Parents and teachers want to give children the best opportunities for success in life. But opinions may vary vehemently about the methods for accomplishing these aims. Starting with Whitehead begins with the premise that today’s children will need skills and values to live in a world of fast-paced, turbulent change: creativity, problem solving ability, attitudes of life-long learning, emotional resilience, and appreciation of different perspectives.
As we seek guidance on these issues, we are led to the work of Alfred North Whitehead, who brilliantly perceived that the process of change itself is fundamental to our existence, how we experience ourselves and others, and how we interact with the world around us. In his classic work, The Aims of Education, he elaborated a three-stage process of learning, involving romance, precision and generalization. His vision of education calls for exploring real experiences rather than packing scraps of information into passive students.
This book offers examples of learning events at each stage that illustrate how adults can help children thrive in a world of change, based on the author’s experience working with children as a parent, teacher, principal and policy maker. Drawing on seminal psychological and educational research, De Jonghe sets these events in the context of a vigorous theoretical foundation and proposes specific strategies for success. Her recommendations have relevance for parents, teachers, principals, and policy makers.
Lynn De Jonghe is currently a member of the Philosophy of Education Society, The Center for Process Studies, and the Cobb Institute.
A Note from the Author
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Inspiring Learning for a Changing World
Part I: The Romance of Discovery: Getting the Basics Right
Chapter 1.Taking Curiosity Seriously
Chapter 2.The Power of Play
Chapter 3.Respecting Children’s Voices: Listening, Writing, and the Art of Criticism
Chapter 4.Experiencing Genuine Success
Chapter 5.Learning by Doing
Part II: Gaining Precision, Achieving Mastery
Chapter 6.Practice, Precision, and Mastery
Chapter 7.Learning in Depth
Chapter 8.Problem Solving and Creativity
Chapter 9.Building Trust, Working Collaboratively
Part III: Generalizing Learning to a Larger Framework: Taking Commitment and Activism into the World
Chapter 10.Integrated Learning
Chapter 11.Education for Empathy and Justice
Chapter 12.Harmony, Nature, and Spirit: Ecological Interdependence
Chapter 13.Facing Challenges as Opportunities
Chapter 14.Building Community
Conclusion: Thriving in Times of Change, An Ecological Vision
Appendix: The Influence of Process Philosophy on Recent Scientific Theory
About the Author
The literature on educational change can be divided into two camps. One camp focuses on big, broad ideas and visions for schools while the other is more practical, emphasizing instructional improvement and effective teaching. Finally, Lynn De Jonghe has bridged this gap, providing both a broad vision for schools based on the work of Alfred Whitehead, and practical guidance about what those big ideas might look like in real schools. An important and compelling contribution.
We have long known that the education of our children is critically important. Drawing on the revolutionary process-relational philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and her years of experience, De Jonghe has written a book that helps us understand how best to educate people in an interconnected and ever-changing world and, just as importantly, how to put this understanding into practice.
This book gives novel, vivid, rich, and profound expression to Whitehead’s cyclical phases of Romance, Precision, and Generalization, belonging to the rhythm of learning, as he asserted in Aims of Education... Overall, with its practical relating and examination of concrete learning events and its insightful recommendations, De Jonghe’s Whitehead-inspired volume is a welcome “breath of fresh air” in the highly important field of Philosophy of Education.