February Colloquium Explores the Education Reform

Dr. Francis Mechner: "Flashbacks to Some Roots of Educational Reform: Emerging New Roles for Psychologists"

When: Thursday, February 12, 2015, 10am to 11am

Where: Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP), The University of Akron, Roadway Building, 73 S. College St.

For inquiries, email gruich@uakron.edu.

About this Colloquium

The behavioral sciences have been the Mechner Foundation’s main areas of activity, with education reform as the principal focus. We operate a small K-8 school, Queens Paideia School, to demonstrate how one can configure a school and define teacher functions so as to achieve the goal of educating students to become competent, productive, and contributing members of society. This type of education requires an emphasis on students’ thinking skills, learning skills, interpersonal skills, executive function competency, and motivation to take ownership of their education. The school is configured to provide every student with a highly personalized education, made possible by a 6:1 ratio of students to teachers, whom we call learning managers. Though a learning manager’s primary proficiency may be in a subject matter area like math, science, or English, s/he functions as a psychologist and counselor who continuously provides feedback and coaching to students regarding their social interactions, work patterns, and work products. It is an approach to education that creates many new roles for psychologists, as do many other behavior-based fields concerned with the world’s future. I will describe how this approach to education traces some of its roots back to the Columbia and Harvard psychology departments of the 1950s and 60s, the intellectual environment of that period, and the circumstances that led me to build a series of corporations that broke new ground in educational technology, training, medical education, early childhood development, and school reconfiguration, with involvements of UNESCO, Xerox Corporation, Europe’s OECD, the White House, the U.S. Congress, state agencies, and the U.S. Department of Health Education, and Welfare.

About Francis Mechner

Born in Vienna, Austria, Francis Mechner received his doctorate (1957) from the Columbia University Graduate Faculties of Pure Science, and was on their teaching faculty until 1961. His professional activities and publications have centered on education, educational technology, training, learning theory, and research in the behavioral sciences. He is President of the Mechner Foundation, a private foundation focused on educational innovation, research in the behavioral sciences,promotion of the arts, and preservation of the environment.



Have an Idea for a Seminar or Workshop?

The CHP is happy to work with the public to provide workshops and seminars of interest.  Past workshops have included:

  • preserving your family treasures
  • disaster planning in libraries and archives
  • museality and museum objects

Let us know if there is something you are interested in learning about the history of psychology or about library and archives topics.

CHP Director David Baker shares some of the CHP's treasures in a seminar on antique books.

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