Textbooks are perhaps the most recognizable part of school systems. You go to school; you learn from a textbook.

But what’s inside that textbook your reading? Who wrote it? How are controversial issues dealt with? And how have textbooks changed over time and compare across the country?

My guest today, Jim Williams, has edited or co-edited three volumes on textbooks. The many chapters across the volumes looked at textbooks around the world. The first volume looked at textbooks and national-governments. The second volume explored the issue of identity. And the last zoomed in on textbooks in post-conflict settings.

Jim William is the UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development and Professor of International Education & International Affairs at the George Washington University. While on sabbatical in Tokyo, Jim was kind enough to stop by my office where we recorded this interview.

Citation: Williams, Jim, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 81, podcast audio, July 10, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/jimwilliams/

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Today we talk about intercultural competencies. These are the attitudes, skills, and knowledge that enable people to see from different perspectives, helping us get along together as humans. These competencies seem particularly relevant in our current political climate.

My guest is Darla Deardorff. She has spent the past decade thinking about intercultural competencies. What are? Can scholars agree on a common framework? And is it possible to measure them?

For Darla, intercultural competencies are as vital as math and science for education.

Darla Deardorff is the Executive Director of the Association of International Education Administrators at Duke University.

Her latest co-edited book, Intercultural Competence in Higher Education: International Approaches, assessment, application, was published by Routledge in June.

Citation: Deardorff, Darla, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 80, podcast audio, July 3, 2017. https://freshedpodcast.com/deardorff/

Will Brehm 1:54
Darla Deardorff, welcome to FreshEd.

Darla Deardorff 1:57
Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Will Brehm 1:59
So, you’ve done quite a lot of work on intercultural competencies. What are intercultural competencies?

Darla Deardorff 2:07
Well, that can have a very long answer, but I will provide you with the short one for now. And basically, intercultural competence is about interacting successfully with those from different backgrounds, whether that’s ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and so on.

Will Brehm 2:26
And so, what would that actually entail? What sort of competencies are we talking about?

Darla Deardorff 2:31
I’ve actually spent about a decade doing research on intercultural competence and trying to understand basically what’s necessary for us to get along together as humans. So, for me, that’s really the big question and the driving question behind this research. The work that I’ve done so far has resulted in one of first research-based definitions and frameworks of intercultural competence. There’s been actually over 60 years’ worth of scholarly work done on this concept. But very little of that has been research-based. So basically, I was interested in seeing whether scholars could come to some consensus as to exactly what is intercultural competence. And so, the results came about then in the framework from the research I’ve done. In terms of what’s necessary for us get along together, we can look at it in terms of which attitudes, which skills, which knowledge areas are really essential to intercultural competence. And so, I’m happy to go into more detail around each of those areas if you’d like me to, but it really comes down to knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are absolutely essential for intercultural competence. And then that results in some, what I’ve termed “internal” and “external” outcomes. In the end, what we’re looking for – what we’re hoping for – is behavior and communication that is both effective and appropriate. And both of those words are really important because often, we might think about folks who’ve been really effective in what they do but quite inappropriate in how they go about doing it. And for intercultural competence, we need communication and behavior that’s both effective and appropriate to the individuals that we’re interacting with.

Will Brehm 4:33
So, could we go into some more of these specifics on the attitude and the skills and the knowledge just to get a better understanding of these competencies?

Darla Deardorff 4:44
In recent research I’ve done, there were three key attitudes that emerged as being absolutely essential to intercultural competence development. And those have to do with curiosity of really wanting to learn more about the other person; openness, open-mindedness, and respect – of truly valuing the other as a fellow human, especially when we don’t agree. And so those three attitudes are considered to be absolutely essential to intercultural competence. In terms of the knowledge areas, quite a bit focused around cultural self-awareness – being able to understand from others’ perspectives. And then, in terms of the skills, it has to do with listening, observing, relating, evaluating, knowing what to do with the information that we receive. And then together, those knowledge, skills, and attitudes brings us to this point of what happens inside an individual. This is termed the “internal outcomes” that will ideally help us become more flexible and more adaptable in how we relate to others. That in the end, we will have developed some empathy. And really being able to begin to see the world from others’ perspectives, even though that’s really actually quite tough to do. And then with the internal outcome comes the external, which I’ve already described in terms of the behavior and communication that’s both effective and appropriate in intercultural situations and situations when we’re interacting across difference. And that occurs every day because none of us are identical to each other. And so, we are interacting across difference every day. And so really thinking about what that means, what that looks like, and what’s necessary for us to be successful in those interactions.

Will Brehm 6:39
So, is there, in a sense, a universal definition of intercultural competencies that crosses cultures around the world?

Darla Deardorff 6:48
That’s a really good question, and that was actually one of the questions I had coming into some of the research I’ve done. The short answer is “no,” but the research I have done, like I said, is the first consensus-based definition and framework around intercultural competence, and that framework has certainly found resonance in quite a few different cultural contexts. For example, that framework is being used in in places like China and Mexico and Brazil, and in lots of different places around the world. But that being said, certainly, the elements I described can be contextualized for specific situations and interactions. But interestingly enough, there was only one element within intercultural competence that I described that all the experts agreed on 100% as being absolutely essential to intercultural competence. And that was being able to see from others’ perspectives. And so that has led me to my own burning question over the last several years in terms of, “What are other perspectives on intercultural competence?”, and that has led me to do research in China, in South Africa, in Japan, and other places to try to really understand, “What does this look like in other areas around the world?” Because so much of the literature around intercultural competence has really come out of the global North, predominantly from the United States and from Europe. And so, trying to understand what are other perspectives, and not surprisingly, those can be quite different.

Will Brehm 8:34
How so?

Darla Deardorff 8:37
Well, for example, in the global North, the focus is predominantly on the individual. And as I was describing this initially, I talked about the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of an individual. And when we start to look at other perspectives and definitions of intercultural competence, there’s a shift in some cases, even with how one views the individual. So, for example, in South Africa, the concept of “Ubuntu” comes into the conversation. And for those who may not be familiar with Ubuntu, it talks about how “I am because we are. We are because I am.” That it’s impossible to separate the individual from the group because what I do impacts others and vice versa. So even the individual identity can shift, depending on the context. In other cultures and other regions around the world, there’s much more of a focus on relationship and the relational aspects of intercultural competence. So, the focus again is not so much driven on a single individual and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of that individual. Interestingly enough, UNESCO of the United Nations tried to do a project looking at regional perspectives on intercultural competence. They weren’t trying to necessarily come up with a universal definition, but a few years ago, I was involved with this project, trying to look at what are various regional perspectives around the world. And it resulted in a publication that actually can be downloaded from UNESCO, simply copying their cultural competencies. But nonetheless, there wasn’t a universal definition even then that that was developed. Again, because of these different variances when we really start to delve into the different perspectives around this construct.

Will Brehm 10:29
It would seem to me that language would play a very large role in being able to understand “the other,” to be respectful, and see from other perspectives. So, what is the role of language and foreign-language in intercultural competence?

Darla Deardorff 10:46
Another excellent question, and one that I also had, particularly because I was coming from this more from a language teaching perspective. I have a background in teaching English as a second language, so I personally feel that language is quite important. Interestingly enough, in the research I did, the experts involved in my study could not reach consensus on the role of language in intercultural competence. Which really surprised me. And I had a colleague who did a similar study with a different group of experts, and he had the same finding: They could not reach consensus on the role of language.

Will Brehm 11:24

Darla Deardorff 11:25
So, when I went to try to follow up on this to say, “Why?”, it just seemed like that would be a really important role. The experts I worked with most often cited the case of knowing “fluent fools,” of those who might know the grammar and vocabulary of a language but be interculturally incompetent in navigating the cultural parameters. And so, they were saying it was insufficient in terms of achieving intercultural competence. And so, therefore, they could not necessarily reach consensus on the role of language.

Will Brehm 12:10
And what about the other side? What were the people that disagreed with these experts who were saying that they were fluent fools? What about the other side?

Darla Deardorff 12:21
That seemed to be what really came up the most: that it was necessary, but not sufficient, for intercultural competence. That in the end, it was much more about the attitudes, about how one approaches others initially, out of respect and openness and really wanting to learn about the other. That’s what really mattered more.

Will Brehm 12:47
It’s strange because to really understand someone else, it seems like you would have to be able to actually communicate.

Darla Deardorff 12:53
It does seem like it, and that was certainly part of that external outcome finding in my own research. But interestingly enough, of course, communication involves more than words. Words are just a small part of all of how we communicate.

Will Brehm 13:11
So, let’s shift gears now to look at the role of education systems. So, now that we have an understanding of intercultural competencies and general understanding, what is the role of schools and education in the process of cultivating these intercultural competencies?

