Educational Editorial: Experience based education

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In 1910 John Dewey called for "moral equivalent of war"…it was about education. He also noted that all learning should be experienced based.

His "progressive education" movement is frequently discussed in education and philosophy classes but rarely have we come to grips with the balance between "academics" and "practice."

While principal of Highland Springs High School in Henrico County, a young African American student, Leslie, and I discussed with excitement her acceptance into a program at Harvard.

She paused in the euphoria to ask me a question, "But Mr. B, I am afraid…suppose I finish four years of college and don't know how to do anything?"

Her question was and is more powerful than any response that I could give. With college graduations complete and high school commencements on the horizon, we should also ask, "The beginning of what?"

As recently editorialized in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia has had strong national reviews for its accountability program…standards, assessment, report cards and consequences.

Young people know more than at any point in our educational history…but what can they do?

Perhaps the next wave of educational moralization should be on practice. And by the way, for those who envision this as a shop or home economics class despite my respect for those skills, we are talking about technical skills, conceptual skills, and human skills…perhaps we most need graduates who have a will to work and the experience to apply what they know.

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