Prof. Gert Biesta : Niet enkel veel pedagogen, maar ook Rancière zelf interpreteert zijn eigen visie ten onrechte als radicaal constructivistisch
Volgens Gert Biesta interpreteren niet alleen tal van pedagogen de anti-pedagogische onderwijsvisie van Jacques Rançière/Jacotot verkeerd in de richting van radicaal constructivisme, maar nu ook Rançière zelf. Onzin m.i.
Rancière/Jacotot propageren wel degelijk een radiaal constructivistische visie, en zelfs een anti-pedagogische visie. Ik schreef dan ook in bijdragen dat ik het gedweep van profs. als Gert Biesta, Jan Masschelein & Maarten Simons, niet begrijp en de visie van R. beschrijven als de enige juiste visie op echt en emancipatorisch onderwijs.
In een recente bijdrage stelt Biesta dat de pedagogen die de visie van R. als radicaal constructivistisch interpreteren het verkeerd voorhebben; en dat ook R. zelf de voorbije jaren zijn eigen visie ten onrechte als radicaal constructivistisch voorstelt. Niet enkel Feys en Co, maar ook R zelf hebben het verkeerd voor.
Passages uit Open EPUB
Dont be fooled by ignorant schoolmasters: On the role of the teacher in emancipatory education
Gert Biesta, First Published January 10, 2017
Rancière reading Rancière: R. interpreteert zijn eigen visie ten onrechte als radicaalconstructivistisch!
The motivation for writing this article stems from what I see as a rather problematic interpretation of the work of Rancière in recent educational scholarship, one where the key message of his 1991 book The Ignorant Schoolmaster is taken to be that anyone can learn without a teacher and that this alleged freedom to learn would constitute emancipation.
However, as I have tried to indicate in the preceding pages, we should not read Rancières argument as a case for the prohibition of explanationi???
The second point, however, is more problematic from my perspective, as in later work Rancière seems to be veering towards a constructivist reading of his own work, one where emancipation becomes understood as the freedom to learn and, more specific, the freedom to interpret and make sense. Rancière seems to be turning the argument for emancipatory teaching into an argument about emancipatory learning, in other words, focusing on the freedom of students and other spectators to construct their own meanings and understandings
Rancière actually continues by saying that what is stultifying from a Jacotist perspective is the will to anticipate the way in which they will grasp what we put at their disposal (Rancière, 2010: 245).
This becomes a bigger theme in The Emancipated Spectator, originally given as a talk in 2004 and subsequently published as chapter 1 in a book with the same title (Rancière, 2009). ..
The account Rancière gives here is one that comes close to a constructivist reading, where the dynamics of education are not that of transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the student, but one where students learn through what we might term trial and error in Rancières words the path from what she [the student] already knows to what she does not yet know, but which she can learn just as she has learnt the rest (Rancière, 2009: 11).
Rancière calls this the poetic labour of translation, which he claims isat the heart of all learning (Rancière, 2009: 10). It is translation because it is a process where the student moves from what he or she already knows to what he or she does not yet know; and it is poetic because the student does not repeat what is already there, but invests his or her own understanding.
As Rancière puts it:
From this ignoramus, spelling out signs, to the scientist who constructs hypotheses, the same intelligence is always at work an intelligence that translates signs into other signs and proceeds by comparisons and illustrations in order to communicate its intellectual adventures and understand what another intelligence is endeavouring to communicate to it.
(Rancière, 2009: 10)
In this account, the teacher appears as a facilitator.He does not teach his pupils his knowledge, but orders them to venture into the forest of things and signs, to say what they have seen want what they think of what they have seen, to verify it and have it verified.
There are two reasons why Rancière seems to end up here is problematic one has to do with the role of the teacher, the other with the status of emancipation.
The problem with the constructivist uptake of Rancières work ironically, also by Rancière himself is that the unique position he had carved out for the teacher in emancipatory education seems to have disappeared again. Rancière rather seems to be back where Freire already was, that is, with the teacher as a facilitator of learning, a facilitator of students constructing their own stories.
Bijlage 1: pedagogen die volgens Biesta R. verkeerd interpreteren
Pelletier (2012: 615), for example, refers to this view when she writes that teaching, as all good, progressive teachers know, is not about transmitting knowledge, but enabling another to learn
Engels-Schwarzpaul (2015: 12531254) makes a similar claim in her discussion of Rancière, when she writes thatit is now widely accepted that learning is not based on the unilateral conveyance of knowledge from teacher to studen, but rather that it is more effective when students take an active part in knowledge building. Against this background, she takes the key message of Rancières The Ignorant Schoolmaster to be one of [encouraging] learning through the use of ones own intelligence, experiment and experience, attentiveness and persistence (Engels-Schwarzpaul, 2015: 1255).
There is a similar tendency in the account Chambers (2013) gives of Rancières educational theory. Although strongly focusing on political questions, Chambers, where it concerns matters of education, comes close to a constructivist reading of Rancière as well, suggesting that Rancière advocates an utterly radical pedagogy centred around a rejection of mastery of schoolmasters who know it all, and convey this knowing to their students (Chambers, 2013: 639). Chambers thus presents Rancières new pedagogy [as] a reversal of the explicative orders primary assumption, suggesting that what is central to this new pedagogy is students ability to come to their own understanding (for example of a text) without the explanations of a master (Chambers, 2013: 644). He writes:
When a student picks up a book and reads it for herself (even, as in the case of Jacotots teaching experiments, a book written in a language other than her mother tongue), then she is using the method of equality.
This capacity for anyone to read the book without having someone else telling them what it means this is the power of equality, and this is all there is to equality.
(Chambers, 2013: 644)
Ook Gert Biesta in de ban van anti-pedagoog J. Rancière
De Nederlandse pedagoog Gert Biesta, wijdde samen met Charles Bingham een sympathiserend boek van 176 paginas aan de visie van Rancière: Jacques Rancière: Education, Truth, Emancipation New York: Continuum, 2010, 176 pages.
Biesta argues that Rancière provides us with a new and different way to understand how education might contribute to emancipation and also where and how, often in the name of emancipation and democracy, it actually hinders emancipation.
En ook in zijn recente artikels en boeken sympathiseert hij met de visie van de anti-pedagoog Jacques Rancière die zich beroept op de visie van Jacotot. Rancière gaat ervan uit dat een leerling de gelijke is van de leraar en telkens zelf een methode/aanpak/berekeningswijze/theorie moet ontwikkelen zonder dat de leermeesters en de school hem iets opleggen.
Dat geldt b.v. ook voor het leren lezen en schrijven in het eerste leerjaar, waar Rancière in navolging van Jacotot een zelfontdekkende aanpak propageert die haaks staat op onze Directe systeemmethodiek een aanpak die met succes in de recente leesmethodes wordt toegepast.
De radicale visie van Rancière staat haaks op deze van de meeste onderwijsmensen.
De Duitse prof. en emancipatorische pedagoog Klaus Mollenhauer betreurt in Vergeten samenhangen terecht dat opvoeding en onderwijs vaak verschrompelden tot leren vanuit de eigen ervaring en op eigen kracht. Mollenhauer pleitte voor meer cultuuroverdracht: Opvoeding en onderwijs is in de eerste plaats overlevering, overdracht van datgene wat voor ons belangrijk is. De leraar heeft de de verantwoordelijkheid de verstandelijke vermogens uit te dagen door mobiliteit en inspanning van het abstractievermogen te eisen. ...Pas op het moment dat de leerling/student geen uitdagingen meer nodig heeft, is hij in staat zichzelf te vormen en eindigt ook de taak van het onderwijs (Vergeten samenhangen. Over cultuur en opvoeding, 1983).
Biesta en Bingham tonen aan hoe R. afrekent met de gevarieerde vormen van macht en oppressie op school in de naam van opvoeding. Zij stellen dat Rancières visie op emancipatie ons in staat stelt om afstand te nemen van de klassieke emancipatie-notie die stelt dat de leerling (opvoedeling) vrijheid moet verwerven als gevolg van een pedagogische en emancipatorische interventie en actie van de opvoeders en leerkrachten.
Anti-autoritaire visies focussen op bevrijding van de leerling die onderdrukt wordt zowel in de klassieke onderwijsvisie als in de anti-autoritaire aanpakken à la Jacotot/Rançière.
Volgens Biesta presenteert Rancière een totaal andere kijk op emancipatie: For him, emancipation is the opposite of stultification, which happens whenever one intelligence is subordinated to another
This notion of emancipation unearths a fundamental contradiction in the contemporary approaches to anti-oppressive education that install dependency, inequality, distrust, and suspicion in the processes of emancipation. These processes keep those to be emancipated dependent upon the intervention of the emancipator, an intervention based upon a knowledge that is fundamentally inaccessible to the one to be emancipated (Bingham & Biesta, 2010, p. 31).
Biesta schrijft dat R. afstand neemt van de klassieke kijk op de emancipatorische functie van het onderwijs omdat de leerlingen die geëmancipeerd moeten worden afhankelijk zijn van de waarheid of kennis die hen meegedeeld wordt door de leraar-emancipator. Dit creëert volgens R. een fundamentele afhankelijkheid, een ongelijkheid tussen degenen die geëmancipeerd moeten worden en de emancipatoren (leraars e.d.).
Biesta schrijft verder: the most important quality of a schoolmaster is the virtue of ignorance. Rancière describes a teacher, Joseph Jacotot, who demonstrated that uneducated people could learn on their own, without a teacher explaining things to them, and that teachers, for their part, could teach what they themselves were ignorant of. Het is dus niet belangrijk dat en leraar over voldoende vakkennis beschikt en soms zelfs nadelig.
John Dewey propageerde onderwijs à la Rousseau - m.i.v. uitstellen van lezen tot 9 jaar
John Dewey, boegbeeld van de reformpedagogiek en van veel hedendaagse bewonderaars van Dewey, propageerde onderwijs à la Rousseau: het zgn. natuurlijk leren
Schools of to-morrow, by John Dewey and Eveline Dewey 1915
EDUCATION AS NATURAL DEVELOPMENT
We know nothing of childhood, and with our mistaken notions of it the further we go in education the more we go astray. The wisest writers devote themselves to what a man ought to know without asking what a child is capable of learning.
These sentences are typical of the Émile of Rousseau. He insists that existing education is bad because parents and teachers are always thinking of the accomplishments of adults, and that all reform depends upon centering attention upon the powers and weaknesses of children.
Rousseaus insistence that education be based upon the native capacities of those to be taught and upon the need of studying children in order to discover what these native powers are, sounded the key-note of all modern efforts for educational progress. It meant that education is not something to be forced upon children and youth from without, but is the growth of capacities with which human beings are endowed at birth.
From this conception flow the various considerations which educational reformers since his day have most emphasized.
It calls attention, in the first place, to a fact which professional educators are always forgetting: What is learned in school is at the best only a small part of education, a relatively superficial part; and yet what is learned in school makes artificial distinctions in society and marks persons off from one another. Consequently we exaggerate school learning compared with what is gained in the ordinary course of living.
We are, however, to correct this exaggeration, not by despising school learning, but by looking into that extensive and more efficient training given by the ordinary course of events for light upon the best ways of teaching within school walls. The first years of learning proceed rapidly and securely before children go to school, because that learning is so closely related with the motives that are furnished by their own powers and the needs that are dictated by their own conditions. Rousseau was almost the first to see that learning is a matter of necessity; it is a part of the process of self-preservation and of growth.
If we want, then, to find out how education takes place most successfully, let us go to the experiences of children where learning is a necessity, and not to the practices of the schools where it is largely an adornment, a superfluity and even an unwelcome imposition.
But schools are always proceeding in a direction opposed to this principle. They take the accumulated learning of adults, material that is quite unrelated to the exigencies of growth, and try to force it upon children, instead of finding out what these children need as they go along. A man must indeed know many things which seem useless to a child. Must the child learn, can he learn, all that the man must know? Try to teach a child what is of use to him as a child, and you will find that it takes all his time. Why urge him to the studies of an age he may never reach, to the neglect of those studies which meet his present needs? But, you ask, will it not be too late to learn what he ought to know when the time comes to use it? I cannot tell. But this I know; it is impossible to teach it sooner, for our real teachers are experience and emotion, and adult man will never learn what befits him except under his own conditions. A child knows he must become a man; all the ideas he may have as to mans estate are so many opportunities for his instruction, but he should remain in complete ignorance of those ideas that are beyond his grasp. My whole book is one continued argument in support of this fundamental principle of education.
Probably the greatest and commonest mistake that we all make is to forget that learning is a necessary incident of dealing with real situations. We even go so far as to assume that the mind is naturally averse to learningwhich is like assuming that the digestive organs are averse to food and have either to be coaxed or bullied into having anything to do with it.
Existing methods of instruction give plenty of evidence in support of a belief that minds are opposed to learningto their own exercise. We fail to see that such aversion is in reality a condemnation of our methods; a sign that we are presenting material for which the mind in its existing state of growth has no need, or else presenting it in such ways as to cover up the real need. Let us go further. We say only an adult can really learn the things needed by the adult. Surely the adult is much more likely to learn the things befitting him when his hunger for learning has been kept alive continuously than after a premature diet of adult nutriment has deadened desire to know.
We are of little faith and slow to believe.
