What is involved in the teaching-learning process?

Brain wash?

is actually a type of manipulation in which one person dictates to another how they should think, feel, desire, and act, and gets them to accept the message as absolute truth and to accept whatever What forces him to fulfill what he has been told? If an advertiser promoted a certain cleaning product as amazing, would that person buy it? If an opinion leader declares that such and such a person is a good politician, will he go to vote for him without thinking twice? And if the priest affirms in his sermon that such a desire is evil, will he also assure it immediately by erasing all personal inclinations in this regard?

Admitting that so-called “brainwashing” exists is considered a “system-critical” condition. In my opinion, this is actually a mechanistic view of human responses, exactly the same as the one we apply when we think of Pavlov’s dog, which secretes gastric juice every time it hears a bell ringing every time it is fed. secretes. However, I venture to affirm that Pavlov’s dog and each of us—when we are subjected to these kinds of external cues—keep our subjectivity always awake and active, as we interact with the world. Do it in every conversation.

The intent of this article is not only to debunk this type of manipulation, but also to review what is actually involved in “being manipulated”. Of course, this does not involve substituting my subjectivity for the subjectivity of another; In fact, we might say that manipulating is the opposite: instead of making my inner being thin, whoever manipulates me is dedicated to fattening it, pleasing it, pampering it. Yes, manipulation works because it manages to say the things I want to hear, manages to show me the things I want to see, puts in front of me what I want to have, makes me manages to sell what I really want; In short, to offer me a version of life that I like (or that I dislike, but with which I agree).

I’m not talking about my whole being being included in the worldview that I adopt when I’m manipulated. Deep down, my inner being is capable of agreeing to a thousand more things than what the manipulative demagogue shows me. That existence of mine is open, very wide… It has “infinity and beyond!” The feeling is fulfilled. (Exclamation which can also be shortened). My inner being is capable of seeing the world from any perspective. Terence said, “I am human and no human is alien to me.” However, with his constant preaching ─ well-planned, well-produced and well-timed broadcast─, the manipulator gradually manages to reduce my existence to only what is important to him. appropriate, and inspires me to develop only those interests and characteristics that are mine. Which benefits you.

None of those interests and qualities are false. On the contrary, they are authentic aspects of myself, so much so that I can put them into practice whenever I wish: I can seek out and enjoy what advertising offers me; I can practice the values ​​it espouses and walk around the world with them (especially in environments where people are subjected to similar manipulation strategies). Of course, in that narrow world I will always be dissatisfied, there will always be a disparity between my human potential and what the environment offers me; But he is also looked upon by the manipulator, who will substitute quality for quantity, offering me a continuous rain of goods and values ​​that will leave me no time to stop and look at myself.

long story

Of course, none of this pertains to the communication era that began in the last century. Humans have always taken advantage of what others show us about ourselves; By paying attention to the traces that other people are inevitably leaving, we become aware of their desires and fears, and we use this information when we want to get closer to them; Positive feelings can compel us to use them to gain favor; Negative emotions, elevating the parts that best suit our purposes. The latter is what Iago does to the jealous Othello when he assures him that his wife has been unfaithful to him; This is what “television entertainers” do when they trick us into buying a shampoo they’ll never use; News platforms do this by flooding us with only ideas we agree with, tricking us into thinking that the whole world has become just about what seems important to us (for example, I’ve been following this idea for several weeks). Everyone in this world is intensely interested in the future of artificial intelligence, while it is likely that only a few of us share that concern).

At the beginning of our history, this type of manipulation was based on the elevation of needs common to all: the pursuit of basic goods, the fear of death, the perception of the world’s imperfection… Already in recent centuries, the beginning of modernity , manipulation began to affect more individual needs, supported (unfortunate to say) by the emergence of democracy, which gave a special place to the individual under the understanding that “each head is a world” (of course, always and when None of the heads exceed their powers, at the risk that the guillotine will force them to see reason).

