T Nation

John Taylor Gatto: Different Kind of Teacher


I uploaded this to show you guys. It's a must see video if you are a teacher and/or care about education. Just watch it.

John Taylor Gatto - A Different Kind of Teacher CSPAN 2001


His homepage:


I'm watching the video and reading stuff about him. I agree with a lot of what he advocates (like school choice), but he seems a bit off.

He has a lot of valid complaints, but very little in the way of concrete suggestions for reform.

"Get rid of compulsory education and let parents deal with it like they used to before 1850" is his main idea. Then he says that if we can't return to homeschooling,we should give kids more free time to learn on their own.

He has a weird idealistic/unrealistic view of today's kids and families. In order for his ideas to work, there would have to be HUGE changes in society (not just education). In a time when there was no television, x-box, ipod, dvd, cellphone, or internet it was realistic to think "delight driven learning" might work.

You know what is delightful today? Beating off to internet porn while your parents work the late shift. In a time when almost all households had a stay at home mother to oversee and guide the child's education, homeschooling for ALL children made sense. In today's world, it just doesn't seem very likely to work.


You bring up valid points, doogie.

However, the impact of John Taylor Gatto on the kids he's taught is undeniable.

I'm going to put up the documentary I have to illustrate this better. I should've done this first. Oh well. I'll post here when the video's up.


I'd like to see the documentary.

His thought process is skewed. One review of his books summed it up pretty well:

"Public schools are a mess. Kids graduate without learning anything other than how to be subservient worker bees. And half of all families end in divorce in this country, which shows how bad things have become.

Huh? Even if one is willing to accept the first two statements without a shred of statistical evidence, the last statement is completely unrelated to them."

He doesn't seem to use any real statistics or references, and he has the conspiracy theory attitude that schools were designed with evil intent by the Power Barons of the 1800s.

I don't doubt he was a great teacher. As a great teacher, he is in a place to offer real solutions instead of just pointing out the problems with the current system. Hell, there are tons of crappy teachers that can do the same.

There are so many great books written by teachers that offer real, practical advice on how education can be improved--both on a large scale over time and daily in the classroom. It's sad that such a "great teacher" doesn't share anything about what he actually did in the classroom to help his students.


doogie, I'm glad that I posted that video up first. He's much more coherent when teaching children, lol.


John Taylor Gatto - Classrooms of the Heart 1991