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Educating is not Transferring Data

There is no doubt that technology allows us to know more, to have more opinions, to compare and contrast. And this possibility is democratic, in the sense that it allows everyone to browse, to improve, to grow, each in the context of what they are and their cultural starting level and hopes. Of course, until now, the big difference, inequality, has been between those who are familiar with technology and those who are unable to use it by knowledge, generation, or any other reason, or use it in a degraded way, thus remaining on the margins of the revolution. of the second half of the last century.

Technology allows, through access to the many information portals, social networks, libraries, and virtual dictionaries, to have everything, on everything that is available, in a simple and free way. It is also attentive, continuously learning, and tends to define the lines of behavior and knowledge of each of us, as it is used and activated.

Of course, the algorithm continues to detect our behaviors and enrich its experience on each of us to the point of claiming to guide and condition our every act, relationship, or cultural, human, professional desire.

So this is the problem of the future. We have more knowledge thanks to technology, but we are destined to deepen only the line of our knowledge and with difficulty. It means that our culture, our way of thinking will be increasingly conditioned and influenced by technology, and above all, we will continue to enrich only what we know without widening the boundaries of our cultural horizons which then become human as well.

Perhaps a reflection on this needs to be done. And I would start with an episode that is told about the life of Socrates. Invited to Agathon’s house, the latter asks him to sit next to him in order to can touch him and thus enjoy his wisdom. Socrates replies: “maybe wisdom could flow from the fullest to the most empty of us”. Perhaps it is a bizarre example, but Socrates’ reply should be meditated upon by those involved in education given that the firm belief is spreading that part of the lessons, especially university, can be carried out online, even after the emergency, in order to achieve great economic savings. A choice, it is said, that leads us towards the future. Ultimately, it is Agathon’s idea that Socrates politely criticizes because education and upbringing cannot be reduced to the transmission of data from full (professor) to empty (student).

They are also this, of course, but there is much more at stake. The task of schools and universities is first of all to teach people to think and reason, to understand. The facts are important but so are the judgments: too often everything is resolved in the opposition between black and white, right or wrong, between wisdom and ignorance. What really matters, however, is learning to move in complexity, which is ambiguous and elusive, messy, always difficult to decipher and organize. The goal is to learn to defend one’s beliefs by giving reasons, arguments. And to do this, we must also learn to listen to the reasons of others, different points of view, so as to have an understanding as broad as possible of the problems.

An educational system works when it urges students to deal with complicated issues, not when it needs to be simplified.

Only in this way do students prepare themselves to face problems they are not yet aware of. Students must leave the school as conscious citizens, not as full vases.

Youth should be prepared for a life that includes leisure, emotional relationships, social commitments, civil growth, a range of information about the factors that, today, govern individual growth.

Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello again, Aldo.

    The collision between outmoded school thinking and reality has been a long time coming. The advent of the pandemic has caused pain and disruption, but it has also, with any luck, collapsed the underpinnings of the old. You are spot on – there was a time when teachers and schools primarily provided access to information, but that’s been gone for a long time. Schools’ function has become one of incarceration and separation rather than integration into the real world of thinking and societal preparation.

    Now is the time to insert new thinking about the fundamentals of our system, not just put laptops on desks but create opportunities for discovery, self-direction and collaboration at every level: no more segregation by age, no more objectives handed down from on high, no more standardized tests, and the list goes on. We way-underestimate the capacity of our children and they get the message.

    I’d be happy to send you a copy of my book, Learning Chaos: How Disorder Can Save Education – it’s on Amazon, B&N, etc., but I’ll send you a signed copy if I can get your mailing address.

    At the very least, let’s talk. We can make a difference – there’s an African proverb: “When spider webs unite, they can even stop a charging lion.” We need to add voices.

    And please drop in for a listen to the back2different podcast: (https://www.buzzsprout.com/1171136) – dialogue with people all over the world about pushing forward rather than pushing back.

    Be well,
    Mac

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