Developmentalism: An obscure but pervasive restriction on educational improvement

John E. Stone, Rick Garlikov, Les McLean, Sherman Dorn, Benjamin Levin, Aimee Howley, Larry Phillips, Don Tinkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite continuing criticism of public education, experimentally demonstrated and field tested teaching methods have been ignored, rejected, and abandoned. Instead of a stable consensus regarding best teaching practices, there seems only an unending succession of innovations. A longstanding educational doctrine appears to underlie this anomalous state of affairs. Termed developmentalism, it presumes "natural" ontogenesis to be optimal and it requires experimentally demonstrated teaching practices to overcome a presumption that they interfere with an optimal developmental trajectory. It also discourages teachers and parents from asserting themselves with children. Instead of effective interventions, it seeks the preservation of a postulated natural perfection. Developmentalism's rich history is expressed in a literature extending over 400 years. Its notable exponents include Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget; and its most recent expressions include "developmentally appropriate practice" and "constructivism." In the years during which it gained ascendance, developmentalism served as a basis for rejecting harsh and inhumane teaching methods. Today it impedes efforts to hold schools accountable for student academic achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-89
Number of pages89
JournalEducation Policy Analysis Archives
Volume4
StatePublished - Apr 21 1996
Externally publishedYes

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teaching method
teaching practice
ontogenesis
constructivism
public education
academic achievement
doctrine
parents
criticism
innovation
teacher
history
school
student
literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Stone, J. E., Garlikov, R., McLean, L., Dorn, S., Levin, B., Howley, A., ... Tinkler, D. (1996). Developmentalism: An obscure but pervasive restriction on educational improvement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 4, 1-89.

Developmentalism : An obscure but pervasive restriction on educational improvement. / Stone, John E.; Garlikov, Rick; McLean, Les; Dorn, Sherman; Levin, Benjamin; Howley, Aimee; Phillips, Larry; Tinkler, Don.

In: Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol. 4, 21.04.1996, p. 1-89.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stone, JE, Garlikov, R, McLean, L, Dorn, S, Levin, B, Howley, A, Phillips, L & Tinkler, D 1996, 'Developmentalism: An obscure but pervasive restriction on educational improvement', Education Policy Analysis Archives, vol. 4, pp. 1-89.
Stone, John E. ; Garlikov, Rick ; McLean, Les ; Dorn, Sherman ; Levin, Benjamin ; Howley, Aimee ; Phillips, Larry ; Tinkler, Don. / Developmentalism : An obscure but pervasive restriction on educational improvement. In: Education Policy Analysis Archives. 1996 ; Vol. 4. pp. 1-89.
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