Past of educational institutions is judged as exclusive, homogenizing, and we dream for the future of our schools that they listen to singular lives. Educate is to transmit the world, not leaving the rest alone with their own resources to manage as good or bad as they can; it is offering signs that others will decipher at their time and in their own way.
There will be many ways of naming these eras, many ways of going through wars, deaths, technologies, policies, new civilizations.
Some will talk about what is “liquid,” others regarding the “turbulences,” many will pronounce “darkness” and a group still will content with the motto of what is “new.” Something which we still have not understood completely must have happened for us to had forgotten the advices of the elders and be before the figure of couching, as the maximum expression of formation and transmission among human beings.
I guess that, from all the words that abound or are available in our clumsy language, without a doubt “hypocrisy” would be one of the mostly used when talking about these times: hypocrisy which gives different value to two identical deaths, hypocrisy of saying without body, hypocrisy of believing a TV news tittle more than life itself; in brief, hypocrisy of saying instead of doing and not having done what we so vehemently say that is said to be said (and so ad infinitum).
The main virtue of education is the stoppage, the pause; giving time to think about what is not so evident or obvious due to its own mutation: the pretentiousness of curriculum and didactics as the nodal and natural forms of recreating and reinventing the educational.
Maybe one of the most interesting issues—and thus most preoccupying, more complex—might be understanding the educator as s/he who gives time to others—time to think, read, write, play, learn, ask, talk—and gives time to him/herself—to listen, be patient, not subduing to the logic of urgency in fulfilling goals, ends, programs.
It is known that education is an action that involves time and temporality in many ways: in the design of planning, evaluative guidelines, duration of cycles or series, extension of content; but also it has to do with the hard, arduous, encounter between infancy and adulthood, youth and adulthood; images of ages, experiences, and generations that are being transformed all the time and produce different intensities in pedagogical practices each instant.
Is it possible at this time to imagine other teacher training, other ways of doing with which educators enter the scene without repeating the image of rush and urgency? Even more, isn’t there a previous discussion of the curriculum and didactic, or together with them, that try to clearly establish the complex relationship between time and teaching, time to teach and time to learn, present time and other times?
I know, my questions do not have or want quick answers. Because it is not just about transmission of the world. Of a world which is always messy, always incognito, always changing and, also, always in danger. It is in the relationship between world, life, and school or teachings, existence and school where the most interesting and decisive questions emerge.
For example, the questions regarding the transmission of the world from one generation to the next in terms of its individual effects; or the question regarding the different worlds that we live in at the same time, due to our different lives; or the question about what we will do with the world, which life let us think about and make the world and who will do that; in short, the endless question regarding the relation between which world/s, which life/s, and which school/s. However, there is something more, there always is.
The relation between time, world, and teaching is not transparent and I have the sensation that we have oversimplified it. I would like to adopt here the figure of teaching as the one that comes to us from the Greeks …
Show, indicate, point at, offering signs of the world; signs to the inside of a relationship and, thus, actions of contents that, promptly, turn into true affairs of conversation: reading, playing, watching, studying, writing, listening, perceiving, imagining, drawing, investing, etc.
If we adopt this sense regarding teaching, it is possible that the task of educating can also be understood as a responsibility of transmitting the world in ways of lives and not leaving the rest alone barely with their own resources to cope with as good or bad as they can. It also means saying that between teaching and learning there is an abyss, an infinite distance.
Offering signs that others will decipher at their time and in their way: that is the question. Teaching cannot cross through both aspects in the same way; it can be interested in that, yes, of course, but it cannot guarantee that what is learned is what is taught, or that what is learned is learned at the same time as it is taught.
That makes us face the second essential dimension of this discussion: how to think and how to make education be, in effect, for everybody; that is, neither for some nor for the others, but rather for what is common, the common good.
I would like to understand the common as the public, what is everybody’s, in effect. However, as soon as it is mentioned the “everybody,” the “totality,” I also feel that something escapes me.
From certain hegemonic past to certain plural present, something has weakened in the pedagogic construction process. We judge the past of school education as exclusionary, homogenizing and we wish for the future schools that listen to singular lives. However, how do we live in the present institutions, between an idea of the homogenous and the idea of the different?
Confusions are common and certain discouragement seems to occupy the place of the utopia. In principle, it is worth stating that schools are not already made, they need to be made. It seems a rather clumsy and too evident truth. However, it is worth insisting on it: schools do not possess a model external to themselves and it is its daily activities in the everyday gestures, words, and actions what produces it. Any attempt at showing a model of school inwardness from the exteriority—being that foreign or native—produces a change in language, a certain untranslatability.
I would like to summarize here this confusion in an idea not so clear, but that maybe it can help dissolve the opposition between the singular and the common: by teaching, you can teach anyone and each one.
What I need to teach—that is, what I already know and what I still do not know, the a lot and the few, the relevant and the superfluous, what is near and what is far away from my life and other lives—should be offered to whomever, despite how it is received, what s/he does with it, and when. If I do not direct the message to whomever, it would be impossible even to start to chat.
This is for me the most revealing and accurate notion of equality: to consider whomever, with no exceptions, an equal. Thus, equality cannot be something that will occur afterwards because of the effects of certain type of educational proposal, but rather it must be immediate, first. However, it is evident that also what is taught produces different effects in each one. Therefore, if the beginning of the educational is demarcated by equality, its destiny will, always, be the singularity. That is what the art of educating becomes: in knowing, in some way, in which moment we are targeting whomever and in which moment we are targeting each one.
And the future? I have problems with the idea of future in education. I am not convinced by those prebuilt or prefabricated futures. I am not moved by the image of what something, someone, will become afterwards. I have the impression that in the name of the future we have postponed the present, our only real time, our only existential time, where time, life, and world possess, perhaps, some sense.
Article published at NOVEDUC
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