(slightly edited transcriptions)
Participants: Bob Lingard, Poonam Batra, Meenakshi Gopinath, Christoph Wulf, Scott Webster, Geshe Lhakdor, John Weaver, Krassimir Stoyanov, Renato Huarte , Margarita Kozhevnikova, Andrew Wilkins , Nirmala Rao, Walter Kohan, Randall Curren, Meenakshi Thapan, Timo Airaksinen, Navneet Sharma, Neeta Arora
Pedagogy is a Greek word, it came from Greece, but is used in different terms. In German tradition it’s considered as the science of education, in general terms, but in the English and French traditions pedagogy can also be understood as didactics, the way, in which we teach, in which the students learn. Despite these differences, in all cases it implies, how we bring the theoretical discussion into practice, and that is the most important thing.
And if you discuss ‘education’, people normally use ‘education’ as a very wide umbrella concept, much wider than it should be, I think.
But, first of all, only some education, some of education happens in schools. There's also home education that in some countries is very important and certainly not policy driven but history driven or even power driven and that is a street education. It is very important to the youth. We forget that at least half of what people learn - young people learn - they learn from the street, from their peers. How do we control that? That's very difficult. If the peers don't accept school education, school education cannot be successful. If the streets are against schools, what can the policymakers do them? Nothing.
And then I would like to distinguish between training and education. And neoliberal education, education seems to be training-based, training for the future, future skills. Who knows what the future is but they want to emphasize future skills. Even in Finland nowadays, on university level it is all about skills.
Then there is a narrow concept of education. Who knows what that means? I mean value education, education to be a good citizen, critical, democratic citizen, that is education.
And there's a third one, that's immersive. It is a pseudo education, that kind of schools as storage houses because I read a study somewhere that most of the schools around the world… in most of the schools, the kids learn nothing. And they are not supposed to learn nothing they're supposed to be in storage so that they cannot cause trouble and that they are away from the police, away from trouble. Even in Finland nowadays, they increased the mandatory schooling age from 16 to 18 just to reduce the number of unemployed youth. It's a school idea to put unemployed youth to school but they are not so good to learn there anything. they don't figure in unemployment statistics and that school is good for the government and educational department. It looks good. That's it.
There is a tradition in Germany which says that there is no instruction possible without education. And that means that whatever you're doing, in terms of training, in terms of instruction, it has educational implication and the demand is to be conscious of that and to give more space and more attention to what you call education. It means space to the moral issues, to more general issues, also for being in the world.
I mean, these are questions which are raised by children and youngsters and to take this question as serious and not just to reduce instruction to curriculum work or to the teaching of the curricular concept, I think, it's an important point. So, it needs a more complex concept of education in my view.
I do believe actually, it is quite possible to develop a quite precise account of what education is about by introducing two or three main distinctions. The first one is the distinction between the intrinsic and extrinsic goals of education. This is about the difference between education and training. And it is important to stress that education, of course, has also extrinsic goals like preparation for the labor market, political participation, etc., but we shouldn't forget the intrinsic dimension of education, which is simply the dimension of human flourishing or, as Dewey putted it, education as human growth. And I think that, especially in the global context, we are going to miss this dimension. The entire educational policy ignores the intrinsic dimension of education by reducing it to training and preparation.
We can observe this trend right now in Germany with respect to the so-called integration of refugees and immigrants. When talking about education of immigrants and refugees, politicians means manly their assimilation and the development of some instrumental skills and abilities at them. This is, first, a reduction of the very meaning of education, and, second, it is also an issue of injustice, of educational injustice in a transnational context.
Discussion of the concepts:SCHOOL EDUCATION’ – ‘ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION’
Now, to discuss the dilemma ‘school education’ – ‘alternative education’, we need to make some clarifications. We have been focusing during this conference on human education and the importance of addressing the neoliberal focus. But that's not to say that we're opposed to training and preparing people to be able to enter into the workforce. And we would actually see that as being part of emancipation and empowerment, that students are able to engage with the curriculum that does provide them with knowledge and skills. So we're looking at the notion of training, not necessarily being opposed to education as distinctively different. And so it's a matter of how to bring them together. Thus the whole idea of alternative tend to lend its way there.
When we discussing schooling, the notion that comes is ‘being schooled’. ‘Being schooled’ is like ‘being regimented and shaped in a certain manner’. So the idea of schooling contrasts with the idea of de-schooling. Schooling has been critiqued all along. This is the skope of phenomena of major labels, standardization, uniformity, competition and the controls and manageability and this is where the human element gets lost. The idea of de-schooling, where the alienation is not there, the connectivity is there and the whole human can be seen not just as a product. Thus, schooling is really about production and reproduction, its every phenomenon, every procedure is really about that. And it is controlled by various agencies, the economical, commercial or political, the phenomenon of control comes with schooling, and de-schooling therefore is the need for education. Schooling and education are usually contrasted. But to be educated you really have to be skilled and productive also and at the same time to be responsible for your freedom, this is freedom and ability to think and decide and act.
We consider schooling as a formal process. But is that all there is? And why is schooling so important? So, without trying to say that all children should not have access to schooling or should not be enrolled, at the same time we need problematizing schooling. I'm really influenced by the work of Shagdabada Gupta who worked on this. And how important it is for children who are out of school to be actually in school? Why are they out of school? What other kinds of learning do they have? Whether these are children who are regbika or agricultural workers, what other aspects of learning are taking place and how irrelevant formal schooling is for them? Therefore, we need to consider that as well when we do critique of a formal process of schooling.
We also talk about alternative educational institutions, and here we note two dilemmas. So what do we mean by alternative? we consider a lot of alternatives, and educational institutions are actually mainstream. Here we try to look at certification or accreditation as the main sort of source of all the main point regarding whether they are really alternative or not. Because most of the alternative institutions are affiliated to school boards of different kinds, in that sense, they are not really alternative. The only difference is in terms of the school culture and the school experience thereby for children. Perhaps it's a more holistic approach to education. The school experience is different for children and they come out in a different sense, but they are mainstreamed.
