If alternative schools are compared to or evaluated against state schools the question is always: What are the parameters applied? An elitist attitude in my opinion is neither justified, nor wise, nor intended. Today, just as 20 years ago, the paramount aim of Free Alternative Schools lies in the establishment of the ability to organise learning processes with freedom and self-responsibly.
To develop this ability children need teachers who are willing to give up their monopoly on lesson structuring and who see their end goal as rendering themselves dispensable. On the one hand administrational regulations from the side of school authorities make this difficult, on the other hand teachers have rarely had experiences in their own education and training with self-determined learning. To educate them, to support autonomy and obstinacy on all levels … is the main task nowadays Free Alternative Schools are places of participation for the children.
There are different focal points in the spectrum of alternative schools. They reach from weekly school assemblies with or without voting power for adults over representative models to juridical committees. In all alternative schools participation is a central topic. It is neither restricted to the space of a school yard nor is it restricted to certain phases of the school day. Free play enables children to have innumerable experiences and they can try out what they learned.
Children invent games and apply themselves to them with interest and an energy that can only be stopped by tiredness. Children imitate everything they see adults doing. Everything that children learn in their contacts with adults they can explore in free play amongst themselves. In turn this means that adults need to design every project, every assembly and every conflict mediation in a way that allows children greater autonomy and lets them test their experiences in free play.
A school where there is no space for free play is restrictive and closes off one of the most important fields of learning for children. Grading In alternative schools there is essentially no grading. This principle is only negotiated by school laws. In Berlin for instance the education law stipulates that all primary schools have to conform to the enrolment criteria of secondary schools.
The secondary schools, however, accept enrolments only on the basis of graded certificates. It is a pleasure to expose the defects of this system. In it we see a legacy of tyrannical history. It is always the same centralisation, everywhere we find the same official intrusion. Ferrer ; p. Children and adolescents should as far as possible recognise their own processes and products. And this self-reliance should be experienced as delightful. There are at this stage numerous studies to prove that the transitory difficulties disappear after a few months.
They are confident enough to ask if they don't understand something and quite often they play an important role in the social fabric of the new class structure. Potential deficits in knowledge are thus mostly adjusted within a short period of time de Haan, in Maas, , p. In this critical statement from warrants a new comment. Many alternative schools explicitly refer in their concepts to protagonists of the reform-pedagogical movement.
The question is more whether such references are based on personal preferences of school founders, or are they based on a non-prejudiced probably even scientific process of developing a school concept. Such a process can indeed lead to the establishment of meaningful references in favour of the aims of a given school. There is a danger, too, of uncritical reference to pedagogues or concepts of the reform-pedagogic spectrum like the land reform schools or Waldorf schools. The critical aspects of these models are discussed in the first part of my recent book Hofmann, Apart from a literary reception of reform-pedagogy there is also a spontaneous adaptation of reform-pedagogical ideas, demands and practices in the alternative school movement van Dick, This is most likely in reference to the free school movement in the US.
It is a basic task not only this but key for alternative schools to gain a critical and differentiated stance in relation to reform-pedagogical concepts. Alternative school in neo-liberal context The idea is not new that school should be first and foremost a place where children and adolescents learn to learn.
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But only since leading personalities from the economic sector started complaining in recent years about the lack of autonomy and team player ability of many school leavers does opinion gain ground that it can no longer be the task of the school to teach children as many facts as possible for them to be only able to regurgitate this type of knowledge. If nowadays leading business representatives formulate demands on schools that seem to meet the values of alternative schools, this is misleading in that the compatibility is only on a surface level.
Children and adolescents experience their environment and the organisation of a free school as open to change. Students have a say in all aspects, even the most basic ones. In the context of their areas of responsibility they have equal rights as teachers.
This is not really what is meant in a neo-liberal economy if employees are requested to think. They may be required to act autonomously at the place allocated to them, and they may be asked to help in developing certain areas. The injustice of the system itself, however, they are not invited to question. In the ideal case they learn there that they can best decide for themselves what is right and good for them.
