Image: "The Bird of Self-Knowledge", Anonymous, 18th century. Wikimedia Commons
It's not about what I know, it's about what I do with what I know.
The school does not fail because it does what it intends to do wrong, it fails because what is proposed is not worth it. Too bad, it's a planning problem. Not of planning as she likes to understand it (correlate rigorously some things with the others and make them fit in some type of non-negotiable determinant, be it time or concept), but of planning in the sense of not getting right in the definition of the purpose .
The school intends to inform its students and the education we care about is about training and not about information.
Erudition is not useless only in its neurotic excesses, it is always useless if we understand information without application as erudition. Passing a test at school is useless, except for the approval itself. The same college entrance exams and stuff. Many of the educational tools justify themselves and the institutional solipsism of the school reaches scandalous levels at this point, if not pathetic. It is a sick and obsessive system that has lost all context record; On the contrary, day by day is reinforced in its own self-referential dynamics. He is afraid. And paradoxically, that fear is his most honest and true record.
Even in the face of information, the school already makes serious mistakes. It has been set in a fallen scenario and does not register it. The first error is the source error. The school believes that the most useful information source is unique, curated and stable; They do not serve you or know how to deal with the immeasurable dynamic and cross-sources of information that our society has today. He prefers the textbook (even if its edition dates back 6 years) to any other current source, be it a newspaper of the day or 2 days or just Twitter, not to mention Google and its infinite tributaries. He still believes - anchored in Diderot - that a "serious" source is worth more than the melting pot of current sources, pierced by the social complexity of the issue. He believes that this everlasting didactic encyclopedia that is the textbook is worth more than the open staged effervescence that Wikipedia reflects on - for example - the Israel-Jordan conflict. The school does not understand that the information it applies is not the blessed, but the information that is traversed by its own complexity; that the information that serves is that of the interstices between one fixed position and the other, that which shows and demonstrates its instability, the uncontrollable speed rash and as always, also its metaphysics and inherent ambiguity. The school does not understand that unfinished is not synonymous with useless.
The second error is structural. The school believes that what informs us is the simplifying synthesis of a topic, its allegedly final flat taxonomy, and not its rich course, the openness of its discussion, the complex and diversified plot of its construction. That is why school sources are always closed taxonomies, as if there were no conflict or interpretations and as if all the debates were closed; Therefore, school supplies are illegible and unbearably boring. There are three types of love: the subsidiary, the friendly and the passionate ... as if it were true; as if they did not mix all the time, as if there were no nuances, interstices, hybridities and new formations that dynamit the taxonomy. As if those silly taxonomies, with a countenance of wise, that reduce our love to a closed classification, were of any use. And if they end love, imagine what they don't do with Mexican history of the twentieth century.
Knowledge is a social product, a consequence of the social game. Objective information is just an unimportant reference to the concept of information . Most of the time it doesn't matter what happened - let's think about history, but what happened to what happened and what was said about what happened and what happened to what was said to happen ... And true is everything, even what was denied was said about what was supposed, even falsely, that had happened.
And the third error is process. The school assumes that the useful relationship with the information is the retention of the data. But it is forgotten that more than the data, the process of data construction matters; and also forget that the data, isolated from the complex plot of data that surrounds it, is absolutely meaningless and worthless. Big mistake. That it does not matter to remember that Zedillo was the Mexican president of the period as and such, regardless of what was happening in Mexico and in the world during those times; where Zedillo came from, a solution to what previous conflict it entailed and - as always in Mexico - what Zedillo meant for the PRI; and finally, where did that 'Zedillo experience' end up? That any data isolated from its context, which is an important part of its meaning, is the same as nothing and computable at zero. What does it matter on January 10 if I forget or don't know what my son Mateo's birthday is?
But we also said that the data outside the construction process is irrelevant, and it is true. Reaching the Pythagorean theorem demonstration is infinitely more significant (in addition to beautiful, exciting, etc.) than knowing that the sum of the squares of the legs ... The legs immediately become cathetes if I do not do anything meaningful with them. The same is the epicycles, the integrals, the democratic models or the galaxies. The school confuses all the time process with result.
We said that the information is irrelevant next to the training and I want to end this. To be trained is to be able to do what I have. Produce, create or whatever we want to call it. The information that serves us is that we use to go somewhere; and that part is valuable, not that input. We can call that process mobilization; that knowledge or competence is the mobilization of information at the service of some significant production / construction. Therefore, the school we need must prepare its students to mobilize their informational baggage at the service of their own construction process. It's about undertaking somewhere.
That is, information as a starting point and not as a point of arrival. And the institutional verification of the process - which we call evaluation - must be carried out on the mobilization process and not on the source of support.
The school believes that information tempers people and that the quiet accumulation of it (which we call scholarship) makes us charismatic. But he is wrong. Information without training, that is, without mobilization and articulation capacity, in low doses is only useless and in high doses it is pathetic. The only fertile land for information is intelligence, which is the power towards entrepreneurship. Create - we call it. That is why we cannot guarantee schools that accumulate pressure information in heads not sufficiently stimulated in their urgent intelligence.
Author's Twitter: @dobertipablo