This difference can be found with really alternative schools as schools which are not accredited here. We were referring to the Aurabindo schools who have their own place in India, at least they have their own certification and their own process and also there are Gandhian schools or Lakshmi ashram up in the mountains where they are educating young women of the region to be skilled without missing out. Then, again, what do we mean by alternative? Are we looking at the Steiner schools in the world or what are we really articulating when we say 'alternative'? There is a question, because many of these are mainstream. But what they do inside that mainstream culture is provide a different ambience, different school culture, that is perhaps what we need to focus on. Is it providing the kind of human education that we want to pursue? Perhaps we can take some institutions as examples and we need research to show to what extent it's happening or not happening. On the other hand, Christoph provided examples of traditional school, where school exchanges between traditional schools from Germany and France result in many different experiences.
There is a project of youth exchange between a school in Berlin and a school in Paris and the kids 12, 13 years old, spend one week - the German kids in Paris and then the French kids came to Germany and spend a week in Berlin. They lived in the families of their counterparts and the research project was carried out by six professors, three French and three German. There's a 1963 agreement to stimulate mutual French-German understanding and also create a basis for Europe. There have been eight million youngsters exchanged since that time.
The children had three major experiences. One was the different character of the school. The French school is much stricter and centralized and demands much more effort, so the German kids were completely overwhelmed. In French school the students had to work in the afternoon, in the evening when they came home, they still had to do homework. And the French had an unsusual experience with the German school, they said, but that's not a school, there's no homework, no grading, no demands. On the other hand they said, well, but still, they are not less intelligent than me. How this comes?
The second experience was the experience of family. The French family has a big beautiful dinner in the evening and te German usually have a very small dinner in the evening. And the German students found that in the relationship between French parents and children there's more distance than they were used to in Germany. In terms of a second experience of family life mentality was very different. The third point was the city. So, the oldest students wrote about a hundred pages of a report on their learning experience.
The main idea was an existential experience. That means opening the school also for this kind of experiences of alterity and existential events.
Discussion of the concepts: ‘ALTERITY’ and ‘EQUALITY’
There is a kind of a dilemma of concepts ‘alterity’ and ‘equality’. Alterity is one of the concepts which came from phenomenological tradition where there is an idea of otherness. Bringing it to the more simpler idea where we recognize that the other is different and we celebrate that difference. So it's about celebrating that difference. We are different from each other, whether it's matter of gender, whether it's a matter of race, religion, language, sexual orientation. We can be different. And the common thing which His Holiness the Dalai Lama was speaking is that we all are similar in one sense, that we are one in one sense, we all 7 billion people are one. We all want happiness, no one wants to suffer, we all are born in a similar fashion and we all die in a similar fashion. So, the point of discussion is should education in the third millennium promote Alterity? And if so, what consequences will be regarding curriculum, assessment, all issues of pedagogy? We probably got this idea from Levinas who wrote about Alterity and transcendence, which was one of the very pioneering work in 90s and suggested Alterity as a concept. The issue that we were discussing was that real Alterity helps us to work towards equality, though we could come to the idea that it might not help us to achieve equality, but it helps us to address the issues of inequalities. But again, the idea of Alterity is incorporated in the dilemmas, which , for example, we have to address due to the concern about special children, and the question, how we are going to deal with them, and also regarding he tolerance for the minority groups or ethnic groups. Where you wish to achieve that oneness with all other people, but you still retain your core identity, that's the dilemma.
Building on the idea of Alterity I suppose as sort of otherness without othering. Recognizing the other, without reducing that recognition to our own cultural, historical understanding of identity involves a kind of the most radical form of tolerance, which is indifference, but then always accepting that our understanding of the other is always limited, impartial to that extent. And so that's the kind of idea around Alterity that we are working with.
How that links to equality? There seems to be certain tensions. In equalities so far as we understand it, that would involve mutual tolerance, mutual respect, recognition and dignity of the other, equality of opportunity regardless of background, equal rights to conduct their life according to their own principles. So there's a sense that there's an appeal to this idea of equivalence or sameness, which seems to come into conflict with the idea of Alterity. If we are to accept that we can never truly know the other, so to that extent, we cannot reduce the other to this side of sameness or equivalence.
One thing we discussed was the question: the equality of what. We are not talking probably about material equality, but equality of respect, equality of the human dignity, which is something different, a sameness probably. And another topic was some recognition of difference, what is the meaning of recognition. There are different approaches.
One thing we should discuss is: the equality of what? Probably, we are not talking here about material equality, but equality of respect, equality of the human dignity, which is something different. And another issue is the recognition of difference.
Three points.One is I think it's important not to conceptualize the Other as an essential being, what the Other is always constituted in a relationship. When you have the experience of the Other, it's always you who has this experience. So we are part of the understanding of the Other, the Other is not something absolutely different.
The other point is an interesting type of mixture, like hybridity today, where you cannot say that this comes only from this culture, but there are different inputs from different cultures, and thus an equality comes into existence. That is the case in quite a lot of activities of youngsters and their ‘peer culture’.
And the third point, there is a saying by Rembo: I is another one. (Je éta autre) What he wants to say, is means that ‘I is a part of myself, the part which which I don't know, which is infamiliar to me’. And this plays a role in the perception of the Other, even by getting more aware of these ‘other parts’ in myself, I get opened for the experience of the Other outside.
