Chapter 1 - Where is here?
Thank you everyone who made it yesterday to the Reading Group! It was a lovely discussion, and I'm looking forward to seeing the discussion develop on this platform as well.
To everyone who could not make it, please feel free to join and contribute to the discussion! Here's a summary of the chapter and a few discussion points:
To understand what we mean by Educational Repair, it is important to fully grasp the extent of damage inflicted upon us, through the educational project. It is our view that the book we are discussing, Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire's End by John Willinsky, offers us an insight into the history of education and its role in facilitating the divisions that are present in our world today.
While reading the first chapter, it would be beneficial to reflect on one's own education, asking questions such as what are we taught about the world? More importantly, what are we taught about the role our education played in dividing the world? Are we taught anything at all?
It becomes evident that "we are taught to discriminate in both the most innocent and fateful ways so that we can appreciate the differences between civilized and primitive, West and East, first and third worlds" (Willinsky, 1998, p.1)
It would be interesting if you could bring up examples from your own education where you were taught to discriminate. Please share experiences in the discussion section below!
Moreover, what is most important is for us to fully realise the extent of educational accountability, as both educators, students, or educators-to-be, “the young are owed an explanation of how such divisions have come to mean so much" (Willinsky, 1998, p.5) .
Thus, as pointed out in the end of the first chapter, this book is structured in a way to present the historical background to how education was used as an imperialist tool in order to divide the world, while also teaching the world the divisions it has created. The second, third and fourth chapters are historical chapters exploring the ways in which imperialism determined to take a knowing possession of the world (chapter 2), the role of museums in putting the world on public display (chapter 3), and an exploration of the forms of education used to serve the colonial states, and the colonised population (chapter 4). Lastly, chapters five to nine will each be dedicated to an educational subject, exploring its origins into colonialism, and its legacy during both the 1960s and today (or, in the book's case, the late 1990s). These subjects are History, Geography, Science, Language and Literature.
A few more discussion points, apart from the ones mentioned earlier, would include:
1. What does educational accountability entail? And how does it fit with our movement of "dismantling the master's house"?
2. Colonialism, education and identity are interlinked, as highlighted especially by the title of the chapter "Where is here?"
Do you have any experiences which support or refute this notion?
Please feel free to add more points!