Darla Deardorff 13:28
Well, one important finding from my research is that intercultural competence development is a lifelong process for teachers and for students. And so, there’s no one point at which any of us becoming interculturally competent. And that has real implications then for schooling and for education to understand that students as well as teachers are in different places in the developmental process of intercultural competence. That a “one size fits all” doesn’t necessarily work for all students. That the preparation and training of teachers around intercultural competence is absolutely critical. And so, it’s important to recognize all those different pieces when we are talking about education systems implementing intercultural competence development. And so, as we look at what’s really important, first it starts with the curriculum. And not just the content, the knowledge that is taught, but actually also the delivery and the teaching methodologies. And I think, to what extent does the curriculum reflect different perspectives that is such a key piece of intercultural competence of being able to see the world and issues and so on from different perspectives? So, to what extent are those represented in the curriculum? And within the curriculum, it’s important to also ask, “Whose knowledge is being privileged, and whose voices are missing?” And so, these are some examples of key questions that really need to be explored further in terms of the curriculum itself and how it’s delivered. In terms of how to develop intercultural competence, research is showing the importance of experiential learning and of really, even moving beyond the classroom. Or if in the classroom, it’s looking at the teamwork that might take place, the actual interactions. At the undergraduate level of post-secondary education, there have been some studies that show the value of “service learning,” meaning getting the students into the local communities, having them interact with those who live there, and learning from each other mutually. And of course, study abroad has traditionally been a go-to way of developing intercultural competence, particularly at the undergraduate level. But just to add in a point here that just sending students abroad does not result in making them interculturally competent. That is a myth that we really need to address. There’s so much that goes into a quality experience, whether that’s a cross-border experience or even within our own local communities, in terms of how we are able to connect with others, and as to whether that actually results in enhancing intercultural competence development or not.

Will Brehm 16:34
And what about some of the politics here? I mean, it seems like talking about, “Does national curriculum reflect the voices of the different ethnicities or cultures inside of a nation-state?” That would seem to be not necessarily what the ruling powers-to-be would necessarily want, particularly in some conflict areas or places that have many ethnicities and cultures. How do politics figure into this notion of intercultural competencies?

Darla Deardorff 17:10
Well, quite a bit, particularly in regions of the world where there is a national curriculum. Of course, I’m based in United States, and there’s not necessarily a “national curriculum” here, per se. But certainly, in places where there is, that definitely enters into it. Quite heavily, actually. And so, it’s important to really consider the context, including the political, social, historical, economic, etc., that goes into really the whole contextual piece and understanding the best ways to try to address intercultural competence.

Will Brehm 17:49
And continuing on about the role of education in schools and teaching intercultural competencies, are these competencies being assessed anywhere?

Darla Deardorff 18:00
Yes, they actually are. I would say, particularly at the post-secondary level, there’s been a huge emphasis in recent years in how we assess intercultural competence. And this has been another area of my own research and work. In fact, I had a book come out two years ago on demystifying outcomes assessment for international educators, where we really delved into the logistics of what that looks like and trying to make it very manageable in assessing intercultural learning. But then it’s also taking place within the primary, secondary school as well. And in fact, next year, in 2018, the PISA program in the National Student Assessment will include global competence as part of that assessment, and I’ve been involved on the expert team in working on developing that.

Will Brehm 18:52
So, I mean, this brings up an interesting question. So, PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, is given in many countries all around the world, and it’s supposed to be some sort of a standardized test in math and science, but now perhaps intercultural competencies. But earlier, you said that one size doesn’t fit all or doesn’t work for all when it comes to teaching intercultural competencies. So how would a standard test actually work?

Darla Deardorff 19:21
Yeah, that’s a really good question. And that’s something we’ve really been struggling with as we’ve been looking at this for PISA and for global competence because that is a standardized test. And based on the research and work I’ve done, if we’re really serious about assessing intercultural competence of global competence, in the end, it’s really important to use a multi-measure, multi-perspective approach to assessing this that generally, even though there are over 140-some different instruments existing that measure some elements of intercultural competence of this construct, that there’s no one best tool. There’s no one tool that can really assess and measure the complexities of this. And so, given this and all the work that’s been done around assessment, as we approach the PISA standardized test, we decided that there’s no way that that PISA can assess the whole of, and the complexity of, global competence. And so, we decided to prioritize and hone in on a few key areas that a test could perhaps measure within the parameters of PISA. And so, there will be a lot of caveats around the reporting of this. And really focusing much more on the cognitive levels associated with global competence because that’s a bit easier to assess through the PISA parameters.

Will Brehm 20:49
Is there anything that worries you about including intercultural competencies on PISA?

Darla Deardorff 20:56
Not necessarily worries me. I would say, in general, as we discussed and talked about this, it’s really positive that the OECD and the countries that are involved in this want to include this as part of the PISA assessment because it really helps to raise awareness of the absolute importance of global competence, particularly now more than ever given the political climate realities around the world. And that it allows for opportunities for discussion at the ministerial levels on down to the school level. And so, in general, we see this is a very positive development. We understand there’s not going to be any perfect test or measure of global competence, but it really is very good in terms of generating awareness and discussion, and hopefully, in the end, perhaps integrating it more into the various educational systems around the world. Because in many ways, there’s nothing more important to address through education and in society than global competence.

Will Brehm 22:02
So, I just recently read a UN report that said that in 2016, there are 65 million displaced people in the world. They say that’s a record since recording the data has begun. So, does that put new urgency on the need for intercultural competencies inside education?

Darla Deardorff 22:24
I would say that it does, and not just this huge number of displaced people, but also the backlash we’re currently seeing to globalization. The increase in hate incidents around the world. There’s just such a need for educational systems to address intercultural competence, both within the schools at the student level, but then also it comes back to teacher preparation, teacher education programs, and how universities are preparing and educating the teachers to help guide the students in their own global competence, intercultural competence development. This is just absolutely crucial. And in fact, I’m reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., which I find incredibly relevant today than ever before. When he said, “We must learn to live together as brothers and family or perish together as fools.” This is not something that comes easily. We have to learn how to live together in order to survive as a human family sharing this planet. And so, I see that the educational systems around the world can play a really key role in this endeavor.

Will Brehm 23:51
And what would be some of the major in the sense roadblocks to achieving education systems, teaching intercultural competencies? Are there actually opponents to intercultural competency?

Darla Deardorff 24:06
I think there are, and particularly the roadblocks – you’ve already kind of alluded to this earlier – in terms of the various policies or structures that may be in place that would already prescribe a certain curriculum and certain ways of teaching and so on. So, I think, depending on the contexts of the educational systems around the world, some might prove more limiting than others in terms of what would be possible. And certainly, this can be seen as a threat in terms of opening it up to various perspectives, including indigenous perspectives or other perspectives of minority groups that might normally not be heard or represented in the curriculum or in the schooling. So, I know there are those who might be concerned about this. But in the end, it really is in the best interest of humans to understand what is necessary for us to learn to live together.

Will Brehm 25:12
And so, are you hopeful that humans will be able to actually embrace these ideas and introduce them into national education systems?

Darla Deardorff 25:22
I am hopeful. We’re encouraged by, for example, the developments of PISA and looking forward to what might result from the 2018 PISA test around global competence and seeing the ramifications of what that might have in terms of educational systems. And the continued conversations.  I know at the post-secondary level, there’s been a huge increase in terms of the conversations around intercultural competence within undergraduate education in numerous countries around the world. There’s an increased interest in this and in terms of how do we best prepare our students to live in such diverse societies around the world, because regardless of where they live, there’s a good chance they’ll be working with people who are different from them. And so, it really is in the best interest to understand, “What are the best ways to prepare students to really function and navigate within the diversity that we find in today’s society?”

Will Brehm 26:33
Well, Darla Deardoff, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. It really was a pleasure to talk today.

Darla Deardorff 26:38
Thank you again so much, and I encourage all your listeners to continue working, as we all continue to work, toward making this world a better place. Thank you so much.

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Have you ever thought about how polarized some debates in education are?

Think about it.

Whole language versus phonics.

Direct versus indirect instruction.

Public versus private schools.

My guest today, Professor Yong Zhao, says that these polarized debates result, in part, from research studies that only look at effects – or side effects – of educational interventions. Rarely do studies acknowledge what works and what doesn’t.

Yong Zhao, a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, argues that educational research should learn from medical science.

Citation: Zhao, Yong, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 79, podcast audio, June 26, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/yongzhao/

Will Brehm 1:35
Young Zhao, welcome to FreshEd.

Yong Zhao 1:37
Thank you, Will. Glad to be here.

Will Brehm 1:40
So, this may sound like a rather strange place to start our conversation on education research but bear with me for a second. In medical research, what are researchers typically looking for?

Yong Zhao 1:53
Well, typically, I think, we know it is not only typical, but they are required to look for both effects. That is, how it works and what does work, and the side effects, the negative consequences or outcomes that might come, you know, with a medicine or medical procedure.

Will Brehm 2:14
So, this is like why we see possible side effects written on the box of over-the-counter drugs, for instance.

Yong Zhao 2:23
Yes, yes, that is one of the, I think, results is that when you get a bottle of medicine, maybe it cures kind of your headache, but may cause a bleeding stomach. Yes, and things like that.

Will Brehm 2:35
And you said that it is required. Who is requiring medical research to look at this, not only the effects but also the side effects, and make them publicly known?

Yong Zhao 2:46
Well, we know in the US, the FDA – the Food and Drug Administration – any government agency that approves drugs to be released on the market or approves any medical procedures, there is a government always looking for those that require pharmaceutical companies or any kind of medical and I think institutions try to do that.

Will Brehm 3:10
So, in terms of medical research and looking at side effects and effects, what are some of the typical methods that are usually employed?

Yong Zhao 3:19
Well typically, the methods is really we called the “randomized controlled trials”, that is, you randomize people and put them in different groups, then you give some people the medicine, you give some people the placebo – you know, called the “placebo effect” – so,  to see the results. But the important thing is that, when they measure the outcome, they do not measure if it is effective in curing disease, but it also looks at damages. For example, some medicine may cure your liver problem, but it can kill you.

