Reflections on a human education


What is meant by a new humanism after a pandemic? What senses and practices should education recover? Is it possible to speak of a human education?

In fact, the post-pandemic has allowed us to reflect on what the new relationships between human beings, nature and technology are like . The pandemic brought pain and death to humanity and returned our gaze to our human condition: on the one hand, the fragility and weakness of our condition in the face of an invisible enemy; on the other hand, our will to power to be resilient in the face of adversity and face challenges for our survival and recovery of our normality.

This scenario –as the starting point of a new humanism– invites us to think that the human being is not the center of the universe or the pinnacle of creation, but a being that can live in harmony with other human beings and with other living beings (trees, plants, animals, water, land), referencing the worldview of our ancestral Andean peoples from the vision of “Sumak Kawsay” (good living) . In this sense, thought and reflection move from those anthropocentric logics to new ecocentric logics.

Digitization of life

On the other hand, access to the Internet and social networks shows that a human coexistence mediated by technology affects the lifestyles of present and future generations of students. A reality conditioned by uncertainty and human disenchantment is confronted with a digitization of human life.

From a vision of a “digital being” , the proposal of a digital ethic arises that becomes an option for the construction of principles, values, duties and rights that guide the action of the human being in the digital world.

This type of applied ethics is essential to propose an ethic for digital generations in which human dignity and care for the environment are legitimized as fundamental conditions for digital ethics.

In this sense, technology would not become an end in itself, nor should it be the cause to propitiate new minorities of the power of knowledge that generate new digital gaps and promote processes of exclusion and digital marginalization in the population. Technology, by itself, must become a mediation for free access to knowledge and information.

The meaning of the educational community

The triad human being, nature and technology constitutes a new relational scenario to think about a new humanism, in which the human being lives in harmony with nature and has the responsibility for its care and preservation. On the other hand, this new humanism relocates technology to the service of human life and the care of nature, repositioning its role as mediation and not as an end in itself. So far I answer the first question of this reflection.

What senses and practices should education recover? Education is a human process and its relational condition is essential in the teaching-learning process. The relational, the dialogic, coexistence, training, among others. Before the pandemic, there was already talk of an education crisis and, in the current context, there is still talk of an education crisis.

A certain misunderstood encyclopedicism added to the accumulation of knowledge through memorization has marked an unsuccessful educational style in recent decades. The lack of preparation of teachers has been questioned due to low salaries, which has forced the teacher to be a mere repeater of knowledge and to accumulate class hours rather than spend his time being a teacher and researcher.

Educational gap

In recent years, the difference in opportunities between private education and tax education has opened the educational gap between those who have the most (and have more opportunities to access knowledge) and those who have fewer possibilities of access.

During the pandemic, the absence of educational attendance increased this crisis when facing a virtualization of education (very different from what a virtual education itself is).

Faced with improvisation and uncertainty, teachers and students faced new scenarios of timing of the educational process mediated by videoconference platforms and virtual learning environments (LMS).

After the forced development of digital skills of educational actors and in view of the loss of learning due to the lack of face-to-face contact with the teacher, today post-pandemic education seeks to recover this learning through the socio-emotional accompaniment of the student, renewal of practices teachers, the generation of new forms of evaluation that are not only exhausted in the written test, among others.

If today the challenge of educational transformation is posed by seeking another possible education, it is important to recover those senses of education based on teacher accompaniment through teaching and the empowerment of learning by the student to achieve a new pedagogical mediation, which it is to form a community of learning and inquiry . In this sense, education has the challenge of recovering the sense of educational community, where learning communities imply living an educational “agape” in the interaction, integration, dialogue and inclusion of the different actors.

New relationship with technology and the environment

Likewise, I believe that the recovery of an “emerging rationality” by education invites us to generate new spaces for reflection, dialogue and criticism in education in the face of the “dehumanizing” scenarios that the consequences of the pandemic such as violence have left us. , corruption, insecurity, individualism, among others.

From the integral and integrating perspective of an emerging rationality, new practices are proposed as challenges for the teaching and learning process, such as the integration between the modernization processes and our cultural heritage, the development of our originality of thought, the promotion of an education inclusive, the recovery of our capacity for dialogue and interlocution and discernment about better decision-making in our daily lives.

To conclude the answer to the second question, it is important that education recover the sense of community, of community among its different actors that train good citizens, good parents, good people, as relational beings. On the other hand, the recovery of an emerging rationality in the educational processes will allow to reintegrate those practices of reflection, dialogue, criticism, interpretation and action that are so necessary today, and that the school has the possibility of doing.

Finally, the third question remains: is it possible to generate another type of education? Is it essential to humanize education? Today the current educational model is in crisis with the emergence of the health emergency context. As a consequence, there is an opportunity to rethink and design another type of possible education, not only through emerging pedagogies, but also to reflect on the objectives, content, and graduation profile that current curricula propose in order to educate students. a subject for a society not only of high performance and productivity but also for a good life and the common good.

The post-pandemic invites us to think about a new planetary order where life itself is privileged in its harmonious relationship with nature. How can we prepare for a new future in education? Is it possible for education to recover the human condition? These questions invite us to reflect on a human education and its new relationships and interactions, as emerging relationalities, between the different actors of the educational community mediated by technology and a new relationship between the human being and nature. For this reason, a humane education proposes a new relationship of the human being with technology and the environment, which enables us to aspire to a more supportive, fairer, more empathetic, more resilient, more human and more natural world.

Author Bio: Jorge Balladares is the Academic coordinator of the Virtual Education Management Unit at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar