Why school? (Petit Rorqual)

By: Anonymous
Originally published on October 2 2015
Original French text here: https://petitrorqual.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/pourquoi-lecole/#_ftn1

In her book Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune [1] , Kristin Ross lays out the discourses and images of a revolutionary project that she describes as a lived experience of “equality in action”. If the issue was then the dismantling of the state’s bureaucratic apparatus, the first step was to address one of its central elements: school. Ross dedicates a whole chapter to what the Commune planned on doing and undoing within it: to open up its enclosures to the subject of shared (communal) luxury. In other words that echo the strong imagery associated with that impassioned moment: to plant apricot trees amidst the ruins of the great column [2] .

To open the school onto the street, the neighbourhood, the workshop, the workplace, not in order to synchronize children’s actions and knowledge to the market’s expectations, but to incite girls and boys to discover other spaces, for them to learn of their own hands how to grasp and shape the stuff of this world. This living learning arises at any point during an encounter or a gesture, such is the spirit of Jacotot’s approach to teaching: “Thought, for Jacotot, is not divided into specific competences and domains for specialists–-it is similar in all of its exercises and can be shared by all. The something that one learns and to which one relates everything else can very well be a literal thing” (Ross, 76-77), or deeply abstract as well. At any rate, be it from a piece of wood, a section of equation or a leap, learning is possible from the moment one draws it out to bridge the space between matter and mind.

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