Education & School · Interdisciplinary · Organizational Change & Development

Sam Chaltain: The Art and Science of Teaching

In this video, education writer and advocate, Sam Chaltain paraphrases John Dewey on the purpose of public education:

“The purpose of public education is helping people understand what it means to be free … What it means to be free is [to have] the capacity to exercise self control in finding and fulfilling [one’s] own unique purpose in life.”

Sam Chaltain
Sam Chaltain (source:

He expounds on two false dichotomies that confound our best efforts to developing the ideal school and education system:

1) Freedom vs. Structure

2) Art vs. Science

“What would it take in order to strike the right balance between art and science in how we think about teaching and learning? …

Biologists would tell us that life – whether it is an ecosystem or a school system –  is best organized by principles of ecology, not hierarchy

The Quantum Physicists would tell us that change  – whether it’s a human being or an atomic particle – is best understood by principles of relationship, not force.

And we should take heed that freedom – whether it’s a teacher or a student –is best unleashed through simple shared structures, not unbounded prairies.”

This talk is given at the Brooklyn Free School’s TEDx event (TEDx@BFS) which I will be mining for other great footage.  Thanks Brooklyn Free School!


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