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Education and Development: School and Its Role in Lifelong Learning

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Handbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education
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Abstract

Through their contact with education, everyone, from their most tender years, progressively forges a multi-stranded identity, developing a web of identities and thereby becoming pluricultural with pluricultural skills.

It is in school that much early learning takes place and where children learn to think critically and develop their intellectual curiosity and a thirst for learning, key elements for lifelong purposeful learning. While universal knowledge may be beyond any of us, it nonetheless seems clear that teachers have as their central mission helping children develop from the outset intellectual curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.

Teachers need to lead the learner to discover the joy of culture which should be within the grasp of everyone, and not just those who inherit the cultural capital from their families, which allows them make culture their own and hence to live comfortably with it. This requires a consideration of what constitutes worthwhile knowledge and how to impart this in a manner which instills and enhances a thirst for such knowledge.

It is tautological that reading allows access to knowledge. This means that the child who happily reads has more chance of accessing knowledge and of developing their general culture than has one who reads reluctantly. And it is at school where one acquires – or not – the taste for reading.

School has a role to play in developing the child’s understanding of the world and of the Other, whoever that they be, and lessons in this regard can be drawn from comparative education and include learning other languages, taking part in cross-national exchanges, and so on. However, teachers need appropriate training in dealing with cultural diversity in an inclusive manner so as to be able to use these lessons both within their classes and in taking part in exchanges. Exchanges allow for a de-centering and for seeing how other places do what is ostensibly the same thing, at least in broad curricular terms.

School can only be a part of the lifelong development of the individual if teachers are properly educated to reflect on the mobility of persons to facilitate exchanges and the struggle against ethnocentrism, to lead to an acceptance of perceived difference as an asset and develop solidarity between pupils.

It demands reflection on foreign literature/s and an interest in developing cultural and intercultural knowledge and familiarity in order to refuse to succumb to dogmatism and to establish a basis for critical thinking. It puts in place a capacity to reflect on education’s problem and to do so from a comparative perspective. It allows learners to appreciate the richness and diversity of expression in their native lexicon and to use the confidence of expression thus established to grow into confident users of other, perhaps more dominant, lexicons.

From this can be put in place a school actively encouraging of intellectual curiosity, engendering knowledge which is global, cultural, and intercultural while developing critical and ethical thinking.

This chapter is an extended and updated version of work published in Matheson, D (ed.) (2014) An Introduction to the Study of Education. London and New York: Routledge. Used with the kind permission of Routledge.

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Correspondence to Dominique Groux .

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Groux, D. (2020). Education and Development: School and Its Role in Lifelong Learning. In: Papa, R. (eds) Handbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14625-2_144

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