This is something different to the autonomy promoted in the business sector. The assumed protagonists in business also have an understanding of parliamentary democracy that differs fundamentally from the experiences of democracy afforded to children and adolescents in alternative schools. If alternative schools indeed had such an influence in the past it seems there is little left from this glory.
To gain ground again and live up to the idea of model and experimental schools, and to influence educational and political debates in Germany, FAS should publicly depict those areas of their practice that are true witness of their name. These areas certainly still include the self-determined and autonomous learning, the radical democratic participation, unconventional learning methods, and the flexible and speedy introduction of new concepts gender sensitive education, inclusion….
Further areas could be explored. The situation is one where: All basic educational ideas have gone anti-authoritarian already; what is missing is not originality of ideas, but rather their practical application. Negt in Manzke, , p. In Germany the false belief is widespread that school is there to convey knowledge. This belief originates in a historical era when knowledge was not generally accessible. Many parents could teach their children only in very limited areas of knowledge, and teachers had a rather all-round knowledge.
When I attended school I learned about Goethe and Schiller through my teachers. With the exception of the public library there was no other place where I could have accessed such important authors. The development of the internet and the increased mass access to it has made a massive difference.
Nearly all aspects of general and specialised knowledge are at all times accessible for those who want to gain access. Nearly all lesson content is available in more or less instructional form in the internet. Together with opportunities offered by skype and other software it is possible to communicate with people in nearly every country around the globe. No teacher can compete with this. The function of conveying knowledge is no longer a sufficient legitimation for a special institution like school.
To be clear: All children and adolescents in Germany are subject to compulsory schooling. They spend five days every week up to eight hours in an institution whose legitimation is obsolete. The true function of the institution of school is the allocation of a place within the area of labour and society. School is the central agency of social differentiation. There are only a certain number of places in universities. The number of schools leading to the German Abitur2 is limited.
There are structural targets as to the number of students allowed to achieve the Abitur. The result of school is the reproduction of the social stratas in society. This is supported further by the effects that the family background has for the school career of children. It could be just as well a task for school to break up the hierarchical character of our society and allow social upwards mobility for whole families.
But this is not wanted. The higher strata of society want to prevent competition for the best jobs. In fact, parents of these lower social strata invest proportionally more of their means in the education of their children. The German school system stabilises and reproduces social inequality and therefore supports a hierarchical society. Our future is largely uncertain. The next generations will be confronted with question for which we have no answers: climate change, economic exploitation on a global scale, famines that are simply tolerated.
Indeed most of the questions that will come up for future generations we are not even able to anticipate. What then does a person have to learn if the task is to react to previously unknown questions? I suggest two focal points that would also allow for a new function of the school as an institution.
First there is the ability and willingness to allow for diverse explanations. I can describe the function of an ant-state for the eco-system of a forest. I can try to compare the social structure of ants with the one of humans. In school the type of question to be asked is generally predetermined by the subject area.
Here a new function of school would be to allow for as many diverse explanations as possible. On the other hand the ability to improvise would be a formidable competency. An exam would not consist of questions that were prepared in lessons. A test would be a confrontation with something unexpected. Here the hero is exposed to new and unknown situations in every episode. Most interesting are the skills that he applies in the stories.
The basis for him is a wide range of knowledge of chemistry, physics and other sciences. In this sense acquisition of subject specific knowledge would not be the goal, but rather the basis for the competency of improvisation. Another example is the competency to cook a meal.
So far school teaches cooking according to a recipe. But this is obsolete because recipes are available online in nearly all languages of the world, as text, video or audio file. The new function of school would be to build upon the basic techniques of cooking and create something out of formerly unknown ingredients and devices. That would also be a preparation for a world in which not everything required as per a recipe will be available in rich Europe at all times any longer.
In this regard alternative schools could be trailblazers. They are small schools and can react quite well to the challenges of our times. Necessary for such a new direction would be however that the function of school is critically assessed and defined in a new way. This requires courage and the willingness to put all habits and routines through a check.
