link: critical practice

       

         PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION: EDUCATION AS THE PRACTICE OF CRITICISM

                                                  OR 'CRITICAL PRACTICE'

theme: Rapidly changing social conditions necessitate an education for development of critical faculties i.e. a 'critical practice' of education. The critical practice of education is education for adaptation to the environment or 'adaptability'.

Connected to the new paradigm of wholistic education is the notion of self-directed learning for the development of critical faculties or 'critical consciousness'. Adaptation to the social environment and to changing social conditions depends on the individual's critical consciousness which is necessary for accurate evaluation, rational decision making and adaptive behaviour. The development of critical consciousnesss depends on education which encourages self-directed learning i.e. a 'critical practice of education'.

    The critical practice of education is education for intellectual awakening which comes from the light of learning - education for 'enlightenment'. Education for enlightenment is defined in terms of the individual's intentional efforts at self-directed learning, alone and with others, in all human situations. In the critical practice of education, education is life and learning is a way of being. The emphasis is on competency in life and on the function of learning as a requirement for survival and adaptation to changing social conditions. Adaptation to the demands of a complex social environment depends on the individual's ability to learn how to learn. Increasingly, the role of the educator is to facilitate learning and to help the individual to learn how to learn. The facilitative teacher helps with the learning rather than providing the content for learning. The content or 'curriculum' is life. The goals or 'outcomes' are discoveries of new meanings of life and new reasons for living.

EDUCATION FOR LIFE

    Education for enlightenment is education for life. Education for life revolves around the non-vocational ideals of human values. Education for life dignifies and respects people and their experiences. Education for life focuses on experience as the greatest resource for learning. Education for life is a function of learning from life experience. Learning from experience is the basis for effective education. And responsibility for the evaluation and assessment of learning experiences is best left to the learners themselves self-evaluation. Education for life is 'learner-centered'. Learner-centered education is education for 'self-direction' and 'individualism'. Every individual - with sufficient effort - can create a personal world which is compatible with their instincts, their interests and their desires and the same personal world can be compatible with the interests of the society as well. Education for life is liberatory education. And as self-directed learning, it implies emancipation from repressive interests. Education for life tries to break with external authorities and authoritarian forms of education. The responsibility for definitions, processes and evaluations of learning rests with those who are struggling to learn. Through a critical pedagogical philosophy and teaching practice ...pedagogical methods of the critical educational practice... the educator helps the individual to take responsibility for framing choices and making decisions. In this way, learners are given the means of control over their lives and their own learning.

POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

    It is important to focus on the political implications of self-directed learning. Political interpretation of self-direction in education ...concerning power and control: self-direction in education is essentially a political idea. The notion of self-directed learning is a danger for every repressive force. It is an idea which opposes the forces of hegemony. Any radical changes in social, moral and political affairs is often the outcome of a process of self-directed learning. Education for self-direction emphasizes an awareness of the individual's stand against repressive interests. Starting from the position of the learner, the educator confronts the individual with those political realities which are inequitable ...helps the individual see that without realizing it, they are actually in collusion with the same inequitable realities.

     Discussion of self-direction in education is totally disconnected from questions of power and control. The educator of self-directed learning is concerned with the learner's emancipation and empowerment. In a spirit of freedom and fellowship, the educator trusts and encourages the learner to take responsibility for his own education and growth through learning. Education as self-directed learning is concerned with personal growth. Spiritual freedom is necessary for the development of an individual's natural sense of moral responsibility. People can learn and grow through free relationships in which they facilitate the freedom of others as well as themselves. For peoples' freedom and enlightenment the individual is encouraged to actualize potential rather than conform to externally imposed standards.

     Intense private study is one of the oldest, most honored, and productive historical forms of self-directed education. Self-directed education is matter of attitude which involves two types of learning - calculative learning and meditative learning. Through calculative learning the individual acquires knowlege and is open to learning in all domains. This form of learning is required for adaptation to the demands of changing social conditions. Through meditative learning, the individual acknowledges and reveals the authentic feelings and ideas of the true 'self'. Meditative learning is required for the understanding of one's own nature and the nature of others as well. Calculative and meditative learning in the context of freedom and fellowship are both essential for self-directed education. The individual depends on his capacity for both forms of learning to adapt to the demands for survival in the rapidly changing complexities of life.

    Communication technology is making information readily available. As a result of the expansion of communications and information technology, there is an increasing need for critical practice of education. Meaningful education is based on learning or growth in the context of fellowship of enlightened dialogue and freedom of self expression. Education for growth requires the encouragement of facilitative teachers who have energetic spirit and nourishing attitudes which foster a mutual respect with the learners... a teaching practice which is both an art and a science. Effective teaching practice requires not only an understanding of subject matter but an understanding of human nature as well.

links: human values, liberatory education

 human values... Education for enlightenment revolves around the non - vocational ideals of human values.

 liberatory education... Education for life is liberatory education. human nature... Effective teaching practice requires not only an understanding of subject matter but an understanding of human nature as well. 

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