Dr. John Goodlad, Educational Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction

Dr. John I. Goodlad, one of America’s most prominent educators, began his professional career at the most basic level: teaching in a one room schoolhouse.

For there he worked his way up the professional ladder by teaching every grade level possible.  He has been the Dean of the U.C.L.A. Graduate School of Education and Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Goodlad published his first article in 1955.  Since then he has published 30 books, two hundred journal articles, and 80 book chapters.  Goodlad’s output is prodigious, and given the wide range of subjects that he has written about, apparently holistic in his approach and views too.

Goodlad’s influential reputation as an educational researcher and theorist is tied to his investigation of American schools in the early 1980’s, A Study of Schooling, that he’s most noted for.  In 1983, Goodlad published the results in a well-received book A Place Called School: Prospects for the Future.”  The exhaustive study included 38 schools, 1,016 classrooms, 1,350 teachers, 8,624 parents, and 17,163 students.  The work is considered by many to be one of the most important explorations of what goes on inside U.S. schools and classrooms.

I briefly met John Goodlad in 1982 when he visited Northside High School of the Atlanta Public Schools.  He was being escorted around the school and entire system by the then superintendent Dr. Alonzo Crim, who introduced me.  That was, for me, a personally meaningful moment, for I had quoted Goodlad in my doctoral dissertation An Evaluation of the Atlanta Public Schools Ethnic Heritage Studies Project’s Staff Development Processes, Multiethnic Resources, and Multicultural Press; Georgia State University, 1977.  Goodlad included Northside High in his comprehensive study. 

During the 1960’s, Goodlad was primarily concerned with the future of teaching and education.  One area was boosting new technologies in the hope that educational delivery systems would be improved.  Goodlad urged teachers and student to utilize computers and word processing as a new and important learning tool (Application of Electronic Data Processing in Education Methods, 1965, California University Press; Computers and Information systems in Education,

1966, Harcourt, Brace, World. 

In the Future of Learning and Teaching, National Education Association, Washington, D.C., Center for the Study of Instruction, 1968, Goodlad predicted that “the era of man-machine interaction will replace the current era.  We must identify the truly human tasks of the human teacher and the more routine, highly programmed tasks which can be done better by the computer…..It, school, will be replaced by a diffused learning environment – homes with computer consoles, public parks and museums, and an array of guidance and programming centers in which the formal process on instruction must involve all the most able members of our society.”

Goodlad also conducted a rigorous search for a conceptual system in which the central problems of curriculum development and instructional innovation could be identified and related to each other – The Development of a Conceptual System for Dealing with Problems of Curriculum and Instruction, 1966.  He took into account the influence of values, educational aims, and learning opportunities upon curriculum development.  A major emphasis was that one cannot legitimately deduce educational ends from values, or learning opportunities from educational ends, simply on the basis of logic or common sense alone. 

During the 1970’s, Goodlad wrote on a number of emerging trends, issues, and ideas: global education, humanistic strategies and alternatives, change strategies, networking, leadership, the effectiveness of local school boards, and curriculum development. 

In Education for Mankind, he stated that schools should incorporate a “unity of mankind” perspective into the elementary curriculum.  Goodlad was reflecting the trend away from an America-centered view of the world towars a more internationalist perspective, or an evolution of International Relations courses into Global Studies.

In Perspective on Accountability, Phi Delta Kappan, 57;2; 108-112, Goodlad examined Michigan’s model of educational accountability and advised the state not to adopt it.  His recommendation was based on the fact that there appeared to be few guidelines in policy and practice. 

A Study of Schooling: Summary of Sampling, Data, Sources, Procedures

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