Une contribution de Walter Hövel...
Not coping the time
Disadvantaged by being born in our times?
I was born as a „German“ - a short time after the end of Second World War. I was born before the foundation of a democratic Federal Republic of Germany. The country was - like my family, their education and my hole childhood – contaminated by Nazi-Blood-and-Soil-Ideology of a master race. And „the Germans“ had lost „their“ war.
Nothing had stayed, not even a single school of the „Reform Educationers“, the left movement's „Weltanschauungsschule“ (School of philosophy of life) or any approach of left-winged schools. The programme of the politics in Germany was to become friend of US-American industries. And this was the only view people had, or they had to go back in history. So (too) many Germans of those days wanted both. But those people who wanted democracy became more.
This is and was especially true for education and schools in my country. This is true for the contradiction between a democratic human future, and the capitalists' making business with everything humans need. But everybody with some education had a left winged memory. And these people, only few, fought new and old nazis gehavior!
I became a Freinet und „Bauhaus“ teacher, hating the tradition and new appearance of school. I learned to make my overtaken or produced theory at once, here and now. I never took time to let theory grow to my praxis. And exactly that is what i love the Freinets and the „Bauhaus“ for!
For the first 40 years there was the „Cold War“ against „Real Socialism“. The USA, NATO and even the „Eastern Bloc“ had their wars. But never against each other. We called this „the ballance of horror“. The United States started more than 50 wars from 1950 to 2000, the Sovietunion at least five. After the victory over „Socialism in Russian leadership“ we have had wars lead by all remaining monarchistic and capitalistic „nations“ fighting for their international and their national leaderships.
And we started to save our planet ...
In pedagogly we have fought a battle of democratic bourgois rights and old and renewed racial nationlistic ideas. With John Dewey, Jan Komensky and very catholic Maria Montessori came a wave over us favouring the „magic“ and „inevitability“ of capitalistic system. All educational reform approaches, which were made in Germany and Europe, were right winged, called Jenaplan (Petersen), Waldorf (Steiner), Daltonplan (Parkhurst) or Maria Montessori. Timidly you found the Freinets or Paolo Freire and other very free-thinking people like Alexander Neill, Tolstoi or Korczak.
Célestin Freinet, today in 2021, would be 125, Elise Freinet 123 years old.
In the GDR resisidence got to know a totally provincial and confining German education by Margot Honecker and Professor Joachim Lompscher. (Lompscher at least dealt with Wygotski, Leontiew, Rubinstein, Galperin or Lurija).
In the end there triumphed a German-European education and science dripping ideology of ministry administration, highschools, seminars, publishers and foundations of Industrialists. It helped to exploit people better than before.
The ruling mighty ones propagated and demanded their own education and a system controlled by them. All left approaches of education vanished. They didn't need them. They had room and time concerning this question on their side. They integrated it into their thinking. So they did also in churches and within the Greens (The Greens had wanted in their first years a Secondary School System and an inner reform of education towards learning rights of all children). Today all German parties follow the treaty of „School Peace“, guaranteeing the further existence of „Gymnasium“ as the highest form of school at the age of 11 to 18.
The Germans still don`t want a socially not selected and inclusive school system. They do not only have 16 different countries with their own legislation and many different schools excluding lower class people.
Since 1990 you find only here and there „islands“ of Kindergardens, Primary, Free and Highschools.
Left-winged education couldn't find its public, its support, even no financiers, but parents and children. Not only the successful model of Grundschule Harmony was built back by bourgois and reactionary forces, because of its left-winged policy and its reform aims.
So educaton in Germany stayed teachng, in subjects, selective, thinkng in degrees, splt up in countries, n ministries ans ressources, without a political lobby, but with one aim. The end is and was the usebility of humans in a working and electronic process. Childhood „learns“ to think the same way adults do. They shall exploit nature, obey their bosses, to function in work process, think militaristic, accepting and being steered by consume and ideology.
