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The responsibility of educators in a pandemic

I thought this was brilliant from Ruha Benjamin, in the forward to Critical Digital Pedagogy, describing the responsibilities of educators. It applies more broadly than our present crisis but it feels even more pertinent against the backdrop of the pandemic:

So, what are the responsibilities of educators and educational institutions in a context where this is a deliberate campaign to break society, erode mutuality, grind down our ability to care for one another, eat away at any notion of a collective good, and destroy the institutions upon which our society depends? In this context, I think educators are called on to be champions of the social contract and to model and cultivate caring forms of sociality that are everywhere under siege.

Loc 101, Critical Digital Pedagogy

This is something I’ve thought about in terms of post-neoliberal civics. What should be valued during this upheaval? What should be fought for? These are questions which feel even more urgent when the pandemic has problematised social interdependence, with the foundations of complexity instead become vectors of risk, presenting us with the challenge of re-inscribing the social. Education has an obvious role to play in such an undertaking but is itself being transformed by this crisis in ways which call into question its capacity to perform such a role..

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Mark

2 replies

  1. Mark, thank you for this quote which reminds us of the dangers and the possibilities of our current situation.Global crises such the pandemic, the climate emergency, gross inequalities and injustices all demand social responses based on equality, democracy and solidarity Education’s urgent task should be to make those responses possible – but too often that task is framed in terms of supporting individual self-advancement in competition with, and at the expense of, others.
    I’ve been blogging about some of these issues, eg: https://eddieplayfair.com/2020/03/22/an-a-z-for-a-world-which-has-to-change/
    We need to develop a curriculum for global citizenship which can help us respond to these global crises. Sadly, in England, this is still a marginal debate and there is no student entitlement to such a curriculum.
    Once again, thanks for this – and your blog generally.

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