We are continually uneasy about the things we adults know, and are afraid the child will never learn them unless they are drilled into him by instruction before he has any intellectual or practical use for them. If we could really believe that attending to the needs of present growth would keep the child and teacher alike busy, and would also provide the best possible guarantee of the learning needed in the future, transformation of educational ideals might soon be accomplished, and other desirable changes would largely take care of themselves.
It is no wonder, then, that Rousseau preaches the necessity of being willing to lose time. The greatest, the most important, the most useful rule of education is: Do not save time, but lose it. If the infant sprang at one bound from its mothers breast to the age of reason, the present education would be quite suitable; but its natural growth calls for quite a different training. And he says, again, The whole of our present method is cruel, for it consists in sacrificing the present to the remote and uncertain future. I hear from afar the shouts of the false wisdom that is ever dragging us on, counting the present as nothing, and breathlessly pursuing a future that flies as we pursue; a false wisdom that takes us away from the only place we ever have and never takes us anywhere else.
In short, if education is the proper growth of tendencies and powers, attention to the process of growing in the particular form in which it goes on from day to day is the only way of making secure the accomplishments of adult life. Maturity is the result of the slow growth of powers. Ripening takes time; it cannot be hurried without harm.
The very meaning of childhood is that it is the time of growth, of developing. To despise the powers and needs of childhood, in behalf of the attainments of adult life, is therefore suicidal. Hence Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Give nature time to work before you take upon yourself her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from excellence than a child who has learned nothing at all. You are afraid to seehim spending his early years doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy, nothing to jump and run all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long.... What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life
Reverence for childhood is identical with reverence for the needs and opportunities of growth.
Our tragic error is that we are so anxious for the results of growth that we neglect the process of growing. Nature would have children be children before they are men. If we try to invert this order we shall produce a forced fruit, immature and flavorless, fruit that rots before it can ripen.... Childhood has its own ways of thinking, seeing, and feeling. Physical growth is not identical with mental growth but the two coincide in time, and normally the latter is impossible without the former. If we have reverence for childhood, our first specific rule is to make sure of a healthy bodily development. Even apart from its intrinsic value as a source of efficient action and of happiness, the proper development of the mind directly depends upon the proper use of the muscles and the senses. The organs of action and of reception are indispensable for getting into relation with the materials of knowledge. The childs first business is self-preservation. This does not mean barely keeping himself alive, but preservation of himself as a growing, developing being. Consequently, the activities of a child are not so aimless as they seem to adults, but are the means by which he becomes acquainted with his world and by which he also learns the use and limits of his own powers.
The constant restless activities of children seem senseless to grown-up people, simply because grown-up people have got used to the world around them and hence do not feel the need of continual experimentation
. But when they are irritated by the ceaseless movements of a child and try to reduce him to a state of quiescence, they both interfere with the childs happiness and health, and cut him off from his chief means of real knowledge. Many investigators have seen how a sound bodily state is a negative condition of normal mental development; but Rousseau anticipated our present psychology as to the extent in which the action of the organs of sense and movement is a positive cause of the unfolding of intelligence.: If you follow rules that are the opposite of the established practice and instead of taking your pupil far afield, wandering to distant places, far-off lands, remote centuries, the ends of the world and to heavens themselves, you keep him to himself, to his own concerns, he will be able to perceive, to remember, and to reason in natures order of development. As the sentient infant grows into an active being, his discernment keeps pace with his increase in strength. Not till strength is developed beyond the needs of self-preservation is the faculty of speculation manifested, for this is the faculty of employing superfluous strength for other than necessary purposes. Hence, if you would cultivate your pupils intelligence, cultivate the strength it is meant to control. Give his body constant exercise, make it strong and healthy in order to make him good and wise; let him work, let him do things; let him run and shout; let him be on the go.... It is a lamentable mistake to imagine that bodily activity hinders the working of the mind, as if the two kinds of activity ought not to advance hand in hand, and as if the one were not intended to act as guide to the other.
(1) Nature would have children be children before they are men.
(2) Teach the child what is of use to him as a child.(Teachers College, N. Y. City.)
In the following passage Rousseau is more specific as to the way in which the physical activities which conduce to health and the growth of mind reinforce each othe.: Physical exercise teaches us to use our strength, to perceive the relation between our own and neighboring bodies, to use natural tools which are within our reach and adapted to our senses.... At eighteen we are taught in our schools the use of the lever; every village boy of twelve knows how to use a lever better than the cleverest mechanician in the academy. The lessons the scholars give one another on the playground are worth a hundredfold more than what they learn in the classroom. Watch a cat when she first comes into a room. She goes from place to place; she sniffs about and examines everything. She is not still for a moment. It is the same with a child when he begins to walk and enters, as it were, the room of the world about him. Both use sight, and the child uses his hands as the cat her nose. As mans first natural impulse is to measure himself upon his environment, to find in every object he sees the qualities that may concern himself, so his first study is a kind of experimental physics for his own preservation. He is turned away from this, and sent to speculative studies before he has found his own place in the world. While his delicate and flexible limbs and keen senses can adjust themselves to the bodies upon which they intended to act is the time to exercise senses and limbs in their proper businessthe time to learn the relation between themselves and things. Our first teachers in natural philosophy are our feet, hands, and eyes. To substitute books for them does not teach us to reason; it teaches us to use the reason of others rather than our own; it teaches us to believe much and to know little.
Before you can get an art, you must first get your tools; and if you are to make good use of your tools, they must be fashioned sufficiently strong to stand use. To learn to think, we must accordingly exercise our limbs, our senses, and our bodily organs, for these are the tools of intellect. To get the best use of these tools, the body that supplies us with these tools must be kept strong and healthy. Not only is it a mistake that true reason is developed apart from the body, but it is a good bodily constitution that makes the workings of the mind easy and correct.
The passage shows how far Rousseau was from considering bodily development as a complete end in itself. It also indicates how far ahead he was of the psychology of his own day in his conception of the relation of the senses to knowledge. The current idea (and one that prevails too much even in our own time) was that the senses were a sort of gateway and avenue through which impressions traveled and then built up knowledge pictures of the world. Rousseau saw that they are a part of the apparatus of action by which we adjust ourselves to our environment, and that instead of being passive receptacles they are directly connected with motor activitieswith the use of hands and legs. In this respect he was more advanced than some of his successors who emphasized the importance of sense contact with objects, for the latter thought of the senses simply as purveyors of information about objects instead of instruments of the necessary adjustments of human beings to the world around them.
Consequently, while he makes much of the senses and suggests many games for cultivating them, he never makes the mere training of the senses an object on its own account. It is not enough, he says, to use the senses in order to train them; we must learn to judge by their meanswe cannot really see, hear, or touch except as we have learned. A merely mechanical use of the senses may strengthen the body without improving the judgment. It is all very well to swim, run, jump, whip a top, throw stones. But we have eyes and ears as well as arms and legs, and these organs are necessary for learning the use of the rest. Do not, then, merely exercise strength, but exercise the senses as the powers by which strength is guided. Make the best use of every one of them, and check the results of one by another. Measure, count, weigh, compare. Do not use force till you have estimated the resistance; let estimation of the effect always precede application of the means. Get the child interested in avoiding superfluous and insufficient efforts. If you train him to calculate the consequences of what he does and then to correct the errors of his prevision by experience, the more he does, the wiser he will become. One more contrast between teaching which guides natural growth and teaching which imposes adult accomplishments should be noticed. The latter method puts a premium upon accumulating information in the form of symbols.
Quantity rather than quality of knowledge is emphasized; results that may be exhibited when asked for rather than personal attitude and method are demanded. Development emphasizes the need of intimate and extensive personal acquaintance with a small number of typical situations with a view to mastering the way of dealing with the problems of experience, not the piling up of information. As Rousseau points out, the facility with which children lend themselves to our false methods is a constant source of deception to us. We knowor fancy we knowwhat statements mean, and so when the child uses the proper form of words, we attribute the same understanding to him. The apparent ease with which children learn is their ruin. We fail to see that this very ease proves that they are not learning. Their shining, polished brain merely reflects, as in a mirror, the things we show them.
Rousseau describes in a phrase the defect of teaching about things instead of bringing to pass an acquaintance with the relations of the things themselves: You think you are teaching him what the world is like; he is only learning the map. Extend the illustration from geography to the whole wide realm of knowledge, and you have the gist of much of our teaching from the elementary school through the college.
To learn to think, we must exercise our limbs. (Francis Parker School, Chicago.)
Rousseau has the opposite method in mind when he says:Among the many short cuts to science we badly need one to teach us the art of learning with difficulty. Of course his idea is not to make things difficult for the sake of having them difficult, but to avoid the simulation of learning found in repeating the formulas of learning, and to substitute for it the slow and sure process of personal discovery.
Textbooks and lectures give the results of other mens discoveries, and thus seem to provide a short cut to knowledge; but the outcome is just a meaningless reflecting back of symbols with no understanding of the facts themselves. The further result is mental confusion; the pupil loses his original mental sure-footedness; his sense of reality is undermined: The first meaningless phrase, the first thing taken for granted on the authority of another without the pupils seeing its meaning for himself, is the beginning of the ruin of judgment. And again: What would you have him think about, when you do all the thinking for him? (And we must not forget that the organized material of our texts and set lessons represents the thinking of others.)You then complete the task of discrediting reason in his mind by making him use such reason as he has upon the things which seem of the least use to him.
If it was true in Rousseaus day that information, knowledge, as an end in itself, is an unfathomable and shoreless ocean, it is much more certain that the increase of science since his day has made absurd the identification of education with the mere accumulation of knowledge. The frequent criticism of existing education on the ground that it gives a smattering and superficial impression of a large and miscellaneous number of subjects, is just. But the desired remedy will not be found in a return to mechanical and meager teaching of the three Rs, but rather in a surrender of our feverish desire to lay out the whole field of knowledge into various studies, in order to cover the ground.
We must substitute for this futile and harmful aim the better ideal of dealing thoroughly with a small number of typical experiences in such a way as to master the tools of learning, and present situations that make pupils hungry to acquire additional knowledge. By the conventional method of teaching, the pupil learns maps instead of the worldthe symbol instead of the fact. What the pupil really needs is not exact information about topography, but how to find out for himself:See what a difference there is between the knowledge of your pupils and the ignorance of mine. They learn maps; he makes them.
To find out how to make knowledge when it is needed is the true end of the acquisition of information in school, not the information itself.
AN EXPERIMENT IN EDUCATION AS NATURAL DEVELOPMENT
*Leren lezen uitstellen tot leeftijd van 9 jaar en kinderen leren zichzelf lezen
*Cijfers en getallen pas als leerlingen 9 jaar zijn
Rousseaus teaching that education is a process of natural growth has influenced most theorizing upon education since his time. It has influenced the practical details of school work to a less degree. Occasionally, however, experimenters have based their plans upon his principles. Among these experiments is one conducted by Mrs. Johnson at Fairhope, Alabama. To this spot during the past few years students and experts have made pilgrimages, and the influence of Mrs. Johnsons model has led to the starting of similar schools in different parts of the United States. Mrs. Johnson carries on a summer course for training teachers by giving a working object lesson in her ideas at Greenwich, Connecticut, where a school for children has been conducted as a model.
Her main underlying principle is Rousseaus central idea; namely: The child is best prepared for life as an adult by experiencing in childhood what has meaning to him as a child; and, further, the child has a right to enjoy his childhood. Because he is a growing animal who must develop so as to live successfully in the grown-up world, nothing should be done to interfere with growth, and everything should be done to further the full and free development of his body and his mind. These two developments go on together; they are inseparable processes and must both be constantly borne in mind as of equal importance.
Mrs. Johnson criticizes the conventional school of to-day. She says it is arranged to make things easy for the teacher who wishes quick and tangible results; that it disregards the full development of the pupils. It is arranged on the fatal plan of a hothouse, forcing to a sterile show, rather than fostering all-around growth. It does not foster an individuality capable of an enduring resistance and of creative activities. It disregards the present needs of the child; the fact that he is living a full life each year and hour, not waiting to live in some period defined by his elders, when school is a thing of the past. The distaste of children for school is a natural and necessary result of such mistakes as these. Nature has not adapted the young animal to the narrow desk, the crowded curriculum, the silent absorption of complicated facts.
His very life and growth depend upon motion, yet the school forces him into a cramped position for hours at a time, so that the teacher may be sure he is listening or studying books. Short periods of exercise are allowed as a bribe to keep him quiet the rest of the time, but these relaxations do not compensate for the efforts which he must make. The child is eager to move both mentally and physically. Just as the physical growth must progress together with the mental, so it is in the separate acts of a child. His bodily movements and his mental awakening are mutually dependent upon each other.
It is not enough to state this principle without carrying its proof into practice, says Mrs. Johnson. The child with the well-nourished, active body is the child who is most anxious to do and to know things. The need of activity must be met in the exercise of the school, hour by hour; the child must be allowed to move about both in work and in play, to imitate and to discover for himself. The world of objects around him is an unexplored hemisphere to the child even at the age of six years, a world constantly enlarging to his small vision as his activities carry him further and further in his investigations, a world by no means so commonplace to him as to the adult. Therefore, let the child, while his muscles are soft and his mind susceptible, look for himself at the world of things both natural and artificial, which is for him the source of knowledge.
