The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Education

Країна: Англія

Місто: Oxford

Тези до: 01.05.2015

Дати: 20.07.15 — 22.07.15

Область наук: Педагогічні;

Е-мейл Оргкомітету:

Організатори: Inter-Disciplinary.Net


Providing education to students is likened to a gift and considered beneficial to society. Through teaching, futures can be made or destroyed. Knowledge acquisition is primarily a means of learning for life, but it is also a spatial and temporal journey through human existence. It has to do with growing up and finding one’s position in society. Institutionalized education, as in the industrial nations of the West and East Asia, is not the only way of learning, there are also informal instruction, home schooling and indigenous teaching, and the much lesser known educational histories of, for instance, African or Arab countries, missionary schools or remote island nations. There are people who advocate both life-wide and life-long education. For some individuals this journey often ends too soon, for others not soon enough, still for too many people in the world it never ever begins.

There is also a reason why the phrase “school is hell” is a common metaphor. In the educational environment, both institutionalized or private, people can grow up, succeed and fail, thrive and founder, be among loneliness and companionship, cruelty and love, without the one ever noticing the other. Schools are battlegrounds for fundamental antagonisms of society, for ideologies, pedagogies, bodies, minds, ethics, politics and struggles over class, gender, race and culture. The idea of schooling, to provide education to people, is an honourable one, but it can become perverted, abused, neglected, twisted and indoctrinated by all kinds of variables. Education can lead to enlightenment, but at times also carries dangers for teachers and students, threats of incarceration, prosecution, discrimination, addiction, suicide or even becoming a victim of terror or mass murder. On top of that, terrorists are often “educated” in school-like conditions as well.

Schools are represented in the works of countless writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists, in which the collision of educational reality with romanticism and ideal often result in most vivid expressions and commentaries. But we also find them in the paintings of children or picture books around the world which take us back from the often abstract discourse surrounding education among the intelligentsia to the very people who receive it. While “educational dystopia” has been a common theme in life, art and fiction through the ages, “educational utopia” is just as much becoming a catchword, especially in times when Finland leads as “top-notch” education system in the news and campuses world-wide begin to cater to “edutainment,” “gamification” and materialism to justify their existence .

Thus, education is all pervasive; policy, administration as well as management are increasingly involved in defining what it means to be educated in the modern day context. Not only pedagogues, politicians, lawmakers or parents have something to say about it, it is just as interesting to anthropologists, psychologists, historians, artists, writers, media makers and – first and foremost – pupils and students; each one can contribute to the matter, as school is indeed a metaphor for life. This project therefore seeks to bring together participants from a broad range of backgrounds to address the full range of ideas concerning the good, the bad and the ugly of education.

The following examples only comprise a small list of possible approaches to the subject; needless to say that the categories below do frequently overlap. There are many voices we would like to invite to this international exchange of ideas, research, reflections, analyses, performances or critiques:

 1) Educational Contexts: National, Transnational and Global:
– E
ducation for all genders, cultures, ages and races
– Different educational systems , Western, Asian, African, Arab
– Indigenous and minority education, natives, tribes, initiation rituals
– Traditional knowledge and skills to be passed on from generation to generation in family education, folklore
– Charity projects and school houses in third world societies, welfare, foundations
– Spatial diversity, different school architectures and spaces, labyrinths and concrete jungles, huts, boats, remote teaching
– School exchange programmess, voluntary social years (see Germany and Austria)
– “Strangers in a strange land”, expats, refugees, diaspora, missionary schools
– Different interpretations of what comprises “fields of education”
– Trade school experiences, reform school experiences, special education experiences
– Formal and informal education

2) Educational Reality:
- Teaching methods, exams and tests, qualifications
– Punishments, sanctions and disciplinary measures
– Parent expectations, helicopter parents, pressure, puberty, Prozac
– Inter-student relations, in-groups and outsiders, stereotypes, peer-pressure, fashions, gadgets, networking, the road to school
– Experiences of teachers, administrators and staff, idealism vs. realism, disillusionment, burn-out
– NGO groups involved with student rights, teachers’ rights, etc.

3) Modern, Alternative, Dystopian, Utopian:
- Institutionalization, control and anarchy, uniforms, security and weapons, censorship, abuse, surveillance apps of parents monitoring the school performance/attendance of their children
– Childhood and teenage school traumas and nightmares
– Terror (the attack on Malala Yousafzai), murder, persecution, secret learning, forbidden knowledge
– Student aggression against teachers and the institution, school massacres
– Abuse of students by teachers, violence, paedophilia
– Cults and sects, and conditioning
– Drugs and alcohol, sex and teenage pregnancy, discrimination, bullying, hazing rituals, suicide
– Materialism, fashion, commercialization, education as business
– “Designer” and “fun” education, edutainment, gamification, virtual teachers

4) Policies, Theories and Ideologies:
- Government legislatures, mandatory education, laws that regulate the school experience
– Boarding schools, gendered education, stigmatized school systems
– Secularity, the religious right, home schooling
– Public and private schools, connections between class standing and specific types of schools
– Educational approaches, teacher education
– Educational histories and philosophies and their effects on society, Confucius, Aristotle
– Feminist movements, civil rights movements
– The myth and ideal of renowned institutions

5) Examples: School and Education in Art, Fiction and the Media:
Schools in international children’s literature (e.g. British boarding school novels), from the charming and cute to the magical and  horrendous
– Film (e.g. Anglo-American high school movies and coming of age stories,  comedies and Cinderella stories, dramas, musical schools), television (Korean soaps)
– Japanese Manga
– Picture books, children’s paintings
– Classical and popular Music, ballet, dance and opera.

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

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