In Buddhist tradition there is a famous practice of cultivating altruism, called ‘exchanging self for others’. And there's a long debate about it in the text of Shantideva. When you are encouraged to think more about others, you may start thinking, why should I think about others? They should think about themselves, I should think about myself. This question is answered by saying that when you come up with an answer like this, you are really seeing things in unrelated terms. But the reality is not like this, but it is just like your hand and leg. When the leg gets hurt, hand has to go down to help. And if the hand says: “Hand is hand, leg is leg, I'm not going to help.” It is stupid. The hand has to go down to the leg to do a massage or put a medicine, whatever, because of their interconnection.
At the end of the dialogue Shantideva says, even more convincingly: look at your body, which today you cherish so much, wash, feed, etc. Now, think for a second, from where this body originally came from? It came from your mother and father, the egg and the ovum. So, this body is others’, not yourself. But because we call it ‘my body’ thousand times, we have now no problem owning it. Similarly, if we regard others as ‘my brother’, ‘my sister, ‘my living beings’, ‘my human beings’, gradually we'll be able to master that recognition and cultivate that compassion and love to others.
Is it possible for us to push this argument a little further and think about every encounter with the ‘Other’ as an unfolding of a universe within ourselves, a universe that we have never known existed before that encounter or that connection actually happened. And, therefore, it's an expansive and ever expanding circle of engagements. Through this acknowledgement of serendipity, can pedagogy focus on the fact that every interaction has something that holds up possibilities for ourselves , because it opens up universes that we were oblivious to?
In ancient India we also had the notion of non-duality - advait. If we are two, that is the Other, but this is not the Other. And now in the university when we celebrateAlterity, simultaneously this provides equality to the students. So Alterity and Equality can go together. Regarding the issue of pedagogy it means, that in every class every interaction opens up.
But the Alterity has its own problems, for example, in the case of Indian scenario. If we are teaching our students about the notion of caste, we are dealing up with what their identity is. But once we tell them what their caste is, how we are going to evolve a casteless society? And without teaching caste, how we are going to evolve a casteless society?So these are some issues that do navigate between Alterity and equality. These are some of the dilemmas which education in the third millennium should address.
Alterity lies probably at a deeper level than superficially encountering with others. Alterity comes from the term Alter Ego. So in order to encounter another person, you have to recognize him or her as your alter ego. Otherwise, there will be not an educational impact.
Another issue is special educational rights and special educational resources for some others, for some marginalized groups, which need additional resources and special particular educational rights in order to preserve their otherness. And this is, of course, a very ambivalent story. For example, we can discuss about the Franco-Canadian case and other similar cases. I don't think that we have a real answer to that question.
How do you open yourself to the other? I'm thinking in the context of schooling. In study by Latika Gupta in inner area of Old Delhi, where Muslim and Hindu children reside closely to each other and very young children early in life develop their biases and prejudices towards each other in terms of religious communities. And how are we going to address this when we also have the community, families with history of trauma, of violence, whether it's a memory of partition, when independence took place or whatever, these problems exist in the same way as we talked about caste. How should we teach? If we teach, for example, about caste, we also should go further than just an awareness that this is caste and this is how caste works.
I think these are dilemmas. And I want to also flag the issue of the First Nations people in Canada, for example, where I did a fieldwork in a school in Vancouver. So, these children are there, but they don't exist for the school in a sense. And when I met officials of the Vancouver School Board, I went to look at and immigrant children, actually, and they are beautifully looked after. But when I asked them about First Nations kids and why are they so neglected, they were embarrassed. They had no policy in place for them. So there was like a blindness towards them and almost like an erasure. They said, oh, there's drug addiction and, you know, teenage pregnancy and showed all the problems and issues, but not a willingness to deal with it.
So, with these prejudices which are coming from the state, society, family contacts because of memory, background, when we talk about human education actually on the ground, how are we going to bridge those?
I believe that the idea of alterity, otherness, pedagogically speaking, is a very powerful idea. But I'm not sure whether the dilemmas can be resolved. I think there is one way to resolve it if we look at diversity as a concept and understand diversity, because you cannot speak of discrimination, bias and prejudice without understanding diversity. So diversity is not just to celebrate, but certainly to look at it as a reality, because there is a lot of harmony within a diverse society like India and then move on from there towards aspects of discrimination, othering, and it becomes more real, when taking many more lived experiences from people's lives.
I think there's an excellent concrete example of this in our middle school textbook of 2005, which is social and political life. They begin in class six with diversity and slowly come in class eight to marginalization. So, they don't talk about marginalization in class six, and it is very interesting. I think there are ways to engage with this. Of course, that is curriculum and curriculum itself doesn't mean it's going to happen in the classroom. Then, there are challenges of teachers their own. But it's a very powerful concept to take and talk around other Indian otherness, beginning with a more positive concept of diversity.
If the word ‘diversity’ and other more ordinary familiar terms would suit, my focus has been on what are the right ideals for what we're trying to achieve educationally. And then the word ‘alterity’ doesn't feel particularly helpful. So, what are the ideals we're trying to achieve? Is it mutual toleration? Is it something stronger like a respectful engagement? I think there's two very interesting bodies of research. How far can we get in trying to create structures, inducements to get different kinds of kids together in the same schools on terms of equality, engaged in cooperative education that we know can be very beneficial in reducing the amount of intergroup anxiety and potential for hostility and move them towards some ideal of civic friendship or something like that? We also have a very interesting growing body of research about indirect forms of intergroup contact. So there's a very important body of theory and research - intergroup contact theory that would be, from a pedagogical point of view, a key place to start.
Alterity, if taken as it is, is a powerful concept for understanding education as a phenomenon, because alterity is about becoming other, different, that is a process of changing, growing. Education is change and growth. And that is why there is no education in those moments when there is nothing other (‘new’, in other words ) that would not be met in the process and be mastered by the student. So, if there is such a process of meeting with an ‘other’, then there is a moment for learning or education.
If we recognize this as the core, as the main seed of the educational process, then there is a great need to present this concept for teachers and future teachers. And this is really urgent, because teachers become quite conservative after a short period of their work. And this means that they lose their strength, their ability to be real educators.
