Educating or Imprisoning the Spirit: Lessons from Ancient Egypt

In this article the authors describe the programmed and scripted nature of many mandated instructional and "management" programs designed to raise test scores of urban children in low-income communities. They detail the programs' dehumanizing effect on the ways teachers and students interact, and the resentment the programs instill in the children they are supposed to benefit. The authors then show how one teacher has looked to an ancient African philosophy to seek more deeply meaningful methods of classroom interaction, methods that affirm children's and teachers' ability to think, feel, and develop as human beings.