This part of the course is devoted to the social and cultural spaces, hence we will be looking at examples of out-of-the-box thinking about education. The kind of thinking that sees education as a dynamic and social activity that supports relationship building and experience sharing among the different participants.
An open school cooperates with the local community, addresses real problems and starts at the local level, but also tackles national and global issues. An open school teaches responsibility, cooperation and proactiveness.
In this module, you will read stories of some schools that understand this kind of openness in education and decided to act instead of waiting for institutional changes. They changed their appearance, educational spaces, living spaces of the children and adults working there, the local community and… the whole world.
We are convinced that the case studies introduced in this section will inspire you to introduce changes of your own.
When we think about education, we tend to be guided by anachronisms: outdated models of schooling in which teachers have to educate and children have to let them get knowledge into their heads.
Such models are not only false, but also detrimental because they distort the aims and possibilities of teachers. They distract from the social processes that are actually taking place in schools. They make it more difficult to make use of such processes in education because they ignore the fact that the school is where young people and their educators spend a large part of their lives.
The traditional paradigm is too authoritative and individualistic. It limits the possibilities of both teachers and students, leaves parents, the local community and the rest of the world in the background. It is too small to fit in all of the variables and therefore unsuitable to face the challenges of the 21st century.