Interest and Pleasure: Beside the Point or THE Point?

Since I didn’t say much in class today (I think I was kind of using the discussion to reflect more on Illich’s ideas) there are a few ideas I found relevant to the topic of curriculum learning.  When I say curriculum learning, I do not mean education.  I mean the formal learning process, that is centralized and tackled in a “one size fits all” manner.

At first I thought Illich’s Learning Webs was kind radical and somewhat absurd but it’s not necessarily the ideas that were so out there, just the solution.  Or maybe it was just his urgent tone…which made me feel like the world was ending or something.  I think his term “deschooling” is a little hard to swallow upon first read.  I think a better term would be “decentralizing.”  I think this term epitomizes everything Illich is trying to put into words but it doesn’t have such an aggressive feel about it.  It does however sound kind of generic so maybe it would just be best to think of his proposal in a decentralized instead of deschooled way.  A way that doesn’t halt development through the forming of little black boxes of knowledge.  A way that encourages questions and doesn’t instill the learner with a fear of sounding “stupid.”  Similar to what Jake said, I fear if we cannot establish a more interactive means to learning in schools, it is truly questionable what the future holds for us.  I can’t help but think back to when I was very young, pre- and early-elementary years, I never stopped asking questions.  It didn’t matter if they were naive or silly because I was truly interested in the answer and I once I got it, I could go along my merry way, continuing my quest for knowledge in a way that made sense to me.  Before I was conditioned to curriculum learning, I made connections all by myself, without the teacher’s help and I felt genuinely satisfied (again, Nelson).

So is interest and pleasure beside the point?  Absolutely not.  Interest and pleasure is the point.  We need to stop striving for “productive members of society” and start thinking about ourselves a little more.  As cliche as it may sound, it is strikingly similar to the idea of being happy with yourself instead of worrying what others think about you.  If your education is not stimulating to you then the “benchmark,” the “A” doesn’t really matter or mean anything.  Now if only there were a more sensible way to achieve this idealistic goal…

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One Response to Interest and Pleasure: Beside the Point or THE Point?

  1. halliedominick

    I completely agree with this. The swapping of the word “deschooling” with “decentralizing” puts Illich’s ideas more into perspective. It is easier to imagine a world that is decentralized. Our society operates on a lot of centralized ideas or “norms.” It is hard to break these “norms” without at at least some skepticism. Once over the hurdle though we set new “norms.” I believe that if we did learn based on interest and please like you’ve mentioned, not only would be live happier lives but more fulfilling lives.

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