Giarelli to look at ‘After-School Era’ future of education

James M. Giarelli
James M. Giarelli

DeKALB – James M. Giarelli is old enough to remember when the family physician made house calls.

“The doctor driving to our house, in his own car, coming into our house with the little black bag, taking care of my sister and me,” said Giarelli, professor emeritus at Rutgers University. “We’re long past that.”

Now imagine the same fate befalling schools. Yes, schools.

It might seem far-fetched, but to Giarelli, it’s inevitable – and it’s a “scary and disruptive” future for which colleges that prepare teachers are mostly unprepared, as well as one that demands “a radical re-envisioning of our work.”

“We are moving to what I call a post-text society with the rise of the Internet and social media,” he says.

“School is a text-based culture based on books and reading, writing and arithmetic. As we move away from these texts, the school becomes less powerful. The importance of the school – the dominance of the school in the educational configuration – shifts,” he adds. “The same thing is happening to newspapers. The same thing is happening to books. The same thing is happening to all of our text-based culture.”

Giarelli is the 2018 recipient of the James and Helen Merritt Distinguished Service Award for Contributions to Philosophy of Education, an award given by the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations.

He will deliver the annual Merritt Address, titled “Democracy and Education in an Age of Spectacle,” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Holmes Student Center Sky Room. A reception begins at 3:30 p.m.

All are welcome to attend; email Professor Leslie A. Sassone at for information.

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