Contemporary Pedagogies and the Importance of Cultural Heritage

HeritageForAll – Global Collaborations Program (2018)

by Ms. Ana Fernanda Facio Muñoz (afaciomunoz@gmail.com)

She is a museum educator in Mexico. She has a high passion to work in the educational field. She was a volunteer for five years in the art museum where she currently works at. She is in charge of the development of educational programs for students. She is very interested in contemporary pedagogies and the educational programs. She develops a new perspective based on multicultural education, critical pedagogies, and art thinking. She has three Tumblr blogs which through, she is writing about the Greek, Japanese and Korean mythology.

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It is not a new phenomenon to see how hundreds (or thousands) of archeological sites worldwide have been destroyed because of different causes: natural disasters, wars, demoralization as a political weapon, unconscious tourism, ignorance, etc. We must include also artworks, architecture, and any other artistic manifestations created by humanity and part of the our journey testimony through the world.

There are risky situations that we cannot avoid, but there are other situations we have originated, and we have the responsibility to stop. Even though the loss of the cultural heritage it is not a new problem, the solutions we generate must be in concordance with the intellectual, affective, cognitive and communicative necessities of the children and the youth, which are highly different from the past.

what is what children and young people consider as their heritage and why should be important for them to protect it? © Ana Facio, March 2018.

The museums and galleries, schools, universities, educative centers, nonprofit organizations and so on or all of them work hard to guarantee the protection and promotion of the cultural heritage. But this hard work sometimes does not have the impact we want in the main target: children and young generation. This does not mean the children and the youth are guilty, nor the cultural institutions are wrong; in order to find the cause of this communication problems that don’t allow people to deliver or share the heritage value. As a result of that, we have to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • How do children and young people consider or understand their cultural heritage?
  • Why should be important for them to protect it?
  • Does the pedagogical basis, we use to promote and protect the cultural heritage, satisfy the necessities of children and youth and stimulate the main talents and skills?

There are a lot of countries globaly where consider the pedagogical leaders as a great benefit at our time and where provide the free access to the data and the rapidity of its exchange and sharing. The former factor was already helped a lot of countries providing a suitable infrastructure to reach doing much achievements in the field of education. Nevertheless, there are a lot of countries, because of various reasons such as politics and deficient infrastructure, and the lack of the educational systems which are the main factor to generate a new human generation who repeat patterns and help maintaining an obsolete status quo.

The pedagogical basis we use to promote cultural heritage must satisfy the necessities of the children and youth. © Ana Facio, February 2018.

A person who thoughted to not to think, not to question, not to dialogue, not to doubt, not to consider alternative solutions; a person who suppressed as capable and unique individual and educated to function as a part of a perfect system, will not feel any interest for the heritage of older civilizations, origin of our cultures, who explored the exterior and interior world trying to discover themselves and discern the future. In different situations, this perfect system just gives value to the vestiges of “dominant” cultures, spreading rejection, indifference, and xenophobia in its perfect gears.

Educate repeatedly the things that have a value and the things that don’t have a value, what worth and what should be forgotten is an obsolete practice that was born to secure the permanence of obsolete systems. Today there are a lot of theorist, educators, philosophers, and investigators with new ideas and practices, fresh and contemporaries, which have as a common purpose to build conscious, critic and thoughtful individuals; who will do new and liberating lectures to the cultural heritage. Who will also be able to take the control over their destiny above all acts of intimidation and control.

Kids at the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki. Finland has built an educational system which does a responsible and appropriate use of digital and technological resources. It also focuses on playtime, affectivity, curiosity and critical thinking. Source: Kiasma Museum Instagram.

The use of contemporary pedagogies to the promotion and protection of the cultural heritage do not require special infrastructures. Even though, an appropriate infrastructure helps sharing the information easily, we must consider that knowledge is created by the individuals every time and everywhere.

Among the experts who are the current leaders of contemporary pedagogies, we can mention María Acaso and her team in “Art Thinking school”. Between her ultimate publications we find Art thinking, how art can transform education, cowritten by Clara Megías, in which, besides explaining the idea of using contemporary art as a practice to generate knowledge of every topic, they also start the dialogue about the importance of disruption in education, fight through independent production (Explained before by Michel Foucault) and they highlight the establishment of dialogues with plural voices, letting the participation of the people who have been rejected, displaced, silenced and oppressed; those who have historically lost the battles and are today under the shadow of the conquerors.

María Acaso oversees a multidisciplinary team. She believes in contemporary art as a method to learn any topic and exercise different capacities such as critical thinking. Source: http://semanaeducacionartistica.cultura.gob.cl/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/maria-acaso2.png

Peter McLaren is one of the leaders in critical pedagogy, a group of practices that aim to let individuals build their very own comprehension of the world through analysis, reflection, observation, and the exercising of the cognitive abilities. Different projects and groups have born related to the critical pedagogy; a lot of investigators have worked similar pedagogies. In 1998, Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine created Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), they stimulate the critical approach to images through observation and perception exercises. Alejandro Piscitelli, on the other hand, has talked about the importance of the cognitive exercise during the childhood and adolescence to face the complex audiovisual narratives in times of digitalization and virtual life.

The contemporary pedagogies are orientated to the learning through observation, analysis and decision making, to build free individuals, conscious of the different realities we live today and capable to act with respect, tolerance, understanding, and comprehension.

According to Federico de Tavira, the human being is dynamic and is in constant growth. His artistic production explains himself, by accessing to the subjective world and the unconscious motivations. The cultural heritage permits the better understanding of the roll humanity plays in the world, it permits to expand the comprehension of what it means to be a human being. The contemporary pedagogies, specially the ones orientated to exercise the critical thinking, establish cognitive bridges between the individual and the heritage. Those bridges help build powerful links between the past and the present, make awareness about our identity, our link with other identities and realities and the way our decisions can impact the future generations.

The contemporary pedagogies, especially the ones orientated to exercise the critical thinking, establish cognitive bridges between the individual and the heritage. © Ana Facio, February 2017

The development of thinking and the emotions stimulates a link between the past and present that will make us conscious, ready to fight for respect, justice, equality, tolerance between nations and will awake the desire of protect and promote the heritage, no the heritage of dominant nations, but world heritage.

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