5th March, 4-6pm, Reinvention Centre at Westwood, Warwick Campus
Dr Analia Meo from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, came to discuss a short documentary called Teachers’ Views on Returning Schools. The Film looks at the experiences and views of teachers and young people at schools in Buenos Aires, which cater for kids who have been excluded from education.
In Buenos Aires (2002) a national education policy was created to keep young people in secondary school education. As a result all inclusive schools were set up in 2004. These were experimental. The idea being that they would transfer the knowledge gained back from the school system to shape educational policy. Ten years later their work is not acknowledged. These returning schools are invisible to the wider education system the hoped to influence.
During the film one phrase from a teacher struck me, she said, that their school was ‘an institution that keeps asking questions.’ These are schools that believe in the relationships between students and teachers. Social context and individual learning is their main focus rather than a National Curriculum. This is not without issues, but the students feel supported, and there is less ‘acting out’ say that UK films within exclusion units in the UK where pupils are placed who are felt unteachable, rather than trying to adjust and ask what can we do to get these students involved in their own education. It is a failing of the system rather than the student.
In the discussion that followed the film Dr Analía Meo said that rather than coming from a critical pedagogy perspective (see the work of Paulo Freire), teachers were more concerned with the right of every student to have a good education. The school was not a place to transform society, but one to provide young people with options into society. Education is viewed as ‘a trampoline to future opportunities’ said Dr Meo.
Dr Meo expressed the tensions that exist between research and creating a documentary. A film is not a critical paper. Sociologists have an ethical responsibility. So different choices are made in creating a film than what the research focus is. The role of the film is really a trigger for discussion and dialogue.
Event organised by Dr Cath Lambert (Sociology, Warwick), and supported by the Department of Sociology’s Culture, Media and Creativity research cluster.