From WHAT and the HOW to WHY and WHY in Education

“There was a time when educators became famous because they gave reasons to learn: now they become famous because they invent a method”.

This appointment is not mine. I would like it! Today I let it be the sociologist Neil Postman who started this article in Justify your answer. Why? Because there are appointments that by themselves have much more value than the article itself. And I think Postman’s appointment is a clear reflection. Still, my intention is to make a very brief reflection about it. Will you come with me?

From WHAT and the HOW to WHY and WHAT in Education.

The appointment with which I started this article I discovered in the book by Pere Pujolàs entitled Learning different students together: The cooperative learning teams in the classroom, a book that I recommend for its clarity and even more for its honesty.

Well, Pere Pujolàs reflects on the appointment of Neil Postman in a brilliant way. As I said at the beginning of the article there are quotes that justify an article in itself. When I read it, it made such a deep impression on me that I was thinking for a while. With the help of maestro Pujolàs, I must say that it was easier for me.

What does Neil Postman mean by his appointment?

Well the answer is given by Pere Pujols arguing that today’s school is more focused on the what and the how than on the why and why, that is, the school of today prioritizes a didactic content more and more more empty, depending on how it arises.

What then should be the objecti#ve of Education that was a true Education of all and for all?

The answer to this question does not go through the what and the how, but it inevitably passes through the why and the why.

The why of education.

The reason for education is intimately linked to the motivations that we encourage students to acquire their learning. The reason why it is possible for us to know the reasons why we teach our students.

The for what of education.

While the reason is focused on motivational aspects, why has as a priority to define tangibly the goals that we have proposed in Education and with those goals is also the stimulus that will lead to start the journey from the place where we are now where we want to go

Where should the didactic proposals go?

The didactic proposals, as its own name indicates, must explicitly propose the goal that we pursue. This means that once again we need more than ever to ask the best questions to get the best response. But, what is the problem?

The essential problem for me is that we have not been able to ask the right questions. That is why we have focused so much on what and how, when the fundamental thing is to know what we want what we want and why we want it.

And you, Santiago, what education do you want?

How much I needed to ask this question! I will try to answer it knowing that I am not far from the proposals that Pere Pujolàs promotes in his book Learning different students together: The cooperative learning teams in the classroom.

I want it to be prioritized over the contents:

  • An education that takes into account the cooperation between students.
  • An education that promotes equal opportunities.
  • An education based on values.
  • An Education that invests time in teaching emotions.
  • An inclusive education, that is, an education that is capable of meeting the diversity of all its students.
  • An education that respects differences.

From WHAT and the HOW to WHY and WHAT in Education. In conclusion.

The appointment of Neil Potsdam has taught me something that was before me and that I have taken too long to see. The school of the 21st century must be designed from what we want, from the deep love we feel for our students. Only in this way will we be able, in the words of Neil Potsdam, to give reasons to learn again.

I finish this article with more questions than answers. I finish this post that today I share with you with the firm desire that your school, as I will try to make it mine, look to a why and why to give our students how much they deserve.