Jan Bransen is Professor of Philosophy and Academic leader of the Radboud Teaching and Learning Centre at Radboud University in the Netherlands. He studies reflection, the capacity of human beings to be related to their own thought and behaviour, arguing that it is intrinsically edifying. He does so in the areas of Human Nature, Behavioural Science, and Mind and Action.
His book Homo Educandus. Why Our School System Is Broken and What We Can Do About It has just been published by Radboud University Press.
It takes a village
The fact that “promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all” is one of the United Nations’ ambitious sustainable development goals, is, on second thoughts, a clear sign that there is something seriously wrong with the position of educational institutions in contemporary societies. After all, living is learning and learning is living. These two belong together as the two sides of a single coin. So how did it happen that the strong connection between the two has apparently been broken down? Why would we need to remind ourselves that we should promote learning opportunities for those who live?
I shall argue in this talk that the tendency of institutions in general to take care of themselves is at the moment threatening education. We don’t need more and better institutionalised learning; instead, we need less. We should find ways to liberate learning and development from the pervasive presence of professional educators. One way to do so might be to liberate professional educators from the interventionist frames and scripts they were trained into. Education does not need interventionist professionalism. It needs a village.
I shall clarify in what way my argument differs from the Rousseauian romanticism professional educators are inclined to read into it.