Dr. John Goodlad

Dr. John Goodlad writes of education:
Education is a never-ending process of developing characteristic ways of thinking and behaving on the part of individuals, nations, and in fact, mankind. Each generation has access to a long heritage from which to derive perspective. Its thinking is shaped by current books,  magazines, and newspapers:  by movies and television; and by a kaleidoscopic array of events and stimuli which are part of everyday life. Schooling—elementary, secondary, and higher—constitutes the most planned and ordered but not necessarily the most influential part of the process (Goodlad, 1976 p. 6).

Eric Database cites over 170 journal articles by, about, or acknowledging Dr. John Goodlad. He has published, singularly or collaboratively, over 100 books and his research is used in numerous educational textbooks throughout the country. His work in educational research ranges from teacher training, early childhood education, school climate, school culture, non-graded schools, to curriculum reform and school renewal. Dr. Goodlad does have a life away from education, he has a wife and family. It is apparent that he gives a great deal of thought to the situation of public education in the United States, as it is and as it should be. It is also apparent that he has quite a bit to say on the subject.

Dr. Goodlad’s early educational experiences were typical of children growing up through the Great Depression years. He was born in British Columbia, in 1920 (Golub, 1976). Living in a rural setting near Vancouver, higher education was not something he expected to receive or would be expected to pursue. In an interview by Mark Goldberg, Dr. Goodlad related his early views on those who attended the university. “The university was something remote, and those who went weren’t fully trusted by the common man,” stated Dr. Goodlad (Goldberg, 1995, p. 82).

His father died when John was 16 and his family faced continuous financial hardship. He was able to get a provisional teaching certificate in an elementary school by completing a fifth year of high school and one year of normal school. His first teaching position was in a one-room school house not far from his home (1995).

He taught and served as principal in elementary schools of the Province of British Columbia. He married, then came to the United States to work on his Ph. D. at the University of Chicago (Golub, 1976). He has held numerous positions in his career. He served as curriculum coordinator for the Atlanta Area Teacher Education Service, head of the Division of Teacher Education at Emory University at age 29, professor at Agnes Scott College, and the University of Chicago. In 1960, he became a Professor of Education and Director of the University of Education School at UCLA. In 1967, he was appointed Dean of the Graduate School of Education. As of 1994, he was professor and director of the Center for Educational Renewal in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle (Goodlad,1994). He has published his research findings in a volume of books and journals. He has given active support to numerous educational projects and programs, such as Chairman of the Council on Cooperative Teacher Education of the American Council on Education, collaborated on works with James Comer, Theodore Sizer, and particularly, James Conant, in his study of the education of teachers. He has been the Director of Research for IDEA: the Institute for the development of Educational Activities, Inc. and worked with the National Network for Educational Renewal (Goldberg, 1995).

This advocate of Progressive education is often cited in educational textbooks used in colleges and universities today. His most renowned work is A Place Called School:  Prospects for the Future, McGraw-Hill, 1984. This body of research dealt with the school culture, classroom culture, school climate, educational aspects of the school and classroom, and the attitude of students toward education in today’s schools. Dr. Goodlad has compiled a large number of studies on school climate and curriculum, and what schools use to develop their main focus or agenda.  He believes that agenda to be something other than presenting students with the opportunity to learn in rote or recitation method. Ornstein and Levine used Goodlad’s work, A Place Called School, to highlight five basic patterns in classroom culture:
1. The classroom is generally organized as a group that the teacher treats as a whole. This pattern seems to arise from the need to maintain "orderly relationships” among twenty to thirty people in a small space. Socialization into this pattern is “rather thoroughly achieved” by the end of the primary grades.
2. “Enthusiasm and joy and anger are kept under control.” As a result, the general emotional tone is “flat” or “neutral.”
3. Most students work involves “listening to teachers, writing answers to questions, and taking tests and quizzes.” Students rarely learn from one another. Little use is made of audiovisual equipment, quest lecturers, or field trips. Except in physical education, vocational education, and the arts, there is little “hands-on activity.” Textbooks and workbooks generally constitute the “media of instruction.”
4. These patterns become increasingly rigid and predominant as students proceed through the grades.
5. Instruction seldom goes beyond “mere possession of information.” Little effort is made to arouse students’ curiosity or to emphasize rational thinking. (Ornstein and Levine, 1997, p. 287-288).

