[PeDAGoG] Schooling the World

Laurence Davis L.Davis at ucc.ie
Mon May 29 22:34:22 CEST 2023

I second this film recommendation by Christian.

While the contrast between indigenous ways of learning and understanding and dominant/hegemonic modern Western forms of education is quite starkly drawn - as indeed is the contrast between indigenous and modern Western capitalist ways of life more generally - this very starkness can be useful pedagogically in challenging university students to question some of their most deeply ingrained preconceptions and prejudices about education and schooling.

What I find especially moving and poignant about this film is its depiction of the impact of colonial Western education projects on indigenous families and communities, with community elders persuaded of their own uselessness, disillusioned young people brainwashed into leaving their communities to pursue the Western capitalist dream finally confronted with the ultimate fraudulence and emptiness of that promise (reminiscent in some ways of Shevek's journey to Urras in Le Guin's 1974 anarchist utopian novel The Dispossessed: 'Here you see the jewels, there you see the eyes. And in the eyes you see the splendor, the splendor of the human spirit. Because our men and women are free—possessing nothing, they are free. And you the possessors are possessed. You are all in jail. Each alone, solitary, with a heap of what he owns. You live in prison, die in prison. It is all I can see in your eyes—the wall, the wall!'), and people of all ages coming to see themselves as failures in a system explicitly designed/rigged to ensure that most  'fail' in order that others might prosper at their expense.

For those considering using the film in their own classes, I recommend pairing it with the documentary 'Life and Debt (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0284262/), a 2001 film which examines the effects of globalisation on Jamaican industry and agriculture (this film was an eye-opener for many of the first-year students in my Introduction to Globalisation module). The painting 'American Progress' (1872), by John Gast, is a useful visual aid. In terms of accompanying scholarly literature, I recommend Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Dancing on Our Turtle's Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence (ARP Books, 2011); Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance (University of Minnesota Press, 2021); Taiaiake Alfred, Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom (University of Toronto Press, 2005); and Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society (Harper and Row, 1971).

Best wishes,


(with apologies for any typos or errors in this email, as I am composing it in a train with unstable internet connection)

Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland


From: GTA-PeDAGoG <gta-pedagog-bounces at lists.ourproject.org> on behalf of Manish Jain <m.jain at rocketmail.com>
Sent: 29 May 2023 18:40
To: PeDAGoG: Post-Development Academic-Activist Global Group <gta-pedagog at lists.ourproject.org>
Subject: Re: [PeDAGoG] Schooling the World

[EXTERNAL] This email was sent from outside of UCC.

thanks for sharing christian. i would love to hear your reactions.
best wishes,

On Monday, May 1, 2023 at 03:55:47 AM GMT+5:30, Christian Stalberg <cstalberg at mymail.ciis.edu> wrote:

Perhaps most of you know this film. I did not until now. A must view! https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/schooling-the-world-2010/

Schooling the World (2010)

If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children.

The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in traditional societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a 'better' life for indigenous children. But is this true? What really happens when we replace a traditional culture's way of learning and understanding the world with our own? SCHOOLING THE WORLD takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world's last sustainable indigenous cultures.

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