This weekend I have two exams for my Masters program. The first is on educational theories and new media, and the second is on media research. Both are in German. My German is really good, but writing essays (by hand!) on philosophical, educational and scientific theories is outside of my comfort zone with the language. So I’m freaking out. I’m trying to study, but keep getting hung up and distracted by 35 letter long German words describing concepts I actually already know.

In an effort to help me learn and understand phrases like “Virtualität als Durchdringungsverhältnis”, I’ve decided that this weeks blog post will be me translating and paraphrasing the theories and ideas I’ve been presented with. I think I’ll be doing several posts because it’s a lot of information, even if I short form it.

My theory is that forcing myself to understand the shift of cognitive and sociological perspectives that are resulting from the relatively new forms of media in two separate languages, will influence my ability to recall buzzwords and phrases in both languages, thereby helping me pass my first ever exam in a language that is relatively new to me.

It’s going to be interesting, so strap in. If your cognitive facilities are properly functioning, you will notice that what follows is only a brief introduction to the possible expansion of your cultural and biological perspectives.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that “education” in this context is about education as a process. It isn’t “training” or “learning”, it’s the development of self reflective tendencies and understanding relationships.

Decentralization of Cultural Patterns: Wilhelm von Humboldt thought that perspectives are relative to your cultural background. He also thought that “education” is the decentralization and flexibility of the relationship with the self and the relationship with the world. His theory states that flexibility of these relationships comes from getting friendly with foreign perspectives. Your perspective is directly related to your background, influence from a foreign perspective changes your own perspective, that process is one of education. My favorite quote from Humboldt is (loosely translated):

“Learning a foreign language should in and of itself win you a new position in your past perspective.”

He’s saying that learning a new language will influence your perspective because the language has different cultural patterns, inherently.

The Concept of General Education: Klafki’s concept described general education as:

  • for every one
  • covering a wide variety of topics and skills
  • helping with the solution to key problems (ie understanding complicated issues)

Wolfgang Klafki said that the three central aspects (skills) of education are:

  • self-determination: envelops the unique and personal relationships (in life) as well as distinctions between people and variations in the handling of vocational, ethical and religious situations
  • co-determination: the ability to participate and understand in society and politics
  • solidarity: the accumulation of the other two skills is only true when a person tries to stand up for the rights of everyone

In 1990 Winfried Marotzki proposed a structural definition of learning and educational processes. A learning process is the development of certainty whereas education is the development of uncertainty.

Learning Processes:

  • Learning I: The coupling of stimulus and reaction
  • Learning II: A stimulus in this context has a different meaning as in another context

Education Processes:

  • Education I: Flexibility of the frameworks and decentralization of your perspective – This process is hard to initiate because of what you are used to. It is generally initiated through parents, teachers or therapists.
  • Education II: Enhancement and differentiation of the relationship to the self, the understanding that references are relative and narrow, the development of self-reflection, creativity is the program.

This concept is beautiful, if you think about it. You learn a specific fact or a skill, but if you are educated you question what you’ve learned and why you respond to it a certain way and where what you’ve learned came from and and and.

I like the idea that educational theorists make distinctions between learning something and being educated. I was always under the impression that being educated means knowing that clarity is impossible because everything that we know is only what we know. I think an educated mind would be able to grasp the idea that all human knowledge has the potential to change. Just because we know it now, doesn’t mean we won’t have to change our perspective in the future (see geocentric model).

Tomorrow: Cyberspace and the “Virtualitätslagerung”

References:

Marotzki und Jörissen. (2005). Bildungstheorie und neue Medien. Universität Rostock: Zentrum für Qualitätssicherung in Studium und Weiterbildung.

Wolfgang Klafki. Wikipedia. last modified on 5 Juli 2011. Accessed 19/09/2011. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Klafki

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