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Two Visions of Education


by Elliot W. Eisner — November 07, 2005

This paper argues that among the visions guiding education there are two that are particularly important today. The first is a formalist vision which conceives of curriculum and teaching as rule guided activities that lead to prespecified ends capable of being achieved if the pedagogical and curricular methods employed are appropriate. The aim of educational policy is to create institutions that make the realization of those aims possible. A second vision of education, a Romantic vision, places its emphasis on the realization of distinctive human potentialities. The Romantic vision is more concerned with surprise than with predictability and is more interested in invention than in discovery. It recognizes that human aptitudes differ and that pedagogical virtue consists in increasing, rather than reducing, variance in a class. The paper argues that the remedy for a rule governed formulaic approach to schooling is to be found in the arts. It argues that the realization of artistry in education has a particularly important, unintended outcome. In the process of realizing such a form of practice, teachers and students alike become artists. Such an outcome would provide the kinds of satisfactions that are needed to genuinely engage students in the processes of schooling.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: November 07, 2005
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12234, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 10:21:14 PM

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