“Personalizing” Education. The Emergent Global Bildung between Flourishing and Enhancement


The concept of “personalization” has long been a keyword for political agendas in Europe and in most Western countries, in social welfare as well as in the broader domain of services. Within the educational field, such a concept evokes deeply rooted meanings that tap into the very essence of education. This essay aims at conveying the idea that “personalization” is currently acting as a carrier of profound cultural transformations that concern our being human and the very meaning of the human experience in the world. These changes can only be seen through the transitions between different meanings of the concept under consideration—in theories as well as in educational practices, and within the national and international policy discourses. The main thesis of this essay is that the crucial points of the ongoing change can be gathered in two conceptual distinctions: cognitive vs. non-cognitive and flourishing vs. enhancement. The former indicates a strong tendency to reformulate a “strong program” for education as full-blown formation of the person after the heyday of cognitive learning outcomes as the only relevant variables. In this context, personalization cannot be confused with an increasingly wide range of “individual options” available within the educational domain. The second distinction represents a further confrontation between alternative paradigms. In a nutshell, the “human” that is being involved in a new, anthropologically thicker educational agenda can be defined as a form to be reached or as a matter to be endowed with increasing power(s). Through these transformations and their deep, ontological and experiential implications, the global society is producing cultural and personal forms that are apt to inhabit the wider space between human and social dynamics whose mutual connection is becoming increasingly problematic.

“Personalizing” Education. The Emergent Global Bildung between Flourishing and Enhancement

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Numero 10 EDUCATION February, 2014 - Autore:  Condividi


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