A Falling Wall
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, a genius cameraman did not only film thousands of people crossing the wall in glee; he also lingered on the faces of the guards, who, dumbfounded, watched their fellow citizens pass by before them.
On their faces you could read their amazement: so much joy released told them in return what their job had been for the 28 years of the wall. The verdict was final, and they judged for themselves. They could not participate in the yet contagious jubilation.
Not that they were endorsing the wall; they were simply part of a system from which they derived their livelihood and that livelihood was disappearing...
Walls around Knowledge
In a system of compulsory school attendance, the individual must necessarily get past being coerced if he or she is to benefit from what is so kindly offered.
But the stricter the system, the less easy this acceptance is for individuals and the more limited it becomes. Many rebelled in various ways, and it is then that the actors of this system must actively coerce, usually against their very principles.
After a few years of this regime, a regime to which these actors have themselves been previously subjected as students, there is no longer any easy questioning and a set of justifications is put in place to defend the coercion allegedly necessary in education. However, there is nothing more pedagogically wrong than coercion in learning.
Students' joy at the end of class reminds them, day after day, of what part of their job is all about.
Walls are Crumbling
The advent of the internet and communication technologies in education brings the possibilities of distributed learning, in multiple locations and through a wide variety of sources.
No justification holds up when individuals take back their responsibilities. Justifications are always an admission of unspoken guilt. Yes, there may be delays, adaptations, adjustments, but the goal of individual accountability cannot be questioned, especially when students demand it.
Open the Gates to Get Out... and Better Get Back In
Now everyone who crossed the border after the wall came down came back of their own free will, free to be able to cross it again whenever they felt the urge or need to cross it.
When one hears officials, teachers, principals, or even ministers defending their immobility or appealing to traditional methods of teaching, not pedagogy but the spirit of directed and controlled education, one hears above all the justifications for maintaining a system of domination.
Like the guards left to their own devices with a laconic order on that evening of November 9, 1989 "...citizens will be able to cross the border from... now", they too can decide to open the gates in education; there is no order preventing them. Now all governments are for the educational development of their people and they express it explicitly and frequently for the most part.
The authorities want it, the students want it, what are we waiting for it? Open the gates!"
Some suggestions for teachers and students:
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