is valuable yet forgotten: on thesis, antithesis, and synthesis as a paradigm for reaching into kid's minds. He gets across the purpose of a liberal education and the role of Classics, math, and science in general education (K-12). All of the material is written before 1927, so his ideas on science are dated.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Ross

    My undergraduate degree in philosophy focused on Whitehead. This was prior to my own conversion. While I now am quite critical of Whitehead, I acknowledge him as an import modern thinker.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krollo

    Some odd opinions on RE and leaving certificates, but a lot of good ideas on creativity and individuality in the curriculum. Still incredibly relevant today.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Only got part-way through. Starting losing it's impact.

  13. 4 out of 5

    D

    Thoroughly enjoyed the essays on education. The scientific essays, not so much.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Iveta

    my review my review

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nohea

    Read Whitehead's main essay for Philosophy and Education.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Galicius

    Parts read: The Rhythm of Education, The Aims of Education - A Plea for Reform, Technical Education and Its Relationship to Science and Literature

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Exentaser

  19. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Neferu

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brennan

  22. 4 out of 5

    James

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Odelia

  24. 4 out of 5

    Phantom667

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam Sher

  26. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mosaic

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cacey

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bob Evans

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jubal

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