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Considering AI in Education: Erziehung but Never Bildung

Part of the Perspectives on Rethinking and Reforming Education book series (PRRE)

Abstract

A defining aspect of our modern age is our tenacious belief in technology in all walks of life, not least in education. It could be argued that this infatuation with technology or ‘techno-philia’ in education has had a deep impact in the classroom changing the relationship between teacher and student, as well as between students. Running parallel to this and perhaps exacerbating the problem is the so-called process of ‘learnification’, which understands that teachers are mere facilitators of the learning process, rather than someone with an expertise who has something to teach others. In this article, I first assess the current technologization of education and the impact it has had in relations within the classroom, leading to an understanding of education as Erziehung rather than Bildung; secondly, I investigate through a thought experiment if the development of AI could one day successfully replace human teachers in the classroom.

Keywords

  • AI
  • Gert biesta
  • Though experiment
  • Erziehung
  • Bildung

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Bildung and Erziehung are usually translated as ‘education’ in English. However, in other Germanic languages, a distinction is present; for instance: Vorming in Dutch; Bildning in Swedish (cf. Biesta 2002: 344).

  2. 2.

    Christensen (1997: 8) notes that the successful use of technology in the classroom is highly dependent on teachers’ attitudes towards computer as well as expertise and experience in the use of technology.

  3. 3.

    I note that some can argue that given that the concept of education as Bildung, as character formation, could be used politically and for ideological purposes, then the notion of education as Erziehung, the learning of skills is preferable because it would be perceived as being more natural and not political. However, as Paulo Freire taught us ‘all education is political’ and therefore, Bildung can be conceived as the formation of critical individuals and citizens, whilst Erziehung as a form of ‘banking education’ and ‘domestication of the masses’ (cf. Freire 1996).

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Guilherme, A. (2019). Considering AI in Education: Erziehung but Never Bildung. In: Knox, J., Wang, Y., Gallagher, M. (eds) Artificial Intelligence and Inclusive Education. Perspectives on Rethinking and Reforming Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-8161-4_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-8161-4_10

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