giovedì 20 marzo 2008

An educator

One of the most relevant Italians active in education - both as practitioner and as "theorist" - is Luigi Giussani.
Died a few year ago, he was a catholic priest, a university professor and high school teacher, and educator of a lot of people who joined his activities and movement. A square is dedicated to him in his home village, as "educator".
His main views on education are expressed in the text The Risk of Education, also available in English and in several other languages.

In Giussani's view, education is an ongoing process that spans throughout one's life in the neverending effort to become what we are: fully human, in relationship with the mystery and beauty of life. This is why education is a right - depriving someone of education means depriving her or him of a chance to blossom as a human being. He said that when an instituional power becomes oppressive we should fight so that "we can be forced to go around naked, but we are free of educatin our children".

Giussani never placed emphasis on free information, but was an active supported of it, as a basis for true knowledge. If we love beauty and truth, we fear nothing. He quoted St. Paul "view everything, and keep what is worth". More than focusing on "free information", Guissani pushed toward "free expression", even of ideas her personally believed false or even evil. Once he gave to a younger friend a copy of Marx's Capital in order to provoke him to go deeper in Communism, and decide if it was good or not. What really makes a difference is not the wealth of information, rather the exercise of critical analysis and judgment. That's where we learn.
(from an OER point of view, this supports the idea that we will really benefit of OER in so far there is an active community and active people behind repositories).

Following this line, all would benefit from free information, this is certainly desirable - but only if they are educated to use it, to analyze it, to judge it, and also to tell bad or false information and to send it to the trash. This means, in Giussani's terms, that information objects should be a way to put people n touch with each other, not an excuse to "automatize" learning, which is only possile to a limited extent.
(personally, I think that little information of high quality makes a bigger difference than a lot of information of low or unknown quality).
So, OER would be an opportunity for all, but also a challenge for teachers, as they would have to find new ways of working in order to eploit their potential (as it is already happening with other technologies). Educating, and using media to educate, is a responsibility.

Who would be against that? All powers: those who do not want free citizens, or those who make economic profit out of controlling information.
Beware: not all critics should be considered "enemies" - keeping multipe perspectives (including negative ones) is vital for understanding new phenomena...

3 commenti:

Peter Rawsthorne ha detto...

Luca, I also believe that if we strive for beauty and truth in all we do we also achieve a kind of daily nirvana. By striving for beauty we can do no better and by striving for truth we never have to change our story...

barbara.braun ha detto...

Thank you for these thoughts! I read them with great interest. I agree to it being most important to be able to analyze and judge.

And I am fully convinced about your last paragraph - it is necessary to discuss negative critics as this might be more helpful to a movement than forming an insular protective community.

Cool ha detto...

I agree that the analyze and judge is important in education but they are not the most important ones. Because like you have just mentioned that the education is about human as a whole, so everything which supporting life is important in education. For example is that we could not do some analyzing and judging without having enough knowledge on what we are going to analyze and judge. Analyzing and judging will not be enough to make changes. We have also be able to practise and do it in the real life. Sense, think, learn, and act.