Instead of providing this chance for growth and discovery, the ordinary school impresses the little one into a narrow area, into a melancholy silence, into a forced attitude of mind and body, till his curiosity is dulled into surprise at the strange things happening to him. Very soon his body is tired of his task and he begins to find ways of evading his teacher, to look about him for an escape from his little prison. This means that he becomes restless and impatient, in the language of the school, that he loses interest in the small tasks set for him and consequently in that new world so alluring a little while ago. The disease of indifference has attacked his sensitive soul, before he is fairly started on the road to knowledge.
The reason for having a school where children work together is that the child must learn to work with others.
Granting this, Mrs. Johnson has tried to find a plan giving the utmost liberty of individual development. Because the young child is unfitted by reason of his soft muscles and his immature senses to the hard task of settling down to fine work on the details of things, he should not begin school life by learning to read and write, nor by learning to handle small playthings or tools. He must continue the natural course he began at home of running from one interesting object to another, of inquiring into the meaning of these objects, and above all of tracing the relation between the different objects. All this must be done in a large way so that he gets the names and bearings of the obvious facts as they appear in their order. Thus the obscure and difficult facts come to light one after another without being forced upon the childs attention by the teacher. One discovery leads to another, and the interest of pursuit leads the child of his own accord into investigations that often amount to severe intellectual discipline.
Following this path of natural growth, the child is led into reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, etc., by his own desire to know. We must wait for the desire of the child, for the consciousness of need, says Mrs. Johnson; then we must promptly supply the means to satisfy the childs desire. Therefore, the age of learning to read is put off until the child is well grounded in hisexperience and knowledge of the larger relations of things.
Leren lezen uitstellen tot leeftijd van 9 jaar en kinderen leren zichzelf lezen
Mrs. Johnson goes so far as to prevent children from learning to read at too early an age. At eight or nine years, she thinks they are keen to explore books just as they have previously explored things. By this time they recognize the need and use of the information contained in books; they have found out they can get this information in no other way. Hence, the actual learning to read is hardly a problem; children teach themselves. Under the stimulus of interest in arriving at the knowledge of some particular subject, they overcome the mechanical difficulty of reading with ease and rapidity. Reading is not to them an isolated exercise; it is a means of acquiring a much-desired object. Like climbing the pantry shelves, its difficulties and dangers are lost sight of in the absorbing desire to satisfy the mental appetite.
Each of the subjects of the curriculum should be given to the child to meet a demand on his part for a greater knowledge of relations than he can get from studying objects.
Arithmetic and abstract notions represented by figures are meaningless to the child of six, but numbers as a part of the things he is playing with or using every day are so full of meaning that he soonfinds he cannot get along without a knowledge of them.
Mrs. Johnson is trying an experiment under conditions which hold in public schools, and she believes that her methods are feasible for any public school system. She charges practically no tuition, and any child is welcome. She calls her methods of education organic because they follow the natural growth of the pupil. The school aims to provide for the child the occupations and activities necessary at each stage of development for his unfolding at that stage. Therefore, she insists that general development instead of the amount of information acquired, shall control the classification of the pupils. Division into groups is made where it is found that the children naturally divide themselves. These groups are called Life Classes instead of grades. The first life class ends between the eighth and ninth years; the second between the eleventh and twelfth, and since an even more marked change of interests and tastes occurs at the period of adolescence, there are distinct high-school classes. The work within the group is then arranged to give the pupils the experiences which are needed at that age for the development of their bodies, minds, and spirits.
Doing forced tasks, assignment of lessons to study, and ordinary examinations have no share in the Fairhope curriculum.
Hence, the children do not acquire that dislike of learning and mistrust of what a teacher or text-book says, which are unfortunately so common among scholars in the ordinary school. They exercise their instincts to learn naturally, without that self-consciousness which comes from having been forced to keep their minds on examinations and promotions.
Bright and intelligent children often acquire a distaste for the schoolroom and what comes out of it, which they not only never wholly outgrow but which is a real handicap to them as they grow up, often preventing them from taking their college work seriously, and making them suspicious of all ideas not actually deduced from their own experience outside the classroom. Perhaps they grow so docile they acquiesce in all authoritative statements whatsoever, and lose their sense of reality. We tell our children that books are the storehouses of the world, and that they contain the heritage of the past without which we would be savages; then we teach them so that they hate books of information and discount what a teacher tells them. Incompetency is general not becausepeople are not instructed enough as children, but because they cannot and do not make any use of what they learn. The extent to which this is due to an early mistrust of school and the learning associated with it cannot be overstated.
The students at Fairhope will never have this handicap to contend with. They are uniformly happy in school, and enthusiastically proclaim their love for it.
Not only is the work interesting to the group as a whole, but no individual child is forced to a task that does not appeal; each pupil may do as he pleases as long as he does not interfere with any one else. The children are not freed, however, from all discipline. They must keep at work while they are in school, and learn not to bother their neighbors, as well as to help them when necessary. Caprice or laziness does not excuse a child from following a healthy or useful régime.
Mrs. Johnson feels that children in their early years are neither moral nor immoral, but simply unmoral; their sense of right and wrong has not yet begun to develop. Therefore, they should be allowed as much freedom as possible; prohibitions and commands, the result of which either upon themselves or their companions they cannot understand, are bound to be meaningless; their tendency is to make the child secretive and deceitful. Give a child plenty of healthy activity. When he must be disciplined, do not appeal to a sense which he has not got, but show him by a little pain if necessary what his naughty act meant to his playmate. If he is to share in fun and good things with his family and friends, he must behave so that they will want his company. This is a motive which a young child can understand, for he knows when his friends are agreeable or disagreeable to him. There is less in such a scheme of discipline that impels the child to shirk or conceal, to lie or to become too conscious of his acts, than in a discipline based on moral grounds, which seems to the child to be a mere excuse for forcing him to do something simply because some grown person wants it done.
Lack of self-consciousness is a positive gain on the side of happiness. Mrs. Johnsons scheme of discipline contributes toward that love of school and work which all teaching aims to establish. When work is interesting, it is not necessary to hamper children in their performance of it by meaningless restrictions and petty prohibitions. When children work willingly they come to associate learning with the doing of what is congenial. This is undoubtedly of positive moral value. It helps develop a confident,cheerful attitude toward work; an ability to face a task without dislike or repulsion, which is of more real value in character building than doing hard, distasteful tasks, or forcing attention and obedience.
The division into age groups or life classes takes away that emphasis upon the pupils failures and shortcomings which is bound to be more or less evident where pupils are graded according to their proficiency in books.
The child who is slow mentally is not made to feel that he is disgraced. Attention is not called to him and he is not prodded, scolded, or flunked. Unaware of his own weaknesses, he retains the moral support of confidence in himself; and his hand work and physical accomplishments frequently give him prestige among his fellows. Mrs. Johnson believes that the recitations and examination of the ordinary schoolroom are merely devices to make the work easier for the teacher; while the consciousness of what he does or does not know, resulting from marks and grades, is harmful to the child just as an emphasis of his failures is harmful.
Especially marked is the contrast of the classroom exercises at Fairhope with recitations where, sitting still with their books closed, the children are subject to a fire of questions from
the teacher to find out how much they remember of a lesson they are supposed to have studied alone.
To quote again from Rousseau: He (the teacher) makes a point of showing that no time has been wasted; he provides his pupils with goods that can be readily displayed in the shop windows, accomplishments which can be shown off at will.... If the child is to be examined, he is set to display his wares; he spreads them out; satisfies those who behold them, packs up his bundle, and goes his way. Too many questions are tedious and revolting to most of us and especially to children. After a few minutes their attention flags; they cease to listen to your everlasting questions and they answer at random.
At Fairhope the children do the work, and the teacher is there to help them to know, not to have them give back what they have memorized. Tests are often conducted with books open, since they are not to show the teacher what the child can remember, but rather to discover his progress in ability to use books. Lessons are not assigned, but the books are open in the hands of the pupils and with the teacher they discuss the text, getting out of it all the joy and information possible. This stimulates a real love of books, so that these children who have never been assigned a lesson to study, voluntarily study the text after the class work. They are not tempted to cheat, for they are not put in the position of having to show off.
The result of this system of discipline and study over and above satisfactory progress in the three Rs, is freedom from self-consciousness on the mental and moral side; the ability of a child to put all his native initiative and enthusiasm into his work; the power to indulge his natural desire to learn; thus preserving joy in life and a confidence in himself which liberates all his energies for his work. He likes school and forgets that he is learning; for learning comes unconsciously as a by-product of experiences which he recognizes as worth while on their own account.
The following activities have been worked out at Fairhope as a substitute for the usual curriculum: physical exercise, nature study, music, hand work, field geography, story telling, sense culture, fundamental conceptions of number, dramatizations, and games. In the second class map drawing and descriptive geography are added, for reading is acquired, and the number work is modified by the knowledge of figures.
Each lesson is planned as a concrete experience with a definite end in view, appealing to the child as desirable. As would be expected from the emphasis put upon following the development of the child, physical exercise plays an important part in the days work. It comes every day, during the regular school hours and usually in the first part of the morning while the children are fresh and energetic.
For an hour the school is outdoors in a field the children call the gym. Bars, horses, etc., are scattered about, and there is some one there to help them try new things and see that the work is well balanced, but formal gymnastics in the accepted meaning of the term do not exist.
Mrs. Johnson believes that the distaste of children is sufficient reason for doing away with them, and that, since the growing child is constantly seeking of his own accord opportunities to stretch and exercise his muscles, all the school needs to do is to supply the opportunity, seeing to it that this is not indulged to the point of harming the child. The children fall naturally into groups; those who want to swing on the bars and rings, those who want to climb, to jump, or run, or throw, etc. Running usually takes the form of races; a tree is used as a target in the stone throwing contests. The children themselves have invented games to use on the apparatus, and the hour in
the gym is one of the busiest in the day. It leaves the children eager and stimulated for their mental work, since it has meant no overworking of one set of muscles, no dull repetition of meaningless movements at some one elses command. Besides this regular time for exercise, the children may study outdoors, and many of the classes are conducted in the open air. Indoors there are games, handwork, and dramatizations, all of which contribute to the physical well-being of the children.
There are no cramping desks, the pupil may sit where or how he pleases, or even move from place to place if he does not disturb his fellows. The classes go on in a room in which two groups, each of fifteen or more children, are working, and the necessary quiet and order exist.
Nature study and field geography are conducted almost entirely out of doors. The children go into the fields and woods and look at the trees and flowers, ask questions about them, examine the differences in bark, leaves, and flowers, tell each other what they think, and use their books to answer questions that the trees and plants have suggested to them. They learn the meaning of the words pistils, stamens, and petals with flowers they have gathered, or watch a bee carrying pollen from plant to plant.
Individual pupils are encouraged to tell the class what they may have learned at home, to bring flowers from their gardens, or to tell of things they have seen. The class visit a neighboring truck farm, recognize as many vegetables as they can, and learn the names and characteristics of the new ones. When they are back in the schoolroom those that can write make a list of all the vegetables they can remember, thus combining with their nature lesson a lesson in writing. There is a garden in the school grounds where the pupils learn to plow, rake, and plant, watch their seeds come up and grow and flower. In a little plot of ground that is their own, they observe all the phases in the cycle of plant life, and besides get the benefits of the moral training that comes from carrying through a piece of work that lasts several months and demands constant thought and care. This sort of work plays a large part in the curriculum of the younger children, for it seems to belong particularly to their world; to the world of definite concrete objects which they see about them every day, which they can handle and play with, and which consequently arouse their curiosity.
The field geography is conducted in much the same way. Even the very young children acquirea good idea of the different sorts of rock formations, of the action of the wind and rain, of river currents, by direct observation; if text-books are used they come afterwards, to explain or amplify something the pupils have seen. The soil about the school is clay and after a rain the smallest stream furnishes excellent examples of the ways of rivers, erosions, watersheds, floods, or changing currents, while an explanation of tides or the Gulf Stream is made vital by a little trip to the Bay. A gully near the school building not only furnishes a splendid place for play but serves as a text-book in mountain ranges, valleys, and soil and rock formation. All this serves as an excellent foundation and illustration for the descriptive geography which comes later. The more advanced geography is principally commercial geography; and with the scientific background that the pupils have already obtained, the real significance of the relations between climates and crops, industries, exports and imports, and social conditions is much more likely to be understood.
The value of handwork is strongly emphasized at Fairhope, consistently with the emphasis put on physical growth. The little child must go on learning to coördinate with more and more skill his muscular movements if his body is to be developed to the highest standards of health and efficiency, and nothing contributes to this better than the controlled and rather delicate motions necessary for making things with the hands. The fact that he is making things gives just the stimulus the child needs to enable him to keep on at the task, to repeat over and over the same efforts of mind, hand, and eye, to give him real control of himself in the process. The benefits of handwork on the utilitarian side are just as great. The child learns how to use the ordinary tools of life, the scissors, knife, needle, plane, and saw, and gets an appreciation of the artists tools, paint and clays, which lasts the rest of his life. If he is a child with initiative and inventiveness he finds a natural and pleasant outlet for his energies. If he is dreamy or unpractical, he learns a respect for manual work, and gains something toward becoming a well-rounded human being. Boys and girls alike do cooking and carpentry work, for the object of the work is not to train them for any trade or profession, but to train them to be capable, happy members of society. Painting or clay modeling play quite as large a rôle, even with the little ones, as carpentry or sewing, providing they serve a purpose or are sufficiently connected with other work to hold the pupils interest. A sense of the beautiful is not consciously present in small children and must be developed through their handling of every-day objects if it is to become a real force in their lives.
