Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Adult Education and Geographies of the Mind. Elisée Reclus and Patrick Geddes

Adult education in the U.S. has suffered from the Bush 2 Republican focus on teaching basic skills and not world vision. The roots are deep and bear analysis.

Observation from:
Geographies of the Mind

Elisée Reclus and Patrick Geddes:
Geographies of the Mind, the Regional Study in the Global Vision
Tom Steele.University of Glasgow.

This specialisation, however, ran against the grain of ‘popular education’, which with the exception of positivist science made a virtue of the whole, or holistic, vision. Because, although the practice of popular education really begins with the extension of ‘scientific’ method to a mass audience, the well-spring of desire for learning it tapped was the value the layman placed on personal experience, which recognised no boundaries to knowledge. For him personal experience, scientifically examined and understood, was the antidote to rhetoric of the priest and the politician and the beginning of personal and political liberation (the intelligent laywoman, in the nineteenth century, would however place a higher value on culture and the arts).

How did adult educators in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries position themselves within this contradiction between the popular demand for universal understanding and the increasing specialisation of the professions and knowledges?

Elisée Reclus

The papers of Sir Patrick Geddes. Univeristy of Strathclyde.