The book asks readers to adopt a critical and comprehensive view of education (pre-K to lifelong learning) as existing both within classroom walls, and in the surrounding world, including communities and workplaces. It presents an integrated view of online learning, community schools, communiversities, and learning through work. Our educational systems are organized in ways that make this integration difficult. We have elaborate systems of formal instruction––academies, schools, universities, and training institutes––all to facilitate learning within the walls. At the same time we have ample opportunities for learning in the wild. Unfortunately these systems diverge to the point that they do little to support learning that allows us to draw from both of the realms of knowledge. But it is possible to bring together learning within the walls with that beyond the walls. Moreover it is crucial to make these connections in the world of today. In order to bring together the classroom and daily life we need an educational system that does that as well.The book provides a coherent account of how schooling can and should relate to learning beyond the classroom walls.
Bertram C. Bruce is currently a Professor Emeritus in Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. His work contributes to a tradition of democratic education, asking “How can we guide the educational enterprise by an ethical vision, not simply a technocratic one of transmitting isolated facts and skills?” His career combines a philosophical perspective with passionate work directly with communities in the US and many other countries throughout the world.
Foreword, Andy Kaplan
Part I. Communication and Education
Chapter 1. Models of Communication
Chapter 2. Schooling and Society
Profile: Claudia Șerbănuță
Chapter 3: Beyond the Walls of Formal Education
Part II. Education in Crisis
Chapter 4. Crises in Education
Chapter 5. A Dreadful Crisis
Part III. Learning in the Wild
Profile: Caroline Haythornthwaite
Chapter 6. Learning Online
Profile: Ching-Chiu Lin
Chapter 7. Community Engagement Through Work
Part IV. The Third Mission
Profile: Ebru Aktan
Chapter 8. Community Schools
Profile: Dave Leake
Chapter 9. Precursors of the Communiversity
Part V. Communiversity
Profile: Udgum Khadka
Chapter10. Ruptures of Community Engagement
Profile: Ann Peterson-Kemp
Chapter 11. Community as Curriculum
Conclusion: “Walk Beside” Versus “Talk To”
About the Author
Bruce effectively and conclusively challenges anyone interested in the future of public education to imagine education existing both within the walls of a classroom and beyond, extending even to communities and workplaces. Arguing that connecting classroom learning to daily life is imperative, Bruce notes that this practice predates modern educational systems. To achieve fully wholistic education today, educational systems must work to expand the boundaries of learning. Engaging with a community and its resources, for instance, can lead to richer educational experiences. The author profiles educators who have experience with alternative schooling and provides examples of how educational efforts can be carried out more humanely and responsibly to help change the current school system. Overall, Bruce clearly details how schooling can and should connect classroom learning and daily life, drawing on examples such as online learning, community schools, communiversities, and learning through work. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
Bruce's reflective and reflexive engagement of a life-long inquiry into education and living is an invaluable lesson for educators working with learners of tomorrow.
If all waste is due to isolation, as John Dewey warned in The School and Society in 1899, then all growth is due to connection. In his new book on the communiversity as the future of education, Chip Bruce argues—with great erudition, historical sweep, and cross-cultural examples—that the future of education should be one where the community is the curriculum, and where knowledge is negotiated through transactive communication in order to solve everyday problems. In this schemata, mind and body are connected and conceptual and practical knowledge are mutually informed, organic, rhizomatic and continually reformed and renegotiated through community practice, both within the four walls of a classroom and outside in the community. The waste comes from our binary assumptions about schooling and life, that they are separate, and that one kind of knowledge is superior to another. In fact, schooling and life are co-constituitive, and education is most powerful (democratic, nurturing, inspiring, meaningful and socially just) when understood and practiced that way.
By the end of Part I of the book, I was certain Bruce provided us with an essential textbook countering the stock transmission and interaction modes of teaching and engagement. But chapter by chapter I found myself traveling through an essential reframing of education itself using the critical transactional mode of communication to facilitate transformative collaborations between formal learning institutions and community. Only through such connected cycles of action and reflection can we truly advance the long moral arc of the educational universe towards social justice in body and mind together.
The world today is divided into those who claim that we need more education and those who claim that we do not any as it has become completely useless. Bertram C. Bruce’s The Classroom and Daily Life answers both these claims with one single idea, of education that abolishes the distinction between practice and theory and breaks down the walls separating the classroom from everyday experience. Lucidly written and unfailingly illuminating, the book practices what it preaches, profitably synthesizing the most abstract of philosophical ideas with concrete examples of trailblazing educational initiatives from across different continents, communities, and cultures.