Therefore art is taught as part of the handwork, the story telling, the dramatization, or the nature study. The youngest children in clay modeling, painting, weaving paper mats, making paper or wooden toys, etc., are asked as much as possible to suggest things they want to make.
With the acquisition of skill, they go on making more and more difficult objects; pupils of nine or ten make raffia baskets, boats, and dolls furniture.
The story telling and dramatization are very closely connected and (up to the age of about ten) take the place of the usual bookwork. Stories of literary value, suited in subject matter to the age of the pupils, are told or read to them, and they in turn are asked to tell stories they have heard outside of school.
After the ninth or tenth year, when the children have learned to read, they read stories from books, either to themselves or aloud, and then the whole class discuss them. The Greek myths, the Iliad, and the Odyssey are favorites at this age, and very frequently without directions from the teacher, a class will act out a whole story, such as the Fall of Troy, or any tale that has appealed especially to their dramatic imagination. The school believes that this is the true way for young people to approach literature, if they are to learn to love and appreciate it, not simply to study the text for strange words and figures of speech. The pupils are not allowed to use books until the eighth or ninth year, and by this time they have realized so keenly their need, they beg for help in learning. The long, tiresome drill necessary for six-year-old children is eliminated. Each child is anxious to read some particular book, so there is little or no need to trap his attention, or to insist on an endless repetition. Mrs. Johnson believes also that it is better for the natural physical and mental development of the child, if learning to write and figure is put off as late as possible. Then pupils approach it with a consciousness of their real need for it, of the help it will be to them in their daily life. Their background of knowledge of things and skill acquired through handwork renders the actual processes of learning comparatively simple.
Mrs. Johnson is convinced that a child who does not learn to read and write in her school until he is ten years old, is as well read at fourteen, and writes and spells as well as a child of fourteen in a school where the usual curriculum is followed.
Cijfers en getallen pas als leerlingen 9 jaar zijn
The fundamental conception of number is taught orally. The smallest children begin by counting one another or the things about them. Then perhaps at the blackboard they will divide a line in half, then into three parts, then quarters. By means of objects or lines on the blackboard they next begin to add, to subtract, to take three-fourths, even to divide. The oral drill in this kind of work is constant, and the children become thoroughly familiar with the fundamental processes of arithmetic, before they can write a number or know the meaning of the addition or multiplication sign.
Then when the time comes, at about the age of nine, to learn to write numbers, the drill is repeated by using the conventional signs instead of lines or objects. The school has found that this method does away with the usual struggles, especially in learning fractions and their handling. Long division and the other complicated processes are taught after the pupils can write well and easily, and no emphasis is put on formal analysis until repeated drill has made the children fairly familiar with, and proficient in, the process. Games and contests of all sorts invented by the individual teacher are used to make this drill interesting to the pupils.
Sense culture means the specific training of the childs body and muscles to respond accurately to the desire to perform definite muscular or other sense acts; or more technically it means motor-sensory coördination. Besides the general training coming from handwork and physical exercise, special games are arranged to exercise the different senses. The youngest class does relatively most of this sense gymnastic. The whole class sits motionless and in absolute silence; some child tiptoes from his seat to another part of the room, and then with his eyes shut every other child tries to tell where he is; or one child says something and the others try to guess who it was, by the voice. To train the sense of touch, a blindfolded child is given some ordinary objects, and by touching them tries to recognize them.
One of the favorite games of the whole school was invented to train muscular accuracy. Children of different ages, divided into groups, throw stones at a large tree in the yard. This game has all the zest of competition, while teaching the eye and hand to work together, and exercising the whole body. The unusual physical control of the Fairhope pupils is seen best in the carpenter shop, whereeven the youngest children work and handle full-sized tools, hammers, saws, and planes and do not hurt themselves. There is a foot power jig-saw in the shop and it is an instructive sight to see a child of seven, too small to work the pedal, holding his piece of wood, turning and shaping it in the saw without hurting himself.
The Fairhope pupils compare favorably with pupils in the ordinary public schools. When for any reason they make a change, they have always been able to work with other children of their age without extra effort; they are apt to be stronger physically and are much more capable with their hands, while they have a real love of books and study that makes them equally strong on the purely cultural side of their work.
The organic curriculum has been worked out in detail and in use longest for the younger children, but Mrs. Johnson is convinced the principle of her work will apply equally well to high school pupils and is beginning an experiment with high school children. Under her direction the school has proved a decided success. Time and larger opportunities will undoubtedly correct the weak spots and discrepancies that are bound to appear while any school is in the experimental stage.
The school has provided conditions for wholesome, natural growth in
small enough groups for the teacher (as a leader rather than an instructor) to become acquainted with the weaknesses of each child individually and then to adapt the work to the individual needs. It has demonstrated that it is possible for children to lead the same natural lives in school that they lead in good homes outside of school hours; to progress bodily, mentally, and morally in school without factitious pressure, rewards, examinations, grades, or promotions, while they acquire sufficient control of the conventional tools of learning and of study of booksreading, writing, and figuringto be able to use them independently.
John Dewey prees in 1928 de Russische revolutie en schoolsysteem m.i.v. politieke indoctrinatie - scheppen van colectief bewustzijn - als vorm van burgerschapsvorming
John Dewey prees in 1928 de Russische revolutie en het Russisch schoolsysteem m.i.v. politieke indoctrinatie - scheppen van colectief bewustzijn - als vorm van burgerschapsvorming
Vooraf: Ook in recente publicaties over onderwijs, de relatie onderwijs en maatschappij, burgerschapsvorming wordt veel verwezen naar de m.i. vrij controversiële visie van Dewey.
Impressions of Soviet Russia and the revolutionary world
JOHN DEWEY 1928
Long out of print, here is the complete text of the above book through the first six chapters. These chapters cover Deweys visit to Soviet Russia in the summer of 1928.
A few words about the content of Deweys book follow
.Lenin coined a phrase for the Western intellectuals who parroted Soviet propaganda: useful idiots. That phrase spoken for, what shall we call the intellectuals who praised what was true? Though Dewey was a useful idiot, believing the lies told by Soviet intellectuals, he could also be an accurate reporter of what actually was happening. In both cases he was full of praise.
As is clear from Deweys gushing text, he arrived in Leningrad eager to admire the creation of what he calls a collectivistic mentality. To that end he excused, at times even admired, the methods of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Evil means to an evil end.
The Bolsheviks returned Deweys admiration. As Deweys books appeared in the West they published Russian translations, even during the Russian civil war brought on by the revolution when their resources were scarce. Deweys ideas were apparently judged as crucial to the revolution as any weapon in the arsenal of the Red Army. writes Paul Kengor in Dupes: How Americas Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century, though in Deweys case he was as much fellow duper as one duped.Dewey praised the collusion of school and state.
Overzicht Deweys book.
Chapter I Leningrad Gives the ClueChapter II A Country in a State of Flux Chapter III A New World in the Making Chapter IV What Are the Russian Schools Doing? Chapter V New Schools for a New Er Chapter VI The Great Experiment and the Future
3 Passages uit: A New World in the Making
The positive reason for attaching primary significance to this intellectual movement, and for thinking of it as educational, is the fact that by the necessities of the case the central problem of the Soviet leaders is the production of a new mentality, a new ideology, to employ one of the three or four words that one hears the most frequently. There can be no doubt of the tenacity with which the dogma of economic determinism is held to; it is an article of faith that the content and temper of ideas and beliefs which currently prevail are fixed by economic institutions and processes. But it is not true that the prevalent Marxian economic materialism denies efficacy to ideas and beliefsto the current ideology, whatever that is.
On the contrary, it is held that, while originally this is an effect of economic causes, it becomes in time itself a secondary cause which operates reciprocally. Hence, from the communist standpoint, the problem is not only that of replacing capitalistic by collectivistic economic institutions, but also one of substituting a collective mentality for the individualistic psychology inherited from the bourjui epocha psychology which is still ingrained in most of the peasants and most of the intellectuals as well as in the trading class itself. Ultimate popular ideology is to be determined by communistic institutions; but meantime the success of their efforts to introduce these institutions is dependent upon ability to create a new mentality, a new psychological attitude. And obviously this latter problem is essentially one of education. It accounts for the extraordinary importance assumed in the present phase of Russian life by educational agencies. And in accounting for their importance, it enables one to use them as a magnifying glass of great penetrating power by which to read the spirit of events in their constructive phase. The present age is, of course, everywhere one in which propaganda has assumed the rôle of a governing power. But nowhere else in the world is employment of it as a tool of control so constant, consistent and systematic as in Russia at present. For we instinctively associate propaganda with the accomplishing of some special ends, more or less private to a particular class or group, and correspondingly concealed from others. But in Russia the propaganda is in behalf of a burning public faith. One may believe that the leaders are wholly mistaken in the object of their faith, but their sincerity is beyond question. To them the end for which propaganda is employed is not a private or even a class gain, but is the universal good of universal humanity.
In consequence, propaganda is education and education is propaganda. They are more than confounded; they are identified.
When I speak, then, of educational agencies, I mean something much wider than the operation of the school system. Of the latter as such, I hope to write something later. But here I am concerned with it only as a part of the evidence that the essential constructive work of present dayor transitionalRussia is intrinsically educational.
In this particular aspect, the work of the schools finds its meaning expressed in words one often hears: Nothing can be done with the older generation as a whole. Its ideologywas fixed by the older régime; we can only wait for them to die. Our positive hope is in the younger generation. Scheppen van collectieve mentaliteit
But the office of the schools in creating a new ideology cannot be understood in isolation; it is part of a reciprocal operation. Political and economic changes and measures are themselves, during the present period, essentially educational; they are conceived of not only as preparing the external conditions for an ulterior communistic régime, but even more as creating an atmosphere, an environment, favorable to a collectivistic mentality. The mass of the people is to learn the meaning of Communism not so much by induction into Marxian doctrinesalthough there is plenty of that in the schoolsbut by what is done for the mass in freeing their life, in giving them a sense of security, safety, in opening to them access to recreation, leisure, new enjoyments and new cultivations of all sorts. The most effective propaganda, as the most effective education, is found to be that of deeds which raise the level of popular life, making it fuller and richer, while associating the gains as indissolubly as possible with a collective mentality.
My feeling when I left Leningrad, put baldly, was that the Revolution was a great success, My experience in Moscow did not alter the latter impression to the extent of convincing me that there is in practice any more actual Communism that I had supposed that there was. But those experiences convinced me that there is an enormous constructive effort taking place in the creation of a new collective mentality; a new morality I should call it, were it not for the aversion of Soviet leaders to all moral terminology; and that this endeavor is actually succeeding to a considerable degreeto just what extent, I cannot, of course, measure.
Thus the transition appears to be in considerable degree a fact. Towards what it is a transition seems to me, however, a still wholly undetermined matter. To the orthodox Marxian, the goal is, of course, certain; it is just the communistic institutions his special philosophy of history requires. But personally, I am strongly of the impression that the more successful are the efforts to create a new mentality and a new morality of a coöperative social type, the more dubious is the nature of the goal that will be attained. For, I am wholly inclined to believe, this new attitude of mind, in just the degree in which it is really new and revolutionary, will create its own future society according to its own desires and purposes. This future society will undoubtedly be highly unlike the régime characteristic of the western world of private capital and individual profit. But I think the chances are that it will be equally unlike the society which orthodox Marxian formulæ call for.
The final significance of what is taking place in Russia is not to be grasped in political or economic terms, but is found in change, of incalculable importance, in the mental and moral disposition of a people, an educational transformation. This impression, I fear, deviates widely from the belief of both the devotees and the enemies of the Bolshevik régime. But it is stamped in my mind and I must record it for what it is. ( It is remarkable that Dewey praises this impression. Editor.)
IV What Are the Russian Schools Doing?
The schools are the ideological arm of the Revolution. I gave in my last article some reasons for believing that in the transitional state of Russia chief significance attaches to the mental and moral (pace the Marxians) change that is taking place; that while in the end this transformation is supposed to be a means to economic and political change, for the present it is the other way around. This consideration is equivalent to saying that the import of all institutions is educational in the broad sensethat of their effects upon disposition and attitude. Their function is to create habits so that persons will act coöperatively and collectively as readily as now in capitalistic countries they act individualistically. The same consideration defines the importance and the purpose of the narrower educational agencies, the schools. They represent a direct and concentrated effort to obtain the effect which other institutions develop in a diffused and roundabout manner. The schools are, in current phrase, the ideological arm of the Revolution. In consequence, the activities of the schools dovetail in the most extraordinary way, both in administrative organization and in aim and spirit, into all other social agencies and interests.
The Russian system of government at the present time is like that to which the population has been accustomed for centuries, namely, a personal system; like the old system, it has many repressive traits. But viewed in the only way which the experience of the masses makes possible for them, it is one that has opened to them doors that were formerly shut and bolted; it is as interested in giving them access to sources of happiness as the only other government with which they have any acquaintance was to keep them in misery. This fact, and not that of espionage and police restriction, however excessive the latter may be, explains the stability of the present government, in spite of the comparatively small number of communists in the country. It relegates to the realm of pure fantasy those policies for dealing with Russia that are based on the notion that the present government is bound to fall from internal causes if only it can be sufficiently boycotted and isolated externally. I know of nothing that is more indicative of the state of illusion in which it is possible for isolated groups to live than the fact that, of five or six Russian dailies published by the émigrés in Paris, three are devoted to restoration of the monarchy.
