Dos caminos hacia la justicia educativa | Axel Rivas | TEDxRíodelaPlata

Translator: Haydee Rodriguez
Reviewer: Mariano Landini [Axel Rivas: Two ways
to the educational justice] We live in very unfair societies and education may enlarge
those injustices or combat them. That’s why today, I want to talk
to two very powerful sectors. To the teachers, that they have the power in the classrooms and they are much
more powerful than they think. And to the leading classes,
to the politic and economic power that can change the education in our countries
if they resolve to do it. And for that purpose I want to try
to explain two great causes of educational inequalitites
and two possible ways out: The distribution of wealth
and the review of the pedagogy. In the first place,
the distribution of wealth. Latin America is the most inequal
continent in the Earth. Look at this graphic.
I am asking you to keep it in mind. It is the graphic of the wealth
distribution in Latin America versus the rest of the world. The 10% of the wealthiest has the 50%
of the income and the 10% of the poorest,
barely has the 1%. And notice that the 10% of the wealthiest
of Latin America is wealthier than the average, that the comparison
of this wealth is explained in the other 80%
of the poorest population, that is much more further
of the average in Latin America than in the rest of the world. That’s not natural,
this doesn’t lead to development. We live between opulence and misery. All the recent studies prove that
the most egalitarian societies are those with the best health of their population,
best and longest old age, biggest trust among people,
lowest levels of violence, lowest levels of crime
and biggest social mobility. That is to say, the inequalities
of the parents don’t determine the inequalities
of their children. In all the social signs,
in all the most egalitarian countries are better positioned in similar
levels of wealth. One of the causes of the inmense
inequalities of Latin America is the taxes. In Latin America, the poor pay
more taxes than the rich. Yes, that’s it. The problem of the taxes,
the great enemy of the taxes is its abstraction. We don’t know where they go. What the eye doesn’t see,
the heart doesn’t grieve over. We have to make the taxes visible. We have to direct them directly
to the capacities of the most vulnerable sectors. We have to put faces to the taxes,
because there are beneficiaries that can change their lives
if we change the taxes. Those faces are staring at us. The second great explication
of the educational inequalities isn’t out there, it’s inside schools. It is inside our pedagogy,
in the way we teach. Yes, our pedagogy reproduces
and enlarges inequalities. And that’s why we have to review it. And to do that, I propose you to analyse
three models of educative systems and three models of pegadody. The first is the model
that we are going to call: the model of the separation
of the students. The German model of countries like
Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In this model, the students have
a very short common primary school and at a very early age they take an exam that is going to allocate them
in different schools and where they are never
going to see each other again. Some of them will go to the circuit
of the vocational schools to access the world of manual work, and others will go to the academic schools
to access the university. This system is very efficient,
it generates very specialised workers, but to the cost of a great inequality. Germany, for example,
is one of the countries with the biggest inequalities
in its results of learning in the international tests of quality
in all the world. The second model, we can call it:
the model of personalised integration. It is the model of the nordic countries
like Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In these countries, the education
is very long. The students go through
their school experience sharing the same public school
and all schools are similar. It has produced an effect of social
integration in the public school. But the most interesting model
is its pedagogy. In these countries they have
a very personalised pedagogy: they teach thinking in each student. Their norm is the individual. The third model, we know it very well, it is the model we can call:
the model of uniform integration. It is the Latin model that we inherited
from France and we have in the Latin American
countries. It is a model that shares a very long
school with the previous model. Unfortunately, we have an experience
of shared school attendance but, however, its pedagogy is different. It is based on the norm,
on the common teaching, in the homogeneous uniform teaching
of the whole group of students. At the end of the scholar years, the students have to take tests
where whoever doesn’t reach the average grade, has only one way;
there is only one way to classify the students,
that is the hold back. That means, reset everything to zero, to do exactly the same
that the previous year again. This model does not only generate
a lot of inequality, but, in unequal countries like ours,
it generates bigger educational exclusion. The students that hold back
tend to hold back again and to leave the secondary school. This model is based in a pedagogy,
a pedagogy that we can call the simultaneous method’. The simultaneous method is very simple,
it is to teach exactly the same to the same group of students and in the whole educational system. There was a French minister of education
in the 19th century that said: ‘In this moment,
all the 5th grade students are learning the sixth canto
of the Aeneid’. That is to say, a minister that knew
what happened in the whole country, in that moment, in every classroom. This is the height of the simultaneous