In this context, I would already look at the problem of inequality or equality, because the problem of students is in the hands of teachers or depends on the atmosphere or culture of the school. This means that the concept or principle of alterity should be at the very core of the phenomenon of the teacher as such. If we fight for this in teacher education, we will help solve the problem of inequality in schools.
Discussion of the concepts: ‘AGONISTIC PEDAGOGY’ and ‘EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION’
Now, the next topic is the pair of concepts ‘agonistic pedagogy’ and ‘experiential education’. What we try to understand in this case, really means a kind of resistance to conformity. And we also relate this to the idea of emancipation and an emancipatory pedagogy. Although the two are not quite the same, but there's a connection.
So, in any case, we begin with the promise that education is political and it isn't anything neutral, no matter how much the system tries to project it. And the most significant aspect of the education system that actually continually projects it as neutral is the public examination system, which is the most unfair, but it is presented as the most neutral and the most fair system.
Nevertheless we can discuss how pedagogy can be emancipatory by way of enabling the experiences, and that's related to experiential education as well. It becomes possible by way of bringing in experiences of the learners, students, whether it's at the primary school level or high school or higher education as part of a curricular discourse. So curriculum is not something that's just within certain kinds ofcovers of books, but something that also evolves out of the lived experiences of people who are being taught and who are being engaged with. Although we did think of experiential learning as something that comes out of experience, a lot of the time it may be thought of as something that happens outside formal arrangements of learning. For example, like how a child would learn pottery by way of everyday observation and doing. But there are lots of other ways of looking at experiences. We can actually give certain kinds of educational experiences within the classroom. And it is, in fact, very interesting to think of miseducative experiences.
So it's a question of how various experiences, when they're brought into a learning environment, can enable an emancipatory education. We need to connect these two concepts, and I don't think that they are disconnected in any way. But the key thing is that we're looking at pedagogy that brings the student to the center of the learning process and by way of enabling learners to look at their own environment, their own conditions, and perhaps even affairs stands come in there, the whole process of conscientization the process of looking at one's own milieu around and understanding it.
For me experiential learning is a much more familiar term, in the UK they use it and there is something called the APL, which is accreditation of prior experiential learning. So what I would bring to the discussion is how do you evaluate that credit when you are admitting students to university degrees, for example? How do you take into account their informal learning which takes place outside of the classroom and then value that, accredit that and give them place in the university? And is experiential learning driven by the size of a unit in very large universities or schools, is it possible there? How do you deliver that in terms of the content? In a smaller place small group activities, you can embed that in a curriculum where you're giving plenty of opportunity and time and space for students.
Regarding agonistic pedagogy and experiential education. I just would like to add that whoever brought this term agonistic pedagogy was trying to differentiate it from violence. Taking the word from Greek agon, which is a fight, but a fight in that sense that is positive. It could be eruptive, but not necessarily violent or maybe violent, but in a sense that could move different things around, whatever we are teaching.
This notion brings us back again to Plato. Coming up from the cave is not an easy journey, it is a struggle. When the one being dragged does demonstrate a lot of resistance, even although we could argue, but it's a need to become emancipated. And I think of Gier Biesta who speaks about pedagogy of interruption. We have a manner of being and we could be even in a flow zone. But the educator is the one who comes to interrupt and to ask: are you really doing what you ought to be doing? And so I'm developing a pedagogy of confrontation to push this a little bit more.
But it's not a violent confrontation. It's being confronted with a mirror, a Guardian mirror. And we can be confronted with ourselves in many ways. Sometimes the whole notion of emancipation and resistance really do go together. In order to achieve a certain level of harmony, sometimes there is a level of confrontation and engagement with some of this resistance to begin with.
But an agonistic ethic is not an attractive ethic in the least, the word agon means contest, agon is something that someone wins or loses, that's the point in an agonistic ethic. So, what's the case for the promotion of an agonistic ethic and agonistic pedagogy?
It is an idea to highlight conflicts and not to hide them, not to cover them, not to ignore them, but to use them in education. And in fact, this would mean that we, teachers, must face social problems, political reality together with students.
In fact, agon is a struggle in Greek, and such social theories, as the Marxist theory or the critical theory of the Frankfurt school, are the examples of the agonistic movement in social theories. But this struggle, I think, should be understood for us as a struggle against ignorance, against our own false beliefs.
Many of these problems and conflicts exist due to misconceptions. That is why the agonistic concept operates for educational purposes, because it is a struggle against ignorance regarding social reality and political reality and one's own state of mind.
I disagree that “agon” is a concept of the Frankfurt School. And I also doubt that it is wise to use this kind of specific technical philosophic conceptions in a forum. With regard to the struggle, I believe that first of all that we should keep struggling against violence.
But when we talk about disruption, which is what really education should be doing, it's true. But a lot of the time it remains at an intellectual level and there's very little change that actually happens. So for such disruptions, it's important that the learners' positions in society and the teachers' position in society is also part of that discussion and curriculum, because without that it's going to remain at a level which doesn't change the person in any way.
Discussion of the concepts: EMPOWERMENT – FRIENDSHIP – LOVE IN PEDAGOGY
Another topics, which we discuss, are empowerment, friendship, love, and we added a few points more in this regard, like play, responsibility, imagination, long term commitment. Thus we came up with our own questions. What is our commitment to long term? What is our longterm commitment to empowerment? We looked at it and recognized that it's not just a one time process where we say to students: “Go ahead, go at it!”, but students had to be nurtured. Who do we empower in and through education? And how do we nurture empowerment? In what ways does empowerment in a classroom lead to empowerment in a wider society?
Then, what is the difference between friendship and love? How is friendship love? And what is the difference between unconditional and conditional love and how love and friendship contribute to a democratic classroom?
