Austrian economics Austrian Economics and Pedagogy—A conversation with Universidad Francisco Marroquin professor Albert Loan


What does Austrian economics have to do with teaching? What's the best way to teach students about dispersed knowledge? What can classical liberals learn from Maria Montessori?

We sat down with Universidad Francisco Marroquin professor Albert Loan to discuss UFM's ongoing experiments in pedagogy.

Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

Approximately 6.5 minutes.

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  1. Sounds like communism to me.

    1. What does? Freedom in the classroom? Sounds like capitalism to me.

      1. No single person possessing the knowledge, having it spread throughout the classroom like a commune for all to share, each having a piece of the whole? No, give me my old fashioned lecture halls where men bold enough dare take the knowledge being droned to them from afar and sieze it for their own, eventually overthrowing and supplanting their former educators like young lions taking control of the pride from the old guard. That’s America.

        1. Sounds very egotistical. And aren’t they technically paying for the knowledge (unless it’s a public institution, which is wrong for different reasons)? It would seem capitalist to sell one’s knowledge to pupils.

  2. I really liked this piece. I like the distinction between passive audience education and active discussion with dispersed info getting play.

    Reminds me of college undergraduate and graduate studies.

  3. Open Society.

    Popper/Soros – we will get there. It may take 100 more years but it will happen.

    1. Re: Shriek,
      Neither Soros nor Popper wanted an “Open Society,” they wanted a society where illustrious and overeducated eggheads could rule over all.

      1. What do you expect from a punk-assed socialist, OM?

  4. Great piece. More of this please. This goes a long way towards opening minds and reaching people on a deeply personal level. The comments about the poors vast human capital and the lefts failure to broadly apply principles of spontaneous order are spot on.

  5. I recently wrote an article, “Montessori, Peace, and Libertarianism,”…..tarianism/ in which I also mention some parallels between Montessori and Austrianism (but the Mises branch, not Hayek).

  6. A nice bit of sincerity on this snark-encrusted blog.

  7. Passive v. active learning is a false dichotomy. Listening is an activity.

  8. A stellar job of explaining some of the links between human liberty and the kind of education that liberates the mind.

  9. Oh no! Let’s nip this in the bud right now. (1) notice how all the students were older? The interviewee describes an epiphany he had when he was 15. Its called maturity. Indeed this cooperative learning/ child centered model works for older students for they have matured enough to work independently. Don’t attempt this in the middle grades and its probably a bad idea to do this in the primary grades as well. And I’ll qualify this with my next point. (2) This is clearly a suburban – middle to upper class environ and the interviewee comes from such an environment. This is a mistake that educrats make all the time – the failure to understand the relationship between social class and behavior/ maturity level and the ability to work independently. The Montessori/ child centric model yields decent results in the typical middle/ upper class suburban settings. Let’s see how this works in, say, Central Harlem, Southwest Atlanta, West Dallas, or West Baltimore? Not gonna happen so stop fooling yourself. This the reason why “one size fits all” in education does not work. We have to account for variations in student populations. (3) Here is the most egregious of all issues: Dude wants to name drop “classical liberalism” but that entire piece emerged out of a very rigid curriculum – the seven liberal arts (latin grammar, formal logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, astronomy, and geometry). That type of curriculum, at least in the primary and middle divisions has the best success with an authoritarian model, and that makes sense for the teacher is the one with the information and guidance. Of course instruction is centered around him/ her. Dude is unknowingly trying to mix the traditional classical model (which is rigid) with the progressivist child centered model. Yeah it can work, with mature and disciplined students who are often products of middle and upper class value systems. I’m cool with that but it needs to be mentioned that student populations vary according to class level and culture.

    All this resembles a professional development training film that one sees in a public school structure in which, by mandate, educrats tell ALL teachers how to perform a required teaching methodology. These films are often staged and do not reflect an actual classroom setting. Now to his credit, this was not staged. There were actual independent interactions going on BUT it was quite clear that none of those students were immature nor did they posses those character traits that undermined class room calm and discipline. Now don’t get me wrong, all children can learn and one can go into the ghetto (which has been what I was referencing in a very subtle way) and have a student translating “Julius Caesar’s Gallic Commentaries” from Latin into English but its not gonna happen with that child centric progressivist “piffle”. The bottom line however is that in order for this type of model to succeed, along with its constructivist approach (and I have serious doubts about that), the students have to have a level of maturity, a knowledge base, and a framework of logical reasoning skills through which to filter that knowledge. All that occurs through some the very things that are damned – rigid authority, memorization, drilling, etc.,

    It kills me when I hear educators say “look at the wonderful things I am doing with these students! See, you can make the classroom a free and unrestricted enviornment.” What these cats fail to realize is that good parenting and some hard ass authoritarian teachers in grades k – 9 made that possible, so let’s not take all the credit.

  10. Do you think there will ever be a Libertarian or independent president or will it always be someone from one of the two major parties?

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