‘Beauty’, ‘generosity’ and some other words we don’t often hear

I’m prompted by Mike Neary’s recent talk at the ESRI seminar to say something about words we don’t hear used often enough in relation to education and learning. At one point in his talk about ‘student as producer’ and the Social Science Centre at Lincoln (read about the talk here) Mike referred to a learning encounter he had been involved in which was characterised by ‘beauty’ and ‘generosity. For me, those two words instantly conjured a very different world to the one of targets, ambition, standards, competition, choice, selection and so on that we currently occupy.  So I got me to dreamin’ …

And came up with some more: joy, wonder, gentleness, ease, curiosity, play, surprise, novelty, delight, freedom, soul … and, of course, the ‘L’ word

The ‘L’ word? Yes, ‘love’. Freire made no bones about it in Pedagogy of the Oppressed: “The naming of the world, which is an act of creation and re-creation, is not possible if it is not infused with love. Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself”

Oh, and as Mike reminded us, there’s ‘beauty’ and ‘generosity’.

So that’s my two pennorth, anyway. What about anyone else? What words do you think are too often absent from the contemporary lexicon of learning?

Geoff Bright 

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