Will Brehm 3:54
So, you would not want to take that one.

Yong Zhao 3:56

Will Brehm 3:58
So, are these random controlled trials found in the social sciences?

Yong Zhao 4:03
Typically, in education, it is not much. That’s why in recent years, there’s been encouragement action to say social sciences should do a lot more randomized trials, but, you know, it’s how difficult it is. You cannot seriously randomize kids a lot, and it is very expensive as well. However, it is growing, because it has been believed that advancement of medicine is due to these randomized controlled trials in methods. And so, it is happening a lot, it is costing a lot of money, and so, here we are. We see a lot of those things encouraged, but I am not sure how that is going to improve education or not.

Will Brehm 4:44
So, what sort of side effects could, you know, be uncovered if this method were employed more widely?

Yong Zhao 4:52
Well, side effects like you know, one thing we could see long term and short-term outcomes. For example, you may be able to push students to memorize math or memorize some historical facts, but that’s short term. You can measure that. In a week, my students have been able to memorize this formula, but at the same time, they might have lost interest in the subject. Maybe the more they learn, the more the hate the subject.  I think that would be a bad idea. We have also seen that some parents maybe like to say, you know, “We force children to memorize, and we’re proud they can memorize so many words now”, but then they’ve lost interest in reading. That may not be a good idea either.

Will Brehm 5:38
So, surely some educational research does look at side effects, right?

Yong Zhao 5:42
I do not think they look at side effects and effects at the same time. I think the challenge is this: There are a lot of researchers who do not like certain methods. They will say, “Okay, our problems are this”. For example, you see a lot of people reporting. I mean, you’re in Japan, so people say, “Japanese education has caused students to lose creativity, curiosity and all those kind of things.” But at the same time, the other side, will say, ” No, we’ve looked at Japanese education. Kids’ math scores are high, their science scores are high.” But they are studied separately. That is the problem.

Will Brehm 6:18
So, they are studied in the sense that one group of researchers will look at one issue without recognizing the side effect to that issue.

Yong Zhao 6:29
Well, yes. In a sense, the proponents of certain methods will say, “Look how effective my method is.” That is what you see people say if they want to go for test scores, “Oh, East Asian countries are doing so great. You get Shanghai, you get Japan, Korea, Singapore, all have great scores.” So, they said, “Let’s learn from them. Let’s learn from Japan.” This is a lot of people saying that. But at the same time, people say, “No, no, no. They’re actually damaging their kids, you know, and so we should never do that.” So, you have two camps of people, then finally they kind of evolve into ideological war; they began to argue with each other, but not trying to say, “Yes, it is the same system.” It is the same thing, it just results in different consequences, but it is the two sides of the same coin.

Will Brehm 7:17
And so, when there is this ideological divide that ends up happening, I mean there must be very difficult dialogue across these different camps, but it also must impact policymakers in a particular way. How do they attach themselves to certain camps over other camps?

Yong Zhao 7:38
Yes, I think that is the big issue is that when they are studied separately, you have these ideological arguments, which does not really help improve education; it does not lead to betterment. So then you have policy makers, if they happen to be aligned with one ideology over the other, they will promote that as national policies or educational system-wide policies, and then you may have another government come in five years later to say, “Oh, look at the damage it’s done. Let’s throw that away. Let’s pick something else.” And the something else also has side effects, so they begin to have this pendulum swing. A few years to say, “Oh, this method doesn’t work.” And then, “Let’s pick something new, because it’s so exciting.” Look at only the positive effects, they, after a few years, some other group comes in and says, “Look at all the side effects.” Then, “Let’s throw it away. Let’s pick something else.” So, there is this pendulum swing. New ideas get recycled. But very few people would say, “Okay, if we look at the side effects, what if we say, “Okay, can we do something to mitigate the side effects?” to reduce that, to minimize that.” Now that represents improvement. So, this way, we do not just randomly throw things away based on ideology and based on one set of data and measurement.

Will Brehm 8:58
So, wouldn’t an example of this be the “No Child Left Behind” Act?

Yong Zhao 9:04
Well, in the US, definitely. Yes. For example, in the US, you know, technically when No Child Left Behind was introduced, it was a good idea. Many people think that you hold schools accountable, you want to raise student test scores, you want to test a lot, and those things actually could and should result some improvement. But at the same time, and we know from experiences in Asian countries, you know like high stakes testing, test students often, is going to result in a test-driven education. Education becomes test preparation. Then your assessed students lose interest. When you hold teachers accountable for raising test scores, and when they actually cannot do that, it’s demoralizing education. And then you need to a narrow of the curriculum, which we know happened in Asian countries. So, if we had known that for sure, we may have found ways to say, “Can we design some other ways to make sure that doesn’t happen?” Or, “Can we make sure that we’re not simply borrowing something wholesale, but at the same time designing something that’s slightly different?”

Will Brehm 10:13
And how would you incorporate cultural differences into the idea of learning from abroad, and learning about the side effects and the effects from abroad? So, for example, in the case of No Child Left Behind, you were saying that policymakers and educational researchers could have easily looked at other countries that have implemented the same sort of test-based accountability measures. But how do you incorporate cultural differences when thinking about, say, the US versus Japan?

Yong Zhao 10:48
Well, that is a fabulous question. In essence, cultural differences or cultural conditions bring out the causes or reasons for some other side effects. For example, some people are more allergic to penicillin than others. So, if, as a body – if you imagine a physical body as a culture – some medicine works for one group of people and not others. We see warning signs. For example: “If you are pregnant, do not take this medicine. You know, take something different.” The same thing, when you import ideas from other cultures, you want to say, “Okay, does it work in this environment?” So, we should really test some of ideas. For example, one thing America is trying to borrow from Japan is something called “lesson studies”. And lesson studies may work in Japan, because of the, honesty, I think, the hierarchical culture in schools. And actually works, you respect the more senior teacher. The senior teacher can have authority over junior teacher. Which actually doesn’t exist in the US culture. So that may not work very well at all. In the US, as you probably know this very well, the flat structure that unionized, it is very hard to put one teacher to be the authority on top of other teachers, and to learn. But also, at the same time, you have to think about: if education is about innovation, the hierarchical culture actually constraints innovation. If you borrowed this whole thing in, if you think teaching is only just trying to become like the senior teacher, that means there is no innovation, right? When do the new methods come out? The new method has to come from people who are not like the senior teacher, who has come from maybe young teachers. So those are, again, the side effects. So that is why I think culture is really very much like a human body. Medicine works for some people but do not work for other people. Some medicine may work for a certain age, some medicine may not work for a certain age.

Will Brehm 12:55
Do you think there’s limitations to the analogy of medical research to educational research?

Yong Zhao 13:03
Well, there is definitely limitations, because these are two different things. However, the idea that the idea of side effects, I think works very well. Because as we know, in anything you do, there is a kind of equal opportunity cost. For example, if you spend time all your time studying math, you are not going to have the same time to go out to play music. That is the kind of thing. So, there are some universals that can go together.

Will Brehm 13:31
And so, in educational research, why hasn’t there been like a demand for looking at both effects and side effects?

Yong Zhao 13:42
Well, I think there are really many reasons. I think one of the primary reasons would be a lot of people trying to think education does no harm. So, we always think of education as a good thing, so we do not really question that. And number two, we talk about side effects. They do not necessarily show up at the same time. Medicine is the same way. Some kind of damage, when you take medicine is long term, it doesn’t show up. But we should monitor that. But in education, you know, we do not. Once you teach kids, if the schools are held accountable for producing good test scores, if you want your children to memorize some math functions, but the side effect is a loss of interest and loss of passion, but that will be showing up maybe five years later, when kids begin to hate schools. “Oh, that was caused …”  then it is hard to draw a direct connection between the two because one is so short term. Another thing, of course, is that, I think, schools have always looked at one type of effect that is called “academic outcomes”. And all academic outcomes are measured in the short term. After one week of instruction, after one semester of instruction, one year. But then the other damages may be done in much longer term. You do not even know those things. And then of course, you know, it seems to be such a common sense, but I have not seen people calling for the study of this so far. This is really what is called a “common sense idea”, and so nobody has done this. I found it is actually puzzling, too.

Will Brehm 15:23
I mean it seems like it would be rather challenging to measure something like “passion” rather than something like how a student is doing on a test.

Yong Zhao 15:33
Yes, apparently. But you could measure it, and also, so like “passion”, “curiosity”, all these things, are much, you know, longer term, takes a long time to lose or to gain. For example, if you are going to school – I do not know, Will, if this happened to you – but it definitely happened to many people, going to school make you feel stupid, for example. You cannot do this test. You cannot do the homework. You tried very hard. Somehow, you are just not as good as your brother or your next-door neighbor. And that is going to make you feel really bad. But feeling bad may be developed over a long time. And actually, most often, we don’t care. Most teachers do not even pay attention to that. And so, you do not even know you were damaged. I do not know; you apparently seems to be a happy guy. I think you might have done okay in school, but you know how many schools … I am sure you have friends who really hated school and get disengaged. And then we do not count them. In our general world view, we really believe all schools are good. I do not know why, going to school seems to be a good thing. We always believe that. It is shocking, right? But a lot of kids get really hurt, but nobody pays attention to them. We blame them. We say, “You didn’t try hard.”, “You’re stupid.”, “You were distracted.”

