Education then and now: Making the case for ecol-agogy
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Bainbridge, A. (2018) 'Education then and now: Making the case for ecol-agogy', Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 27(3), pp. 423-440.
The processes, settings and outcomes of human education have distinctive impacts on the human and non-human world. This paper sets out to discuss what may have motivated the initiation of human education, how it has been maintained why the outcome has wide-ranging, and often negative, planetary impacts. The analysis offers a multi-disciplinary account of education, from pre-history to the present, noting that humans, past and present are born into an ‘open world’ that requires world building or, niche construction. As a result, cultural and genetic evolution are out of synchronisation instigating an existential threat and the anxious experience of ‘adaptive-lag’ leading to the motive for continued niche construction. Education is presented as a particular type of niche construction requiring teachers and the use of symbolic verbal language to help learners move from simplistic ‘split’ thinking to the more mature position where the needs of self and others can be met.