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Deschooling, a term invented by Ivan Illich, is the shift from a traditional, government-influenced institution of schooling to a less-restricted method of learning that focuses on being educated by one's natural curiosities.[1]


Deschooling is mainly credited to Ivan Illich, who felt that the traditional schooling children received needed to be reconstructed.[2] He believed that schools contained a "hidden curriculum" that caused learning to align with grades and accreditation rather than important skills.[3] Illich believed that the modern school is grounded on a foundation that is focused on growing schools as an industrialized system. [2] Illich communicated that the school system has formed a toxic industry that specializes in what families should be capable of forming themselves, namely education. According to Illich, schools align success on paper with academic excellence. He presumed that schools, grades, and diplomas gave false assumptions that the students have become knowledgeable in a certain educational concept.

John Holt was an educator who also believed in deschooling. His thoughts were closely aligned with Illich because neither were convinced that school was the place that taught students everything they needed to know.[2] Instead, they communicated that school was not the sole avenue for learning because students learn consistently through other facets, such as exposure to the natural world.[2] As a result, Illich and Holt saw schools as being insufficient because of their focus on strictly doing "skill drill" instead of other methods of learning.[2] Additionally, theorists of deschooling saw education as maintaining the social order.[4] Therefore, they wanted to "denounce the monopoly that traditional education institutions held on education and learning."[4]

Unschooling/deschooling society[edit]

"Deschooling" a person does not mean disregarding the act of learning or studying in schools. Illich and Holt's image of an unschooled society would ensure that everybody has the choice of whether they (or their children) attend school. Rather than being forced to go to school, taking a test before entering a school or being denied the opportunity to learn a desired topic, people would be free to choose how they learn.[5] According to John Holt, an advocate for unschooling, "a deschooled society would be a society in which everyone shall have the widest and freest possible choice to learn whatever he wants to learn, whether in school or in some altogether different way."[5] Holt later began to use the term "unschooling" to encompass his educational belief system. (References; Wikipedia; John Holt ( educator) and Unschooling, and John Holt's book: "Growing Without Schooling")


  1. ^ "deschooling | Definition of deschooling in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e "DESCHOOLING SOCIETY". David Tinapple. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  3. ^ Weston, Anthony (1996-01-01). "Deschooling Environmental Education". Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 1 (1): 35–46. ISSN 1205-5352.
  4. ^ a b Zaldívar, Jon (March 2016). Social Imaginaries and Deschooling. Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. pp. 1–5. doi:10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_384-1. ISBN 978-981-287-532-7.
  5. ^ a b Routray, Sailen (2012). "Deschooling Society". Contemporary Education Dialogue. 9 (1): 85–104. doi:10.1177/097318491100900105. ISSN 0973-1849.

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