The final blog post
Skrivet 2022-12-15 11:48 av |
This is blogg post #56 and my last one. Many thanks to my readers during these years. I will here try to summarize the main points I have argued in the blog.
At the heart of education is democracy
One of my colleauges once called me “democracy”…. I do think democracy is the basic value we have to protect. Schooling should be built upon goals decided upon in a democratic way and also prepare future citizens to be able to be part in and to develop democracy.
Democracy is in my view is the “soft side” of the enlighment, as important as the advancements in the natural sciences that were made possible by the enlighment. If we do no succeed in maintaining and developing democray all there is left is oppression and failure to develop the potential of humanity.
In this way, we shall not discuss education without at the same time discussing democracy. Thus, researchers and other obsessed with educational achievement alone might, often involuntarily, endanger this central task of schooling.
I would like to argue that the issue of inclusion is subordinated to the notion of democracy. In this way, the democratic society has to decide whether schools should be inclusive or not and what this would mean.
Thus, as I have argued several times in this blog, it is important to be clear what one means with inclusion. I am myself a proponent of inclusive schools given that inclusion is not only about where pupils with disabilities should be educated but also about the quality of this education. Or even more demanding, the quality of the education for all students.
Yet there is a lot of work to be done research wise when it comes to how inclusive schools should be developed. In a positional paper I have sketched how such research could be developed: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08856257.2020.1754547
In Sweden there has been a backlash for proponents of inclusive education. This seems to be just another area where Sweden is moving from having taken a leading role which has acquired international recognition in developing a just society, to become something else, not that much admired.
I do not think we can underestimate the importance ot education in today´s society. The global challenges are huge and we need to educate people who are able to face these challenges in different areas such as the climate challenge and the threats to democracy.
However, education is so much more. It is the everyday experience of pupils, their right to develop and find their identity, the right to experience meaningful teaching and learning, to develop social bonds and relations and become part of communities.
I must say that I have a hard time when educational systems are analyzed from the point of view of an economical thinking where there is no sharp distinction when you analyze schools and the socialization of new generations on the one hand and production processes in factories on the other.
I thinkt the language of education in a sense has to be regained from the dehumanizing simplifications we sometimes are confronted with. Education in my opinion should be about personal growth and community and not reduced to grades/educational achievement and concepts such as “value added”.
A final word
It would be nice to state that what I have written here are things that are self-evident but they are not. We have witnessed a global change during the last decades where liberal democracy is actually challenged. A new nationalism is emerging as if we have not learned anything from history. The more important that we as academics defend the core values of democracy and work to built these values into our educational system both in terms of educational content but also in the forms of life of education.