Getting it Right Keeping it Complicated

  • Susan Jean Mayer


Kieran Egan brings several significant lines of thought together in Volume 2 February 2006 his recent work, Getting it Wrong from the Beginning: Our Progressivist Inheritance from Herbert Spencer, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget  (2002). Perhaps most importantly, Egan raises key questions regarding the role of twentieth century developmental research in the conceptualization and promotion of progressive educational practice across those years. In addition, Egan begins an analysis of what can arguably be seen as a reflexive deference to the “natural” drives and proclivities of children on the part of some progressive educators -- be they curricular theoreticians, developmental researchers, or practitioners (Egan does not distinguish). Finally, Egan raises a useful historical question regarding lingering influences of Herbert Spencer’s largely discredited scholarship within the world of educational theory.