For twenty years I have served in various roles as teacher, guidance counselor, principal, college instructor, and consultant in public education. During that time I have participated in experimental projects for educational change, seen theories of education come and go, and read most of the current books on educational reform.
Among all the books I have read, Education for Life stands out as that rare pedagogical phenomenon: a book both refreshingly original and wholly workable.
Education for Life expands the current definition of schooling; it offers parents, educators, and concerned citizens everywhere techniques for transforming education into an integral process — one which harmonizes book learning with direct life experience.
This book recommends an already tested and proven system of education, one which emphasizes relevancy when teaching the “basics,” and instructs children also in the art of living. As Walters states, this book has the further goal of helping people to “. . . see the whole of life, beyond the years that one spends in school, as education.”
The unique perspective offered by the author will, I think, give his readers a sense of discovery. Walters has taken seemingly difficult concepts, and offered simple definitions for them that are as convincing as they are unexpected. For example, he defines that seemingly vague word, maturity, as “the ability to relate appropriately to other realities than one’s own.” Immaturity he defines as “a little child throwing a tantrum on the floor because he can’t get what he wants.” Definitions like these stand out both for their simple clarity, and because they are exceptionally helpful. Parents and teachers will readily recognize them as being right on target!
Another thing I liked about this book: While profound, it is at the same time enjoyable to read!
Education for Life deserves to be read by dreamers and doers alike. Perhaps even dreamers, after reading it, will put it to use! For it offers direction for those people who feel that education should mean more than an acquisition of facts, more than intellectual exposure to a vast number of untested concepts, and more than a pragmatic preparation for employment. It is an exalted call for change, based on deep insight into the potentials of every human being. It tells us how to nurture creativity, wisdom, and intuition in each child, and how to tap his unexplored capabilities.
Jesse J. Casbon, Ph.D., Dean
Graduate School for Professional Studies
Lewis & Clark College