Myles Horton's Democratic Praxis: Highlander Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Here we see that the staff and the students had their own responsibilities and those responsibilities are quite different from the traditional ones we find in traditional schools. Horton thought that a significant aspect of the teacher's role was to empower students to "think and act for themselves" (Thayer-Bacon). We can see that Horton placed responsibility on both the students and the staff. They were to learn from one another but the staff was to be aware of the student's plight as well as help them be the best that they could be.

Is what Highlander does "really" adult education? Why or why not?

Highlander does educate but it is not typical in comparison to traditional learning. When we think of adult education, we think of textbooks, professors giving lectures, students taking notes, and a most definite dividing line between the two. Students and professors do not generally have to mix with one another and they most certainly do not need to get along with one another. Horton wanted more than that with Highlander. He wanted to remove some of the rough edges from formal education and make the experience a deeper one for both student and teacher. Highlander was just as much a learning experience for the teacher as it was for the student. People joining forces drove his thoughts and ideas and that is not what we think of when we think of adult education. We think of grades, success, and the individual becoming more. Horton avoided individualism and gravitated toward social settings that encouraged growing together as a community instead of fostering individuals to grow independent from one another. Thayer-Bacon observes that this environment allowed the student and teacher to learn what a "democratic community might be like" (Thayer-Bacon). Highlander does provide and education but it is different from what academia would call an education. Horton placed more emphasis on the group experience and without that bond the system would fall apart. In traditional learning institutions, knowledge of particular subjects is taught and students are assessed. Society defines these types of educations very differently and, as a result, so do many teachers and students. While there is something to be said about the human experience in a social setting that fosters relating with others, there is also something to be said about higher institutions of learning that shape individuals for a somewhat different world experience with knowledge, grades,…

Cite This Thesis:

"Myles Horton's Democratic Praxis Highlander" (2008, September 18) Retrieved July 10, 2020, from

"Myles Horton's Democratic Praxis Highlander" 18 September 2008. Web.10 July. 2020. <>

"Myles Horton's Democratic Praxis Highlander", 18 September 2008, Accessed.10 July. 2020,