THINK: Formation vs. Information

“Let me suggest an axiom: behind every pedagogy is a philosophical anthropology. In more pedestrian terms, behind every constellation of educational practices is a set of assumptions about the nature of human persons–about the kinds of creatures we are. Thus a pedagogy that thinks about education as primarily a matter of disseminating information tends to assume that human beings are primarily “thinking things” and cognitive machines. Ideas and concepts are at the heart of such pedagogies because they are aimed primarily at the head. Because of the intellectualist philosophical anthropology that is operative here, the body tends to drop out of the picture. There is little attention to the nitty-gritty details of material practices and the role that they play in education. In contrast, a pedagogy that understands education as formation usually assumes that human beings are a different kind of animal. It’s not that we don’t think, but rather that our thinking and cognition arise from a more fundamental, precognitive orientation to the world. And that precognitive or prerational orientation to the world is shaped and primed by very material, embodied practices. Thus such a pedagogy is much more attuned to the formative role of ritual.” -James K.A. Smith

What material, embodied practices are you being educated by? Which rituals in your life are forming your thinking before you even get around to thinking? The mall? Your daily routine? Your time spent with your church community? Service? Facebook? Addictions of any kinds? Why do we not think of these rituals as education? Do we?

Perhaps our thinking flows from our doing. And not vice versa.

Thoughts on this?

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