In our Berlin study on rituals and gestures, we had a lot of various discussions of the students, and one of the main motives was friendship. Students wanted to come to school because they were going to meet their friends. Friendship helped them to learn mathematics etc. Friendship was a strong motivation. That means that learning in the school is social learning. And it's very much also a social achievement. I think we have to take social learning aspect very much into consideration when we think about learning in the school.
The students have their hidden curriculum when they get to school. There is the official curriculum, but they have their own curriculum, the hidden one, according to which they learn all kinds of things, next to what they are officially learning. I think, if you allow this, this helps also the empowerment. You learn empowerment, because you get power and people allow you to exert power.
I don’t know, maybe you have another situation, than in American universities. And what we see in American universities is that the students have a hierarchy of why they go to the specific university. First thing is football or a soccer. So, they ask: "How good does the football team at university do?" But it's also the recreational center and it is also the social network. And then somewhere down the line, there is such a little thing called reading and thinking and academics.
But generally, that's part of the crisis of university, I think, crisis of education.
I think what is an important issue for an empowerment is the school culture, and, also the atmosphere of a school which can encourage keen children or which can discourage children. And I think that can be a lot done to encourage children.
I give you an example. We did a 12 years Berlin study on rituals and gestures, where we worked 12 years in the school. And one of the important points of the mission of the school, it was in primary school, it is: learning is one thing, but playing is very important as a way of learning and a way of expressing the feelings of children. And, the third element was to learn to talk to each other in an accepting way. I think this is quite important.
And another aspect which I think is important: we have to allow error. It is, you know, when your child wants to explore something, wants to discover something. Then, of course, you can make errors, but that does not matter. We all make errors, and we are entering a new area of knowledge. And I think this is something which goes together with encouragement - that you allow people to, just to search and to inquiry and then, of course, you can make all sorts of error.
We are speaking about empowerment, but very often, for example, in the context of the women's movement, especially in India, the word empowerment is used almost mechanically, everybody's out to empower women in India, right from the government downwards. So the question you often ask is who is empowering who and what is the kind of empowerment that we are talking about? Perhaps those issues should be also discussed.
And for educators themselves the question is “Are we exploring and understanding intrinsic motivation of teachers, educators, parents, all adults who can influence educational outcomes of children. Are we doing it enough? Do we care enough for adults in the child's life? Who are key influencers?”
I think it's an extremely important question. Part of what's happened which is related to what we have already talked about is teachers in so many places now are subject to very stressful regimes of control. And as if they would not be serious about being good teachers without being subjected to this managerial control. We have a significant body of research on what the actual effects of these regimes of control are which is they make teachers teach worse than they would if you just left them to teach. The anxiety induced in them makes them more controlling and harsher towards their students which makes their students perform less well. The importance of the intrinsic motivation is in teaching because you value it and the students learning to value things because they're valuable not because they're being threatened. So that that's my answer to that very important question.
The concept of intrinsic motivation and of autonomous motivation generally is a very important powerful concept in psychology. People are born to act, to socialize, to try to make sense of themselves, to a powerful drive to try to fashion ourselves into coherent beings where we can make sense of what we're doing. That's intrinsic. Extrinsic motivators are somebody, saying: “I want you to do this. If you do, I'll pay you this much”. They're very different kinds of motivation.
Discussion of the concepts:TEACHING THINKING – IMAGINATION – SENSORY – EMOTIONAL
What seems inevitably necessary it is teaching thinking for imagination and for something like emotional self-awareness, maybe emotional self-regulation, it is education to overcome one's emotional disorder. And if that's the case, in the realm of thinking, thinking for oneself, thinking effectively, thinking critically (different terms might be brought in) and education that stimulates the imagination, we thought the 'Why' - why all three of these can be unified under the idea of human agency. We didn't talk much about the sensory, it is sensory / emotional, we didn't actually get to the sensory part, but we bring both the intellect and desire, emotion or sensory perceptions of the world into decision making both individually and collectively.
So, everyone has an interest in personal empowerment, efficacy, prudence in being equipped to think effectively, imaginatively and to be learning to be more self-aware of our emotional triggers and ways we get into trouble and so on. So collectively moving from whatever the pedagogy would be for stimulating more self-reflective, more self-critical, more thinking, more observant of relevant standards in the disciplines, but beyond them part of what we have to do is have imagination and being able to think beyond what we've taken for granted.
You can't make your way through difficult situations without some imagination, some creative problem solving. So we talked some about the idea of problem solving and that it can be both personal individual and it can be collective. And at a collective ideal of what that would be related to the justification of these as educational goals is being able to reason together, being able to engage in collective inquiry as a community, as a society to do it in the interest of solving common problems and make some actual progress.
I would like to stress the importance of education of imagination because I have the feeling that this does not take adequately place in our schools. What do you mean by that? And how can that be done? I think one essential point is that you don't give answers, you pose problems and then you have students to develop their imagination to solve the problem, to do an inquiry process.
I think you have also to accept error. And you have to accept and support the movement of search and of searching and of being astonished. And I think this is something which is related what was said in earlier about curiosity. This is something which is a more general kind of qualification, it's not related to just one subject area, but still, it's one of the basic challenges in modern education.
Then, I would also add a point to the sensory education, which is also very important. And the point is how to do that. Comenius in the time of the 17th century, talked about the necessity for children to have a sensual experience. Today this has changed, and they have all kinds of sensual experiences with images. And the point is, as I see it, that they have to learn how to deal with images. What is an image? What role does an image play for the imaginary, for the development of the imagination? All these processes related to the sensory experience are very important, even in elementary school and so on.
Why taking a model of something when you can get the real object? So that means also exploring the materiality of our culture. IF you take a table, this is a cultural product. That's a lot of things to say about the chair. It was once a throne and today we are sitting on the same level with each other, so, it's the part of democracy these days, earlier it was very different. And I'm not saying that you have to teach this to students but I'm saying that in the awareness of the cultural reality of the material and that means also of the sensitive experience is extremely important.
