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Deschooling Society: Summary

Everything you need to know about Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society, in 1 paragraph.
An illustration of a reader enjoying Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich in a cosy interior
A reader enjoying Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
Deschooling Society is a 1971 book by Ivan Illich which examines how traditional educational systems limit the development of learning and creativity. He argues that while schooling may seem to be an effective way of teaching, it can often have unintended consequences such as creating a sense of dependency, widening the gap between teachers and students, and making education into an industry. Illich suggests that alternative methods of learning should be explored in order to unlock the potential of all individuals.

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Deschooling Society: Key Points

  1. The current educational system is inefficient and inequitable, and has outlived its usefulness.
  2. Schools are not only failing to educate students adequately; they are also damaging them socially and psychologically, creating a dependence on formal education that leaves them unable to function in the real world.
  3. The primary role of schools should be to provide access to learning opportunities as opposed to instruction, allowing learners to pursue their own interests and develop their own unique skills.
  4. Formal education should be replaced with informal methods such as apprenticeships, mentoring, and self-directed study.
  5. Schools should focus on teaching basic skills such as reading, writing, mathematics, science, and technology, rather than attempting to teach all subjects equally.
  6. Education should be made available to all people regardless of socio-economic class or race.
  7. Schools should be decentralized and community-based in order to reduce the influence of large bureaucracies and encourage collaboration and interaction among students.
  8. Schools should emphasize creative problem solving rather than rote memorization of facts and figures.

What to say about Deschooling Society

  • Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society is an enlightening work that questions the role of traditional schooling in modern society.
  • The book serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of individual learning and exploration in creating meaningful knowledge.
  • Illich's arguments challenge us to rethink the way we approach education, and how we can create better informed citizens.
  • Deschooling Society emphasizes the need for greater autonomy and creativity within our educational system.
  • Through his work, Illich demonstrates how traditional schooling can be detrimental to the development of critical thinking skills and personal growth.
  • He shows us how we can use new approaches to education that foster more effective learning and engagement with the world around us.
  • His book encourages us to reexamine our values and beliefs about education so that we can create more equitable opportunities for everyone to learn and grow.
  • Deschooling Society invites readers to consider alternative forms of education that are more accessible and less reliant on traditional methods of instruction.
  • Ivan Illich's work offers a thought-provoking look at the ways in which schooling has evolved over time, and how it continues to shape our lives today.
  • By encouraging us to examine our current systems of education, Deschooling Society motivates us to make positive changes that benefit all learners in society.

What to post on LinkedIn or Twitter about Deschooling Society

  • 📚 Just finished reading Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich! Such an important book for understanding the power of education and its effects on society. #deschoolingsociety #education
  • 🤔 What would a world without schools look like? Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society offers an interesting point of view! #deschoolingsociety #education
  • 💡 "Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to take responsibility for it." - Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society #deschoolingsociety #education
  • 🤝 Illich argues that true learning takes place in a community setting, not within the four walls of a classroom. Interesting perspective from Deschooling Society! #deschoolingsociety #education
  • ⚖️ Deschooling Society looks at how education can be used to promote social justice and equality - an important message for today's world! #deschoolingsociety #education

Top 5 Quotes from Deschooling Society

  1. "School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is."
  2. "The school's power to form and control the minds of its subjects, in large measure determines the kind of society a given culture will produce."
  3. "Modern society depends on a specialized and differentiated knowledge base. Yet it is denied by the very structure of schooling."
  4. "Education must be autonomous, in order to enable people to develop their own autonomous reasoning and decision-making capabilities."
  5. "In a deschooled society, learning would become an integral part of life, not separated from it as it is now."

Other books by Ivan Illich

  • Energy and Equity
  • Tools for Conviviality
  • Gender
  • Shadow Work
  • Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis
  • In the Vineyard of the Text: A Commentary to Hugh's Didascalicon
  • ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind
  • Disabling Professions
  • The Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich
  • Toward a History of Needs

Did you know?


Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society was a book that proposed the idea of replacing formal educational institutions with self-directed learning and voluntary associations.