Evolving Education: Pre-formal and Formal

  • Jennifer M. Gidley
Part of the Critical Studies of Education book series (CSOE, volume 3)


In the first part of this chapter I make an ambitious attempt to present an overview of what education-as-enculturation might have been like thousands of years before we had formal schooling—even for the elite. I trace fragments of the evolutionary narrative that have been critically underappreciated—the apparent aesthetic sensibilities of some early hominins and humans. I then discuss the early introduction of formal elite schooling in Europe and a handful of other civilisation centres. I show that formal, publicly funded, universal school education began little more than two hundred years ago in Europe and was holistic, idealistic and evolutionary. Only after the Industrial Revolution did schooling begin to resemble factories. The purpose of this chapter is primarily to contextualise the futures of education within the broad macro-historical development from pre-formal, to formal to postformal education.


Global Knowledge Global Education Global South Early Hominins Global Knowledge Economy 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Gidley
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable FuturesUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

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