Learning, Education, Schooling

Fall 2019
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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Learning is one of the great gifts of life.  Children learn to walk, talk, love, and become the people they are simply by—by what?—by “taking it all in,” as a gift.  We’ll contrast learning with education and schooling.  As a start, let’s say education involves handing oneself over to another, as an apprentice to a master for example, so that the master might “draw out,” as the Latin root of “educate” says, some inner talents, skills or abilities that will help us get farther down our paths.  “Schooling” is a product of schools, social institutions that discipline (and sort and grade) everyone to adapt to other social institutions—the economy, health care, law, modern transport systems, communication—that support the living, and the “making a living,” that we are allotted in these times.

We will study the history of schools to understand how learning, which always led to and supported an expansion of one’s freedom, got corrupted into schooling, another service industry that offers another form of professionalized constraining “care” so that we can “get along,” along to advanced schooling, along to our cubicles and gigs, along to the next professionalized service station.

We will also study the history of opposition to schooling.  There are modern alternatives—free schools, democratic schools, liberatory education, unschooling, Evergreen in its early years—that aim for freedom to learn and learning in freedom.  We’ll see what history offers.  Maybe we’ll think up something for ourselves.

Students will undertake, individually or in small groups, independent study projects that will require 10 devoted hours of work each week.


Fall 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 10194
So - Sr (16): 10197

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

Education, sociology, anthropology

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Research Opportunities

Independent projects allow students, individually or in small groups, to undertake research in the history, anthropology, or sociology of education and schools.


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 B1107 - Workshop