What does schooling have to do with teaching?

About once a month someone approaches me to offer their services in growing online business. They suggest that I create a membership website, an email list, grow an online business. Tik Tok. Big audience. Sell online courses. Sell tickets to live video classes. Make money.

Yet I resist.

I can’t quite explain why. It’s just a feeling. Something is amiss. It’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to go that route that everyone is going. I can’t quite put my finger on it. What is it that I don’t like about downloadable, life-long-access online courses and Zoom video classes? What is it that I don’t like about schooling and certificates?

I know that there was once a master-apprenticeship system. I admire it. There once was a teacher called Moshé Feldenkrais, who was like a master to his apprentices. Some of these apprentices grew to become masters themselves, with their own brands and businesses. For example,

  • Mia Segal (Mind Body Studies),
  • Anat Baniel (Anat Baniel Method),
  • Ruthy Alon (Movement Intelligence, Bones For Life)
  • Thomas Hanna (Hanna Somatics)
  • Chava Shelhav (Child’Space Method)

But not everyone wants to be an apprentice and grow a business. How can I reach people who just want to feel better, become a bit better at moving themselves, and become more knowledgable at touching and teaching others?

In addition to the apprenticeship system (or even mentoring), I do believe in the symbiosis of teacher and student. Both depend on each other. The students support their teacher directly, without a controlling institution that issues standardisation and certification, and the teacher cares deeply about his students. And with modern tools like Patreon this actually seems to work. A little flame that is keeping the human part of humanity alive.

To finish this blog post I quote John Taylor Gatto, from his book “The Underground History Of American Education.” In reading this book I keep discovering things that I can’t quite explain. For example, I didn’t know that adolescence isn’t a biological fact, but a political and industrial product of social engineering.

Extending Childhood. From the beginning, there was purpose behind forced schooling, purpose which had nothing to do with what parents, kids, or communities wanted. Instead, this grand purpose was forged out of what a highly centralized corporate economy and system of finance bent on internationalizing itself was thought to need; that, and what a strong, centralized political state needed, too. School was looked upon from the first decade of the twentieth century as a branch of industry and a tool of governance.

I know how difficult it is for most of us who mow our lawns and walk our dogs to comprehend that long-range social engineering even exists, let alone that it began to dominate compulsion schooling nearly a century ago. Yet the 1934 edition of Ellwood P. Cubberley’s Public Education in the United States is explicit about what happened and why. As Cubberley puts it:

It has come to be desirable that children should not engage in productive labor. On the contrary, all recent thinking is opposed to their doing so. Both the interests of organized labor and the interests of the nation have set against child labor.

The statement occurs in a section of Public Education called “A New Lengthening of the Period of Dependence,” in which Cubberley explains that “the coming of the factory system” has made extended childhood necessary by depriving children of the training and education that farm and village life once gave. With the breakdown of home and village industries, the passing of chores, and the extinction of the apprenticeship system by large-scale production with its extreme division of labor (and the “all conquering march of machinery”), an army of workers has arisen, said Cubberley, who know nothing.