Dr. Harley completed a Master’s degree in Philosophy specializing in analytical philosophy and philosophy of mind as well as a Master’s degree in History specializing in early 20th century intellectual history.  He completed a Ph.D. degree in Education at the University of Toronto specializing in educational theory in general and the educational theory and practice of the noted British philosopher Bertrand Russell in specific.  His thesis research employed the assistance of Bertrand Russell’s daughter to track down ex-teachers and ex-students from his experimental school Beacon Hill.  He was awarded a Canada Council Doctoral Award as well as a Canada Council Post Doctoral Award.  He has over 30 years of direct experience as an educational consultant, principal, school administrator and researcher.

The purpose of his blog is to present various opinions, articles and book reviews related to the current state of education and the changing challenges presented to students, teachers and parents.

The views presented do not necessarily reflect the views of Robert Land Academy and are the sole responsibility of the author.

H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell:  Education or Extinction 

by Dr. David Harley (An Address Presented to the American Bertrand Russell Society)  C.E.M. Joad, writing on the subject of education stated that in no other field of human intellectual endeavor has so much been written by so many to be read by so few.  But of those few who were...

Confucius and the Classroom

The Chinese philosopher Confucius (K’ug Fu-tzui) believed that to restore the morality and social order of his times, it was necessary to promote education.  His main ideas in that regard can be found in a book called The Great Learning which was a compilation of his teachings gathered by his...

The Paperweight on my Desk 

Throughout my career, I have always kept one object on my desk.  It is a rectangular glass paperweight with a photograph mounted within it depicting a balconied resort building in Southern Ontario with scores of figures dressed in keeping with styles prevalent around 1900.  There had been some writing on...

 12 Rules of Life:  An Antidote to Chaos.   Dr. Gordon Peterson. 

Penguin Random House, Random House Canada, Toronto:  2018, 409 pages. Dr.  David Harley The name Dr. Jordan Peterson has emerged from seeming obscurity as a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and a practicing clinical psychologist to become a highly controversial international bestselling author.  With sales of over...

On Happiness:  Part One 

Within the context of schooling and parenting, the issue of whether children are happy or not frequently arises.  It seems obvious that happiness is a preferred state of being --- but is it.  If we were happy all of the time what would that mean.  Indeed, what is happiness? Whereas...

Schools and Mental Health 

If there is one thing that the last two years of dealing with the covid pandemic and its attack upon our physical health has taught us, it is the importance of mental health.  Nowhere has this been more apparent than the effects upon our children and nowhere has this been...

Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693)

The most famous English philosopher of the 17th century was John Locke (1632-1704) whose published works covered a wide range of subjects. However, one of his most widely read books was Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) which remained a classic of progressive education for almost two centuries and still has...

On the Nature of Happiness Part II.

On the Nature of Happiness Part II.  In a previous newsletter, I raised the issue of ‘happiness’.  The famous British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell wrote a book in 1932 entitled The Conquest of Happiness for which he was later awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature.  His wife, not to...

Our Military Schools and the Renewal of a Mission

I recently saw a poster depicting a diverse group of happy teenagers with the caption “Every Student has the Right to Success”.  The statement was made without qualification or explanation because it was assumed to be a simple matter of fact.  But like so much in ‘progressive’ education today, it...

Scout Field Book. James E. West (Chief Scout) and William Hillcourt (Author, Handbook for Patrol Leaders). New York: Boy Scouts of America, 1948. Eighth Printing 1953. 540 pages. Dr. David Harley

Some time ago while going through a box of books, I came across the volume under present consideration and began to browse through the pages. I was struck by numerous passages that make reference to what in today’s language would be referred to as mental health issues. Given that it...

The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

The War Against Boys:  How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.   Christina Hoff Sommers. New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2000.  251 pages. Dr.  David Harley I came upon this book by accident but found it to be not only very interesting but also thought-provoking on a number of fronts. ...

Can Boys Do Better?

Can Boys Do Better?  Robert Bray, Christopher Gardner, Nigel Parsons, Peter Downes, Geoff Hannan, KIng’s Wood, Bristol, 1997, 53 pages. A much repeated fact in many of the books reviewed in this blog is the fact that males are disproportionately represented in the numbers of those with learning disabilities, behavioural...

Graduation Ceremony Address Robert Land Academy June 2020

As the current headmaster of Robert Land Academy, I would like to welcome all of you to this first in our history, a virtual graduation ceremony.  The last few months have seen many challenges for all of us.  We have relied upon extraordinary efforts by staff to convert our academic...

Some Fallacies Of Modern Education Or How To Lose While Winning

When I first started my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education, the great rage at the time was the ‘Moral Education Project’.  A psychologist at Harvard had come up with a theory of moral development whereby as a result of answering a series of questions, an individual...