I have become involved in a diversion, though one naturally suggested by the marvelous development of progressive educational ideas and practices under the fostering care of the Bolshevist governmentand I am speaking of what I have seen and not just been told about. However, the second factor that operated in the transformation of the educator takes us out of the region of reforming and progressive ideas into that of communism proper. It is the factor that would, I am sure, be emphasized by every communist educator rather than that which I have just mentioned. The frustration of educational aims by economic conditions occupied a much larger place in the story of the pilgrims progress from pedagogy to communism than did explicit and definite political and governmental opposition. In fact, the latter was mentioned only as an inevitable by-product of the former.
There are, as he puts it, two educations, the greater and the smaller. The lesser is given by the school; the larger, and the one finally influential, is given by the actual conditions of life, especially those of the family and neighborhood. And according to his own story, this educator found that the work he was trying to do in the school, even under the relatively very favorable conditions of his experimental school, was undone by the educativeor miseducativeformation of disposition and mental habit proceeding from the environment.
Hence he became convinced that the social medium and the progressive school must work together, must operate in harmony, reinforcing each other, if the aim of the progressive school was not to be constantly undermined and dissipated; with the growth of this conviction he became insensibly a communist. He became convinced that the central force in undoing the work of socialized reform he was trying to achieve by means of school agencies was precisely the egoistic and private ideals and methods inculcated by the institution of private property, profit and acquisitive possession.
During the transitional régime, the school cannot count upon the larger education to create in any single and whole-hearted way the required collective and coöperative mentality. The traditional customs and institutions of the peasant, his small tracts, his three-system farming, the influence of home and Church, all work automatically to create in him an individualistic ideology. In spite of the greater inclination of the city worker towards collectivism, even his social environment works adversely in many respects.
Hence the great task of the school is to counteract and transform those domestic and neighborhood tendencies that are still so strong, even in a nominally collectivistic régime.In order to accomplish this end, the teachers must in the first place know with great detail and accuracy just what the conditions are to which pupils are subject in the home, and thus be able to interpret the habits and acts of the pupil in the school in the light of his environing conditionsand this, not just in some general way, but as definitely as a skilled physician diagnoses in the light of their causes the diseased conditions with which he is dealing. (* The government also used this spying on parents to control them politically. Editor)
So this educator described his philosophy as Social Behaviorism. Whatever he saw, a mode of farming, farm implements, style of home construction, domestic industry, church building, etc., led him to ask for its probable effect upon the behavior of those who were subject to its influence. And one of the most interesting pedagogical innovations with which I am acquainted is the technique which has been worked out for enabling teachers to discover the actual conditions that influence pupils in their out-of-school life; and I hope someone with more time than I had at command will before long set forth the method in detail. Here I can only say that it involves, among other things, discussions in connection with history and geography, the themes of written work, the compositions of pupils, and also a detailed study throughout the year of home and family budgets. Quite apart from any economic theory, communistic or individualistic, the results are already of great pedagogical value, and promise to provide a new and fruitful method of sociological research.
The knowledge thus gained of home conditions and their effect upon behavior (and I may say in passing that this social behaviorism seems to me much more promising intellectually than any exclusively physiological behaviorism can ever prove to be) is preliminary to the development of methods which will enable schools to react favorably upon the undesirable conditions discovered, and to reinforce such desirable agencies as exist. Here, of course, is the point at which the socially constructive work of the school comes in
A little something will be said about this later in detail, when I come to speak of the idea of socially useful work as a criterion for deciding upon the value of projectsfor Soviet education is committed to the project method. But aside from its practical working out, it is also interesting in that it locates one of the burning points of present Russian pedagogical theoretical education. For there is still a school that holds that educational principles can be derived from psychology and biologyalthough the weight of citations from Marx is now eclipsing their influenceand that correct educational methods are bound to produce the desired effect independently of concrete knowledge of domestic and local environment.
I have dwelt too long on certain general considerations, at the expense of any account of what schools are actually doing and how they are doing it. My excuse is that, in relation to the entire Russian situation, it is these generic points of social aspiration and contact that are significant.
That which distinguishes the Soviet schools both from other national systems and from the progressive schools of other countries (with which they have much in common) is precisely the conscious control of every educational procedure by reference to a single and comprehensive social purpose. It is this reference that accounts for the social interlocking to which I referred at the outset.
The point may be illustrated by the bearing of school activity upon the family institution as that is conceived by the orthodox Marxian socialists. That thorough-going collectivists regard the traditional family as exclusive and isolating in effect and hence as hostile to a truly communal life, is too familiar to require rehearsal. Apart, however, from the effect of the oft-recited Bolshevist modifications of marriage and divorce, the institution of the family is being sapped indirectly rather than by frontal attack; its historic supports, economic and ecclesiastical, are weakened
There is no word one hears oftener than Gruppe, and all sorts of groups are instituted that militate against the primary social importance of the family unit. In consequence, to anyone who looks at the matter cold-bloodedly, free from sentimental associations clustering about the historic family institution, a most interesting sociological experimentation is taking place, the effect of which should do something to determine how far the bonds that hold the traditional family together are intrinsic and how far due to extraneous causes; and how far the family in its accustomed form is a truly socializing agency and how far a breeder of non-social interests.
Our special concern here is with the rôle of the schools in building up forces and factors whose natural effect is to undermine the importance and uniqueness of family life. It is obvious to any observer that in every western country the increase of importance of public schools has been at least coincident with a relaxation of older family ties. What is going on in Russia appears to be a planned acceleration of this process. For example, the earliest section of the school system, dealing with children from three to seven, aims, in the cities, to keep children under its charge six, eight and ten hours per day, and in ultimate ideal ) this procedure is to be universal and compulsory. When it is carried out, the effect on family life is too evident to need to be dwelt uponalthough at present even in Moscow only one-tenth of the children of this age are in such schools. Nor does the invasion of family life stop at this point in dealing with young children. There are in contemplation summer colonies in the country, corresponding to our fresh-air homes for children from slums, in which children from these all-day kindergarten schools will spend a large part of the summer months. Some of the summer colonies are already in existence; those visited compare favorably with similar institutions anywhere, with respect to food, hygiene, medical attention and daily nurture. Now, it would be too much to say that these institutions are deliberately planned with sole reference to their disintegrating effect upon family life; there are doubtless other more conspicuous causes. They are part of a whole network of agencies by means of which the Soviet government is showing its special care for the laboring class in order to gain its political support, and to give a working object-lesson in the value of a communistic scheme. . But the broad effort to employ the education of the young as means of realizing certain social purposes cannot be dismissed as propaganda without relegating to that category all endeavor at deliberate social control. *
Reference to this phase of Soviet education may perhaps be suitably concluded by a quotation from Lenin that has become a part of the canonical scriptures of Bolshevist educational literature. For it indicates that, were it necessary, official authority could be cited for the seemingly extreme statements I have made about the central position of the schools in the production of a communist ideology as a condition of the successful operation of communist institutions. The school, apart from life, apart from politics, is a lie, a hypocrisy. Bourgeois society indulged in this lie, covering up the fact that it was using the schools as a means of domination, by declaring that the school was politically neutral, and in the service ofall. We must declare openly what it concealed, namely, the political function of the school. While the object of our previous struggle was to overthrow the bourgeoisie, the aim of the new generation is much more complex: It is to construct communist society. (* Possibly quoting Lenin. Lenin frequently expressed such ideas about education. Another example, from his speech at the First All-Russian Educational Congress, August 28, 1918: We say that our work in the sphere of education is part of the struggle for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie. We publicly declare that education divorced from life and politics is a lie and hypocrisy. V. I. Lenin, Collected Works: Volume XXIII, 1918-1919, p. 215. Editor .
V New Schools for a New Era
The idea of a school in which pupils, and therefore, studies and methods, are connected with social life, instead of being isolated, is one familiar in educational theory. In some form, it is the idea that underlies all attempts at thorough-going educational reform. What is characteristic of Soviet education is not, there-fore, the idea of a dovetailing of school activities into out-of-school social activities, but the fact that for the first time in history there is an educational system officially organized on the basis of this principle. Instead of being exemplified, as it is with ourselves, in a few scattering schools that are private enterprises, it has the weight and a authority of the whole régime behind it.
In trying to satisfy my mind as to how and why it was that the educational leaders have been able in so short a time to develop a working model of this sort of education, with so little precedent upon which to fall back, I was forced to the conclusion that the secret lay in the fact that they could give to the economic and industrial phase of social life the central place it actually occupies in present life.
In that fact lies the great advantage the Revolution has conferred upon educational reformers in Russia, in comparison with those in the restof the world. I do not see how any honest educational reformer in western countries can deny that the greatest practical obstacle in the way of introducing into schools that connection with social life which he regards as desirable is the great part played by personal competition and desire for private profit in our economic life. This fact almost makes it necessary that in important respects school activities should be protected from social contacts and connections, instead of being organized to create them. The Russian educational situation is enough to convert one to the idea that only in a society based upon the coöperative principle can the ideals of educational reformers be adequately carried into operation. (* In other words, only in a communist society can educational reformers make their ideals a reality.ed.)
The central place of economic connections in the dovetailing of school work with social life outside the school is explicitly stated in the official documents of Commissar Lunacharsky. He writes: The two chief present problems of social education are: (1) The development of public economy with reference to Socialist reconstruction in general and the efficiency of labor in particular; (2) the development of the population in the spirit of communism. The aims of education are set forth as follows: (1) The union of general culture with efficiency of labor and power to share in public life; (2) supply of the actual needs of national economy by preparation of workers in different branches and categories of qualifications; (3) meeting the need of different localities and different kinds of workers.
Like all formal statements, these propositions have to be understood in the light of the practices by which they are carried into effect. So interpreted, the fact that among the aims the union of general culture with efficiency of labor precedes that of supply of special needs through preparation of workers assumes a significance that might not otherwise be apparent. For perhaps the striking thing in the system is that it is not vocational, in the narrow sense those words often have with us, namely, the technical training of specialized workers. On the contrary, such training is everywhere postponed and subordinated to the requirements of general culture, which is, however, itself conceived of in a socially industrial sense; that is to say, as discovery and development of the capacities that enable an individual to carry on in a coöperative way, work that is socially useful, socially useful being conceived in the generous sense of whatever makes human life fuller and richer. Perhaps the easiest way to grasp the spirit of the industrial connections of school work with general social activities is to take the utterances of our own Manufacturers
Association on the same topic and then reverse them. Preparation for special occupations is deferred to the stage of special schools called Technicums, which can be entered only after seven years of the public unified school have been completed. These schools are called polytechnic, but the word is a misleading one in its ordinary English associations. For with us it signifies a school in which individual pupils can select and pursue any one of a considerable number of technologies, while in the Russian system it signifies a school in which pupils, instead of receiving a mono-technical training, are instructed in the matters which are fundamental to a number of special industrial techniques. In other words, even in the definitely vocational schools, specialized training for a particular calling is postponed until the latest years, after a general technological and scientific-social foundation has been laid.
As far as could be determined, there are two causes for the adoption of this broad conception of industrial education, in identification with the general culture appropriate to a coöperatively conducted society. One is the state of progressive educational theory in other countries, especially the United States, during the early formative years after the Revolution. For a leading principle of this advanced doctrine was that participation in productive work is the chief stimulus and guide to self-educative activity on the part of pupils, since such productive work is both in accord with the natural or psychological process of learning; and also provides the most direct road to connecting the school with social life, because of the part played by occupations in the latter. Some of the liberal Russian educators were carrying on private experimental schools on this basis before the Revolution; the doctrine had the prestige of being the most advanced among educational philosophies, and it answered to immediate Russian necessities.
Thus from an early period the idea of the school of work (Arbeit-schule, école du travail, was quite central in post-revolutionary school undertakings. And a main feature of this doctrine was that, while productive work is educative par excellence, it must be taken in a broad social sense, and as a means of creating a social new order and not simply as an accommodation to the existing economic régime.
This factor, however, accounts only for the earlier period of the growth of Soviet education, say, up to 1922 or 1923, a period when American influence, along with that of Tolstoy, was upon the whole predominant. Then there came in a reaction, from a Marxian standpoint. A school is a true school of work in the degree in which it prepares the students to appreciate and share in the ideology of the workers The reaction, however, did not take the form of discarding the notion of productive work as central in schools. It only gave the idea a definitely socialistic form by interpreting the idea of work on the basis of the new estate of the worker brought about by the proletarian revolution. The change was a more or less gradual one, and even now there is hardly a complete translation or fusion. But the spirit of the change is well indicated in the words of one of the leaders of educational thought:A school is a true school of work in the degree in which it prepares the students to appreciate and share in the ideology of the workerswhether country or city. And by the worker is here meant, of course, the worker made conscious of his position and function by means of the Revolution. This transformation of the earlier bourgeois reforming idea through emphasis upon the ideology of the labor movement thus continued and reinforced the earlier emphasis upon the general idea of the connection of the school with industry.
All that I had ever, on theoretical grounds, believed as to the extent to which the dull and dispirited attitude of the average school is due to isolation of school from life was more than confirmed by what I saw of the opposite in Russian schools.
There are three or four special points that call for notice in the identification established between cultural and industrial education.