To my view, there's a tendency to take sensory experiences only as information, mainly within new media. And I think this ruins the quality of what the pictures are and what can be done with pictures.
One of the issues we are talking about is the importance of critical thinking and imagination to enable us to make considered choices. That is one. And the second question that comes to mind is also about why is it that we constantly reinforce a discomfort to be able to live with dilemmas? It is not necessary that all the problems have solutions. Increasingly our world will present us with dilemmas. But to be able to live with them and work our way through gradually, that is one of the things we need discuss. And even as we've talked about the global visual culture, we need to understand how deeply it impinges on our imagination indeed our consciousness. Do we have any substantive autonomy given this pervasive visual global culture?
The issue of emotional learning makes me think about one general question, which we need to raise . There may be cases where even emotional learning can be used with instrumental goals and can become an instrumental kind of learning, although its intended goals were completely different. But if you take the positive psychology approach as an example and think that the teacher should start teaching students to feel joy, happiness, these emotional abilities will be named skills, they say ‘soft skills’ nowadays. And this means will be called skills, these days they say “soft skills”. And this means that our fellow psychologists are ready to begin to assess by their psychological methods and calculate the emotional state as a result. And thus again, these skills become outcomes. So, even an emphasis on emotions, although they are supposed to be the “inner life” of a person, does not in itself save the educational process from instrumentalization.
And it may happen that, although life is full of different problems, we will teach students, instead of solving problems, just to feel happy, leaving aside their problems in relations with the world or problems of their lack of ability to act. do something in this world. They will learn to feel peaceful or happy in different situations, that remain unchanged, just leaving problems aside.
And to avoid instrumentalization, we need to take care of a deeper basis, to clarify the very paradigm of education. And we would also come to the conclusion that emotional learning needs to be linked with all other parts of education.
Another, more general question is how these four: critical thinking and imagination, emotion and sensory learning should be linked to each other, entirely interconnected in education, so that we can keep safe this deep meaning of the social emotional learning?
In addition, I have a small comment regarding imagination. Imagination is also very important for liberation because it is a free space, not that space where we are already placed, space of given things, but free space for changes, for our development. So, imagination can serve for development of empathy, for example, it is impossible to develop empathy without it.
I would like to touch on a comment on problem solving. I think it is important to take care of the problem statement as well. I think that thinking begins not only with solving the problems posed, but also with being able to establish the problem. And the imagination has also to do with that, not only with solving problems. What usually happens is that we think a lot of time about problems that are not really important problems, that were not considered critically. Thus, there is a whole dimension of problems establishment, statement, not just solution.
My epistemology colleague Rich Feldman and I for a span of years sponsored undergraduate student interns to teach critical thinking in very poor inner city schools. One of the kinds of projects we would do, was that we said to kids: think in groups, come up with a very important question in your own lives. So we induced them to pose a question to themselves. And the most memorable of these questions was, should we join a gang? Is it good to join a gang? That led them to writing essays, staging a debate in the school. And the whole school came to watch. It was actually pretty amazing.
About the dangers of imagination. I don't know how well this applies to schools, but I tell you the story. I taught philosophy for 45 years at the university level. During the last years when I was teaching, I met this surprising phenomenon that left me flabbergasted. There is a new generation of students who came in who had this kind of imaginary view of the world totally disconnected with reality. There were children of not underprivileged families, good middle class students entering an elite university, a famous department. And they were very proud of their status. And when they came in, they had developed this kind of imaginary view of philosophy. Namely, they already knew what philosophy is and what the answers are. And they made it very clear that they don't need teachers or teaching, that they can teach each other and that they form study groups. In a certain way these students had created an imaginary world, which they supported and they reimagined that imaginary world amongst each other and thereby insulated these groups and they rejected the teacher's phenomenon as the Other.
That was quite alarming because philosophy is one thing. In the Finnish schools mathematics teaching is very unsuccessful. I have heard mathematics experts who write national examination board questions, complaining that these kids never learned any mathematics at all, that they must accept the tests even if they know a little bit something, they always accept. Why cannot they learn mathematics, because basically that maths teaching is pretty authoritarian.
But you cannot imagine your own mathematics that's a disaster. Two plus two is four and that's it. Then you must learn how to think mathematical. And the same is how to how to think philosophically. You cannot learn it from books or just discussing issues with your friends, you must listen to some real philosopher doing their job and showing this is how you do philosophy. This is how you argue. This is right, this is wrong. You cannot really go to a conference or write a paper, publish it, if you argue like that, it's ridiculous. And those are the dangers of imagination. Because imagination detaches you from reality. And reality is a valuable thing. You should keep in touch with the reality.
At the same time, I agree that the imagination is extremely important thing and we cannot live without the imagination, life would be terrible without imagination.
This is actually a reply to Timo. I used to have this kind of students like Timo like five years ago, and I don't have them anymore. And I am really missing them now. The students I have at the university now are much too realistic. So they're just trying to get proper training for the job, they are interested only in job perspectives.We don't have any rebellious students any more who construct an imaginary world. So during the last five years or so, the vast majority of the students became more and more realistic in the worst sense of that word.
So, I do believe that we should be looking for ways to introduce much more imagination into the university education, and especially into the teacher education. This is especially true with regard to the European philosophy of teacher education, according to which being emotional means being unprofessional. This is a kind of ideology of pedagogical professionalism. We have to do something against that.
The point I want to comment is related to emotions in the school, not only the emotions of children, but also of teachers. How many and what kind of emotions do we allow the teacher? We had a long discussion within interdisciplinary group about one case. There was a teacher who had got very angry with her class, because she thought that this class had created a scapegoat and they had used for that a girl which was new in the school. They had hidden some of her materials so she couldn't continue to work. So, we had to analyze this situation.