method. The problem is that the simultaneous
method is not just unfair but impassable as well. In today’s classrooms it is unimaginable
to think that the students can do
the same activities during 4 or 5 hours per day
than their colleagues. And that’s why the simultaneous
method is broken, it’s not working. Because they don’t review the pedagogy
that is holding this simultaneous method, the teachers live a great dilemma:
the majority of the teachers, at the end of each year,
live the dilemma to hold back some students or let them pass
without the required knowledge. The teachers today know
very well that holding back does not solve the learning problems. It is demonstrated that holding back
does not make them learn more or better, that it generates an irreparable damage
in self esteem and that those students
are the ones who tend to leave education early. And the teachers also know
– they are very conscious about it – that let a student to pass without
the knowledge, sooner or later, that knowledge
not acquired is going to be expressed in the life
of their students. That’s why teachers suffer this dilemma. What can we do then? In the first place
we have to look into education from the perspective of the students
and we have to look into pedagogy. We have to get out of the common
sense of the pedagogy. We have to visit the classrooms
of our colleges, go to the trainings where we will work
on the review of the pedagogies. Let’s record our classes, let’s watch us. Let’s ask the head teacher of the school,
the supervisor, to come to our class,
to make comments on it. Let’s talk about pedagogy
in the classrooms and in the school’s corridors. The second great way is the
personalization of teaching: we have to settle different measurements. We have a lot to learn from different
types of pedagogy. Some of them are very close:
at rural schools, at good rural schools they know how to teach groups
of very different ages at the same time, personalizing teaching. Every teacher, when he is preparing
his activities for the next day, has to think of every student;
not of the group, not in the general norm,
has to individualize his pedagogy. The third point is priorize
the first grade. The first grade is the most important
of the whole educational system. The best teachers have to be here. The first grade has to be a lesson
of educational inclusion. In Latin America we still have countries,
and provinces in Argentina, where more than the 20 % is held back
in the first grade. Yes, they are pedagogically excluded
since first grade. That’s why we have to have all the attention of the educational
system there, to make sure that no student
is left behind. In the fourth place
we have to convince ourselves that every school if a source
of educational justice. And I want to tell you an anecdote. A person asked me to help
her daughter that was held back for a second time in the primary school. And the head teacher of the school
where she attended, she was a Paraguayan girl
with very low resources in a full-time public school, the head teacher suggested her
to take private classes to keep her in school. That is to say, a girl with very low
resources had to pay more for extra classes
to keep her in school. Fortunately, her mother took the decision
to take her out of that school. We searched another school
and the head teacher told us: ‘Yes, we have a vacancy, but she needs to bring her expedient. I want to see her grades,
I want to see her behaviour’. Imagine the model of justice
in that school how it was going to receive that girl. A third school, fortunately, the head teacher answered us and asked us, the first thing she asked is:
What’s her name? She asked for her name and told us: ‘Bring her on Monday,
don’t wait a single day more. The papers don’t matter,
we will wait for her’. Effectively, on Monday the head teacher
was waiting for her. She knew her name,
took her to every classroom, introduced her to every teacher,
to every group of students. That is to say, she treated her as gold, with all her value
and that they have never seen in her. That head teacher, in that school,
is doing justice, she is personalizing teaching. It is possible to make it in every shool. Now, how is it possible to gather
these two paths? The distribution of wealth
and the review of pedagogy. I want to tell you a very specific example of something we have studied
in CIPPEC lately. In the year 2011, in Argentina,
the tax of income decreased. The tax of income is exclusively paid by the richest 10% of population. The 10% that we saw so privileged, so abnormally privileged
for the rest of the world. If the tax of the income wasn’t decreased, the state would have collected almost
3,400 millions of pesos more, in this year, in 2011. Exactly the same that cost
to extend the school day for the 30% of the poorest students
of the country. That is to say, to give more time
of class to personalize teaching, for every student to have the time
that they need to not be left behind and pass to the next grade
with the knowledge required. And not only that, but the extension
of the school day, well designed, allows us to extend the spheres
of expression of students, transform the scholar model. Give them arts, sports,
technology, languages. That is to say, change the spheres
of justice of the schools, change the destiny of the students
at the earliest age possible. It is possible to change education. Walter Benjamin said: ‘Looking at the oppressed teaches us
that the emergency state in which we live is not the exception
but the rule’. We live in an emergency state, the injustices are an emergency
to those that suffer them. Our time is now. Imposed remodelings, pedagogic remodelings the two paths of the educational justice. Many thanks. (Applause)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *