13. A Break: Your Questions, My Answers
We are taking a break and postponing our discussion on the Aims of Education to answer your questions and comments, most of which were positive in the extreme. Many thanks.
Question: Why are you avoiding the Covid-19 and students’ return to school issue?
Answer: Because I am not competent to do so. Basically, this is a medical issue. It is for the medical authorities to guide us in this matter. I fully agree with the educational authorities and the teachers’ unions that the best place for our students’ learning is at school. I stressed this point in my first four blogs, without referring to the extraordinary dilemma created by the pandemic.
I fully understand the anxiety of all concerned because I experience it first-hand among members of my family. I also sympathize greatly but I do not dare give advice in areas where my knowledge is limited. There are no ulterior or hidden agendas in my decision.
Q. Your blogs appear as if they are stuck in a time warp of the 1960s, why?
A. I disagree. My blogs aim to explore the basic, fundamental principles of the educational process. When I refer to the thoughts on education of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Augustin, Comenius and Newman, it does not mean I am stuck in the Classical, Medieval or Enlightenment eras. I refer the 1960-1990s so often because I believe it was the golden age of the modern educational thought and development. What has emerged since are improvements and refinements of the basics established earlier.
Q.: At the end of the blog, can you provide us with references and suggested further readings?
A.: I can but would rather not. Kindly recall the objectives and intended audience of my blogs. This is the general public, especially the parents of Primary, Secondary and Post-Secondary students. Therefore, these blogs, which might be useful also to educators, do not constitute a teacher education course. For this reason, I keep the use of jargon and technical terms to a minimum.
There are practical reasons as well, such as the length of the blog and the complexity of the arguments. I am certain that those who wish to explore further the educational ideas and terms presented in the blog, as well as their originators, can Google them to find exhaustive lists of Further Readings about the subject.
Q.: Are the intended readers of your blogs parents or teachers, and why do you not mention more authors on Education?
A.: As stated above, I write primarily for the parents. I limit the names of authors because these are not formal research papers. I could quote such important educationists as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, Antonio Gramsci, Noam Chomsky, Hilda Taba, B.F. Skinner, Jean Piaget, Maria Montessori, Carl Rogers, R.S. Peters, Paul Hirst, Paulo Frere and more contemporary writers such as Henry Giroux, E.D. Hirsch, Kenneth Robinson, David Coleman, Diane Ravitch. And probably, I forgot a few.
With reference to the Maltese situation, I keep in mind also the research and publications of my ex-colleagues at the Faculty of Education. Am I bragging about my reading list? Not really. I want to explain that these blogs are a distillation of countless works on Education, but presented in a manner that most people can follow them.
Q.: Are these bogs a result of Cocid-19 and do you intend to publish them?
A.: I started writing in January/February this year and Covid-19 had nothing to do with it. I complained to my grandson Sean how boring retirement can be and he suggested the writing of a blog on Education. My granddaughter Claudia, who has a blog of her own, urged me on, while my son Pierre sorts out the technical hiccups.
I hadn’t thought of publishing, but if a publisher is interested, we can discuss.
If you wish to get in touch, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next blog: Aim Four - Enhance Students’ Moral & Social Wellbeing.
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