Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Online seminar on First Nations Pedagogy for online Learning starts today

This seminar is part of the free educational seminars that are organized by ScoPE.

This seminar interests me because it will focus on exclusion of cultural diverse groups from traditional education and hopefully deliver a (set of) methodology that arrises from those groups, which will in its turn, include learners from diverse groups in (online) learning that is breaking out of traditional education.

This content interests me not only from my professional point of view (in a big part of the world oral tradition and learning are the norm and have been proven very helpful for delivering knowledge), but also on a very personal level. While following gender studies my eyes opened wide on all the different kind of gate keepers that prevented groups that did not belong to western power groups to be kept from power (power in the broad sense: education, politics, board positions in companies…). It also told me why only very few of my fellow students (from my local school filled with riffraff of which I am one) got into university.

But I am lucky, I was brought up with literature and a traditional western framework (competition, unspoken rules on how to interact with the roosters in the den…). So although I started out from a lower socio-economic class, my chances to grow where difficult, but within reach because some of them were taught to me from an early age.

But what if the framework you start out from is not based on competing or written tradition? It will affect your life in a profound way. Whether or not you accept this effect will be up to your personal character, but will inevidably result in different chances throughout your life.

Up until now the western (capitalist) framework crushed down on a large, very diverse group of people. It got them numbed and this very dominant policy has erased a lot of cultural heritage and self esteem, the basis of all respectfull communication. This very act of erasing alternative cultures an impact on learning models that were used by other groups, but were challenged within the dominant educational methods from traditional education.

It is my believe (well, along with a lot of others out there :-) that online learning is opening up the traditional educational system and creates new spaces in which different cultural groups can explore their own native educational methodologies. This will in its turn deliver insights in different methods which can then be used by all at suitable moments in their life or professional sphere.

In Belgian schools a lot of really good students fall through the net, because they do not have the skills the school system imposes. On the other hand some of those students go out into the world to become succesful inspite of having no degree. The educational system fails them, yet life safes them. A bit like fishing, you do not need a lot of theory, you must just observe and do it.

If educational methods would become more diverse, it could offer more students a solid background from which to embrace professional life. My hopes lies with cultural groups that have different learning methods, so I will be following this seminar with great interest.

(Cartoon by Nick D Kim, nearingzero.net.)