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Eija Kimonen
"Education and Society in Socially Different Countries of the 20th Century. A Comparative Analysis of Outdoor-Oriented Work and Activity Education in the United States and India."

The purpose of this study is to examine the interrelationship between education and society during the twentieth century. It follows the developmental trends of educational policy within a social context in the light of the social, economic, and political factors of national identity. The examination focuses on the historical development, educational goals and procedures, and philosophical background of outdoor-oriented education, specifically in socially different countries. Accordingly, this study compares outdoor-oriented education in the United States and India particularly from the standpoint of work and activity education. The overall aim of this study is to demonstrate the existence of fundamental social and educational policies, patterns, and trends. A historico-hermeneutical approach is applied in the comparative educational method. The methodological decisions are primarily based on the ideas of Kandel, Hans, Ulich, Mallinson, King, Danner, and Betti.

During the twentieth century extensive social changes have taken place in the countries dealt with here. These changes, caused by complex dialectical dynamics relating to the social, economic, and political structure, have also influenced education. Alternatively, they might simply be regarded as a reflection of leadership changes and turnovers. According to the study, the spread of new ideas from one country to another is evident. Reformist ideas concerning education have entered the international trends within educational theory, and they have been assimilated into national education thinking in the United States and India. However, the different views are mutually contradictory since they are linked to different background value objectives and the concepts of the human being associated with them. Furthermore, these contradictions are intimately linked with broader social changes in these socially different countries.

The object of study demonstrated itself to be dialectical by nature. School-centered and society-centered patterns of outdoor-oriented education alternate with one another throughout the development of the American and Indian educational policies. According to this study, the development has progressed towards the school-centered pattern of outdoor-oriented education, which emphasizes intellectual goals and school-centered procedures. The essential feature here is now socialization based on externalization and internalization. This, in turn, produces the experts in science and technology needed by a developed society in which intellectual work is done as a part of modern production.

In the countries studied here attempts have been made to connect learning with nature, production, culture, and/or other aspects of society whenever appropriate. Hence, the examination leads to the conclusion that the activities taking place in all of the sub-components of society also enhance education and instruction. In this manner ideal learning is linked to its natural context, instruction being active, problem-oriented, holistic, and life-centered.

Keywords: education and society, outdoor-oriented education, work education, activity education, historico-hermeneutical approach, comparative education, the United States, India


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