In the 20th century, once all the excess had subsided, sciences such as sociology and psychology and technologies such as marketing were added to human knowledge, and an open letter was given to those who wished to investigate the intimate inclinations of each. Were. Resident. The day has finally arrived when all this knowledge (from the general needs to the specific needs of each individual) is concentrated in the technologies that are needed to record and interact with the traces each individual leaves through their electronic devices. Carefully programmed to generate algorithms whose mission, as we have seen, is to make the world less individualized by conforming to everything the market has to offer.

teaching is sharing the need to learn

Ideally, school would be a place to counteract this powerful outside influence that attacks us without us controlling it. We will go into it broadening the scope of our interests and realizing that there are many other perspectives on what is happening in the world besides the perspective that our parents and the media have fed us.

I submit that ideally this will happen. In reality, things can be pathetic. The Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset gives us a startling point of view (despite the fact that it was expressed more than a hundred years ago): “The student is a human being whose life compels him to study the sciences that Those whom he has not read felt a real need. To be a student means to be forced to be interested in something that does not interest you.

Linking this idea ─quite familiar to all of us─ to what I’m saying about manipulation, I’d like to propose a small adjustment to the famous Spanish thinker: It’s not that what teachers teach is what their students learn. No interest for. (Let us remember the passion with which we learned to write and read or remember the first multiplication table!). Perhaps it happens that ─contrary to what we were saying about advertising─school teaches us things that we cannot apply in practical life (except when it comes to techniques that we will practice in some profession). We used to say that if an advertisement promises us clothes or perfume, we can go to the shop and buy it; And if a speech encourages us to follow certain values, we can go out and act according to them. However, when it comes to school, it seems like they show us pictures of delicious dishes that aren’t served anywhere or of amusement parks that don’t exist in the real world.

I think there is some misunderstanding behind all this. For a long time, the school has focused not on knowledge processes but on sharing knowledge products. They are two different things: the second can be brought to life, the first not (as I say, except in specific technical contexts). Teaching science, mathematics, grammar, history or any other marvel of human creativity and understanding cannot be limited to showing data and formulae, i.e., conclusions; It should teach us about the human lives involved as well, that is, it should introduce us to human beings ─just like us─ who have experienced these knowledge processes. In order to bring the latter into real life, the student needs to see himself participating in it, he needs to feel how he exists in his own capacity to doubt, investigate, and discover, within the limits of human knowledge. How are the different peaks related to it.

And now it comes to what, in my opinion, is the best of them all. To show us humans involved in knowledge, teachers can tell us stories of wise people, tell us about their passions, give us examples, describe amazing ideas and discoveries; However, he will never have a better or more immediate example than himself. The ─teacher─ is the most living and reliable witness to teach us both the knowledge and the person in search of it. Before exposing any topic, the teacher exposes himself, allows his students to see how the seeds of learning and knowledge are planted in them, and sometimes, when they come to fruition. break the narrow view of the world that they learned earlier, and encourage them to move forward. Get out and expand to wider areas.

Teaching, in essence, is sharing the need to learn.

expose yourself

I want to end with a precise description of what it is to expose oneself, and to clarify what a teacher’s best skill would be in the education we seek. this is something i saw in the movie ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt. In heroic space missions set in a futuristic world, our protagonist must undergo a constant assessment of his mental state, through the simple process of standing before one. Robot and tell how you feel. In nearly every scene, the machine determines that the subject is viable to continue the mission. However, this eventually changes, not when the character acknowledges his emotional disturbances and doubts about his abilities, but when he cannot identify with his mental state, and is confused enough to do anything. Stutters thoughts without being able to. insight Nor recognize what he feels. Then the machine determines that it is no longer useful. A hero is fit for his mission only if he can remain true to himself.

In The Education I Want, teachers are by no means asked to always maintain a positive and even-tempered state of mind; He is asked to see himself and to expose himself openly to his students, to show a way of being in the world by which they can identify themselves. All true education comes from this honesty. It is possible that the old phrase “know thyself” was directed more at teachers than at people who wanted to learn. However, are they not the same when seen?

This article from the Institute’s Observatory for the Future of Education can be shared under the terms of the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license

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