In my opinion the future significance of alternative schools depends on their ability to accept this new role in a similar way to the phase of establishment of the first Free Alternative Schools some 40 years ago. Literatur Altenburg, T. Hamburg: Univ. Hamburg, Fachber. Borchert, M. Freie Alternativschulen. Bad Heilbrunn: Psychosozial-Verlag. Bundesverband der Freien Alternativschulen Ed.
Wolfratshausen: Drachen-Verlag. Ferrer, F. Die moderne Schule. Ulm: Edition AV, Verlag. Haan, G. Was leisten Freie Schulen? In Bundesverband der Freien Alternativschulen Ed. Hofmann, M.
Geschichte und Gegenwart Freier Alternativschulen. Ulm: Klemm u. As history has shown, this did not mean that the idealistic traditions of thought in Europe constituted an obstacle for the mass murders of the dictatorships of the 20th century, especially not for the racial ideology and genocide of the Nazi rule. John Beineke devoted an entire chapter to the racism problem in his Kilpatrick biography Beineke, , He pointed out that the Southerner Kilpatrick, initially influenced by the racial ideology of his homeland, adopted a more liberal attitude in the course of his life.
Beineke stressed that neither Kilpatrick nor Dewey had a vision to change this by actively fighting the existing situation. I think, that was pragmatic, for pragmatism can best regard unresolved problems as the future task of a — supposedly — ever-changing society that has pushed this problem forward without change for a long time. Was it also propagated for the peaceful and conflict-free coexistence of black and white children in public schools?
No, this was not the case and there were reasons for this. Dewey was a founding member of the first National Negro Conference in New York in , which became the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, which still exists today. He gave a greeting address in in which he pointed out that all children should have equal educational opportunities. As we now know, this remained completely hopeless. The election was won by Franklin D. Dewey even saw school segregation in this case as an exemplary step to solve the racial problem.
At an advanced age Kilpatrick held a number of honorary posts in the decades following his retirement in , but in the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties, which is associated with the name Martin Luther King, he was a spectator at best; Kilpatrick died in at the age of There is little evidence of how detailed Kilpatrick was interested in the problem of skin colour.
Like Dewey he avoided addressing the problem of the colour-line directly and bluntly in all its social consequences. A Supreme Court decision to separate public schools for black and white children, which was seen as unconstitutional, changed the situation for Kilpatrick. In the run-up to the Supreme Court judgement Brown v.
Board of Education, , there were court proceedings in Clarendon County South Carolina to protest against the unequal conditions of education to the detriment of the black children. The racial inequality of the conditions in education regarding black and white public schools was well-known. As was mentioned in the court hearings, the hygiene conditions in schools for black children were disastrous because there was no running water for the toilets. Schools for blacks had hardly any equipment, the care factor the number of children a teacher had to care for was much higher than in schools for Whites.
Black children often had to walk many kilometres to get to school, while white children had a school bus. Uncovering these conditions in a project led by Kilpatrick would have been democratic action. But the highly acclaimed project undoubtedly concerned white children. To describe this form of indirect racism as democratic was apparently uncommon at the time.
For the NAACP it was urgently necessary to get credible witnesses and advocates, who could parry the probing questions of a judge with high expertise and quick-wittedness. There existed very few appropriate black academics. Wanted were professionally impeccable speakers to advocate the fight for equality in education. The following section is informative:. Vintage Books: New York, , Reading the last sentence again, we see: Kilpatrick refused to stand up for the rights of black children — with the pragmatic argument that this would only make things worse.ciomatadesbuy.ml/destined-to-love.php
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He was right. Educational Board were flooded with threats from the local population and assassination attempts followed. Those affected could only flee to cities in the north. But how could Kilpatrick and Dewey, in all conscience, justify praising American democracy in the face of this tyranny of violence and injustice? Both authors confirm what was rather shamefully admitted in the opinion of a few American historians: that the interest of the Social Constructivism movement, which Kilpatrick, Dewey and other professors of the Teachers College of Columbia University created, did not or only marginally care about the prevailing racial inequality.
