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ERIC Number: EJ951042
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1360-3124
From School to Cafe and Back Again: Responding to the Learning Demands of the Twenty-First Century
McWilliam, Erica
International Journal of Leadership in Education, v14 n3 p257-268 2011
This paper traces the historical origins of formal and informal lifelong learning to argue that optimal twenty-first-century education can and should draw on the traditions of both the school and the coffee house or cafe. For some time now, educational policy documents and glossy school brochures have come wrapped in the mantle of lifelong learning, with the autonomous or self-directed learner being hailed as the desired educational outcome. What policy documents and school brochures have not acknowledged, however, is the fact that such learning draws on a second historical tradition beyond formal education, and that is the tradition of the cafe. The paper is critical of the lack of attention to the aesthetics of contemporary educational spaces, arguing that lessons should be learned about the importance of a pleasurable learning and interactive aesthetic from cafes in the past. With all that we ought to know about the dialogic nature of the learning process, we are still seeing millions of dollars being poured into creating cinematic spaces in universities and training colleges, so that hundreds of students will be able to stare at one "expert" standing at a fixed podium clicking on an endless procession of PowerPoint slides. In connecting the best of the school and the cafe, we can help young people to re-negotiate their roles and responsibilities away from the command and control ethic of top-down institutional behaviours--in business, school and family life--towards self-agency, with people acting on their own behalf, eschewing intermediaries, templates and hierarchies in favour of self-fashioning according to personal needs, desires and learning preferences. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A