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collective self-education in the arts and culture…

Education and Self-learning :: Bojan Djordjev

Recently, surgery many critical educational as well as artistic-educational projects are about finding a more appropriate term to replace education. That is why education in the title is crossed out – as an appeal for a new, alternative term.

Etymologically speaking, the word education is derived from the Latin educare meaning “to raise”, “to bring up”, “to train”, “to rear”, via “educatio/nis”, bringing up, raising. Lately, there has been a return to an alternative assertion that education derives from a different verb: educere, meaning “to lead out” or “to lead forth” (Wikipedia). This other version of etymology implies to lead out of something to something else, from one state to another. Like leading out of darkness. I would also emphasize that this meaning implies that someone is leading someone else – in the case of education (i.e. in traditional western system of education) a teacher who leads a student out of darkness of ignorance, lack of knowledge – to the state of possession of knowledge. This notion of someone instructing someone else – the master of knowledge instructing the one with less or no knowledge, is the reason why the alternatives to traditional notions of education distinguish themselves also by adding prefix self to the term, as an immediate, most visible distinction. So the first thing to be done is to avoid the authoritarian position of the teacher as the only proprietor of ‘knowledge’, or as Jacques Rancière puts it:

The pedagogical myth [that of instruction being the art of explication] divides the world into two. More precisely, it divides intelligence in two. It says that there is an inferior intelligence and a superior one. The former registers perceptions by chance, retains them, interprets and repeats them empirically, within the closed circle of habit and need. This is the intelligence of the young child and the common man. The superior intelligence knows things by reason, proceeds by method, from the simple to the complex, from the part to the whole.[1]

The s-o-s project technique of self-education is based on the Rancière’s theorization of the example of ‘ignorant schoolmaster’ Joseph Jacotot, and Gregory Ulmer’s concept of post(e)-pedagogy. Utilising these concepts in self-learning should in fact, cross out the ‘other’, the lecturer from education’s etymology. The s-o-s project in that sense, relies on the book(s, texts) as the source on the one, and on free discussion between equals that re-signifies each other’s experiences, on the other hand.


[1] Jacques Rancière (1991), The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, Stanford Cal: Stanford University Press, p. 7

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Category: Dictionary of Self-education

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Deschooling Classroom

Deschooling Classroom is a project that addresses the contemporary independent cultural scenes in the region, researching and offering an alternative to the hierarchical models of education in the art and culture. Methodologically, the project moves away from the concepts of individual authorship and expertise, and advocates open collective educational structures where self-organised communities facilitate horizontal production, exchange and distribution of knowledge.