Will Brehm 16:54
Yes, I must say, I personally very much did not like taking tests. And I think it is the reason that I got into studying education as I got older: To try and understand why it was that I disliked education so much when I was a child.

Yong Zhao 17:14
Well, that is another side effect, right? Hating school may not be a bad thing if you want to, like you, turn this to your attention and say, “I want to know why it’s so bad.” That is another side effect. By the way, side effects sometimes are not all necessarily bad. You know like medicine. For example, I think Viagra was not invented for sexual enhancement. It was really more for something else. Then we discovered, “Oh, it can do this.” Okay, that is cool. So, you know, side effects might uncover a lot more different uses for the same education methods.

Will Brehm 17:52
So, I want to go back to this idea that you said that education can actually do some harm. So other than like students disliking school, what other harm can actually manifest?

Yong Zhao 18:05
Well, for a large scale, if you look at a system level, some education system can be simply a brainwashing, or trying to, I would say, homogenize individuals, getting rid of different kind of talents. Which was actually in many ways was designed to do. So, if you look at Asian countries, I think their systems have done a great job in making sure everybody is alike, think alike, learn the same things. And anyone who is defiant or non-compliant may be kicked out of the system, which results in “talent homogeneity”, which hampers innovation in a long run. But also, then, the effect is that everybody can think the same. That is really cool. But if you think, “Well everyone thinks the same, they are easier to govern.” But at the same time, you do not expect people to be very creative and innovative. On the other hand, in the US education system, it is really horrible in the sense of trying to make sure everybody learns the same thing. Making sure they be obedient. But at the same time, the other side effect is it has resulted in a bunch of people who can think outside the box.

Will Brehm 19:21
So, it seems like a lot of this issue is really about the value of education. Having a debate over what it is that a particular system of education, and I guess it would be what policymakers, or those in power, deem the right effect that they’re looking for. So, if it is thinking outside the box, or if it is discipline, or whatever it is. I mean, so really, it seems like the issue is a lot deeper than just looking at effects and side effects, but it’s actually about having this kind of deeper debate on the different values of education.

Yong Zhao 19:59
Yes. I think that is precisely…Also, for parents and for educators, as consumers… You want to know when it does this, it also does that. So, you have got to weigh over, do you want that? Or do you want this? When you cannot have both. I think people in education, many educators, even researchers, they really hope we can have both. But sometimes you really cannot have both, so you need to know. As we talked about you, when you when you put yourself into surgery, you sign those long pages and pages of risk. It could do this. Are you willing to take the risk? I hope with education, you have sent your children to school to say, “Now okay, I want to know what the side effects has been. What this cannot do. What are the risks of my kids going to your school? What might be the side effects? What are the possible damages you could do to my children? What will my children not get?” For example, you go to some school … I am sure, Japan, anywhere else … You go to a school, you want to ask, “Yes, you’re great academically, but at what cost?” You want to say, “At what cost? Will my children still have time to play? Will my children be happy? Will my children be making friends? Will my children be anxious?” You want to know those things. If that is the case, you say, “Man, I don’t like that. I’m going to go some somewhere else.” Then you go to another, maybe a play-based school and say, “Yes, your children will be very happy. They’ll be playing with nature, all those things.” But they say, so at what cost? And they say, “Well, maybe your children will not be as competitive in taking a test.” So, you as parents say, “Yes, I’m willing to live with that.” So that is the kind of thing I think we need to think about.

Will Brehm 21:47
So, in a sense, are you advocating for something like an over-the-counter drug that is in a box that has publicly and clearly labeled the side effects? Somehow that would work for education. How would parents, and how would teachers, and how would policymakers and principals, how would they actually know these side effects? There is no FDA for education in America, but are you saying there should be one?

Yong Zhao 22:16
I think so. First of I think there should be somebody, maybe starting with the professional organizations and academic journals that publish this research, to really require people, researchers, to report both, to study both. First of all, that information has to be available – to study both. And I am working on the book trying to compile existing findings, but that has to come from both sides, by different independent researchers, both ideological camps. That is going to be the beginning of that. But I would love to say professional organizations, academic journals requiring people to study and reporting known effects and side effects at the same time. And then any kind of new pedagogical methods and new textbooks or new policies would continue that information for the public, for parents and for teachers to understand. I think it is very important to do that. And of course, there are some other kinds of medicine. For example, some generic medicine that may not have as much side effects…but we still need to know. Do they have any other effect? I do not know if you have noticed that, Will, on television now, most of medicine when they promote them, TV ads, I think they read out the side effects for a much longer term than the effects.

Will Brehm 23:46
And really quickly as well.

Yong Zhao 23:48
Yes, exactly.

Will Brehm 23:49
Yes, I guess, for me, education seems so deeply political to, particularly, a nation state. And I would imagine that some nation states would be very uncomfortable making all of these different decisions so publicly available with the known side effects and effects.

Yong Zhao 24:11
Oh, yes. I think, definitely. It’s like in a pharmaceutical companies- many of them try to hide side effects, many of them do not study them, many of them, you know they try to hide. It is very possible, so it is really nothing new in that sense. If you trade from huge, giant pharmaceutical companies as a nation state, they want to hide. They do not want to let everybody know, so that is really possible.

Will Brehm 24:39
But in education, typically it is the nation state that is also producing the education. Right, so it is the nation state that is producing the education and also the ones who are regulating it. So, if they are trying to hide something, it is a little difficult to get some regulatory body to uncover it. There is no kind of …

Yong Zhao 25:04
Oh, yes. I know there are countries who try to hide children anxiety data, children mental health data. Some countries try not to report youth suicide rates, or at least to not make them public. So those are, it is possible. And there are countries who do not allow you to write any kind of critical … which is a measure of side effects. We have one nation state that funds all educational research and they will censor any publication of that.

Will Brehm 25:39
But at the same time, we also do see big companies like Pearson, or all these other for-profit education companies that are, in a sense, acting like those pharmaceutical companies and hiding, or controlling their data and only, you know, releasing the data that shows how great their educational products are.

Yong Zhao 25:59
I do not think these companies in education, like I mentioned before, even study side effects. Again, they are they are busy proving how good it is.

Will Brehm 26:09
Yes, that is right. I mean it seems like such a valuable endeavor to do, and it almost seems, like you said, common sense. But it just seems like it will be very difficult to get educational researchers to do that, particularly because it’s become so ideological for a lot of these different issues in education.

Yong Zhao 26:34
Yes, I think. Definitely. But I think it is a must we have. So that is why I hope with your help, with other people’s help, we can spread the idea. It is actually essential, really, for us to advance this whole field. Because if you’ve been in education long enough, you know we recycle these kind of ideas. Whole language? No, it has to be phonics. Remember those wars? We do pure math and back to the basics. Now we do inquiry-based learning. We argue all the time. And really, we just need to have a clear understanding of what we are talking about. We need to advance. So, the people argue. Like now, you know, direct instruction is back in full swing. I know in Australia, some government said, “They’ve got to do direct instruction because it’s very effective. Children do not need to discover one plus one equals two.” … But at the same time you say, you know that might be simply what I call “unproductive success”. In short term success, but it is not productive in a long run.

Will Brehm 27:43
Well, Yong Zhao, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. It was really great to talk today.

Yong Zhao 27:47
Thank you, Will. This is great, and I hope you will help us spread the word. This demand that is required: Study side effects and effects. You know, when it works, it hurts.

Will Brehm 1:35
Yong Zhao, chào mừng ông đến với FreshEd.

Yong Zhao 1:37
Cám ơn, Will. Tôi rất vui được có mặt ở đây.

Will Brehm 1:40
Có lẽ đây sẽ là một cách hơi lạ lùng để bắt đầu cuộc trò chuyện của chúng ta về nghiên cứu giáo dục, nhưng các bạn hãy cố gắng kiên nhẫn một chút nhé.
Thưa ông, trong nghiên cứu y học, thông thường thì các nhà nghiên cứu muốn tìm hiểu điều gì?

Yong Zhao 1:53
Tôi nghĩ là, không phải chỉ là thông thường đâu mà họ được yêu cầu phải tìm hiểu cả hai loại tác dụng. Đó là, thuốc hay phương pháp điều trị hiệu quả như thế nào và cái gì thực sự hiệu quả, cũng như những tác dụng phụ, những tác dụng tiêu cực có thể xảy đến nữa.

Will Brehm 2:14
Vâng, đó là lý do mà, ví dụ như, chúng ta thấy những tác dụng phụ có khả năng xảy ra được viết trên hộp của các loại thuốc không kê đơn.

Yong Zhao 2:23
Đúng vậy, tôi nghĩ là khi bạn mua một lọ thuốc có thể giúp bạn chữa đau đầu, nó cũng có thể gây ra chảy máu dạ dày nữa. Một vài tác dụng phụ kiểu như vậy đấy.

Will Brehm 2:35
Và như ông đã nói, đó là một điều được yêu cầu phải thực hiện. Ai là người yêu cầu các nghiên cứu y khoa phải tìm hiểu không chỉ tác dụng mà còn cả tác dụng phụ và thông tin cho công chúng biết?

Yong Zhao 2:46
Như chúng ta biết thì ở Mỹ, chính là FDA – Cục quản lý Thực phẩm và Dược phẩm – một cơ quan nhà nước có vai trò chấp thuận cho việc tung ra thị trường các loại thuốc hay các phương thức điều trị. Các cơ quan nhà nước như vậy yêu cầu các công ty dược phẩm hoặc các công ty y tế thực hiện điều này.

