Kieran Egan

Educational crisis has been seen in 16th and 19th century. Philosophies have been given in relation to educational insufficiencies and it has been concluded that real life experiences are to be linked with schooling activities being provided to students rather than burdening them with tests and assignments.

People who survived major economic crisis in late sixteenth century also find similarities in current educational crisis. Educational crisis is linked with variety of blames imposed on a hierarchy of stakeholders and many puzzles are to be solved, as these puzzles are irritating for many. Educational crisis has touched everyone in society. Most puzzling fact is an inability of schools to provide fundamental education to students in spite of the fact that many efforts have been made by higher professionals providing funding and monetary solutions for schools. Educational crisis has been counted in terms of social alienation, lacking roots and links in psychological manner as well as ignorance of world along with human experiences and costs that are calculated in this case are countless and incalculable.

Prices of all commodities started to rise sharply in sixteenth century and average citizens felt these sharp increases. Increased amounts of money were to be paid for necessities of life as clothes. Clothiers were blamed for increasing priced and being greedy. Clothiers were in turn blaming merchants for higher prices, merchants were in turn blaming weavers, and from here blaming continued in different directions. Main question that needs to be asked is who originally is to be blamed.

Late nineteenth century is known for a start in mass schooling. This educational insufficiency is blamed on many candidates as educational professionals as well as fundraising pundits including educated teachers. Indirectly, absence of market incentives, capital societies with their inequities, and lack of state control over educational institutes have been blamed. In addition to this, it has been mentioned by the author that main roles were played by lack of intellectual capacity in around 85 of population and this population was given educational instructions in advanced basic skills that are rather incomprehensive. Additional factors added are drugs, breakdown of family values, and academic curriculum which is observed to be irrelevant. The author mentions
In fact, the more urgently relevant the curriculum has been made, the more generally clueless seem its products (p. 238).

In sixteenth century, it was seen that politicians were demanding results from educational institutes by adding kinds of tests and assessments while funding provided to these educational system was lesser as required.

Thereby educational insufficiencies have been pinpointed by Kieran Egan taking into account educational insufficiencies in sixteenth and nineteenth century. His book, The Educated Mind How Cognitive Tools Shape Our Understanding was published in 1997 and the book focuses on educational theory. This book is well known for criticism carried out on previous educational theories given by scholars. At one place, author says that

We might recall Hazlitts comment again Anyone who has passed through the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape (p. 238).

According to Kieran Egan, educational theory should surround three main aims. It has been argued that reason and knowledge should be included in education and importantly academic subjects should be taught to elite in population. Development of a students mind is triggered by knowledge thus concluding that education is an epistemological process. Self-discovery should be kept in mind while designing educational curriculum in order to allow an individual to decide what is needed in his or her educational curriculum settings. Education thus is a psycho physiological process in which education is driven by students development. Students should be socialized thus enabling them to fulfill their roles in society in accordance to its beliefs and moral values. These ideas are rather incompatible, and the author in first chapter of the book has discussed it. Incompatibility of these three causes has been related to educational insufficiencies and education crisis faced in 16th and 19th centuries. Modern educational situation is much improved as these three causes have been integrated in educational systems with their inherent incompatibilities. Thereby main solution proposed by Kieran is that education is not to be enforced on an individual rather it should be allowed to flow, as mind of an individual understands it.

Kieran has given three kinds of understandings that help in developing an educational mind. First kind of understanding highlighted is somatic understanding that develops before the development of language in a child. The author adds, The common language they are initiated into to their distinctive, individual needs (p. 167). A child learns to model their overall social structures thereby ensuring development of this kind of understanding in children.

Understanding world in a series of stories is known as mythic understanding. Realities related to mythic concepts are discovered in romantic understanding. Romantic understanding explores examples of superlatives, discovered and understood by children as who is the taller and tallest of friends and in case of many subjects, accumulation of knowledge takes place. Philosophic understanding is related to discovering principles and ideologies that define limits. Schematic arrangement is used for general knowledge. Ironic understanding is used to understand flexibilities of minds in order to understand knowledge gained as well as languages learnt.

This paper in coming sections will outline principles that underline romantic understanding. Romantic understanding clearly suggests that students learn more effectively if knowledge is more readily related to their previous life experiences. Imaginative life of a student is excluded being a part of their daily life as has been included in truism.

There are three characteristic features of romantic understanding as highlighted by Kieran Egan. Sense of imagination is freed in romantic understanding thus it focuses on reality and realities of human experiences are explored and these are considered different from conventions that were imposed in neoclassical period.

Second main feature of romantic understanding is associated with mixed feelings associated  with an imagery of hero arguing that in 16th and 19th centuries, most successful teachers taught by creating imaginative worlds dominated by effectiveness of these self created imaginative worlds as well as heroes. Ambivalence stems from the fact that constraints of reality are recognized including a desire to overstep these realities.

Kieran argues that relevance is related to more learning. Kieran has connected relevance with culture by arguing that these can make students learn more. It is more of a truism these days that effective teaching stems out from relating students experiences with knowledge provided to students. However, interpretation of this truism is more problematic as compared to truism itself. Interpretation of this understanding says that any new knowledge gained by a child is more effectively learned if it is related to his or her previous experiences. Educational professionals believe that intellectual activity is tied to everyday experiences of a child. Cultural as well as social experiences are related to experiences gained by an individual thereby romantic understanding is related to culture as well. Democratic social experiences of an individual are linked to learning capacity of an individual. Example of this is given by taking into consideration subjects as social sciences. It is argued that these kinds of subjects would be less formal and less abstract if they were dealt lesser as sciences and tried to be connected to daily life experiences related to experiences gained in cultural experiences and social gathering.

Content that is gained from surroundings and social experiences is to be provided by knowledge provided by education. Kieran has argued that teachers use medium of signs and before these signs are used by teachers in order to convey ideas and principles to an individual, schooling should ensure provision of original and genuine situations ensuring personal participation from students that convey all materials to be understood. Moreover, it has been argued that school life should be separated from home life of an individual. It has been argued that oral cultures of individuals are related to greater intellectual achievements and cultures have been related to stimulation of intellectuality and imagination of an individual and these help in encoding social information into vivid stories that help in additional learning. This argument, as observed is not antithetical to achieving rationality. Great achievements can be ensured if learning and experiences of oral culture is preserved. Knowledge gained in oral cultures can be preserved by an integration of educational theories.

These days, a common observation is that students avoid going to educational institutions saying that they have been cheated. Students are overburdened with tests and assignments nowhere linked to daily life experiences that are richer than studies taught in schools. Romantic understanding includes an agent of imagination. It is this imagination that can carry an individual beyond bare facts and unexplored relationships are hinted.


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