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The Society of the Future and its Expected Implications for Education — Accordin to Four Futurologists / חברת העתיד והשפעותיה הנצפות על החינוך — לאור דעותיהם של ארבעה עתידנים

רון להב and Ron Lahav
Megamot / מגמות
Vol. כ‎', No. 2 (ניסן תשל"ד / אפריל 1974), pp. 173-186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23645828
Page Count: 14
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The Society of the Future and its Expected Implications for Education — Accordin to Four Futurologists / חברת העתיד והשפעותיה הנצפות על החינוך — לאור דעותיהם של ארבעה עתידנים
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Abstract

Educators are by the very nature of their profession compelled to be optimists, for there are few other professions more oriented towards the future. The necessity of preparing people for the future requires that we exercise considerable imagination and insight in our speculations as to what the future will bring, what skills will be necessary, what jobs and occupations will be in demand, and what sort of lives the majority of people will live. Unfortunately, educators have arrived late at this particular ball, which is a pity, for no element is more important in the consideration of the future than the nature, shape, and extent of future education. We are concerned here with a very brief examination of the views of four leading futurologists regarding education. These futurologists are R. Buckminster Fuller, Jacques Ellul, Herman Kahn, and Alvin Toffler. Fuller represents the systems approach to futurology, with a strong admixture of gestaltist psychological and philosophical insight. He advocates a highly generalized and non-specialized sort of education, with a strong emphasis on lateral rather than linear thinking. Suffusing all his thought is a strong humanist influence which sees technology as the servant rather than the master of man. Ellul, on the other hand, is strongly pessimistic about the future. He sees man as being dominated by his technology, and the future as largely technocratic rather than humanistic. He lays much of the blame for this on contemporary scientists, whose grasp of the larger realities outside the narrow confines of their own disciples he finds wanting. Ellul and Fuller represent in effect two sides of the same coin: the future as battleground between man and the machines he has made. Kahn posits a future very similar to the present, which is disheartening to the optimists, He sees an acceleration of present trends in society, politics, and technology. He does not, however, foresee any revolutionary developments in education, except for a continuation of the technologization of education, a condition which Fuller regards as indispensable for making man the master of his technologies and which Ellul regards as a means for the training of technocrats instead of the education of humanists. Toffler sees many new developments in education, but his criticisms are mainly devoted to institutional forms, which he sees as related to the need for turning out workers and administrators for the industrial society of the 19th and 20th centuries. Toffler argues that the future will see new forms of social and economic organization, and that the traditional institutional forms of education which are increasingly becoming irrelevant for many elements within contemporary society will become totally absolescent in the future. It is necessary for educators to become more familiar with future research and for them to begin to develop some long-range educational planning of their own, a planning which is not concerned with mere forecasting and prediction but which is concerned with the fundamental questions of social organization and structure as well.

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