But there were a few exceptions, of course, mentioned by the authors. This includes a sentence by the old Kilpatrick dating from , just before his retirement :. We cannot be content with anything less than actual equality of educational opportunity — equal as far as thought and money can reasonably make it so. At the time of the Great Depression there were also black students at the Teachers College.
Did they feel that they were equally treated? Were they welcome? There were no black professors at Teachers College, black Universities were racially separated. For instance, at the same time Princeton University had forbidden the enrolment of black students. They were not welcome. Both German professors also visited Fisk University at Nashville in a private enterprise, where only African Americans studied. They were impressed by the friendliness and hospitality there, also by the motivation and high interest for all questions of education there, and they were shocked, coming back to Peabody College about white racism.
The Peabody president warned Schneider afterwards:. Petersen was also appalled at the way the African Americans were treated in Nashville:. One blot among others here Petersen, in Kluge, , Every now and then authors informed about the situation within the context of their own attitude. Brie stressed that education had become the key issue for Negroes in their struggle for equality Brie, , ; see also Roucek, At Columbia University, there was just one white lecturer, Mabel Carney, at Teachers College in the thirties who was well-known for her interest in the provision of black education and who gave lectures on the life of Afro-Americans.
She retired in It took Kilpatrick until to make his democratic convictions morally credible. How to treat the Negro then became the problem. Following this, the South undertook what, fairly described, seems to be a definite caste system, with the apparent intent of forcing the Negroes to live permanently as a lower class. These are not new insights, but they had been clear to every honest and just intellectual for more than half a century. Dewey, who died in , may have been aware of these words for many decades.
But did he say so straight out? The latter normally has age-heterogeneous learning groups instead of age-homogeneous classes like modern schools , which had tradition in public schools everywhere in the country, also in the USA. However, one difference was that Jenaplan children learnt basic skills and knowledge in the normal mode, as a condition for later project work, and, secondly, there were special courses in maths and also in language where the children were divided up into groups of talents, so that gifted children got a chance to improve their performance. Above all, a large share of school life was determined by the group of pupils themselves.
Petersen wrote:. Free progress: Once the elementary grammar has been mastered, the child may work freely — always to the extent to which it has acquired the basic knowledge and skills. Then he has free access to all material and all tools, machines, learning aids etc. A child does not get the idea of playing stupid with tools, machines, if it has learned their seriousness and meaning. It knows that with strong motivation and aptitude it can immediately learn how to use them properly and thus open up sources of real joy, as well as the ability to create valuable and functional things Petersen , 65, translation H.
Petersen had such equipment in the university school through the support of the Jena Zeiss Group, which was already internationally well-known for the production of optical precision measuring instruments at that time and still is today. Challenging stimuli of the given situation usually focus on material or a task prepared by the teacher in order to stimulate the mixed-age learning- group of students to react actively.
Children themselves can find stimulating situations which are discussed and edited. But normally the teacher has to prepare such a situation with challenging stimuli. The given situation usually focusses on material, a phenomenon of nature or a striking event. The situation prepared by the teacher stimulates the mixed-age learning- group of students to react actively.
Children of the upper group work in long-term projects, they can choose their subject matter from a given list created responsibly by the teacher, but not without the participation of the students. The chosen topics are complex and can last up to six months. Comprehensive documentation was produced and at the end demonstrated to the public of the school community see Petersen, In Germany, however, Petersen was interested in the project method, in any case. The reason was simple. His intention was to optimize his Jena Plan theoretically and practically. Thus, concepts of New Education played a role that were useful for integration into the Jena Plan concept.
It enabled individual learning with materials that allowed self-control. The communication between Feldmann and the lecturers of Teachers College was apparently not continued, however. But there was a new impetus, the origins of which can be traced back to the meeting of German and American teachers in In any case, Kilpatrick answered immediately.