The primary principle of method officially laid down is that, in every topic, work by pupils is to begin with observation of their own environment, natural and social. (The best museum of natural and social materials for pedagogical purposes I have ever seen is in a country district outside of Leningrad, constructed on the basis of a complete exhibit of local fauna, flora, mineralogy, etc., and local antiquities and history, made by pupils excursions under the direction of their teachers.)
This principle of making connections with social life on the basis of starting from the immediate environment is exemplified on its broadest scale in the educational work done with the minority populations of Russia..Aside from immediate educational results, one is impressed with the idea that the scrupulous regard for cultural independence characteristic of the Soviet régime is one of the chief causes of its stability, in view of the non-communist beliefs of most of these populations. Going a little further, one may say that the freedom from race- and color-prejudice characteristic of the régime is one of the greatest assets in Bolshevist propaganda among Asiatic peoples. The most effective way to counteract the influence of that propaganda would be for western nations to abandon their superiority-complex in dealing with Asiatic populations, and thereby deprive Bolshevism of its contention that capitalism, imperialistic exploitation and race prejudice are so inseparably conjoined that the sole relief of native peoples from them lies in adoption of communism under Russian auspices.
The central place of human labor in the educational scheme is made manifest in the plan for the selection and organization of subject-matter, or the studies of the curriculum. This principle is officially designated the complex system, the abandonment of splitting up subject-matter into isolated studies, such as form the program in the conventional school, and finding the matter of study on some total phase of human lifeincluding nature in the relations it sustains to the life of man in society. Employing the words of the official statement: At the basis of the whole program is found the study of human work and its organization: the point of departure is the study of this work as found in its local manifestations. Observations of the latter are, however, to be developed by recourse to the experience of humanitythat is, books, so that the local phenomena may be connected with national and international industrial life.
It is worthy of note that, in order to carry out this conception of the proper subject-matter of study, it is necessary for the teachers themselves to become students, for they must conceive of the traditional subject-matter from a new point of view. They are compelled, in order to be successful, both to study their local environment and to become familiar with the detailed economic plans of the central government. For example, the greatest importance is attached in the educational scheme to natural science and what we call nature-study. But according to the ruling principle, this material must not be treated as so much isolated stuff to be learned by itself, but be considered in the ways in which it actually enters into human life by means of utilization of natural resources and energies in industry for social purposes. Aside from the vitalization of physical knowledge supplied by thus putting it in its human context, this method of presentation compels teachers to be cognizant of the Gosplan *that is, the detailed projects, looking ahead over a series of years, of the government for the economic development of the country. An educator from a bourgeois country may well envy the added dignity that comes to the function of the teacher when he is taken into partnership in plans for the social development of his country. Such an one can hardly avoid asking himself whether this partnership is possible only in a country where industry is a public function rather than a private undertaking; he may not find any sure answer to the question, but the continued presence of the query in his mind will surely serve as an eye-opening stimulus.
In American literature regarding Soviet education, the complex system is often identified with the project method as that has developed in our own country. In so far as both procedures get away from starting with fixed lessons in isolated studies, and substitute for them an endeavor to bring students through their own activity into contact with some relatively total slice of life or nature, there is ground for the identification. By and large, however, it is misleading, and for two reasons. In the first place, the complex method involves a unified intellectual scheme of organization: it centers, as already noted, about the study of human work in its connection on one side with natural materials and energies, and on the other side with social and political history and institutions. From this intellectual background, it results that, while Russian educators acknowledge hereas in many other thingsan original indebtedness to American theory, they criticize many of the projects employed in our schools as casual and as trivial, because they do not belong to any general social aim, nor have definite social consequences in their train.
To them, an educative project is the means by which the principle of some complex or unified whole of social subject-matter is realized. Its criterion of value is its contribution to some socially useful work. Actual projects vary according to special conditions, urban or rural, and particular needs and deficiencies of the local environment. In general, they include contributions to improvement of sanitation and hygienic conditions , assisting in the campaign against illiteracy; reading newspapers and books to the illiterate; helping in clubs, excursions, etc., with younger children; assisting ignorant adults to understand the policies of local Soviets so that they can take part in them intelligently; engaging in communist propaganda, and, on the industrial side, taking some part in a multitude of diverse activities calculated to improve economic conditions.
In a rural school that was visited, for example, students carried on what in a conventional school would be the separate studies of botany and entomology by cultivating flowers, food-plants, fruits, etc., under experimental conditions, observing the relation to them of insects, noxious and helpful, and then making known the results to their parents and other farmers, distributing improved strains of seed, etc. In each case, the aim is that sooner or later the work shall terminate in some actual participation in the larger social life, if only by young children carrying flowers to an invalid or to their parents.
In one of the city schools where this work has been longest carried on, I saw, for example, interesting charts that showed the transformation of detailed hygienic and living conditions of the homes in a working mens quarter effected through a period of ten years by the boys and girls of the school.
A word regarding the system of administration and discipline of Soviet schools perhaps finds its natural place in this connection. During a certain period, the idea of freedom and student control tended to run riot. But apparently the idea of auto-organization (which is fundamental in the official scheme) has now been worked out in a positive form, so that, upon the whole, the excesses of the earlier period are obsolescent. The connection with what has just been said lies in the fact that as far as possible the organizations of pupils that are relied upon to achieve self-discipline are not created for the sake of school government, but grow out of the carrying on of some line of work needed in the school itself, or in the neighborhood. Here, too, while the idea of self-government developed in American schools was the originally stimulating factor, the ordinary American practice is criticized as involving too much imitation of adult political forms (instead of growing out of the students own social relationships), and hence as being artificial and external.
In view of the prevailing idea of other countries as to the total lack of freedom and total disregard of democratic methods in Bolshevist Russia, it is disconcerting, to say the least, to anyone who has shared in that belief, to find Russian school children much more democratically organized than are our own; and to note that they are receiving through the system of school administration a training that fits them, much more systematically than is attempted in our professedly democratic country, for later active participation in the self-direction of both local communities and industries.
Fairness demands that I should say in conclusion that the educational system so inadequately described exists at present qualitatively rather than quantitatively. Statistically considered, its realization is still highly restrictedalthough not surprisingly so when one considers both the external difficulties of war, famine, poverty, teachers trained in alien ideas and ideals, and the internal difficulties of initiating and developing an educational system on a new social basis. Indeed, considering these difficulties, one is rather amazed at the progress made; for, while limited in actual range, the scheme is in no sense on paper.
It is a going concern; a self-moving organism. While an American visitor may feel a certain patriotic pride in noting in how many respects an initial impulse came from some progressive school in our own country, he is at once humiliated and stimulated to new endeavor to see how much more organically that idea is incorporated in the Russian system than in our own. (*We would draw the opposite conclusion. That our schools have come to resemble those of a collectivising totalitarian state is cause for alarm, not pride. Editor.)
Even if he does not agree with the assertion of communist educators that the progressive ideals of liberal educators can actually be carried out only in a country that is undergoing an economic revolution in the socialist direction, he will be forced into searchings of heart and mind that are needed and wholesome. In any case, if his experience is at all like mine, he will deeply regret those artificial barriers and that barricade of false reports that now isolates American teachers from that educational system in which our professed progressive democratic ideas are most completely embodied, and from which accordingly we might, if we would, learn much more than from]the system of any other country. I understand now as I never did before the criticism of some foreign visitors, especially from France, that condemn Soviet Russia for entering too ardently upon an Americanization of traditional European culture.
The Great Experiment and the Future
Lenin himself expressed the idea that with the accomplishment of the Revolution the Russian situation underwent a great transformation. Before it had taken place, it was Utopian, he said, to suppose that education and voluntary coöperation could achieve anything significant. The workers had first to seize power. But when they had the reins of government in their hands, there took place a radical change in our point of view toward Socialism. It consists in this, that formerly the center of gravity had to be placed in the political struggle and the conquest of power. Now this center of gravity is displaced in the direction of pacific cultural work.
I should be ready to say that it is now moving toward intellectual work, were it not for our international relations, and the necessity of defending our position in the international system. If we neglect that phase and confine ourselves to internal economic relations, the center of gravity of our work already consists in intellectual work. He went on to say that the cause of Socialism is now, economically speaking, identical with that of the promotion of coöperation, and added the significant words: Complete coöperation is not possible without an intellectual revolution. The economic and political revolution that had taken place was not the end; it was the means and basis of a cultural development still to be realized. It was a necessary means, because without economic freedom and equality, the full development of the possibilities of all individuals could not be achieved. But the economic change was for the sake of enabling every human being to share to the full in all the things that give value to human life. (* Since Dewey is referring to Soviet Russia, by freedom he does not mean freedom from unwarrented state coercion, but rather the freedom to take, via the state, from others; by quality he does not mean equality before the law, but rather equality of possessions; and by all the things that give value to human life he does not include recognition of the right to ones own life. Editor.)
Even in the economic situation the heart of the problem is now intellectual and educational. This is true in the narrower sense that the present industrial scheme and plan cannot possibly be carried through without preparation of skilled technicians in all lines, industrial and administrative. What Wells said about the world is peculiarly true of Russia; there is a race between education and catastrophethat is, industrial breakdown. It is also true in the fundamental sense that the plan cannot be carried through without change in the desires and beliefs of the masses. Indeed, it seems to me that the simplest and most helpful way to look at what is now going on in Russia, is to view it as an enormous psychological experiment in transforming the motives that inspire human conduct.
There are, of course, two points of view from which it is not a genuine experiment, since its issue is foredoomed. The fanatic of individual capitalistic business for private gain and the Marxian dogmatic fanatic both have the answer ready in advance Both beliefs in their dogmatic form have served a purpose. The firstthe individualistic philosophyhas enabled men to put up with the evils of the present order of things. If this is as fixed as human nature, and if human nature is built upon the pattern of the present economic order, there is nothing to do but bear up as best we can. The Marxian philosophy gave men faith and courage to challenge this régime. But ignoring both of these dogmatic faiths, I should say that what there is in Russia is an experiment having two purposes. The first and more immediate aim is to see whether human beings can have such guarantees of security against want, illness, old-age, and for health, recreation, reasonable degree of material ease and comfort that they will not have to struggle for purely personal acquisition and accumulation, without, in short, being forced to undergo the strain of competitive struggle for personal profit. In its ulterior reaches, it is an experiment (* Set aside what Dewey thought the purpose of the experiment was. By using the passive voice Dewey fails to acknowledge who is conducting the experiment, namely the likes of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky. It is remarkable that Dewey constantly refers to voluntary coöperation when even his own words show it to be anything but voluntary. Edit)
to discover whether the familiar democratic idealsfamiliar in words, at leastof liberty, equality and brotherhood will not be most completely realized in a social régime based on voluntary coöperation, on conjoint workers control and management of industry, with an accompanying abolition of private property as a fixed institutiona somewhat different matter, of course, than the abolition of private possessions as such. The first aim is the distinctly economic one. But the farther idea is that when economic security for all is secured, and when workers control industry and politics, there will be the opportunity for all to participate freely and fully in a cultivated life. That a nation that strives for a private culture from which many are excluded by economic stress cannot be a cultivated nation was an idea frequently heard from the mouths of both educators and working people.
VLOR-advies over aanpassing M-decreet: haaks op beleidsverkaring en kritiek van praktijkmensen
Advies algemene VLOR-raad over M-decreet : keuze voor radicaal inclusief onderwijs: haaks op beleidsverklraing en kritiek van praktijkmensen. De staat, minister Weyts mag geen stap terugzetten, maar moet verder stappen plaatsen in de richting van meer radicale inclusie. Geen woord over ontwrichtende gevolgen voor het buitengewoon en gewoon onderwijs.
Klassieke VLOR-zever over universeel design als verhullend toverwoord = totale uitholling/ontscholing van het onderwijs; zwaaien met VN-verdrag; aparte b.o.-scholen moeten in principe worden afgeschaft, enz.
De VLOR pleit al sinds 1996 overigens voor radicaal inclusief onderwijs
1. Juridische motieven:radicaal inclusief onderwijs, geen b.o.-scholen
Basisstelling: Een staat kan geen stap terugzetten ten opzichte van verworvenheden in een eerder opgestart proces (in casu, het M-decreet . Aparte schoolstructuren als een vorm van segregatie en dus niet verzoenbaar met een inclusief onderwijsstelsel
VLOR: De principes voor de uitrol van inclusie in de samenleving zijn verdragsrechtelijk vastgelegd in het VN-verdrag inzake rechten van personen met een handicap en verder verduidelijkt in General Comments. Ze kregen op hun beurt een Vlaamse juridische verankering in het Gelijkekansendecreet.
Voor de vormgeving van inclusief onderwijs in de toekomst zijn twee artikelen uit het VN-verdrag bijzonder relevant:5 ¬ Artikel 24 bepaalt dat de verdragsluitende staten moeten voorzien in een inclusief onderwijssysteem op alle onderwijsniveaus. Ze moeten toegang tot het onderwijs waarborgen zonder discriminatie en uitsluiting.
Daarenboven beschouwt het General Comment6 nr. 4 aparte schoolstructuren als een vorm van segregatie en dus niet verzoenbaar met een inclusief onderwijsstelsel zoals nagestreefd door het verdrag. Art. 24 laat ruimte om dit ambitieuze doel geleidelijk te realiseren. Een staat kan zelf beslissen hoe, en op welke termijn hij inclusie uitbouwt maar er moet wel een strategisch plan zijn die minstens een standstilverplichting respecteert.