Dr. Goodlad is known for setting the vision or agenda he believes our schools should move toward to become more successful.  This vision is referred to in:  “The Twelve Major Goals of American Schools” (Goodlad, 1979; see Appendix A). These goals he feels, are important to allow the students, parents and teachers to have a greater part in developing the school’s philosophy and working toward understanding the effect of social change in the schools (Ornstein and Levine, 1997).
A Place Called School is his best known work. A brief list of additional titles includes:

Access to Knowledge: The Continuing Agenda of Our Nation’s Schools (1994).
Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools (1994).
Facing the Future: Issues in Education and Schooling (1976)
Teachers for Our Nation’s Schools (1990)
The Changing School Curriculum (1966)
The Ecology of School Renewal (1987)
The Elementary School (1956)
The Non-graded Elementary School (1959)

Dr. Goodlad has written his opinions on many of the “hot topics” in education today. He has taken a clear stand opposing “America 2000” and the study, “A Nation at Risk”. He has written that he is opposed to outcome-based education. He has explained his views on across- the-board testing using standardized tests claiming these test scores tell little about the quality of education occurring in schools and classrooms. He has written specific opinions as to what administrators, teachers, parents, students, and other professional educators can and should do to improve the educational quality presented in our classrooms today (Goodlad, 1987).

Dr. Goodlad said in the 1995 interview that he understood the stage of life that he had reached. He told Goldberg it was, “time for him to write even more, to make the agenda for school renewal even clearer and more accessible” (Goldberg 1995 p. 85). He ended his interview relating to Mr. Goldberg that for the rest of his career he would continue his life’s work in school renewal.(1995)

Appendix A

Major Goals of American Schools

1. Mastery of basic skills or fundamental process. In our technological civilization, an individual’s ability to participate in the activities of society depends on mastery of these fundamental skills.
2. Career and vocational education.  An individual’s satisfaction in life will be significantly related to satisfaction with her or his job. Intelligent career decisions will require knowledge of personal aptitudes and interests in relation to career possibilities.
3. Intellectual development.  As civilization has become more complex, people have had to rely more heavily on their rational abilities. Full intellectual development of each member of society is necessary.
4. Enculturation. Studies that illuminate our relationship with the past yield insights into our society and its values; further, these strengthen an individual’s sense of belonging, identity, and direction for his or her own life.
5. Interpersonal relations. Schools should help every child understand, appreciate, and value persons belonging to social, cultural, and ethnic groups different from his or her own.
6. Autonomy. Unless schools produce self-directed citizens, they have failed both society and the individual. As society becomes more complex, demands on individuals multiply. Schools help prepare children for a world of rapid change by developing in them the capacity to assume responsibility for their own needs.
7. Citizenship. To counteract the present ability to destroy humanity and the environment requires citizen involvement in the political and social life of this country. A democracy can survive only through the participation of its members.
8. Creativity and aesthetic perception. Abilities for creating new and meaningful things and appreciating the creations of other human beings are essential both for personal self-realization and for the benefit of society.
9. Self-concept. The self concept of an individual serves as a reference point and feedback mechanism for personal goals and aspirations. Facilitating factors for a healthy self-concept can be provided in the school environment.
10. Emotional and physical well-being. Emotional stability and physical fitness are perceived as necessary conditions for attaining the other goals, but they are also worthy ends in themselves.
11. Moral and ethical character. Individuals need to develop the judgement that allows us to evaluate behavior as right or wrong. Schools can foster the growth of such judgement as well as commitment to truth, moral integrity, and moral conduct.
12. Self-realization. Efforts to develop a better self contribute to the development of a better society.

List of Works Cited

  Goldberg, M. F., “A Portrait of John Goodlad”, Educational Leadership, 52 (6)  March, 1995.
  Goodlad, J. I., Access to Knowledge:  The Continuing Agenda For Our Nation’s Schools, College Entrance Examination Board New York:  1994.
  Goodlad, J. I., Ecology of School Renewal, University of Chicago Press, Illinois:  1987.
  Goodlad, J. I., Facing the Future:  Issues in Education and Schooling,  J. S. Golub, ed. McGraw-Hill, New York:  1976.
  Goodlad, J. I., A Place Called School:  Prospects for the Future, McGraw-Hill, New York:  1984.
  Goodlad, J. I. What are Schools For?, Phi Delta Kappa, 1979.
  Ornstein, A, C. and Levine, D. U., Foundations of Education, Haughton Mifflin Co. Ma:  1997.

Report Presented by:
Suzan Serigny