Schools as an agent of social change

Year: 2019

Author: Stevens, Robert

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In The Better Angels of our Natureand Enlightenment Now Steven Pinker argues that over the past 70 years throughout the world there has been a decline of violence associated with the a rights revolution, e.g. civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights. In this paper I look at the role of education, and in particular, school education, as contributing to these changes. Pinker suggests that the decline of violence and the wider recognition of rights is partly attributable to the Flynn Effect – the increase in intelligence, largely reasoning capabilities in the last few generations. This has had a flow-on effect to ethical reasoning capabilities. While the Flynn effect is partly attributable to changes in the work that we do, it is (perhaps correlatively) partly attributable to changes in school education.