More than 70 years of my life I filled with the advance of democratic thinking. I have experienced the a attempt of pushing back left-winged models of education. „Left swamp“ is simply dried out. Democracy, human rights, foreigners. Inclusion, gender and queer they are more cautious. Experts. public opinion and press people are „educated well“. They seem unable to move watching privatization of schools. They close to many eyes, if people go back in history, if people think and talk right.winged. To often right-winged thinking is unchallenged.
Today Europe falls back on the great time of reform education. So they try to justify their knowadays education projects.
More and more you find „free“ schools, which are sold by private money, by well off parents, who want to avoid bad public kindergardens, schools and espacially state highschools. They want a more professional training in private institutions for their children.
More and more electronic medias, advertisments and consume take over education of especially young people,
A „healthy public opinion“ is more and more installed. It is still common to be blind to the right eye and this becomes more and more normal to the behavior of the democratic middle class. We might call it „not to stand at the edge of society. We learn to stand in the middle. We are in.
To be left belongs to history. Left winged education is thinking outside the box. It's to believe in those who talk of world conspiracy theories. So Freinet education nowadays is out, it is unneccessary. Be adaptive.
I live for more than 70 years in a permanent crisis. So all my ancestors did. Now there is ruling Corona or Covid 19. It shows that self paying education is an advantage to those who have money. Public education is only neccassary for those who work. Why not let these pay for their training who want to have a job? Why not save the money for business? …
But our anchestors tasted the blood of history. They ever since know what education means given to all people. We now know what it means not only to learn the neccessary techniques of work. We not only know the advantages of consume and better life. Everybody in the whole world has the right to know everything. We even include the children. We want to have food enough, drinking water, to keep richness and beauty of nature, we don't want to work for others, we want our time, our richness, love, health, arts, science and human rights like freedom. We want to live.
We don`t want classes, rich and poor people. We don't want to be valued as workers, woman, blacks, unabled people, … We belong nobody, only ourselves. We want to have the same dignity, the same value.
Human beings are educated to looking away, not at everything they could see. They want to survive, they are looking at the bright side of life. They seek their security. Too few look at human rights or their liberty.
My driving questions
When was the past differently? Are we really doing better than all our anchestors? Didn`t all my anchestors survive at least their procreation? Did they own their houses, their ground, their lifes? Couldn't all humans think? Did they know less without our schools? Wasn't knowledge, understanding or education always channelled? Wasn't there always the longing for freedom or a better life? Wasn't poverty always the expressing of wars and domination? Was there always above and below? Did only the number of humans increase we can nourish? Do those, who want to keep their properties, know all answers to all my questions? Did the quality of answers get better? Is there a progress in history? Is there a hope for better times, times of liberty? Is an aggravation of our situation a serious threatening? Did left-winged people always exist? Did they ever change situations or did the situation change without them or did it change just them? Is change part of reality? Do progressive people only ensure the further existance of a not changing number of new progress people? Don't i understand the change of times? Do i lack ambition or don't i feel important enough?
As an underclass child i am a parvenu. Lefties in my studying time called me a „disguised right“ or a „dreamer“. Indeed, i never could rely on lefts. I always had to find out what „left“ is.
I define „left“based on the rights of all men, women, children. creatures and nature. Sometimes i don't do things.
I only notice in retrospect what i did.
Education i do without a concept. I only had an attitude, which learned.
I am a Freinet teacher.
opening a debate
To be left belongs to history. Left winged education is thinking outside the box. It's to believe in those who talk of world conspiracy theories. So Freinet education nowadays is out, it is unneccessary.
- I would like starting from this sentence …why do you consider Freinet education (left wing education not necessary today…..( it s not to contest your words but to deep in consideration crossing the world, )
- What were , according to you the starting point of Freinet pedagogy (left winged)that are dissatisfied nowadays ?
- I found interesting the explanation of the Freinet education in Germany but it was not very clear in all its folds, I have worked with many of you German Freinet teacher and your styles were very different:
a. Someone was very rigid in observing all the path of a Freinet classroom in all its steps
b. Someone was more free using the creative techniques to give chances to develop ingenious and artitstic performances for the pupils
We can consider all the contradiction important to find new ways? It’s time to find what its good to preserve from Freinet ….. letìs try to open to debate ….