We had a professor of dance who analyzed the performance of the teacher. We had two psychoanalysts in this school, ethnographers and educators. And we had a long discussion. she got very angry, so, is it allowed or is it not allowed?
You could also say when she gets angry, she is somehow in the trap of the situation. But my view was also that it was okay, that she got angry. I'm just using this example to make clear that we actually demand a lot of abstraction from emotions for teachers, emotionally neutral teacher, objective teacher and so on. And I think there are problems related to that. I'm not saying that we want to have a teacher with the level of the children in terms of emotions.
I would comment that the current educational arrangements are such that there is no space for an expression of emotion, so much so not only for the teacher, but for the students.
And I have for a long time observed that over the past, maybe over a decade or so, that children at the primary level are actually creating and inventing games that are violent. And I've always wondered why. I mean, one needs to do some solid research also and perhaps read up stuff that I may not have yet read up. But suddenly there seems to be so much violence around in society that it's almost that children are preparing themselves for a very violent world and hitting each other till blood appears. I mean, these kind of games are being invented.
I feel that the education system has done a lot of injustice in that sense. There are very few schools I know that would have a little sort of period in the beginning of the day called zero period or whatever where they share with each other. Or a concept of the 'homeroom teacher' who discusses things. That happens very rarely. And you're absolutely right about the teachers. In fact, the frustrations of the teacher have no way to be vented.
So it is a problem, and somewhere somewhere I feel that even the theoretical knowledges that we use in teacher education, whether it's even Piaget theory, which probably may not be the only kind of theory. But the point is, Piaget used the term 'cognition' to include emotion. But we've done something else to it. We've sort of split it all up.
So we do need to look at this in a serious way, because there's a lot happening in society which the school and the teachers are clueless. And here is where imagination and the virtual world comes in. The teachers are clueless of the kind of those issues that children are facing, whether it's boyfriends, whether it's abuse at home, whether it's with friends and bullying, which is a very critical thing. And we just seem to want to step back and say: "okay, it’s not my concern. I'm here only to teach mathematics". That's creating problems and a lot of distortion. And then we end up saying, you know, children are emotionally disturbed. Maybe the bulk of our children are emotionally disturbed. We've obviously done something very wrong for that to happen.
With regard to imagination and thinking, we need a lot of imagination at the level of preparing teachers. And that's where it's the least applied. We force teachers to prepare lesson plans in the most unimaginative of ways and in ways that are totally disconnected, even to the extent of predicting responses that the children are going to say in classrooms.
The final thing I would say is being comfortable with uncertainty. The classroom, whether it's a higher education classroom or a primary or a high school. It's an uncertain, fluid space. And our teachers are being prepared to continually predict and control and to continually feel comfortable with control. And that's the ridiculous thing we do. But we need to train them to actually use professional judgment and to live with that uncertainty, to live with that fluidity, because that's where the creativity emerges from. So somewhere I think we need to look at imagination in this context as well.
And finally, this is the fact that teachers need to be nurtured as much as children need to be nurtured.
While we are thinking about being coherent between theory and practice of pedagogy, and doing, what we think, and giving the importance to the things, we think are important, since we think, that questions are important, it might be interesting exercise to leave something that we are eager or fear to do in education, to question. There can be an idea that that somebody’s questions mean that there are ones who don’t know and ones who know answer and ones who don’t know questions. But we can see here that it’s not so simple, that some questions have a lot of knowledge behind and we need to know a lots of things in order to question.
We can move through questions. So, it’s not needed always to answer a question. It’s not a best thing to always answer a question. Sometimes when we answer a question, we just kill a question. But sometimes when we give another questions, we give new life to this question. And when we listen to the question of the Other, it is a practical exercise of thinking together through questions and not just think isolately. So, we need to take into account the Other in order to do our final question.
I ask myself, what is a specific character of education and pedagogy in Plato’s “State” and how far this understanding of education is important for today?
How can a teacher prepare herself adequately to ensure that she is able to facilitate the process of questioning in her students of course, with the right motivation?
My question is giving concerns to academic freedom globally – how we ensure that teachers are best prepared to empower ways of tolerance and acknowledge their responsibilities to preparing students as global citizents?
Who are we becoming?
What is the role of pedagogy outside of formal arrangements of classroom setting?
Can we apply the term pedagogy also to adult and higher education?
If the essence of education lies of process that has social nature, then why do we emphasize on individual learning alone that too limited to cognitive domain?
Do we need multiple types of pedagogy to teach different things and different types of things to different groups of people and students?
What does it mean to say “become what you are” as a goal of pedagogy?
How may we depelop in school education that is concerned about inner life, the moral world of the subject or individual, in relations to society?
How can we work with philosophical ideas of great thinkers without losing our own?
What is the importance of questions in education?
How can educators promote the curiosity so that students actually want to learn and enquire and be really excited about a complexity of life in order to promote wellbeing of all?
How can we come with a universally applicable education which is best on harmony and implement of compassion and wisdom?
What is the relation between the knowledge and state of mind of the person being educated, especially taking in consideration the instances of those relations nowadays in terms of informational flow or overflow?
How can we teach so that students come to value what is valuable?
So, my result of synthesis is the following. “How can we teach so that students come to value what is valuable, not only what is useful?” (the counter-question was “ How can we value utility less than value the valuable more?”) So, my point of view is that we often value what has a utility, what is useful and not what is intrinsically valuable. This question is more pointed, in a way it focuses more on the contrast, on default, against which we have to struggle.
How can a teacher prepare herself adequately to ensure that she is able to facilitate the process of questioning with a right motivation in her students?
Renato gave the counter-question: “Why does the teacher need preparation? We all need for the knowledge, but isn’t a teacher already prepared to some extend?”
