Gert Biesta

The vision of Rapucation and of Friendly and Fair Teaching finds its theoretical foundation in the three dimensions of education described by Gert Biesta in ‘The beautiful risk of Education’ (Biesta 2013) and in ‘Good Education in an Age of Measurement’ (Biesta 2012)

A further elaboration of his theory can be found in the article titled: World-centred education: formation to adulthood. The following theoretical foundation is taken from that article (with some modifications):

Educational domains (educational goals):

  1. Qualification – This has to do with transmission and acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes that qualify children and young people to do ‘something’, both for a profession and for life in a complex modern society.
  2. Socialization – This has to do with how education introduces children into and connects them to existing traditions and practices – both socio-cultural, political, religious and philosophical practice, as well as vocational and professional practices.
  3. Subjectivation – Here you can think of qualities such as independence, responsibility and also maturity.”

With Biesta’s knowledge, VOH broadened the target audience at the three domains in 2021. Compare Biesta’s original version with VOH’s modified version.

Biesta compares education to playing simultaneous chess on three boards simultaneously. you are playing simultaneous chess with the class, so to speak. Each chess board can be seen as a domain. This versatility is always present.

This may seem complicated. Simply put, you can say that education is a game with rules. You make the game interesting for students by providing a certain freedom within a structure you define.

Simultaneous chess

Any educational activity always has an impact in three domains.

  1. An educational activity always has to do with qualifying,
  2. There is always a connection to an existing practice
  3. Every educational activity has a personal effect on a learner, positive or negative.

But if so, it also means that in education we must be intentional about what we wish to achieve in each of these domains and what we want our students to achieve in each. In doing so, the domains appear not only as three functions of education – three dimensions in which education functions – but also as three goal domains – three domains by which we formulate concrete goals for what we wish to achieve and what we want our students to achieve.

So much for the part taken from (with some modifications) from the aforementioned article.

The challenge for educators is to keep the three dimensions in balance. Biesta notes that the last dimension – Person Formation – is often understudied in current education. With the right balance, students will have opportunities to be adults in the world. One of Biesta’s key pieces of advice: The school’s task is to allow qualification and socialization processes to take place in such a way that each child or young person can emerge into the (school) world in their own way.

Finally, Biesta talks about World-centred education: education that aims to make students relate to the world in a mature way. Biesta (2022)

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