Will Brehm 3:10
Vậy thì những phương pháp nào thường được sử dụng cho việc nghiên cứu y khoa và tìm hiểu những tác dụng và tác dụng phụ thưa ông?

Yong Zhao 3:19
Thường thì, những phương pháp này được gọi tên là “Thử nghiệm đối chứng ngẫu nhiên” (randomized controlled trials). Nghĩa là bạn lấy ngẫu nhiên một số lượng người và phân chia họ thành nhiều nhóm khác nhau, rồi bạn đưa cho một số thuốc điều trị, còn một số khác là giả dược – bạn biết không, đấy gọi là hiệu ứng giả dược (placebo effect) – và chờ đợi kết quả. Tuy nhiên điều quan trọng ở đây là, khi họ đo lường kết quả, họ không chỉ đánh giá xem thuốc có hiệu quả trong việc chữa trị bệnh hay không mà họ còn quan tâm các tác hại của chúng nữa. Ví dụ như, một số loại thuốc có thể chữa bệnh gan nhưng cũng có thể giết chết bạn.

Will Brehm 3:54
Ồ, vậy chắc là không ai muốn dùng loại thuốc đó rồi.

Yong Zhao 3:56
Đúng vậy.

Will Brehm 3:58
Vậy thì phương pháp thử nghiệm đối chứng ngẫu nhiên có được sử dụng trong khoa học xã hội không?

Yong Zhao 4:03
Trong lĩnh vực giáo dục thì không nhiều lắm. Đó là lý do mà trong những năm gần đây, người ta đang thực hiện các biện pháp khuyến khích nghiên cứu khoa học xã hội sử dụng các thử nghiệm ngẫu nhiên nhiều hơn. Nhưng bạn biết đấy, điều này rất khó khăn. Chúng ta không thể lấy ngẫu nhiên trẻ em hoài được, và làm như vậy cũng tốn rất nhiều chi phí. Tuy nhiên, đang có những bước tiến nhất định, bởi vì người ta tin rằng sự phát triển trong lĩnh vực y khoa chính là nhờ những phương pháp thử nghiệm đối chứng ngẫu nhiên này. Do đó, những thử nghiệm này đang diễn ra nhiều hơn, và cũng tốn rất nhiều tiền đấy. Chúng ta thấy có nhiều thử nghiệm đang được ủng hộ, nhưng tôi thì không chắc rằng chúng có giúp cải thiện được giáo dục hay không.

Will Brehm 4:44
Vậy thì theo ông, những loại tác dụng phụ nào có thể được tìm thấy nếu phương pháp này được sử dụng rộng rãi hơn?

Yong Zhao 4:52
Tác dụng phụ như vấn đề về kết quả dài hạn và ngắn hạn. Ví dụ, bạn có thể bắt học sinh ghi nhớ toán và các sự kiện lịch sử, nhưng đây chỉ là những kết quả ngắn hạn thôi. Bạn có thể đo lường được điều này. Trong vòng một tuần, những học sinh của tôi có thể ghi nhớ được một công thức nào đó, nhưng đồng thời, các em cũng có thể mất đi niềm yêu thích với môn học này. Có lẽ càng học nhiều, các em càng ghét môn học đó hơn. Tôi nghĩ đây là một ý tưởng rất tồi. Chúng ta thấy nhiều phụ huynh nói rằng “Chúng tôi bắt con của chúng tôi ghi nhớ và chúng tôi rất tự hào là bây giờ chúng đã nhớ được rất nhiều từ”. Nhưng sau đó các em sẽ dần mất đi niềm yêu thích với việc đọc. Đây có lẽ cũng không phải là một việc tốt.

Will Brehm 5:38
Nhưng đương nhiên cũng có những nghiên cứu về giáo dục tìm hiểu những tác dụng phụ chứ, thưa ông?

Yong Zhao 5:42
Tôi nghĩ họ không nghiên cứu tác dụng và tác dụng phụ cùng một lúc. Tôi nghĩ thử thách ở đây là: Có rất nhiều nhà nghiên cứu không thích một số phương pháp nhất định. Họ sẽ nói rằng, “Đây chính là vấn đề của chúng ta”. Ví dụ như, ở Nhật Bản, nhiều người nói rằng “Nền giáo dục Nhật Bản làm cho học sinh mất đi sự sáng tạo, sự tò mò và những điều tương tự như vậy.” Nhưng đồng thời, một bên khác sẽ nói rằng “Không, chúng tôi đã nghiên cứu về giáo dục Nhật Bản rồi. Điểm toán của bọn trẻ rất cao, điểm khoa học cũng cao.” Nhưng vấn đề nằm ở chỗ cả hai bên đều nghiên cứu những điều này một cách tách biệt.

Will Brehm 6:18
Như vậy có nghĩa là nhiều vấn đề đang được nghiên cứu theo kiểu có một nhóm những nhà nghiên cứu khi tìm hiểu về vấn đề đó thì không quan tâm đến các tác dụng phụ của nó?

Yong Zhao 6:29
Đúng vậy. Những người ủng hộ một số các phương pháp nào đó sẽ nói “Này nhìn xem, phương pháp của chúng tôi rất hiệu quả.” Đó là điều mà chúng ta thấy mọi người hay nói khi muốn ủng hộ việc sử dụng điểm số của các bài kiểm tra. “Các quốc gia ở Đông Á đang làm thật tuyệt. Chúng ta có Thượng Hải, Nhật Bản, Hàn Quốc và Singapore. Tất cả các quốc gia này đều đang có những số điểm rất cao.” Và rồi họ nói, “Hãy học hỏi từ họ đi. Hãy học từ Nhật Bản kìa.” Có rất nhiều người đang nói như vậy. Nhưng đồng thời, cũng có những người cho rằng “Không được, không được. Cách làm như vậy đang hủy hoại những đứa trẻ, chúng ta không bao giờ nên làm như vậy.” Vậy đó, chúng ta có hai nhóm người ở đây và dần dần tạo nên một cuộc chiến về quan điểm. Họ bắt đầu tranh cãi với nhau mà không cố gắng thấy rằng “Thật ra đây chỉ là cùng một hệ thống mà thôi”. Tất cả đều cùng là một, chỉ là nó mang lại những kết quả khác nhau thôi. Đấy chính là hai mặt của cùng một đồng xu.

Will Brehm 7:17
Vậy thì khi xảy ra sự phân chia về mặt quan điểm như vậy, tôi nghĩ có lẽ rất khó để mà hai bên có thể thảo luận với nhau, và điều đó có lẽ sẽ tạo ra những tác động nhất định đến các nhà hoạch định chính sách. Những nhà hoạch định chính sách làm thế nào khi đối mặt với những nhóm quan điểm khác nhau như vậy?

Yong Zhao 7:38
Vấn đề lớn ở đây chính là khi họ nghiên cứu tác dụng và tác dụng phụ một cách tách biệt và tạo ra những tranh cãi về mặt quan điểm như vậy, những tranh cãi đó không giúp ích gì cho việc cải thiện giáo dục cả, không làm cho mọi thứ trở nên tốt hơn. Nếu các nhà hoạch định chính sách đồng tình với một quan điểm này hơn quan điểm khác, họ sẽ đề xuất các chính sách dựa trên quan điểm đó cho toàn bộ quốc gia. Và rồi có thể 5 năm sau, một chính quyền khác lên sẽ nói “Ôi, nhìn xem điều này đã gây ra những thiệt hại gì. Hãy bỏ chúng đi và chọn một chính sách khác.” Và chính sách khác ấy thật ra cũng có những tác dụng phụ và tất cả bắt đầu giống như một con lắc đu đưa. Một vài năm sau họ lại nói “Ôi, cách này không hiệu quả rồi.” và “Hãy làm một điều gì đó khác đi vì nhìn xem điều đó thật sự thú vị.” Chỉ nhìn những mặt tích cực của nó thôi, một vài năm sau, một nhóm người khác lên lãnh đạo và nói rằng “Hãy nhìn tất cả những tác dụng phụ của điều đó kìa”. Và lại nói “Hãy dẹp những điều đó đi. Chọn lấy một thứ khác.” Và con lắc lại tiếp tục đưa qua đưa lại như vậy. Những ý tưởng mới cứ được tái sử dụng. Có rất ít người có thể thấy rằng “Hãy nhìn vào các tác dụng phụ của việc này và xem chúng ta có thể làm gì để hạn chế chúng.” Việc đó mới thật sự mang lại sự tiến bộ. Chúng ta không nên loại bỏ mọi thứ một cách ngẫu nhiên chỉ dựa trên quan điểm hay chỉ dựa trên một vài bộ dữ liệu và đo lường.

Will Brehm 8:58
Có phải đạo luật “Không một trẻ em nào bị bỏ lại phía sau” (No Child Left Behind) là một ví dụ cho việc này không?

