The Global Legacy
Edited By Michael Adrian Peters and Tina Besley
Chapter Thirty: Education as an Aesthetic Exercise in Everyday School Performances
Education as an Aesthetic Exercise in Everyday School Performances
MURIEL YUEN-FUN LAW
The discourse of constructivist learning has gained currency in Hong Kong schools, particularly when project learning has become one of the four curriculum tasks of the local educational reforms since the late 1990s. Official goals of project learning are to strengthen students’ social and cognitive skills, and to enable them to construct knowledge about the contemporary world through learning experiences. Local research studies, however, indicate that social-inquiry through project learning reinforces existing social education that masks realities in ways the banking approach does in the Freirean sense. Yet, through seeming acts of inquiry, students re-enact prescribed curricular discourses and sustain established social order, more than merely receiving realities passively from the teacher-depositors.
Freire (Shor & Freire, 1987) considers education as “naturally an aesthetic exercise,” that engages educators and learners in “a permanent process of formation” (p. 118). As an aesthetic project, education has to do with acts of knowing, unveiling, and giving life to our object of study (Shor & Freire, 1987). One way of implementing such a liberatory education with learners having little power to change the system of oppression—in my case, students—is to organize them through developing and carrying out educational projects “with” them (Freire, 2000, p. 54). ← 471 | 472 →
Between the two years 2010 and 2011, I experimented with one such “educational project” in a Hong Kong secondary...
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