This is a book that I will recommend widely amongst my acquaintance, including educators, community activists, and others engaged in the renewal of society. People will be inspired to see that the conception "that education should be diffused in a social atmosphere, that community members set the terms for learning, and that intellectual life starts with the community" is not only a matter of utopian vision, but an actual, concrete reality in all kinds of settings around the world. The narrative weaves Bruce’s own long career of educational experimentation, and unobtrusively makes deft use of an extraordinary range of philosophical resources.
If communication is essential in education, how it was carried from school to community and back is the initial question posed by The Classroom and Daily Life. Using the term communiversity and vast amount of cases of examples, Professor Bruce depict a vision of education that transcends schooling. In these cases, people, issues, cultures, ethnicities, events, activities, and the natural surroundings have become fluid and flow from one to another. It is with such communication, whether occurred online or in the real world, one finds strength and responsibility to go on learning and living.
The fundamental relationship between learning and society needs to be reconceived and placed in the community. The Classroom and Daily Life makes the case that schools should be more than educational administration, curriculum development, and instructional practice. The book argues for an expansive reorientation of education from the classroom to the community where it can help people as they struggle with their understanding of the phenomena and practices they find as they go about their lives. Breaking out of the narrow confines of schooling is not simply a matter of new program development. Professor Bruce draws on scholars in many fields and shows how the reorientation needs a new vision for education.
Community based learning, the inclusion of life experiences as a major component of formal schooling, has a long history. Chip Bruce reminds us that it was practiced long before John Dewey’s progressive education efforts. He summarizes a wide range of more recent programs In the United States and internationally, from local projects to online activities using modern technology, as well as programs in formal and informal settings, including early childhood to “Communiversity” activities, as well as his own extensive work in Nepal. The book is further enhanced by his impressive knowledge of the literature in many relevant fields ranging from pedagogy to computer science. It is a “must read” for anyone interested in the future of public education.
Educational debates in public media as well as in scholarly discourse seem to have an insatiable appetite for conceiving of education as a matter of selecting the “right” content. With the right texts and questions, surely we can address ecological sustainability, language learning, or socially just race relations? In this book, taking a radical alternate direction, Bruce invites and even pulls us into education as transaction—as communal participation in embodied experiences and meaning-making. Bruce unpacks how our unquestioned assumptions of education as the communication of content fits hand to glove with contemporary movements to de-fund, dis-place, de-value, and dismantle universal, democratic education. Bruce’s journey through such “dreadful” movements in education is at once a loving meditation and a transaction—unveiling surprises of insight during the course of his dialogues. Bruce finds hope in a regenerated philosophy of democratic experience and through vignettes of expansive place-based education from the wealth of his own and others’ experiences in diverse and compelling learning communities.
In this wide-ranging book, Professor Bruce draws on his extensive knowledge of literature, communication theory, and educational thought to shape a powerful rationale for educational engagement with the community. Taking education beyond the classroom walls and drawing on the work of educational and social reformers like John Dewey and Jane Addams, professor Bruce shows how an engagement with a community and its resources can lead to a richer educational experience. His book will be of great value to anyone interested in humanizing technology and revitalizing education by connecting it to the ongoing life of a community.
Chip Bruce is a fine writer with a keen eye for the ways that parts of a problem clarify context and suggest new directions. He suggests that recurring crises in public education have led to false solutions because they have done little to alleviate the basic social problems that self-described reformers always choose to avoid in promoting the solution of the moment. Chip argues that we need not another reform but alternatives to the entire system of education; not a single sweeping one-size-fits-all fix, but a commitment to experiment with other modes of schooling, communication, and community. Chip manages his vast erudition without a trace of pedantry. Rather, he makes vivid use of examples from history and literature to underscore the urgency of finding alternatives to transmission education. A brief summary of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor provides a chilling injunction that people will all too gladly accept obedience and passivity. It is not enough to marshall arguments against the notion that education should impose control over young people. What we need, what Chip provides are examples of how we may conduct education otherwise, more humanely, more responsibly, toward the end of freedom. Chip's examples are suitably eclectic, from Gandhi to 4-H, from wilderness expeditions to Wikipedia, from filmmaking in British Columbia to community-based programs in Nepal. It's in this wealth of examples and selected profiles of educators who have experimented with alternatives to the place-based school that Chip fulfills the promise of moving beyond the current system.
The author provides a compelling vision of communiversity as the future of education, combining the best of conventional academic learning with the best of community-based experiential learning. He personalizes this vision through interviews with people who are implementing instances of communiversity around the world.
5/25/23, Choice Reviews: This title is included in a roundup of “The Top 75 Community College Titles: May 2023 Edition.”