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Starting With Whitehead: Session 2

March 25 @ 10:00 am 12:00 pm PDT

This five-part conversation series offers an analysis of learning events at each of the three stages of the rhythm of education, described in Whitehead’s classic The Aims of Education. Each conversation will focus on the recently published book Starting with Whitehead, by Lynn De Jonghe, which bridges the gap between the theory and practice of educational reform, and points the way for adults to help children thrive in a world of change.

There is only one subject matter for education, and that is Life in all its manifestations.
—Alfred North Whitehead

As we search for guidance on how to thrive in changing times, we are led to the work of Alfred North Whitehead, who brilliantly perceived that the process of change itself is fundamental to existence. Whitehead grasped the profound role of change in determining how we how we learn, how we experience ourselves and others and how we interact with the world around us. In his classic work, The Aims of Education, he elaborated a three-stage process of learning, involving romance, precision and generalization. He called for an education that explored real life experiences and events rather than packing of scraps of information into passive students.

Starting with Whitehead: Raising Children to Thrive in Treacherous Times offers examples of learning events at each stage that point the way for adults to help children thrive in a world of change. These events are presented in the richness of their contexts and unfolding, rather than as dry results of controlled data gathering procedures. The events recorded here are based on the author’s extensive experience working directly with children as a parent, teacher, principal and policy maker. Drawing on the best of psychological and educational research, Dr. De Jonghe sets these exemplary events in a vigorous theoretical foundation and proposes specific strategies for success. Her recommendations have relevance not only for parents but also for teachers, principals, and educational policy makers.

Conversation Series Outline

Takes place on Saturdays at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific, from March 18th thru April 22nd

  • Session 1: March 18: Introduction: Using events in context to inform theory; Whitehead’s Aims of Education in relation to his philosophy of process
  • Session 2: March 25: The Rhythm of Education: Romance
  • Session 3: April 1: The Rhythm of Education: Precision
  • Session 4: April 15: The Rhythm of Education: Generalization
  • Session 5: April 22: Conclusion: Using Process Philosophy to Help Meet the Challenges of Our Times

Each session will begin with a talk and slide presentation by Dr. De Jonghe, then follow with two or three respondents for comment, critique, and elaboration, after which we will open for exploratory discussion by all attendees.

Change is constant, endemic and necessary.
—Drew Gilpin Faust

About the Author

Lynn De Jonghe’s career in progressive education has spanned more than forty years.  She served as the founding Head of East Bay Sierra School, which later merged with another school to form Prospect Sierra School, to become one of the preeminent schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to her work in independent schools, Lynn spent fifteen years in public education administering federal funds to innovative programs, advocating for project learning as an alternative to textbooks, and pushing for integration in Massachusetts schools. She received her BA degree in History from Harvard University and a MS in Library Science from Simmons College before completing her PhD in Education at Cornell University.  Her doctoral work on children’s problem solving led her to push for challenging educational programs that encourage all students to pursue learning in depth and to use problem solving skills, collaborative learning, and exploration of values in an integrated curriculum. Her work in philosophy centers on the social methodology of scientific research programs and the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. She is a member of the Philosophy of Education Society and serves on the advisory committee of the Cobb Institute.

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March 25
10:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


Cobb Institute
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