The archives have handed down a letter from Kilpatrick to Feldmann in the year Figure 8: Letter from W. Kilpatrick to E. This is to acknowledge yours of the I shall await with interest the letter which you will send me for Macmillans and I shall be glad to forward it to them at once with my own request that they act according to your wishes. With sentiments of high esteem, I beg to remain, sincerely yours, [handwritten] W.
This succeeded, because with their letter of received in the PPAV Macmillan and Kilpatrick communicated the agreement of the publishing house, which in turn forwarded it to Petersen. The above letter from Kilpatrick to Feldmann dated contains a note written in ink by Feldmann, which at the same time proves that he sent this letter to Petersen. The note read: Dear Mr. Petersen, the book has hopefully arrived in your hands in the meantime. I thought it had been there for a long time. Hopefully you can make it perfect. I agree with everything, cordially, your Feldmann,  — Another pencil-written entry in the lower part of the letter reads: The Kilpatrick book has arrived here.
It should be remembered that during his stay in the USA Petersen first wanted to win Thomas Alexander for a publication on the Jena Plan educational concept. Three guest lectures given by Kilpatrick as part of a lecture series at Rutgers University in the US state of New Jersey form the content of the text, which was published as an independent monograph. In a letter dated March 2nd, to Mary M. Kilpatrick wrote — now to Petersen — on and one last time on Replying to this, Kilpatrick wrote on My dear Professor Petersen, Your letter of October 4 has just come to me. You have, of course, my permission to do so.
In the case of the book the publisher also should assent, and I am therefore writing to the Macmillan Company by this mail and asking them to get in touch with you at once. I have consulted with the publishers of the pamphlet and am hereby giving you full permission to use it. Figure 9: Letter from W. Kilpatrick to P. One last letter to Petersen dates from 1st May In accordance with your request I am sending you under another cover a photograph of myself for use in connection with your book. I did not have one on hand when your note came and had to order one.
It is a pleasure to hear from you again. I wish it were possible to come to Germany as you suggest, to see how things have developed. Unfortunately, however, I see no prospect at the present time. Sincerely yours, [handwritten] W. Figure Letter of W. The last sentences of the letter make clear the distance which Kilpatrick wishes to express to Petersen. In our reconstruction attempt, it remains unclear whether Petersen without or with the influence of the Central Institute for Education and Teaching in Berlin selected the texts. It also remains in the dark whether Petersen received suggestions from Kilpatrick and Dewey or from the publishers who owned the copyright.
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The theoretical focus is on the three-part lecture series of the book Petersen had already received about Erich Feldmann from the publisher Macmillan in The practical focus is on the dissertation by Ellsworth Collings , which was published as a book. Kilpatrick was enthusiastic about the work of his doctoral student Collings. Dewey himself apparently made no contribution to this that could be proven by sources.
It is hard to imagine that the US publishers concerned did not notify Dewey of the license request from Germany. The text was immediately published as a single print by Harvard University Press. This is striking for the critical reader of our time and sheds light on the special political situation in Germany in Letters of the translator Wiesenthal shed light on the special situation see below. The three-part lecture comprises more than one third of the total contributions of both authors and provides an introduction to the social problems of education.
These three essays are from the years , and exactly reflect the debates to which progressive pedagogy in the USA was increasingly exposed in those years. In the Inglis lecture of — for the first time ever in his publications — Dewey explicitly deals with the project method in one section, but without mentioning Kilpatrick.
On the other hand, Dewey emphasized that the contents of the lessons must not be separated from the contexts of life:. The failure is again due, I believe, to segregation of subjects. A reorganization of subject-matter which takes account of out-leadings into the wide world of nature and man, of knowledge and of social interests and uses, cannot fail safe in the most callous and intellectually obdurate to awaken some permanent interest and curiosity.
Theoretical subjects will become more practical, because more related to the scope of life; practical subjects will become more charged with theory and intelligent insight. Both will be vitally and not just formally unified. I see no other way out of our educational confusion Dewey, LW 6, After the Second World War, this impression was retained in the German reception of the project method and was only corrected by the works of Knoll It was not until the late twenties that Dewey himself sought to counter the impression that he was a radical advocate of progressive pedagogy; but by then the term had already acquired a negative connotation in public.
