(голосов: 0)
Published: July 13, 2011

Life adjustment education

A curricular reform, popular in the 1940s and 1950s, that taught schoolchildren practical aspects of living. A misinterpretation and corruption of John Dewey’s theories of education, the curriculum marked the beginning of self-improvement courses that still abound in the general education track and dilute academic aspects of English, history and other courses. Thus, English courses not only taught how to write letters, but also to conduct polite conversation. Social studies taught how to behave at home and on dates. Most science and mathematics courses for girls were replaced with sewing, cooking, housekeeping and other “practical” studies. Developed at Harvard University in 1939, the curriculum sought to convert Dewey’s theories of using firsthand experience to learn new concepts by reducing the level of such experiences to the most ordinary. Civics courses and economics were replaced with instruction on being good citizens and cooperative family members and developing self-esteem. From its inception, life adjustment education has remained controversial in the face of the contention of essentialists and other proponents of BACK-TO-BASICS education that the route to self-esteem and competence in life is academic competence and development of higher-order thinking skills.