Schoolhouse Politics Lessons from the Sputnik Era

Schoolhouse Politics Lessons from the Sputnik Era
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  • ISBN-13: 9781583484173
  • ISBN: 1583484175
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated


Dow, Peter B.


Schoolhouse Politics tells the story of a unique experiment in curriculum design in the 1960s. In an attempt to teach anthropology to ten-year-olds, Jerome Bruner and his colleagues designed Man: A Course of Study (MACOS), an elementary school course that combined pioneering fieldwork on the social behavior of baboons, a film-based ethnographic study of an Eskimo tribe, and novel "hands on" classroom materials. Soon after its debut, MACOS was hailed as an original and exciting way to promote science literacy and to teach young people how to think like social scientists. Teachers and students alike expressed enthusiasm for the dynamic nature of the course, and it achieved nationwide distribution and widespread recognition as one of the outstanding social science curriculum projects of the period. Yet by 1975, MACOS had been driven from the schools, a casualty of a small but vocal group of conservatives critical of its content and methodology.Peter Dow, the MACOS project editor, offers a vivid insider's account of those heady post-Sputnik days of federally funded scholar-led curriculum innovation and of the ensuing controversy that undermined MACOS. In their attempt to close the gap between the "frontier of research" and the ordinary classroom, the MACOS team learned a great deal about the relationship between scholarship and teaching, the nature of the learning process, and what happens in a classroom when conventional textbooks are replaced by primary sources and a wide variety of media. MACOS demonstrated the power of student-directed learning, or alternative strategies for stimulating inquiry, and of nondidactic approaches to instruction. But the experience of designing anddistributing the course also taught these innovators hard lessons about educational politics and the economics of American textbook development and publishing.Dow, Peter B. is the author of 'Schoolhouse Politics Lessons from the Sputnik Era' with ISBN 9781583484173 and ISBN 1583484175.

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