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Van Til

Call Me A Progressive Educator

Van Til Image

WILLIAM VAN TIL was a Coffman Distinguished Professor of Education Emeritus, Indiana State University. Before his 1967-1977 decade at Indiana State, he was a professor at the Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, George Peabody College, New York University, and the Director of Learning Materials at the Bureau for Intercultural Education.

During the 1960s, he was elected president of the National Society of Teachers of Education, the John Dewey Society and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Throughout his teaching and administration career he was a prolific writer of books, pamphlets, columns, and articles on education. He was named a Kappa Delta Pi laureate in 1980 and was named to the Hall of Fame of Ohio State University in 1989.

For further information see his autobiography, My Way of Looking at It, expanded 2nd edition, 1996 (Caddo Gap Press), and the article by Daniel Perlstein titled "William Van Til and the Nashville Story: Curriculum, Supervision, and Civil Rights."

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Van Til PortraitThanks for continuing support of my writing by Bee Van Til, my wife these past seventy years.

Thanks to my sons, Jon and Roy Van Til, and my daughter Barbara Nichols for urging me to communicate these selections through the internet rather than in book form.

Thanks to Jon for editing and to Professor David Hofmeister and Dean Robert Williams of Indiana State University for facilitating this collection via the Indiana State University web site.

Thanks to the University of South Carolina faculty members and students who gave time including an afternoon and evening to reading and advising on possibilities for inclusion: Elizabeth Adams, Deidre Clary, Joanna Gilmore, Sheri Hardee, Craig Kridel, Laura MacLeod, Valencia E. Morton, Jonathan Payne, Kimberly Smith, and Michael Thigpen.

A special thanks to Professor Craig Kridel for supplying copies of possible inclusions and for his coordination of the reading project. 

While all of the above are sincerely thanked, none is responsible for the final selection which is my responsibility alone.

WILLIAM VAN TIL 
2006

CONTENTS

PART ONE: WITH MY TONGUE IN CHEEK

1 The Remarkable Culture of the American Educators.pdf

2 The Ladder to Success in Universities.pdf

3 A Fable of Textbook Strategy.pdf

4 The Hair Decision of 1973.pdf

5 The Second Coming of One-Room Schoolhouse.pdf

6 Horace Mann’s Only Appearance on TV.pdf

7 John Dewey’s Disciples

8 Wonderland Is a Strange Place

9 Return to Wonderland

10 Tricentennial Speech, 2076--Two Versions

PART 2: OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

11 Two Approaches to Planning

12 The Genuine Educational Frontiers

13 The Key Word is Relevance

14 Experience Centers

15 Better Curriculum--Better Discipline

16 How Not To Make An Assignment

17 What Makes a Good High School Curriculum

18 Is Progressive Education Obsolete

PART 3: TOWARD DESEGREGATION AND INTEGRATION

19 The Great American Cop-Out

20 But There Aren't Enough of You

21 Now It's How and When not Whether

22 The Nashville Story

23 Going the Second Mile

PART 4: EDUCATORS AND THE PUBLIC

24 Educational Freedom in an Age of Anxiety

25 The Climate of Fear

26 Wanted--Effective Communication

27 Curriculum Improvement--Who Participates

28 Can Educators Trust Representatives of Government

29 Toward Some Agreements at Geneva

30 Editorial Roulette

PART 5: ADVICE TO PROGRESSIVE EDUCATORS

31 To Walk With Others

32 William Heard Kilpatrick

33 Whose Retirement

34 What I Have Learned

35 Start Your Own Spring Conference

36 Confrontation and Consequences

37 Advice to Young Teacher Educators

38 Let Them Eat Space

39 The Raccoon Died

40 Admonition and Challenges

APPENDIX

List of contents

Front material+list of contents

PREFACE

Credo

After many years as a professional educator, these things I do believe:

  • that the over-all purpose of American education is to develop the understanding and practice of democracy as a way of life
  • that the salient characteristic of democracy as a way of life is faith in the method of intelligence
  •  that the best learning experiences are those which begin with the needs of the learner, illuminate the social realities of the time, and contrast competing ways of living
  • that teacher-pupil planning is desirable and feasible
  • that controversial issues are the life blood of general education learning experiences
  • that indoctrination of set answers to controversial issues, such as indoctrination for laissez-faire or for socialism, indoctrination for isolation or for world government, is an abuse of the method of intelligence and thus undemocratic
  • that by thinking through using facts, and applying values, students can reach conclusions for themselves; they need not and must not be innocuous neutrals on human issues
  • that, if men are to act, young men and women must learn to act.