Een staat kan geen stap terugzetten ten opzichte van verworvenheden in een eerder opgestart proces (in casu, het M-decreet zoals gewijzigd).
In het VN-verdrag wordt het recht op inclusief onderwijs nogal vaag beschreven - b.v. ook in een passage in termen van recht op passend onderwijs. Maar we merken dat de inspectiecomités, de Unesco, de Vlaamse inclusie-hardliners, dit verdrag radicaal en eigenzinnig interpreteren. Dit is precies ook het gevaar dat verbonden is met de ondertekening van zulke verdragen. Dat is ook de reden waarom sommige landen terecht dit verdrag niet ondertekenden. Ook wij waarschuwden hiervoor.
2. Universeel design als toverwoord dat alle problemen oplost
universeel design= totaal ander onderwijssysteem en totale ontscholing van het onderwijs
Volgens Unesco, VN en nu ook de VLO .vereist inclusief onderwijs een totaal ander onderwijsconcept, een totaal geïndividualiseerd leerproces waarin elke leerling can work at his own pace and in his own way met de leerkracht als coach. De VLOR verhult deze radicale uitspraak met de term universeel design.
VLOR:het VN-verdrag vertrekt vanuit het principe van Universeel ontwerp7 dat producten, omgevingen, programmas en diensten zo ontwerpt dat ze door iedereen in de ruimst mogelijke zin gebruikt kunnen worden zonder dat er een aanpassing of een speciaal ontwerp nodig is. Universeel ontwerp omvat tevens ondersteunende middelen voor specifieke groepen personen met een handicap indien die nodig zijn.
Universeel ontwerp is het uitgangspunt en de norm.
Het maakt individuele aanpassingen zoveel mogelijk overbodig !!???, alhoewel die niet altijd te vermijden zijn
De Vlor pleit ervoor om alle onderwijsveranderingen uit te denken vanuit dit principe en dit dan ook in de regelgeving in te schrijven. Universeel ontwerp moet niet enkel een uitgangspunt zijn voor beleid op Vlaams niveau maar ook op schoolniveau.
Bij het ontwerpen van regelgeving op grond van universeel ontwerp denkt de Vlor in concreto aan volgende beleidsprocessen: ¬ Proactief ontwerpen van het curriculum zodat het iedere leerling aanzet tot leren onafhankelijk van leerstijlen, noden en beperkingen; ¬ Een leerwegonafhankelijk certificeringsbeleid dat in principe specifieke certificering van een IAC of buitengewoon onderwijs overstijgt; ¬ Organisatie van het leerlingenvervoer.
3. Geen aparte B.O.-scholen meer
Uitklaren van de rol van het buitengewoon onderwijs
Het buitengewoon onderwijs heeft handicapspecifieke expertise en de competenties om die te vertalen in orthopedagogische en orthodidactische leeromgevingen. Dit betekent dat de expertise en de competenties die aanwezig zijn in het buitengewoon onderwijs zeker ingezet moeten worden. We denken daarbij onder meer aan de ondersteuning van leerlingen en leraren(teams) en/of aan (gespecialiseerde) onderwijsleeromgevingen voor leerlingen met zeer complexe problematieken voor wie het leerproces in het gewoon onderwijs niet mogelijk is
Unesco-rapport over inclusie van 2017: radicaal geïndividualiseerd leerproces/ ontschoold onderwijs vereist
In 2017 publiceerde de Unesco een nieuw rapport over inclusief onderwijs: A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education.Ook volgens dit rapport was er in de meeste landen nog geen sprake van echt inclusief onderwijs. En ook volgens Unesco vereist echt inclusief onderwijs een totaal ander onderwijsconcept,een totaal geïndividualiseerd leerproces waarin elke leerling can work at his own pace and in his own way met de leerkracht als coach.
Net zoals in tal van VN-evaluatierapporten betreurde de Unesco dat nog weinig of geen landen kiezen voor echt inclusief onderwijs: inclusive schools in mainstream settings (inclusieleerlingen dus in gewone klassen). In veel landen werkt men nog metspecial classes in integrated schools: veelal zitten inclusieleerlingen in aparte & kleine
klasjes binnen gewone scholen zoals in Finland, Italië e.d. In Vlaanderen werd vóór invoering van de wet van 1970 in 1974 ook grotendeels zo gewerkt.
Maar volgens de Unesco zijn dergelijke aparte klasjes geen vorm van echte inclusie, maar van segregatie.
Daarnaast wordt volgens de Unesco ook nog al te vaak gewerkt met education for these children in different settings: special schools = aparte scholen voor buitengewoon onderwijs. In landen met een lage bevolkingsdichtheid kan/kon men zon scholen moeilijk organiseren, maar wel in Vlaanderen, Nederland ...
Volgens de VN en de Unesco vereist echt inclusief onderwijs dus een radicaal geïndividualiseerd leerproces: elke leerling can work at his own pace and in his own way. We lezen: Zolang men leren eng en klassiek definieert als de verwerving van kennis die aangeboden wordt door de leerkracht, worden scholen opgesloten in strak georganiseerde curricula en onderwijsaanpakken In sterk contrast hiermee gaan inclusieve curricula uit van de veronderstelling dat leren plaats vindt wanneer elke leerling actief betrokken is en zelf de leiding neemt in het zinvol maken van zijn speficieke ervaringen. Vanuit die nieuwe visie krijgt de leraar de rol van begeleider die het engagement en het leren van de lerende stimuleert.
De Unesco voegde er uitdrukkelijk aan toe dat men zon echt inclusief onderwijs ook niet kan bereiken door voor de begeleiding van de inclusieleerlingen de aanpak in het buitengewoon onderwijs te transporteren naar gewone klassen, en de inclusieleerlingen aparte ondersteuning te bieden.
En aparte ondersteuning binnen de klas deugt dus ook niet.
Als men aparte ondersteuning van inclusieleerlingen in klas toestaat, dan merken we volgens het recente Unesco-rapport:
*dat bij het wegvallen van die ondersteuning de leerkrachten niet weten wat ze moeten doen
*dat bovendien de scholen dan geneigd zijn om ook voor andere leerlingen zon ondersteuning te vragen in functie van individuele curricula
En dan krijgen we volgens de Unesco geen echt inclusief onderwijs en wordt inclusief onderwijs onbetaalbaar. Ook het Vlaams ondersteuningsnetwerk zou dus ook door de VN en Unesco afgekeurd worden.
Commissie Verenigde Naties tikt ook Spanje op de vingers omwille van gebrekkig inclusief onderwijs & gebrek aan ontscholing gewoon onderwijs
Spaanse niet-gouvernementele organisaties (NGOs) vroegen het VN-Comité van het Verdrag Rechten Personen met een Handicap (VRPH) te onderzoeken of Spaanse scholen systematisch en op grote schaal artikel 24 van het VRPH schenden, waarin het recht op inclusief onderwijs staat.
Het VN-comité stelde in zijn rapport van 4 juni 2018 vooreerst dat Spanje nog te veel kinderen en jongeren met verstandelijke beperkingen, gedragsproblemen door ADHD en stoornissen in het autismespectrum nog te vaak naar scholen voor speciaal onderwijs stuurt: zon 20%. Dit is volgens het comité tevens in strijd met de Spaanse wet, waarin het recht op inclusief onderwijs wordt erkend en dus gewaarborgd moet worden. Scholen moeten aanpassingen doen, opdat alle kinderen onderwijs kunnen volgen op reguliere scholen.
Het VN-comité stelde wel vast dat het aantal inclusieleerlingen is toegenomen, maar de kritiek luidt dat zelfs die leerlingen geen echt inclusief onderwijs genieten, maar veelal uitgesloten worden van het gewone lesgebeuren en met aparte taken bezig zijn in aparte klassen of bij inclusie in gewone klassen. Inclusieleerlingen krijgen volgens het comité ook in gewone klassen nog veelal een apart curriculum; ze nemen dus niet echt deel aan de gewone lessen voor rekenen, taal Ze krijgen er aparte taken die veelal zelfs geen verband houden met de gewone les
Ook dit is volgens het comité in strijd met het VNverdrag. We citeren: Students with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, who attend mainstream schools continue to be separated from their classmates, who view their presence in the classroom as an exception. The Committee observed that in the majority of cases where students with disabilities were taught in ordinary classrooms in ordinary schools, they were usually given work that was different from that given to the rest of the students and that was not necessarily related to the lesson, reinforcing their exclusion, denying their right to an inclusive and quality education.
Een andere merkwaardige kritiek luidt dat er grote verschillen zijn tussen het leerplan op gewone scholen en het leerplan op scholen buitengewoon onderwijs.The Committee also observed that the legislative framework allows the mainstream and special education systems to coexist with different educational standards. As a result, pupils with disabilities can find themselves left by teachers and the administration in a setting that offers very poor or very few prospects for the pupil and for his or her performance.
Het Uneso-comité betreurde eveneens dat een medisch model nog dominant aanwezig is.
Een andere kritiek slaat op de willekeur bij de diagnose van de problemen van kinderen met een handicap. Dit werkt volgens het comité discriminatie in de hand op grond van handicap - en dit op alle onderwijsniveaus, in de handelingen van de leerkrachten, en in juridische procedures.
Voor de diagnose en de toelating tot het gewoon onderwijs zijn er ook geen duidelijke procedures en afspraken en dat leidt tot a range of different practices with regard to the profile of the professionals involved and the methods applied. We lezen: There are no clear guidelines on how to conduct an assessment.This disparity has serious consequences for the children concerned; generally speaking, it is very difficult to challenge the initial diagnosis or to have it reviewed
We lezen verder ook:In practice, the Committee observed that the identification and assessment of the pupils educational needs are still undertaken at the initiative of the professional (leerkrachten) involved.
Het VN-comité stelt ten slotte dat inclusief onderwijs een totale transformatie van het gewone onderwijs vereist - doorgedreven differentiatie e.d., en dat die transformatie nog niet heeft plaatsgevonden: The Committee took note of initiatives to move towards educational inclusion. These come in addition to existing mechanisms and practices but have not led to any major transformation in the education system. It appears that the difficulties pupils with disabilities encounter are resolved on an ad hoc basis. In most cases, the future of a student with disabilities depends on the will of his or her parents and that of the administrative, educational and inspection personnel involved, rather than on the realization of his or her right to an inclusive and quality education.
Dit zijn de belangrijkste conclusies uit het rapport van het VN-comité. We merken dus dat volgens het rapport inclusief onderwijs maar mogelijk is als het gewone onderwijs afgebroken wordt en vervangen wordt door ontschoold en totaal geïndividualiseerd onderwijs
Uitstel studiekeuze in s.o. ging/gaat gepaard met invoering constructivistische didactische aanpak en kennisrelativisme
Invoering gemeenschappelijke eerste graad/lagere cyclus secundair onderwijs gaat meestal gepaard met invoering van andere/constructivistische didactische aanpak & kennisrelativisme.
Illustraties uit Vlaanderen, Nederland en Frankrijk.
De invoering van een gemeenschappelijke eerste graad/lagere cyclus s.o. en uitstel van studiekeuze gingen de voorbije 50 jaar meestal gepaard met pleidooien voor het invoeren van gemeenschappelijke leerinhouden en van een andere didactische aanpak, voor vormen van zgn. nieuwe leren of zachte didactiek.
Het gaat dus niet enkel om een structuurhervorming en uitstel van studiekeuze, maar tegelijk om de invoering van een andere wijze van lesgeven, voor een vorm van zachte didactiek en kennisrelativisme. He tgelijkheidsdenken ging steeds gepaard met propaganda voor de zachte didactiek, voor een andere didactische aanpak. We illustreren dit even met voorbeelden uit Vlaanderen, Nederland en Frankrijk
1. Invoering van Vernieuwd Secundair Onderwijs in Vlaanderen in 1970.
De ministeriële brochure over het Vernieuwd Secundair Onderwijs van 1971 ging niet enkel over een geenschhappelijke eerste graad en uitstel van studiekeuze, maar poneerde tegelijk dat in het VSO het verwerven van kennis niet langer het hoofddoel is en dat de vroegere weetjesopstapeling meer en meer plaats inruimt voor adequate inwerkstelling van de intellectuele eigenschappen.
...Een zuiver dogmatische werkwijze die op het reproduceren van leerstof gericht is, moet men tot elke prijs vermijden. De kinderen moeten leren, leren zelf vinden. Inductieve en actieve methodes zijn vanzelfsprekend.
Hoe meer het kind leert zich actief te ontwikkelen en hoe minder het de les passief ondergaat, des te doeltreffender, kan het onderwijs worden geacht. De nadruk valt voortaan op het kunnen, het ontwikkelen van vaardigheid, het zinvol toepassen van kennis.
Er zal zoveel mogelijk uitgegaan worden van de belangstellingssfeer, wat de leeractiviteit aantrekkelijker en zinvoller maakt. De moderne pedagogiek legt de nadruk op het belang van de zelfwerkzaamheid en groepswerk. .
Minister Vermeylen verving meteen het vak geschiedenis in de eerste graad door maatschappijleer vanuit de actualiteit als b.v. de toenùalige gijzeling van een trein in Nederland. Ook in het katholiek onderwijs werd het klassieke geschiedenisonderwijs vervangen door simplistisch thematisch onderwijs over de geschiedenis van het wonen, de kledij enz. We lazen in die tijd analoge stellingen in publicaties van VSO-coördinatoren als Roger Standaert.