My last question, responding to Renato, is: “Do we not need to always put a certitudes to continuous scrutiny, is not pedagogy a process?”
When you say that a teacher is always a repository of knowledge, in a sense, you may undervalue the process of learning with the students. We need to explore together, always as co-learners. We do not say that there is certitude in one and the other is an empty vessel into which the teacher pours wisdom and/knowledge. That is what Paulo Friere criticized as the banking concept of education.
This is an open process, it is open to scrutiny, to interrogation and to disruptions of received knowledge. It is also a question of learning from the students as well, through the questioning process. And the willingness to be vulnerable and hence truthful in the collaborative process of arriving at understanding the issues at hand. It is also the ability to be open to diverse ways of thinking reasoning and articulation and implicitly being. The question of Becoming is embedded in this. So the process must be elicitive and the classroom constructivist.
The original question was: how we prepare teachers to empower ways of tolerance and respect in the context of growing concern of academic freedom? And Andrew responded pointedly with a question: “ What is a best way to ensure that teachers can actually educate students about values that are important to them?”
So, following the thinking, we recognize that there are several challenges. And there is a question, how we address these challenges ensuring that teachers are given the space to maintain their freedom, which enables them to inculcate the right values?
My question was: “Who are we becoming?”
Krassimir responded: “How you know who you are as a goal of you becoming?”
And I responded with another question: “How can an education become a question of becoming a new entity every moment?” And I can say ‘a moment’, but it can be a year, can be a lifetime.
The initial question was: “What is the role of pedagogy outside of formal arrangements of classroom setting?” The response of Nirmala was: “How do we find pedagogy outside of classroom? What does it mean?” Then I follow this with: “Who guess to decide definitions and practice of pedagogy outside of classroom?” It seems, there was a shift from a focus on pedagogy as a purpose as followed in a functional sense maybe as a set of predetermined aims and outcomes. And more or less shift was focused on more basis to decide on who is included in a shaping of formulation of this definition as well as a power, who decides.
The initial question was: “Can we apply the term pedagogy also to adult and higher education?
The question of Walter was: “How many meanings can you think about the term pedagogy?”
And my final question was” “Is there a common semantic kernel of, first, pedagogy as general education science; second, pedagogy as modeling of teaching; and third, pedagogy as guiding children.
This is a remark to Renato. There are actually two meanings of pedagogy. One refers to the continental, basically, German tradition. Here pedagogy means educational science. And another meaning of pedagogy is the practice of instructing, of teaching. But there is also third meaning, which I think is ‘guiding children’.
The initial question was: “If the essence of education lies of process that has social nature, then why do we emphasize on individual learning alone that too limited to cognitive domain?”
The last question is: “How education as a social process does hone the individual and collective abilities, capacities and sensibilities?”
Do we need multiple types of pedagogy to teach different things and different types of things to different groups of people and students?
My modified question is: “Is it a disposition of being able to relate well with and have empathy with the diversity of people necessary to pedagogy for learning of different things by different people in different times?”
I suppose the first question was about different sorts of practices of pedagogy in the sense of instruction and I suppose the modification of the question contains something in addition to the practice, this is a disposition of people, that is a framing to the practice.
The first question was very simple, elementary metaphysical question: “What does it mean to say “become what you are” as a goal of pedagogy?”
And the second question (after the response of Randall) is: “Does this question assume that what we truly are, is good and happy?”
That exactly what I expected. Philosophers work like that. This is obviously attempt to refutation. And obviously if we can’t be what we are and happen to be nasty and perverted persons, then our education should aim at that. The whole thing seems to be supposed something very positive and optimistic view on human nature, which starts a long discussion, of course. This comes in Finland from Orthodox church, so, it is Eastern idea.
The first question was: “ How may we depelop in school education that is concerned about inner life, the moral world of the subject or individual, in relations to society?”
Then Bob pushed me by his answer: “How do we know that we are connecting with other persons in our life?”
My third question is” “How may we depelop a pedagogy about inner life of individuals, so that we may initiate the process of understanding interconnectedness between us?”
The first question was: “How can we work with philosophical ideas of great thinkers without losing our own?”
And after Poonam’s question: “How ideas generated and discussed in a certain point in time and history are critical to understand the present context?”
I came to the question: “How can we work with historical and passed ideas taking into account our own understanding of the present in our own context?”
My question was: “What is the importance of questions in education?”
And after Meenakshi Gopinath responded, my question now is: “Are questions equally important in all areas of education?”
The original question was: “ How can educators promote the curiosity so that students actually want to learn?
And Christoph’s question was: “Why is curiosity so important for education and how this curiosity like to be related to wondering?”
This forced me to think about the assumptions about the curiosity itself in terms of education and play with the idea of drawing out rather then putting in.
So, my new question come out is: “Is a pedagogy for education involved drawing out not putting in, like training, therefore, how do we invite students to come our freely, using their own questions?”
After I got a question from Margarita, I asked with a question which really looks more like an answer: “What is the benefit of mind, packed with knowledge, information, without wisdom?”
What I was trying to say is that we very proudly call this age ‘the age of information’ but most of the information is junk information. So, we don’t need much information, but we need practical wisdom.
The question, which I received from geshe Lhakdor, was: “How would you teach young people of harmonious growth of compassion and wisdom?”
With this I came to a more problematizing question, so the last question that I’ve developed, was: “Do you think that educational reality becomes just different phenomenon in case if educators divide as separate these two goals: compassion and wisdom, compared to the case when these goals are taken in unity?”
I reframed my first question, which was raised due to Renato’s introduction. The question was: “Is there a specific concept of education in Plato’s Republic and how far this understanding of education is important for today?”
Then I’ve got a hint from Timo, saying it might be interesting to look at the asked about the difference between imaginary and at the real aspect of it, and I used these to be more precise and my last question is: “What role does mimetic process play in education and what are there real and imaginary elements?”