This is part of an ongoing series in response to J.L.L. who has began a blog about why he doesn’t engage in TJEd.  Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here.

J.L.L. next attacks Oliver Demille’s explanation of the Phases of Learning because they have contemporary descriptions in modern literature and specifically he challenges the antiquity of these ideas.  His post is titled “Reason #3: The Learning Phases are from Modern Child Development Theory“.

J.L.L. basically rejects out of hand Oliver Demille’s writing about the Phases of Learning because Dr. Demille also cites to modern writers on the subject of learning and development.  J.L.L.’s reasoning is something like if an idea has a modern counterpart or explanation then it cannot have an ancient basis.  This is a failing of logic.

Just because there is a recent description of human development does not mean that the information did not exist before hand.  Archimedes made advancements in our understanding of science, so did Galileo, Newton, Einstein and many many others.  The laws of science and nature have always been there and are in fact of ancient date, but our explanations of how nature works get better with time.  The same concept could be applied to human development.  Just because there are more recent iterations of our understanding of human development does not make them any less valid or any less ancient of origin.  This is the basis of J.L.L.’s criticism of the stages of learning.

J.L.L. then goes after Oliver Demille’s use of four modern writers that describe human development and education.  One of the most difficult modern writers to find good in was John Dewey.  From the post:

Dewey has taken a lot of the blame for the failure of modern schools in the United States. His ideas of progressive education have been used as the model in modern education. So why is DeMille promoting him? DeMille claims that there are the real teachings of Dewey on the one hand, and “Deweyism” on the other which is basically mischaracterization and misunderstanding of what Dewey really said and incomplete implementation of his ideas (where have I heard that before).

I will assume that J.L.L. is referring to Communism at the end of that paragraph.  J.L.L. sees little or no value in John Dewey’s ideas or theory because of the purported results of his words, specifically the modern American Public Education System.  This is true, but have you ever misused knowledge?  Some people even do that on purpose.  That is why your mentors must be people of high moral character.  These mentors can teach you how to use knowledge correctly.

Because most of J.L.L.’s criticism springs from the fallacious foundation that modern descriptions of an idea cannot capture ancient knowledge, I will only touch on a few points.

From the post again:

First, where did Jefferson or Washington say they wanted a national education system that would give each child an education for “her part” in society? Someone please enlighten me on this.

After about thirty seconds using this search, I found three links that mention Thomas Jefferson’s support of public schooling and even some explanations of his ideas on the matter.  To be fair, Thomas Jefferson did not advocate for a “national education system” but he did support a state (Virginia to be precise) based public education.   You can find information on this here, here, and here.

It was comparatively more difficult to find information on George Washington’s support of public schooling and I am sure there are better sources of information but on the internet, this search found this page where the author writes that George Washington “vouched for public education”.

J.L.L., please consider yourself enlightened on this particular point.

Again, from J.L.L.’s post:

You are starting to see where these “Learning Phases” have come from. It starts with Freud and get modified along the way. DeMille has adopted a model of what healthy mental development is, not education, but psychological and cognitive development. DeMille is using these theories to create a foundation of the optimal way to educate and child.

Perhaps the point of a Leadership Education is to create a Whole Person.  Maybe you would like a leader to be well educated on classical and worldly things, but to also have a sound and accurate moral compass.  Without a proper Core Phase of moral and ethical understanding or a Core Phase understanding of the importance of work, it would be difficult to be an effective person let alone a leader.  There is a reason these things called human development are important if you are to be an effective leader.

Thomas Jefferson Education is based on the model and need for moral and ethical leaders of character and strength.  To teach and train this type of individual, it is absolutely indispensable that they are a whole person, morally and intellectually.

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