Walden Two | Study Guide

B. F. Skinner

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Walden Two | Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

While the group visits the rooms of the older children and the areas such as workshops and laboratories, Frazier shares the alternative education methods of the community. After returning to the shade tree where they talked earlier, Frazier discusses the underpinnings of the community's education model. This model forgoes strict classroom teaching and testing and views education as its own reward, not tied to money or prestige. Burris asks about higher education, and Frazier responds there are some graduate schools that will accept the students on a special basis.

Analysis

Frazier emphasizes the community's education method can focus on teaching and learning without the "administrative machinery" of the structure of most schools. This approach shares some aspects of Montessori education, which started around 1907. Its focus was on critical thinking and skill building in a noncompetitive atmosphere. The Walden Two method abandons grades because they feel it is destructive to skill building. This also ties in with the community being noncompetitive.

Castle is worried the students lack "spontaneity and freedom" in such a controlled setting, but Frazier postpones his response. Burris's question about higher education does not have a completely satisfactory answer, either. The concern here is Walden Two may only prepare individuals to remain in the community, and they may struggle or be of little use in the outside world. This repeats a concern with Walden Two and modern society outside of the community. This is a source of tension in many of the chapters. Some of the guests will feel willing to adapt to the new lifestyle, while others will be unable to open themselves to different habits and values expected in the community. Walden Two is therefore a world within a world, or a parallel world.

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