Seeing challenges, taking charge of oneself and doing differently!
Complexity of challenges is intensifying both in countries of the Northern hemisphere and of the Southern hemisphere. Such complexity is even more visible in large cities that nowadays host more than 50% of the world’s population.
School and society are compelled to seek solutions here to a variety of challenges that students are experiencing, in order for them to better succeed. For instance, we try to innovate pedagogically and on the organisational level to motivate them to come learn at school. These challenges emerge from unfulfilled needs, which in turn, are at the root of various types of dropout: pedagogical, educational, academic, cultural, health etc. All these needs and dropouts have several causes.
It seems to me that school has progressively become compartmentalized in a more noticeable manner since approximately 50 years (from the middle of the 60s), on account of diverse beliefs linked to what we called social progress, pedagogical project but also cult of expertise. We are supposedly surrounded by a large number of “specialists” in all fields. These same fields are divided and subdivided in specialities ever thinner due to, it is said, progress from research and new knowledge. As we are convinced that we know better henceforth, we multiply the available resources in schools and, sometimes, around the school; resources willing to intervene at any time. This applies of course to the context of wealthy and developed societies of the Northern hemisphere. This is particularly true in regards to everything that refers to health (mental, physical, etc.) of children of primary level, youth of secondary level and adult students. This bottomless well of expertise injection brings henceforward at least four challenges:
1) An unprecedented number of children, youth and adults of all ages diagnosed with some problem;
2) Our economical capacity to support: a) the hiring of new specialists; b) the idea of several specialists for one student generating a complexity to co-ordinate the efficiency of multiple interventions from a growing number of these specialists;
3) Our questioning towards the increasing number of prescribed medication for our children, youth and adults of all age;
4) Our uncertainty to know if these numerous interventions from as many “expert” specialists, and the medication they prescribe is truly useful.
Our concern and lack of understanding in front of this complexity, and namely the suspected threat of a drift, bring two questions. Will we manage to deal properly with the following undesired situation: “carrying a label that identifies me to some problem”? Can all these specialists, interventions and medication have a long-term effect more damaging than useful for our children, youth and adult students?
The ECEC invites to see these challenges as they are and to become aware that it is possible to do differently. Which implies daring to empower ourselves collectively in taking off-road trails in order to imagine a new equilibrium in favour of the global well-being of school, educators, partners, families and students.