Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Writing a paper. Help me out

Why do we struggle alone with writing? Here is a stump of a paper I have written as a part of the symposium. Help me out here - should I go with it further? How? What should I read? If you help, I will help with yours.

Learning as decoy

Education has spectacularly failed to benefit from the advent of the information technology revolution. Many industries have experienced significant growth in productivity thanks to IT, while there is no evidence that anything happened to improve either outcomes or human experience in education. Why is that? – Because education, it turns out, is not about what we all thought it was: not about information or knowledge or even skills. We can easily replace humans as sources of information, as knowledge authorities, or as evaluators of skills. With the exception of few advanced autodidacts, most people experience the need for human relation within the educational context. Without it, everything more or less falls apart. We have always considered learning to be the primary aim of education, while everything else, including educational activities and relations, was thought to be instrumental. Yet, it now seems that the connection is at the minimum mutual, and perhaps even reversed. The ever increasing number of young people enter schools and colleges. There is a good reason to believe that it is not a reaction to the job market, but is a part of the newly forming cultural norm. Young people enter education for the sake of the specific kind of relationships that exist only within the context of education. The fact that they learn something in the process may be just a byproduct, an artifact of educational relations.

Improving education is therefore a process of enriching, strengthening, or intensifying the quality of the educational relation. To do that, we need to understand the specifics of such a relation, its unique features. One is the pseudo-instrumentalism. The entire arrangement is often dressed as preparation for the labor market, or broader, as the preparation for life. At the same time, paradoxically, education presents itself as a risk-free, irresponsible activity, products of which do not enter into the regular channels of exchange. Education is play dressed up as work, or work pretending to be play. The essential feature of educational relation is that it is mediated by the duality of educational work-play. The psychic meaning of the educational relation is the concealment of the Eros within the mediated pseudo-instrumental play-like activity. It fulfills the human fantasy of alternative childhood with alternative quasi-parental teacherly figures, with quasi-siblings as school friends, and quasi-useful work as the sublimation of desire. As the work of work is shrinking, and we experience jobless recoveries and extended periods of unemployment, educations more and more takes the center stage of human life. Through education, humanity is searching for the new meaning of what is it to be human beyond the work of useful labor.

1 comment:

  1. It is definitely a worthwhille subject, although I do not think the IT revolution is only about skills and knowledge, especially if we dive deeper in what is called Web 2.0. I would recommend reading G.Siemense's "Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age". His point is that IT revolution buoys up relationships and connections that are the basis for the modern knowledge. Though measuring those novels with traditional educational metrics is another story.