critical education

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The duel

I was amazed to see Czech animation shown on the Mojo HD channel last Wednesday. Pavel Koutský’s Duel highlights the importance of early childhood education –and, for a critical approach to early childhood education. The National Film Board of Canada sums up the film best:

At birth a child is placed on an assembly line that symbolizes the passage of time. Objects representing knowledge – books, magazines and printed materials, videocassettes and compact discs – twirl around him. Suddenly, two hands fasten a funnel on his head. From now on, all the information that reaches him will be sorted, grated or shredded. The child grows up and his thirst for knowledge annoys the censors. They want to make him a model citizen, like the others who come off the assembly line. Outraged, the young man begins an unrelenting duel with the censors. Attacked by an army of cutting tools, he counterattacks by bombarding the enemy with huge quantities of information. The army of scissors beats a retreat. Ecstatic, the young man has won the first battle in his struggle for freedom of expression. But crouching in their corner, the scissors are still a threat… An animated film without words for twelve to seventeen year olds.

I found the film on YouTube (the actual video starts at around 00:51):

Chaordic knowledge production: A systems-based response to critical education

teorie_vedy.PNGAh, yes… now for a moment of shameless displays of pride and self-promotion ! Desk copies of my “Chaordic knowledge production: A systems-based response to critical education” article, published in Theory of Science vol. XV/XXVIII/2006, no. 3, pp. 149-162, arrived last week.

Drop me a line if you’d like a PDF of the scanned article!


Proponents of critical education and critical pedagogy call on us to question the “oppressor vs. oppressed” relationships that the global mainstream “banking” system of education enforces (see esp. Freire, 2000). This practice produces learners that do not have the knowledge and skills to solve their own problems and maximize their individual potential. Systems thinking is the contextual analysis of an organization or process as a whole (Capra, 1996, p. 30; von Bertalanffy, 1968). A future-oriented, systems approach to the examination and redesign of critical education theory yields a chaordic, coconstructivist metatheory that maximizes each individual’s ontological potential. By building upon an example that employs automated information technology as a mediator in a coconstructivist system, this paper suggests that not only are coconstructivist critical knowledge systems plausible, but the design of the systems themselves need not be designed complexly to exhibit complex, transformative behavior.