Re: Deschooling society LO2109

John Farago (
Sat, 15 Jul 95 00:16 BST-1

Replying to LO2044

I am pleased that Ron Mallis's fierce attack on Ivan IIlich made me go
to the shelf and read "Deschooling society" again. It was one of the
'triggers' for my renewed interest in 'learning' at the time that my
children were very young. But I can hardly believe that we are talking
about the same book.

Ron writes:

"Let me assert that what I find intolerable is Illich's implied
blanket -- and facile -- dismissal of exactly the sort of things that
this Learning Org list is about: collaboration, conversation,
co-creation, "fruits of learning," "emergent learning," ..." .

I cannot find this "dismissal". On the contrary Illich's book
states or implies most of these things, but he, like Paulo
Freire, wants the learner - not educational institutions - to be in
control of the learning. As the original posting (LO1995) suggests,
Illich's 'webs' foresee just the type of conversation that we
are having here in learning-org - and conversations on all
kinds of subjects that are springing up in electronic conferences,
newsgroups, etc. all over the place.

Nor can I recognise Ron's "Illich's commissar-like prescriptions that
turn us into wind-up dolls and use a phony language of caring ", nor
"crafting obiter dicta from on high."

Humans - like other animals, only more so - have as natural an urge
to learn as to eat. It is a perversion that we compel children to go
to school, rather than that we create environments where they can
enjoy their eagerness to learn. We do not have laws for compulsory
eating or compulsory feeding. Food producers go out of their way to
entice us with variety and quality. Learning facilitators/ providers
should do the same - many already do.

Of course we need systems to deal with those parents that for one
reason or another do not or cannot provide or encourage their children
to partake of quality learning experiences. But then, most developed
countries also have fall-back systems to deal with children whose
parents do not or cannot feed their children.

Greetings from Wimbledon   John