Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society/Phenomenology of School
Brief chapter, approximately 8 pages, where Illich sets out to try to define 'school'. He defines school as the "age-specific, teacher-related process requiring full-time attendance at an obligatory curriculum." Then goes on to unpack the individual elements of his definition.
Age[edit | edit source]
This section of the chapter mostly questions the assumptions that schooling and society makes of what constitutes "children" and "childhood". Illich briefly outlines how the definition of childhood, as distinct from infancy, adolesence or youth is essentially a construct of the 'bourgeoisie'. He claims that up until the 20th century, 'children' were "made at home with the help of preceptors and private schools." Industrial society provides the means to mass produce 'childhood' and create schools for the masses. The modern phenomenon of school is then seen to produce childhood. Illich points out how in rural areas away from industrial cities that most people do not "experience childhood."
See also: Childhood
Teachers and Pupils[edit | edit source]
"School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary."
Most learning in life takes place outside of the school system. Illich claims that research shows that most of what children learn in school comes from "peer groups, from comics, from chance observations, and above all from mere participation in the ritual of school...", rather than from teachers. (It should be noted that he does not reference or cite this research.)