Summer Reading: Deschooling Society

Unless my time is completely taken with the birth of my son, due in 10 days, I hope to get some not-so-light reading done.

This begins with a somewhat radical view of education in Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society”. I don’t know too much about this book, but it seems interesting and related to the way I think. As I’m just starting I’ll leave you with a quote that grabbed my attention and merely ask if you’ve read it and/or what you think.

The quote is from p. 12:

“Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction. Normal children learn the first language casually, although faster if their parents pay attention to them. Most people who learn a second language well do so as a result of odd circumstances and not of sequential teaching. They go to live with their grandparents, they travel, or they fall in love with a foreigner. Fluency in reading is also more often than not a result of such extracurricular activities. Most people who read widely, and with pleasure, merely believe that they learned to do so in school; when challenged, they easily discard this illusion.”

Deschooling Society(This quote isn’t saying that schooling or second language is pointless, rather that most of it is misguided and in need of reform. It is currently acting as a band-aid rather than a solution.)

It seems to fit rather neatly with my literature review on the necessity of teaching reading strategies…. (see Donato and MacCormick, 1994).


Illich, I. (2010). Deschooling Society. London, UK: Marion Boyars.

Donato, R., & MacCormick, D. (1994).  A sociocultural perspective on language learning strategies: The role of mediation.  The Modern Language Journal, 78(4), 453-464.


3 responses to “Summer Reading: Deschooling Society

  1. I think it should say ‘for pleasure’ rather than ‘with pleasure’. Also, when you are learning something it can lead to wanting to know more about the subject, which you can do in the big wide world.

    • You’re right, that would be the normal usage, but the writer says “with pleasure”. I suppose even if the reader isn’t reader for pleasure they could still read with pleasure?
      I think what you mentioned is kind of what he’s aiming at. Schools should be focused around the needs of individuals and their skills rather than canvassing everyone with the same curriculum. The big wide world should be our school, in a sense.

  2. Pingback: Smash Schooling.. Start Learning.. Ivan Illich Ideas | The Free·

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