“Through other Eyes” – questioning or reproducing binaries?

The development education online resource “Through other Eyes”, designed by global education Professor Vanessa Andreotti and critical literacy Professor Lynn Mario de Souza, aims to help “learning to read the world”. The authors’ conception of global education is based on post-colonial theory, which questions interiorized ways of seeing the world in order to learn to live with uncertainty, complexity and multiple perspectives. However, there is the danger that the underlying colonial binary between “western” oppressors and “indigenous” oppressed perpetuates through the learning process in a reversed sense: The critical deconstruction of a normative progress based “western” worldview, might lead – though not being intended – to a normative elevation of “indigenous” knowledge.

The attached paper, submitted in the frame of the “Principles and Practices of Development Education” module in the DE Master at the Institute of Education/University of London, takes a closer look on the conflict between the supposed deconstruction and, in my view, the de facto reconstruction of cultural and moral binaries, and the possible fault lines that lead to this impression, despite the stated opposite intention of the authors. It uses a discussion paper on “Quality criteria in Development Education” by the German NGDO platform VENRO as analytical framework:

Through other Eyes – questioning or reproducing binaries

Enjoy the reading! As always, critical comments and feedback are appreciated.

The dilemma with “adjectival educations”

Development education, global education, citizenship education, human rights education, peace education, education for sustainable development – there is an ever increasing number of “educations”, all with their own history and rationale. How to make sense of this multitude, and to to avoid that teachers get overwhelmed by various, always legitimate demands to their classroom practice?

Understanding how these different concepts relate can be a first useful step to create some order (and logical hierarchy) between the different concept. There is certainly not one right answer, but the chart above seems (though a little complex) quite useful to me (however, I don’t know the source, so if anyone knows where this comes from – please put a comment! And sorry to the author if any copyrights are violated..). A more simple version is my personal attempt below, which puts development education and education for sustainable development as “twins separated at birth” under the umbrella of global education and global learning (the latter emphasising the learner centred aspect of empowerment and self-directed learning, while the former is rooted in the more instructive concept of education of someone by someone else). 

Deconstructing Development Education

What is Development Education? How does it relate to “development” and education, and what is its purpose?

The first assignment in the “Principles and Practices of Development Education” module in the DE Master at the Institute of Education/University of London was to “explore understandings of development and development education”. For me, the result was a short essay, in which I try to deconstruct development education by having a closer look at its elements: development and education. After outlining various approaches to development, in particular the thinking of Amartya Sen (Development as Freedom) and Ananta Kumar Giri, who introduced a reflective and self-critical element to Sen’s concept (Development as shared human responsibility), I attempt an excursion in the thinking of French adult educationalist Marcel Lesne. I try to link the sketched thinking on development and eduction to various existing concepts of development education and global learning. In the conclusion, I attempt to outline an approach to development education based on values, empowerment and social transformation.

You can download the short essay (1600 words) here: Deconstructing Development Education

Enjoy the reading, and don’t hesitate to leave critical comments! This blog shall be about exchange and debate, so your reactions are more then welcome.