Yong Zhao 9:04
Đối với nước Mỹ, đúng là như vậy. Ví dụ, ở Mỹ, theo lý thuyết thì khi đạo luật về “Không một trẻ em nào bị bỏ lại phía sau” được ban hành, đó là một ý tưởng tốt. Nhiều người cho rằng cần phải làm cho trường học chịu trách nhiệm hơn, cần phải nâng cao điểm số của học sinh, cần phải kiểm tra nhiều hơn, và những điều đó thực sự cũng có thể mang lại một số tiến bộ. Tuy nhiên đồng thời thì như chúng ta cũng đã thấy từ kinh nghiệm của các nước Châu Á, các kỳ kiểm tra mang tính chất quyết định, kiểm tra học sinh thường xuyên như vậy sẽ tạo nên một nền giáo dục bị chi phối bởi việc kiểm tra. Giáo dục trở thành quá trình chỉ để chuẩn bị cho việc kiểm tra mà thôi. Và vì vậy mà học sinh dần trở nên mất đi hứng thú. Khi mà bạn bắt giáo viên phải chịu trách nhiệm cho việc nâng cao điểm số, và họ không làm được điều đó, niềm tin vào hệ thống giáo dục sẽ bị suy giảm. Và như vậy, bạn lại phải thực hiện rút gọn lại chương trình. Điều này đã xảy ra ở các nước Châu Á. Nếu chúng ta có thể dự đoán trước được mọi việc như vậy, ngay từ đầu chúng ta đã có thể đặt câu hỏi rằng “Chúng ta có thể thiết kế mọi thứ theo một cách nào đó khác để việc đó không xảy ra không?” hoặc, “Chúng ta có thể đảm bảo là đang không vay mượn hoàn toàn một thứ gì đó mà chưa thiết kế cho nó khác đi một chút không?”

Will Brehm 10:13
Làm thế nào chúng ta có thể tính đến những khác biệt về văn hóa trong quá trình học tập các ý tưởng từ nước ngoài, và tìm hiểu về những tác dụng phụ cũng như tác dụng của các ý tưởng đó? Ví dụ như, trong trường hợp của đạo luật “Không một trẻ em nào bị bỏ lại phía sau”, ông cho rằng các nhà hoạch định chính sách và các nhà nghiên cứu giáo dục đã có thể dễ dàng nhìn vào các quốc gia khác đã thực hiện các biện pháp tương tự để gia tăng trách nhiệm giải trình dựa trên kết quả các bài kiểm tra. Nhưng, sự khác biệt về văn hóa, chẳng hạn như giữa Mỹ và Nhật Bản, nên được cân nhắc như thế nào?

Yong Zhao 10:48
Vâng, đó là một câu hỏi rất hay. Về bản chất, sự khác biệt về văn hóa hay các điều kiện về văn hóa chính là nguyên nhân tạo nên một số tác dụng phụ. Ví dụ như, có một số người dị ứng với penicillin nhiều hơn những người khác. Nếu bạn tưởng tượng cơ thể con người cũng giống như văn hóa, một số loại thuốc thì phù hợp với một nhóm người nhưng không hiệu quả với những nhóm khác. Chúng ta cũng thường thấy các cảnh báo. Ví dụ như, “Nếu bạn đang mang thai thì không nên sử dụng thuốc này. Hãy dùng một loại thuốc khác.” Cũng tương tự như vậy, khi chúng ta sử dụng những ý tưởng từ các nền văn hóa khác, chúng ta cần phải tự hỏi, “Chúng có hiệu quả trong bối cảnh này không?” Chúng ta thật sự nên thử nghiệm các ý tưởng trước. Ví dụ như, một ý tưởng mà Mỹ đang muốn mượn của Nhật Bản là các buổi “nghiên cứu lớp học” (lesson studies). Tôi cho rằng các buổi nghiên cứu lớp học này có thể hiệu quả ở Nhật Bản là nhờ có văn hóa cấp bậc, vai vế trong các trường học. Những giáo viên lớn tuổi hơn được kính trọng và có nhiều thẩm quyền hơn so với các giáo viên trẻ tuổi. Điều này thì lại không tồn tại ở văn hóa Mỹ. Do đó phương pháp này có thể không mang lại hiệu quả. Ở Mỹ, cấu trúc các mối quan hệ rất phẳng, rất khó để có thể đặt một giáo viên nào ở vị trí cao hơn những giáo viên khác và bắt họ phải học tập người đó. Tuy nhiên, đồng thời thì chúng ta cũng phải hiểu rằng giáo dục chính là sự sáng tạo. Một nền văn hóa cấp bậc như vậy sẽ làm hạn chế sự sáng tạo. Nếu chúng ta vay mượn toàn bộ ý tưởng này, và chúng ta cho rằng quá trình giảng dạy chỉ nhằm để các giáo viên mới trở nên giống với những giáo viên lớn tuổi, thì sẽ không tạo ra được sự sáng tạo, phải vậy không? Như vậy thì những phương pháp mới làm sao có thể xuất hiện được? Các phương pháp mới thường đến từ những giáo viên trẻ hơn, không phải những giáo viên lớn tuổi. Và như vậy, một lần nữa chúng ta thấy các tác dụng phụ ở đây. Do đó, tôi nghĩ rằng văn hóa rất giống với cơ thể con người. Một số loại thuốc có tác dụng với một số người nhưng không có tác dụng với những người khác. Một số thuốc có thể có tác dụng ở một vài lứa tuổi nhưng không có tác dụng với các lứa tuổi khác.

Will Brehm 12:55
Ông có nghĩ là có hạn chế nào đó trong việc so sánh giữa nghiên cứu y học và nghiên cứu giáo dục không?

Yong Zhao 13:03
Đương nhiên sẽ có những hạn chế chứ vì đó là hai thứ hoàn toàn khác nhau. Nhưng tôi cho rằng ý tưởng về tác dụng phụ thì là một ý tưởng rất hay. Bạn biết đấy, trong bất cứ việc gì mà chúng ta làm, đều có chi phí cơ hội. Ví dụ, nếu bạn dành toàn bộ thời gian để học toán, bạn không thể nào có ngần ấy thời gian để ra ngoài và chơi nhạc. Mọi việc luôn là như vậy đấy. Có những vũ trụ không thể cùng diễn ra song song một lúc được.

Will Brehm 13:31
Vậy thì vì sao chưa có nhu cầu phải tìm hiểu cả tác dụng lẫn tác dụng phụ trong nghiên cứu về giáo dục?

Yong Zhao 13:42
Tôi nghĩ có rất nhiều nguyên nhân. Tôi cho rằng một trong những nguyên nhân chính là do rất nhiều người luôn cố gắng tin rằng giáo dục không gây ra tác hại gì. Chúng ta luôn cho rằng giáo dục là điều tốt đẹp và không có bất kì nghi ngờ gì về điều đó. Và điều thứ hai là, tác dụng phụ không nhất thiết diễn ra cùng một lúc với tác dụng. Tác dụng phụ của thuốc cũng như vậy. Có những tác hại mà chỉ trong khoảng thời gian dài mới có thể thấy được. Dù vậy, chúng ta vẫn phải kiểm soát chúng.
Nhưng trong giáo dục, chúng ta lại không làm được điều đó. Khi nhà trường bị buộc phải chịu trách nhiệm cho việc phải nâng cao kết quả kiểm tra, học sinh bị buộc phải ghi nhớ các phép toán, tác dụng phụ của điều đó là học sinh sẽ mất đi sự hứng thú và đam mê với việc học. Nhưng điều đó sẽ không xuất hiện ngay mà có thể 5 năm sau mới thấy được, và trẻ con bắt đầu ghét trường học. Và khi đó thì rất khó để có thể tìm ra mối liên kết trực tiếp giữa hai việc này nữa vì phần nguyên nhân diễn ra trong một thời gian quá ngắn.
Một vấn đề khác, tôi cho rằng, là trường học thường chỉ nhìn vào một loại tác dụng duy nhất là “kết quả học tập”. Tất cả các loại kết quả học tập đều được đo lường trong ngắn hạn. Một tuần sau khi giảng dạy hoặc một học kì hoặc một năm. Nhưng những tác hại thì lại có thể diễn ra sau đó lâu hơn và chúng ta không biết gì về chúng. Điều này dường như trở thành một lẽ dĩ nhiên, và cho đến giờ tôi chưa thấy mọi người kêu gọi cho những nghiên cứu về vấn đề này. Những ý tưởng này mang “tính chất hiển nhiên”, và do đó không ai quan tâm cả. Tôi cũng thấy điều này thật khó hiểu.

Will Brehm 15:23
Tôi nghĩ có lẽ là mọi người thấy việc đo lường những thứ như “đam mê” khó khăn hơn nhiều so với đo lường việc học sinh thực hiện bài kiểm tra như thế nào.

Yong Zhao 15:33
Vâng, hiển nhiên là như thế. Nhưng tôi nghĩ là có thể đo lường được. Những thứ như “đam mê” hay “sự tò mò” là những thứ diễn ra trong dài hạn, phải mất nhiều thời gian mới có được hay mất đi. Và ví dụ như, khi bạn đến trường, Will, tôi không biết liệu việc này cũng đã xảy ra với anh hay không, nhưng chắc chắn là đã xảy ra với rất nhiều người khác, trường học làm chúng ta cảm thấy chúng ta thật ngu ngốc. Bạn không làm được bài kiểm tra, không làm được bài về nhà. Dù cho có cố gắng đến mấy, bạn cũng không thể giỏi bằng anh trai bạn hay người bạn hàng xóm. Và điều đó làm bạn cảm thấy rất tồi tệ. Cảm giác tồi tệ này có thể gia tăng dần theo thời gian. Và thường thì chúng ta không quan tâm đến điều đó. Nhiều giáo viên không hề chú ý đến việc đó. Và như vậy, bạn còn không hề biết là bạn đang bị tổn thương.
Tôi không chắc, Will à, anh trông có vẻ là một người hạnh phúc. Có lẽ là anh đã học tốt khi đi học. Nhưng mà tôi nghĩ ở rất nhiều trường học… tôi nghĩ chắc chắn là anh cũng có những bạn bè rất ghét đi học và muốn bỏ học. Nhưng chúng ta thường không tính đến họ. Trong suy nghĩ thông thường của mọi người, chúng ta đều tin rằng mọi trường học đều tốt cả. Tôi không biết vì sao, nhưng đi học thường được cho là một điều tốt đẹp. Chúng ta luôn tin như vậy. Điều này rất sốc phải không? Có rất nhiều trẻ em bị tổn thương nhưng không ai quan tâm đến chúng. Chúng ta đổ tội cho chúng. Chúng ta nói rằng “Em không đủ cố gắng”; “Em thật là ngu ngốc”; “Em không chịu tập trung”.

