Perennial means “everlasting” like a perennial flower that comes up year after year. The aim of education is to ensure that students acquire understanding about the great ideas of Western Civilization. These ideas have the potential for solving problems in any era. The focus is to teach ideas that are everlasting, to seek enduring truths which are constant, not changing, as the natural and human worlds at their most essential level, do not change.
Perennialism is the educational philosophy of neo-rationalists.(New rationalist- one who wishes to teach students how to think and reason) Permanence is more real than change.
MORTIMER ADLERGreat proponent of Perennialism and professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.“An individual learns best by studying the classics.”He wrote the Paidea Proposal- seeks to establish a course of study that is general, not specialized; liberal not vocational; humanistic, not technical.
“Education should adjust man to the truth which is eternal, while the contemporary is not.”“Education implies teaching. Teaching implies knowledge. Knowledge is truth.The truth everywhere is the same. Hence, education should be everywhere the same.”“Education should be for the “long-haul”, not for the immediate, contemporary fad.”“Education is not an imitation of life but a preparation for it.”
ROBERT M. HUTCHINS (1899 - 1977)leading perennialist spokesman in America.former chancellor of the University of Chicago.Hutchins favors the school offering what he calls a “liberal education”. This would include emphasizing: logic, mathematics, the discipline of language and science and history.These studies supposedly relate to the timeless truths of all mankind(perennial truths) and help us to think logically.