Does he depart from the principle of child-oriented pedagogy? Not at all. The case is of Child. It is his present powers which are to assert themselves; his present capacities which are to be exercised; his present attitudes which are to be realized. But save as the teacher knows, knows wisely and thoroughly, the race-experience iii which is embodied in that thing we call the Curriculum, the teacher knows neither what the present power, capacity, or attitude is, nor yet how it is to be asserted, exercised, and realized Dewey, MW 2, For Dewey, the child is foremost.
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But the task of education requires a curriculum. The quote does not speak of traditional school subjects but refers to the experiences of humanity: life contexts in which courses and subjects certainly play a role, but which are not further emphasized here. One can only make an opponent of progressive education if one connotes the term negatively from the outset: the self-activity of the children is then declared disorientation, the New Education criticism of the authoritarian role of the teacher interpreted as a lack of respect for the responsibility of the adult in education.
But this does not do Dewey justice. This was the tenor that shaped the German reception of the Project Plan after the Second World War, as it was essentially only the volume published by Petersen in that gave this impression. While Kilpatrick repeatedly referred to Dewey, the opposite was not the case; on the other hand, there is no evidence of an alienation between Dewey and Kilpatrick.
It seems that Kilpatrick wanted to reform his pedagogical concept in the thirties. And Dewey? This can be read in the well-known works of Lawrence A. Cremin, Herbert M. Kliebard and Robert B. Westbrook see Knoll , , passim , which largely followed the intention to emphasize not what they had in common but the opposition between the two reformers, especially with regard to the project idea.
The subject principle, fixed essentials, objective goals of the curriculum, which were above the claimed rapid change of society, were abandoned. That is why, in , Kilpatrick made his appeal:. Rid the schools of dead stuff.
With those who are in fair touch with educational thought the opinion grows that the present secondary curriculum remains not so much because it is defensible as because we do not have assured material in workable form to put in its place. For most pupils, Latin can and should follow Greek into the discard.
Likewise, with most of mathematics for most pupils. Much of present history study should give way to the study of social problems where more history will be gained than in the old way. It uses subject matter, but it does not consist of subject matter. The contradiction could not be bigger, but no educational historian was interested in this question until the present day.
They demand a democratic education to develop a self-responsible personality in a liberal world. Why Georg Schulz did not continue the translation work is unknown. Under certain circumstances he had already carried out this assignment long before , and after a longer break someone else continued with the work, namely Ernst Wiesenthal.
I have no proof of the suspicion, but Petersen must have made this decision. It was known of Wiesenthal that he — what a rarity in the Weimar Republic! Bittner , 81f. In , his denazification file contained a detailed curriculum vitae and a list of his newspaper and magazine articles. Besides, he tried to further his education in English at the University of Berlin and had contacts with personalities in England, where he stayed during the summer holidays. Wiesenthal appreciated John Dewey, whose pedagogy and philosophy Wiesenthal, in his own words, was particularly fond of.
During the war, many big-city families voluntarily sent their children to rural areas of the Reich because of the danger of bombing in the big cities. It was an evacuation measure of the Hitler State, called the Kinderlandverschickung. Wiesenthal worked in a camp for such children in the German-occupied Eastern Carpathians. He was denazified in and was then allowed to work as a teacher again.
When the editor [Theodor Wilhelm; H. Schneider, politically unwanted in the Nazi era, was forced to retire, and the Nazi Alfred Baeumler took over the position as editor-in-chief. Under Nazi rule, the journal continued to publish articles on the USA — now instrumentalized in the Nazi spirit. Until , many cultural exchange relations continued, albeit with considerable restrictions and in an atmosphere that could no longer be called free in the German Reich. Apparently, the ZEU had signalled agreement with the project — but, we have to stress, under new personnel leadership in the Nazi era.
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