Will Brehm 16:54
Vâng, tôi phải nói là cá nhân tôi không thích phải làm bài kiểm tra. Và tôi nghĩ đây là nguyên nhân mà khi lớn hơn tôi lại học về giáo dục: Để cố gắng hiểu xem vì sao tôi lại ghét giáo dục như vậy khi còn nhỏ.

Yong Zhao 17:14
Vâng, đó cũng chính là một dạng tác dụng phụ. Ghét trường học có thể không phải là một điều tồi tệ nếu như bạn thay đổi cách nghĩ và nói rằng “Tôi muốn biết vì sao nó tệ như vậy.” Đó cũng là một tác dụng phụ khác. Và thật ra thì, tác dụng phụ không nhất thiết phải luôn tiêu cực. Như đối với các loại thuốc, ví dụ như, Viagra không được sáng chế để gia tăng hưng phấn tình dục. Nó `đã được tạo ra cho một mục đích khác. Nhưng rồi chúng ta phải hiện ra “Ồ, nó có thể giúp ích cho việc này và điều đó thật thú vị.” Do đó, tác dụng phụ có thể giúp mở ra rất nhiều cách thức sử dụng khác cho cùng một phương pháp giáo dục.

Will Brehm 17:52
Tôi muốn quay lại vấn đề mà ông đã nói về việc giáo dục thật sự có thể gây hại. Ngoài việc học sinh có thể ghét trường học thì có những tác hại nào có thể xảy ra không?

Yong Zhao 18:05
Tôi nghĩ là nếu ở phạm vi rộng hơn, ở cấp độ hệ thống, một số hệ thống giáo dục có thể cố gắng tẩy não mọi người, cố gắng đồng hóa mọi người, xóa bỏ đi những loại tài năng khác nhau. Và nhiều trường học được thiết kế để làm điều đó. Nếu bạn nhìn vào các quốc gia Châu Á, tôi cho rằng các hệ thống của họ đã làm rất tốt trong việc đảm bảo mọi người trở nên giống nhau, suy nghĩ giống nhau, học những thứ giống nhau. Những ai thách thức điều đó hoặc không nghe lời sẽ bị loại bỏ khỏi hệ thống, tạo nên một sự “đồng nhất về tài tăng”. Và điều này sẽ làm cản trở sự sáng tạo trong dài hạn. Tuy nhiên đồng thời thì tác dụng của việc này là mọi người đều suy nghĩ giống nhau. Điều đó cũng tốt vì như vậy thì “Mọi người suy nghĩ giống nhau, vậy thì quản lý họ sẽ dễ dàng hơn.” Nhưng như vậy thì cũng không thể mong mọi người trở nên sáng tạo và đổi mới được. Mặt khác thì ở hệ thống giáo dục của Mỹ, sẽ rất tồi tệ nếu cố gắng bắt mọi người học những thứ giống nhau và bắt họ nghe lời. Nhưng tác dụng phụ chính là có rất nhiều người có khả năng suy nghĩ sáng tạo, vượt ra khỏi giới hạn.

Will Brehm 19:21
Tôi nghĩ vấn đề này có lẽ liên quan đến giá trị của giáo dục. Tôi nghĩ việc tranh luận về một nền giáo dục như thế nào chủ yếu nằm ở chỗ các nhà hoạch định chính sách, những người có quyền lực muốn tìm kiếm loại tác dụng như thế nào. Dù cho đó là việc suy nghĩ sáng tạo hay là kỷ luật hay là bất kì thứ gì. Có lẽ mọi thứ cần được hiểu một cách sâu sắc hơn là chỉ nhìn vào vấn đề tác dụng và tác dụng phụ. Có lẽ mọi thứ liên quan đến những tranh cãi sâu sắc hơn về các giá trị khác nhau của giáo dục.

Yong Zhao 19:59
Vâng, tôi nghĩ điều đó rất chính xác. Với phụ huynh hay các nhà giáo dục, trong vai trò của những khách hàng, bạn sẽ muốn biết rằng những gì bạn sử dụng có tác dụng này, nhưng cũng có tác dụng khác. Và rồi bạn sẽ phải cân nhắc, bạn muốn điều này, hay điều kia, nếu bạn không thể có cả hai.
Tôi nghĩ trong giáo dục, nhiều nhà giáo dục và ngay cả những nhà nghiên cứu hy vọng rằng họ có thể có cả hai. Nhưng đôi khi bạn không thể có cả hai được và bạn cần phải biết điều đó. Ví dụ như khi bạn chuẩn bị làm phẫu thuật, bạn phải ký rất nhiều, rất nhiều giấy tờ về các nguy cơ. Nếu bạn đồng ý thực hiện, bạn có sẵn sàng chấp nhận các nguy cơ này không? Tôi hy vọng là với giáo dục, khi bạn gửi con bạn đến trường, bạn có thể hỏi “Tôi muốn biết các tác dụng phụ của việc này. Việc gì mà ngôi trường này sẽ không làm được? Đâu là những nguy cơ mà con tôi sắp phải trải qua khi đi học ở trường của bạn? Các tác dụng phụ có thể là gì? Những tổn thương nào mà trường của bạn có thể gây ra cho con tôi? Con tôi sẽ không nhận được gì?”. Ví dụ như nếu bạn đến một số trường ở Nhật Bản, hay có thể ở bất kì nơi nào, bạn sẽ muốn hỏi rằng, “Vâng, thành tích học tập của trường này tốt đấy, nhưng cái giá phải trả là gì?” Bạn sẽ muốn hỏi “Cái giá phải trả là gì? Con tôi có còn còn thời gian để chơi đùa không? Con tôi sẽ hạnh phúc chứ? Con tôi sẽ có bạn chứ? Con tôi có bị căng thẳng không?” Bạn sẽ muốn biết tất cả những điều đó. Và khi đó bạn sẽ có thể nói “Này, tôi không thích điều đó đâu. Tôi sẽ tìm một nơi khác.” Và khi bạn đến một nơi khác, một ngôi trường lấy việc vui chơi làm trung tâm và họ nói rằng “Vâng, con của bạn sẽ rất hạnh phúc. Chúng sẽ được chơi đùa với thiên nhiên và những thứ như vậy.” Nhưng rồi cái giá phải trả là gì? Và họ nói rằng “Vâng, có lẽ là con bạn sẽ không thể cạnh tranh với các bạn khác trong việc làm các bài kiểm tra đâu.” Và với tư cách là một phụ huynh, bạn sẽ nói “Vâng, tôi sẵn sàng chấp nhận điều đó.” Đó là điều mà tôi nghĩ là chúng ta cần phải nghĩ đến.

Will Brehm 21:47
Như vậy có nghĩa là ông đang cổ vũ cho một việc tương tự như việc các loại thuốc không kê đơn được bỏ vào hộp có dán nhãn một cách công khai và rõ ràng về các tác dụng phụ? Và như vậy điều này có thể giúp cho giáo dục trở nên tốt hơn. Nhưng làm thế nào mà phụ huynh, hay giáo viên hay các nhà hoạch định chính sách, hiệu trưởng biết về các tác dụng phụ này? Làm gì có cục FDA nào cho giáo dục ở Mỹ, nhưng có phải ông cho rằng nên có một điều gì đó như vậy không?

Yong Zhao 22:16
Tôi nghĩ đúng là như vậy đấy. Tôi nghĩ cần phải có ai đó, có lẽ là các tổ chức nghề nghiệp, các tạp chí khoa học bắt buộc những nhà nghiên cứu phải nghiên cứu và công bố đồng thời cả tác dụng và tác dụng phụ. Đầu tiên là những thông tin như vậy cần phải có để có thể tìm hiểu được cả hai. Tôi đang thực hiện một quyển sách tổng hợp những kết quả nghiên cứu từ cả hai phía của nhiều nhà nghiên cứu độc lập khác nhau, đến từ cả hai hệ quan điểm khác nhau. Có lẽ đó sẽ là sự bắt đầu. Nhưng tôi cũng mong là các tổ chức nghề nghiêp và các tạp chí khoa học phải yêu cầu mọi người nghiên cứu và báo cáo cả tác dụng và tác dụng phụ cùng một lúc. Và bất kì một phương pháp sư phạm mới nào, sách giáo khoa mới hay những chính sách mới đều phải thông tin những điều đó cho công chúng, cho phụ huynh và giáo viên. Tôi nghĩ điều này rất quan trọng. Và đương nhiên, có một số loại thuốc, ví dụ như các loại thuốc phổ biến thì không có nhiều tác dụng phụ, nhưng chúng ta cũng cần biết điều đó. Chúng có những tác dụng gì khác không? Tôi không biết bạn có để ý thấy không, Will, nhưng hiện nay trên TV, khi họ quảng cáo cho các loại thuốc, họ đọc những tác dụng phụ trong thời gian còn lâu hơn là tác dụng.