Ook het kennis- en cultuurrelativisme van de Franse socioloog Pierre Borudieu speelde bij de VSO-hervorming een rol (zie punt 4).
2 Gemeenschappelijke basisvorming in Nederland 1993-2003 en didactische TVS-hervorming
In augustus 1993 werd in Nederland gestart met de invoering van een gemeenschappelijke basisvorming voor de eerste graad s.o. (in 2003 weer grotendeels afgevoerd).
Net als bij de invoering van het Vernieuwd Secundair Onderwijs in Vlaanderen ging dit gepaard met de invoering van een zachte didactiek, van een vorm van nieuwe leren, ander didactisch handelen. Het ging dus niet enkel om een structuurhervorming en uitstel van studiekeuze, maar tegelijk om de invoering van een andere wijze van lesgeven: de zogeheten TVS-vernieuwing: Toepassen, Vaardigheid en Samenhang.
Toepassingsgericht onderwijs betekende dat de te verwerven kennis levensecht en authentiek moet zijn, betekenis moet hebben voor het persoonlijk leven. Leren door doen zou hierbij een belangrijke plats moeten innemen. Opdat onderwijs toepassingsgericht zou zijn, moesten vooral ook een aantal vaardigheden ontwikkeld worden als een onderzoek verrichten, samenwerken aan een complexe opdracht.
Met het kenmerk samenhang in het aanbod werd gezinspeeld op de relatie tussen de leerinhouden van de verschillende vakken en vooral op het werken met vakoverstijgende themas. We lazen in de teksten van de hervormers: Onder invloed van het constructivisme vindt wereldwijd een verschuiving plaats in het denken over leren. Met name wordt de actieve rol van de leerling bij het verwerven en gebruiken van kennis beklemtoond. Kennis is niet het gevolg van een overdracht, maar van actieve constructie en betekenisverlening door de leerling zelf, door zelf te doen, door onderzoek en actief leren.
Kennis moet aangeboden worden in betekenisvolle situaties, in complete en complexe taaksituaties. Samenwerking tussen de leerlingen is hierbij belangrijk. De instructie moet procesgericht zijn waarbij sprake is van een toenemende zelfregulatie door de leerlingen. De leerkracht krijgt een begeleidende rol i.p.v. een overdragende
Bij de keuze van de onderwerpen moet aangesloten worden bij wat de leerlingen uit hun leefwereld weten over het onderwerp. Opdrachten en taken kenmerken zich door een relatie met de leefwereld van de leerlingen.
Het plan-Monard voor de structuurhervorming eerste graad s.o.: uitgestelde studiekeuze bevatte tevens een pleidooi voor een andere pedagogisch-didactische aanpak in klas. Naast de discriminatie die een gevolg zou zijn van de opgesplitste onderwijsvormen en vroege keuze, zouden ook de toen vigerende instructievormen niet deugen. Ook de kloof met de cultuur van de kansarmere leerlingen zou tot sociale discriminatie leiden
Monard en co gingen uit van de stelling dat we nog lesgeven zoals in de vorige eeuw ( lees: 19de eeuw) en stellen de klassieke aanpakken in vraag.
Het schoolse karakter van ons secundair onderwijs zou volgens Monard en Co in sterke mate contrasteren met de nieuwe en frisse aanpak in het basisonderwijs: Ons onderwijs is zeer goed, maar het is nog veel schoolser dan in andere landen. In de eerste graad komen de leerlingen in een totaal ander systeem terecht. Het tempo is er te hoog, de invalshoek sterk cognitief(p. 39).
De klassieke clichés over lesgeven werden weer opgedist.. In het s.o. zou er volgens Monard en Co al vijftig jaar niets meer veranderd zijn.
Monard en co formuleerden tal van voorstellen om het leren te vitaliseren en te actualiseren; de leerling moet centraal staan (p. 19) en de leerling moet de actor zijn van zijn eigen leerproces (= constructivisme).
Zo zou de school ook veel meer de leefwereld van de leerlingen in klas moeten halen: de schoolse wereld staat te ver van de leefwereld en interessegebieden van jongeren; we moeten de school openbreken om de buitenwereld meer naar binnen te brengen. Ook volgens Nicaise moest de gezamenlijke stam van het curriculum minder academisch zijn, en meer ervaringsgericht, technisch en instrumenteel van inslag worden (TORB, 2001, 5-6, p. 389).
In de 'Beleidsnota 2000 lazen we zelfs: Het verwerven van kennis is niet langer de hoofdopdracht van ons onderwijs (p. 68).
Monard en co kozen voor een zgn. AVC -aanpak: Activerend, Vakdoorbrekend en Competentiegericht leren, drie controversiële aanpakken die o.i. enkel de al sluipende ontscholing van de voorbije decennia konden bespoedigen. Monard pleitte in De Standaard van 23 augustus voor zelfstandig en zelfontdekkend leren: Terwijl alle pedagogen en psychologen weten dat iedereen beter leert als hij iets zelf gevonden heeft. Actiever, onderwijs dus. Onderwijs mag geen schoolreis zijn, waarbij iedereen hetzelfde moet doen en iedereen altijd moet wachten tot alle anderen met hetzelfde klaar zijn.
De vakken zouden volgens het plan Monard in de eerste graad gegroepeerd moeten worden en er zou hierbij aansluitend veel meer vakkenoverschrijdend gewerkt moeten worden: losser komen van de vakken leidt tot een minder gesegmenteerde visie op de werkelijkheid (p. 24). Ook het werken met belangstellingsgebieden in de tweede en derde graad stuurt hierop aan.
Monard en co pleitten ook voor de controversiële competentiegerichte aanpak. Ook de VLOR pleit hier al vele jaren voor.
Volgens Patrick Weyn, VLOR -voorzitter s.o., moeten in het nieuwe s.o. ook de eindtermen en doelen in termen van (algemene) competenties worden uitgedrukt.
4 Collège unique in Frankrijk & cultuur- en kennisrelativisme à la Bourdieu
Prof.-sociologe Nathalie Bulle over egalitair dogmatisme in Frankrijk, invoering van collège unique & sterke niveaudaling
De school in Frankrijk werd vooreerst gehinderd in haar opdracht omdat veel beleidsmakers, sociologen in hun strijd voor gelijke onderwijskansen, twee werkelijkheden ideologisch ontkennen of grotendeels negeren. De eerste is de menselijke diversiteit: de grote verschillen in intellectuele aanleg e.d. die door egalitairen straal genegeerd of in sterke mate onderschat worden Dit leidde o.a. tot de invoering van het gemeenschappelijke collège. De tweede is de negatie van de echte dynamiek van de menselijke ontwikkeling & van degelijk onderwijs: het pedagogisch progressivisme, het kennis- en cultuurrelativisme à la Bourdieu & Freinet de zachte didactiek.
De snelle uitbreiding van de onderwijsstelsels in de jaren 1960 leidde tot de neo- en cultuurmarxistische kritiek (Bourdieu en Co, ...). We kregen vooreerst een kritische analyse van alle vormen van interne differentiatie die leiden tot een differentiatie van de loopbaan van de leerlingen :b.v. differentiële opties in de eerste graad s.o, onderwijsvormen, .
Volgens de neomarxisten/egalitairen bevoordeelde die differentiatie statistisch gezien de hogere sociale groepen: inzake studie-oriëntatie, samenstelling van de leerlingenpopulatie in een klas, elitaire pedagogische aanpak, Die egalitaire visie leidde in Frankrijk al decennia geleden tot de invoering van een gemeenschappelijke lagere cyclus s.o., het zgn. collège unique (cf. ons VSO).
Bulle: Het was de voorbije 50 jaar de tijd van de triomf van de structuralismes en de erbij horende relativismes. Ons onderwijssysteem werd geleidelijk aan politiek ingepalmd en uitgehold door een quas ireligieuze opvatting over de rol van de school in de maatschappij, de school als dé hefboom bij uitstek voor sociale gelijkheid, enz. Zolang we denken dat sociale ongelijkheid vooral wordt geconstrueerd op school en door de school, zolang we vergeten dat verschillen en sociale ongelijkheden vooral ontstaan in de brede (maatschappelijke) context die zich grotendeels buiten de invloed van de school siteert, tasten we de kracht van de school aan om zijn specifieke rol te spelen, de rol van transmissie van de culturele en intellectuele vorming. Bulle betreurt ook dat door de GOK-fixatie op het s.o. het bevorderen van de ontwikkelingskansen via optimalisering van het basisonderwijs verwaarloosd werd. Dit basisonderwijs werd ook overigens de dupe van de pedagogische nieuwlichterij en van het kennisrelativisme van Bourdieu en Co.
Volgens Bulle werden we vanuit het cultureel marxisme tegelijk geconfronteerd met kennis- en cultuurrelativisme.
De leerinhouden zijn zogezegd eenzijdig afgestemd op de zgn. bourgeois-cultuu. Bourdieu en Co bestempelden de klassieke leerinhouden als elitair en arbitrair: de dominante bourgeois-cultuur stond centraal.
Socioloog Pierre Bourdieu en zijn vele volgelingen stelden vanaf de jaren 1960 niet enkel de klassieke onderwijsstructuur in vraag met de differentiatie in onderwijsvormen (aso, tso, bso), maar bestempel- den tegelijk de klassieke leerinhouden en waarden als elitair en arbitrair. Volgens Bourdieu en Co stond in het onderwijs de dominante bourgeois-cultuur centraal; hierdoor werden arbeiderskinderen gediscrimineerd.
Bourdieu betreurde dat enkel een beperkte maatschappelijke elite bepaalde wat belangrijke kennis en waarden zijn en wat er in de leerplannen komt. Het was volgens hem een dominante culturele minderheid die vanuit haar culturele bourgeoiswereld de inhouden & waarden in het onderwijs vastlegde.
Bourdieu en Co beschrijven de klassieke cultuuroverdracht in termen van het uitoefenen van symbolisch geweld op de proletarische leerlingen. Dit komt tot uiting in de burgerlijke & abstracte leerinhouden, de exameneisen, de deftige schooltaal, de waarden die verwacht en gestimuleerd worden, enz. De leerkrachten en de schoolse bourgeoisinhouden discrimineren zo de arbeiderskinderen en vervreemden ze tegelijk van hun fundamentele aspiraties en van hun familiaal en sociaal milieu. De Bourdieu-visie leidt tot een sterke relativering van de klassieke leerinhouden en vakdisciplines, van de oordeelkundige keuze van de leerinhouden, van het gezag van de meester, van het stimuleren van excellentie..
Voor de wantrouwige Bourdieu en zijn adepten was/is praktisch alles wat te maken heeft met het klassiek leerprogramma verdacht en burgerlijk en dus ook vervreemdend en discriminerend voor arbeiderskinderen: het leren van de standaardtaal, het leren deftig en duidelijk schrijven via het maken van een verhandeling, de klassieke literatuur op school, leren deftig discussiëren, examens maken, inspanningen leren leveren en zelfs de confrontatie met abstractere wiskunde en fysica.
Bourdieu stuurde zijn studenten de straat op met vragen als: van welke muziek houd je, van de muziek van Bach of van deze van Aimable? Bourdieu stelde dan vast dat mensen met een hogere scholing en/of inkomen Bach verkozen. Hij concludeerde dat Bach, Rubens, Racine en de klassieke cultuur burgerlijk waren omdat ze gekozen werden door mensen die behoorden tot de burgerij, les héritiersvan de hogere cultuur. Volgens Bourdieu en Co is het deze klasse van héritiers waartoe ook de leerkrachten behoren die de burgerlijke cultuur bewaken en opleggen.
De school leert volgens Bourdieu vooral respect opbrengen voor de hogere cultuur, hoewel die cultuur intrinsiek niet beter is dan de massa-cultuur.
Herman Deconinck schreef ooit spottend over Bourdieu: Volgens Bourdieu en bepaalde antropologen is blijkbaar de cultuur van Vladmir Nabokov niet hoger of lager dan die van de Pygmeeën. Ik wou dat Bourdieus ouders dat ook hadden gevonden, en hem enkele reis oerwoud hadden gestuurd. Het zou een hoop onzin hebben gescheeld (citaat in 'Bourdieu et Bourdiable', De Morgen 26 januari 2002)
Ook de waarden die in het onderwijs centraal staan zijn volgens Bourdieu arbitraire waarden die in burgerlijke milieus gecultiveerd worden en die de leerkrachten opdringen aan de arbeiderskinderen: hard werken,matigheid, autonomie,zelfbeheersing...
Het probleem is dat Bourdieu & Co geen onderscheid maken tussen willekeurige en niet-arbitraire culturele waarden en overtuigingen. Als thuis of op school attitudes van zelfbeheersing, doorzettingsvermogen, hard werken, ijver worden gewaardeerd, is dit geen willekeur en geen toeval. Dit zijn waarden die democratische samenlevingen zouden moeten onderschrijven, omdat dit de waarden zijn die een vrije en open samenleving nodig heeft om goed te kunnen functioneren. Of we nu wel of niet geboren zijn in een familie die dergelijke dingen waardeert doet er in feite niet toe; we hebben daar als onderwijs ook geen controle over. Maar het zou verkeerd zijn om de gestimuleerde attitudes/waarden te reduceren tot een willekeurige vorm van culturele overheersing vanwege de burgerij.