Robert Maynard Hutchins: The Characteristics Of Perennialism
Perennialism asserts certain principles that are foundational to its educational objectives. Among them are the following: (1) permanence is of a greater reality than change; (2) the universe is orderly and patterned; (3) the basic features of human nature reappear in each generation regardless of time or place; (4) human nature is universal in its essential characteristics; (5) like human nature, the basic goals of education are universal and timeless; (6) the human being's defining characteristic is rationality, which it is education's task to cultivate; and (7) the funded wisdom of the human race is recorded in certain classic works.
Perennialism draws heavily from the philosophies of Realism and Thomism, asserting the dual …show more content…
They believe that insights into these eternal truths and values have been passed down through generations and can be found in science, literature, philosophy, history, and art. Thus, they believe that certain enduring works from the past are relevant and can inform the present. Other works that are popular only to a particular time or place, and thus fail to meet the test of time, are discarded.
Robert Maynard Hutchins (1899-1977) was one of the main advocates of the perennialist view of education. He graduated from Yale University and worked as a professor of law in Yale from 1927 to 1929. At 30, he became the youngest university president ever to serve when he was appointed president of the University of Chicago.
Hutchins' educational philosophy rests on two foundational assumptions: (1) that humans are rational beings, and that (2) there are eternal, absolute, and universal truths. Because human nature is universal, education must also be universal. Because humans' highest attribute is rationality, then the goal of education is the development of that intellect (Gutek, …show more content…
10), and (2) to pass on “the spiritual heritage of the nation and the civilization in which he is involved” (Maritain, 1943, p. 10). He believed that humans have the basic dispositions of love of truth, love of good and justice, simplicity and openness, a sense of a job well done, and a sense of cooperation, and that it is the teacher’s task to foster these fundamental dispositions (Maritain, 1943). Teachers should be educated, mature, and possess knowledge that the students do not know but wish to know. He should be able to provide a good balance in the classroom and encourage open learning, avoiding the excesses of anarchy and despotism (Gutek,