John Taylor Gatto, was a creative, a thinker, a visionary, and a whistle-blower who challenged us to examine our current academic paradigm. He passed away last week at the age of 82. His legacy and spirit live on in his works, including many books, articles, and speeches.
For this week’s class we read the thought-provoking essay titled, The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher. Although it was originally published in 1991, the themes he discusses are still concerning 27 years later. Why is that? In fact, it feels like things have only gotten worse. Additionally, why do his thoughts feel so controversial and how come so many people have a hard time discussing his points? JTG coats his lessons in sarcasm, yet they are no easier to swallow.
His writings hit me deeply for a number of reasons, mostly related to feelings of helplessness and hopefulness, and to move out of that space, I find it helpful to dig a little deeper. By starting to ask “why” things are the way they are, and sitting with the questions, I may be able to help move toward a solution.
Below is an intriguing, animated video where John Taylor Gatto dives deeper into the Six Purposes of Modern Schooling, which ultimately result in teachers teaching the “Six Lessons” we read about for our class.
What about you? What questions are you sitting with after reading the article and/or watching the video?