Will Brehm 23:46
Nhưng mà họ đọc cũng rất nhanh.

Yong Zhao 23:48
Vâng, đúng vậy.

Will Brehm 23:49
Vâng, với tôi thì giáo dục mang tính chính trị sâu sắc với mỗi quốc gia. Tôi hình dung là một số quốc gia sẽ cảm thấy không thoải mái với việc ra quyết định dựa trên những thông tin về tác dụng và tác dụng phụ được công bố rộng rãi như vậy.

Yong Zhao 24:11
Chắn chắn là như vậy. Giống như nhiều công ty dược phẩm cố gắng che giấu các tác dụng phụ, hoặc không nghiên cứu, hoặc cố gắng giấu đi. Điều này thì cũng không có gì lạ. Nếu bạn là nhà nước và muốn mua bán với các công ty dược phẩm lớn, họ sẽ muốn giấu bạn điều đó. Họ không muốn mọi người biết đâu. Chuyện như thế rất có thể xảy ra.

Will Brehm 24:39
Nhưng trong lĩnh vực giáo dục, thường là nhà nước cũng chính là nơi sản xuất ra hệ thống giáo dục. Như vậy có nghĩa là nhà nước vừa sản xuất, vừa kiểm soát. Nếu họ muốn giấu một điều gì đó, chắc chắn là sẽ rất khó để có một cơ quan kiểm soát nào có thể tìm được. Không có một hình thức nào….
Yong Zhao 25:04
Đúng vậy. Tôi biết có những quốc gia cố gắng che giấu đi các số liệu về hội chứng lo âu ở trẻ em, các dữ liệu về sức khỏe tinh thần của trẻ em. Nhiều quốc gia không có báo cáo các tỷ lệ tự tử ở trẻ vị thành niên, hoặc ít ra là không công khai. Nên đúng là những việc đó có thể xảy ra. Có những quốc gia còn không cho phép bạn viết bất kì điều gì có tính chất phê phán… mà đó lại là một thước đo cho các tác dụng phụ. Có một quốc gia tài trợ cho toàn bộ các nghiên cứu giáo dục và kiểm duyệt tất cả những sản phẩm công bố từ các nghiên cứu đó.

Will Brehm 25:39
Tuy nhiên đồng thời, chúng ta cũng thấy những công ty lớn như Pearson, hay cả những công ty giáo dục vì lợi nhuận khác, hành động giống như những công ty dược phẩm, che giấu và kiểm soát dữ liệu để chỉ công khai những dữ liệu cho thấy các sản phẩm giáo dục của họ là tốt thôi.

Yong Zhao 25:59
Tôi không nghĩ là những công ty về giáo dục này có nghiên cứu về tác dụng phụ, như tôi đã đề cập lúc nãy. Họ nhăm nhăm chứng minh xem sản phẩm của họ tốt như thế nào thôi.

Will Brehm 26:09
Vâng đúng vậy. Tôi nghĩ đây là một nỗ lực rất có giá trị và là một điều gì đó, như ông đã nói, rất hiển nhiên. Nhưng nó cũng có vẻ là một việc rất khó để bắt buộc các nhà nghiên cứu giáo dục phải làm như vậy, đặc biệt là vì nhiều vấn đề giáo dục đã trở thành những vấn đề mang tính chất quan điểm rồi.

Yong Zhao 26:34
Vâng, đương nhiên. Nhưng tôi nghĩ đây là một điều mà chúng ta cần phải làm. Đó là lý do mà tôi hy vọng rằng với sự giúp đỡ của bạn, của mọi người, chúng ta có thể lan tỏa thông điệp này đi. Việc phát triển chủ đề này là thực sự rất quan trọng. Vì nếu bạn đã ở trong lĩnh vực giáo dục đủ lâu, bạn sẽ nhận thấy là chúng ta cứ sử dụng đi sử dụng lại các ý tưởng giáo dục. Phương pháp ngôn ngữ trọn vẹn (whole language) ư? Không, phải là phương pháp ngữ âm chứ. Bạn nhớ những cuộc chiến này chứ. Chúng ta đã từng làm toán theo kiểu cơ bản. Và bây giờ chúng ta đang thực hiện việc học tập dựa trên khám phá, nghiên cứu. Chúng ta tranh cãi với nhau suốt ngày. Đáng ra chúng ta cần phải hiểu là chúng ta đang nói về cái gì. Mọi người tranh cãi với nhau đủ thứ. Như bây giờ đây, việc giảng dạy trực tiếp (direct instruction) đang quay lại như một trào lưu. Tôi biết như ở Úc chẳn hạn, nhiều người trong chính phủ đang nói rằng “Chúng ta cần thực hiện giảng dạy trực tiếp vì điều đó mới thật sự hiệu quả. Trẻ em đâu cần phải khám phá xem vì sao một cộng một bằng hai.” …Nhưng đồng thời thì ai đó cũng có thể nói rằng đó chỉ là những “thành công không mang lại hiệu quả” (unproductive success). Trong ngắn hạn thì đó là thành công nhưng lại không mang đến hiệu quả trong dài hạn.

Will Brehm 27:43
Vâng xin cám ơn ông Yong Zhao vì đã tham gia cùng FreshEd. Rất tuyệt vời khi được trò chuyện với ông ngày hôm nay.

Yong Zhao 27:47
Cám ơn, Will. Rất tuyệt vời, và tôi hy vọng anh sẽ giúp tôi lan tỏa thông điệp này đi. Điều cần phải làm đó là: Hãy nghiên cứu cả tác dụng và tác dụng phụ. Bạn biết đấy, cái gì mà có tác dụng, ắt sẽ có tác hại.

Translated by Linh Hong Ho

Want to help translate this show in other languages? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Have useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com

We hear about educational privatization a lot these days. My Twitter feed is filled with countless stories about how Betsy DeVos is going to privatize education in America or how Bridge International has privatized education in some African countries. Even the first three episodes of FreshEd way back in 2015 looked at how privatization has gone global.

But do you really know how it’s happening, how privatization as an educational policy is moving around the world? And what effect is it having on governments?

The process of national and local governments enacting policies that advance private interests in education is rather complex and often opaque to the general public. My guest today, Stephen Ball, has written a series of books looking at educational privatization. In his latest book, Edu.net, co-written with Caroline Junemann and Diego Santori, he explores through network ethnography the evolution of the global education policy community that is advancing privatization.

Stephen Ball is a Distinguished Service Professor at the Institute of Education, University College London.

Citation: Ball, Stephen, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 78, podcast audio, June 19, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/stephenball/

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How did American universities end up being seen as the best in the world?

My guest today, David Labaree, argues it was the very decentralized and autonomous structure of the higher education system that allowed universities to develop an entrepreneurial ethos that drove American higher education to become the best. Today, America’s universities and colleges produce the most scholarship, earn the most Nobel prizes, hold the largest endowments, and attract the most esteemed students and scholars from around the world

The messy structure of American higher education was not planned, however. There was no strong state or strong church directing the system from above. Rather higher education developed in a free market where survival was never guaranteed. Such a system produced unintended consequences that would make American higher education the envy of the world.

David Labaree is a professor of Education at Stanford University. His new book is A Perfect Mess: The unlikely ascendancy of American Higher Education, which was published by the University of Chicago Press earlier this year.

Citation: Labaree, David, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 77, podcast audio, June 12, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/davidlabaree/

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Today: global citizenship education.

What is global citizenship education and how is it practiced?

And what is the relationship between national citizenship and global citizenship? Are they compatible?

My guest today is Miri Yemini, an Honorary Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Education at University College London and a Lecturer in the School of Education at Tel Aviv University


She has recently published a book entitled Internationalization and Global Citizenship in Education.

Citation: Yemini, Miri, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 76, podcast audio, June 5, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/miriyemini/

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Today we look at the globalization of curriculum markets with Professor Catherine Doherty. Catherine uses the example of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Australia to think about the movement of global curriculum inside local markets.

Why do schools choose to include global curricula like the IB? And what impact do these new curricular offerings have on educational choice both locally and globally?

By looking at various schools across Australia, Catherine unpacks the social ecology of the IB, highlighting ideas about educational strategy and imagined motilities. She empirically demonstrates how the global-local binary is a historical artifact.

Catherine Doherty is a Professor of Pedagogy and Social Justice in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow.

Citation: Doherty, Catherine, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 73, podcast audio, May 15, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/catherinedoherty/

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Today we discuss human rights education with Monisha Bajaj. Monisha, has recently edited a book entitled Human Rights Education: Theory, Research Praxis, which was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

In our conversation, we discuss the origins of human rights education, its diverse range of practices, and the ways it has changed overtime.

We also discuss the challenges to human rights education today.

Monisha Bajaj is a Professor of International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco.

Citation: Bajaj, Monisha, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 72, podcast audio, May 8, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/bajaj/


Will Brehm  1:45
Monisha Bajaj, welcome to FreshEd.

Monisha Bajaj  1:57
Thanks so much for having me, Will.

Will Brehm 2:00
So, what is Human Rights Education?

Monisha Bajaj 2:04
Sure. Well, a very basic definition of Human Rights Education is any teaching and learning that happens to impart values, notions, knowledge about human rights among learners. And human rights, most basically, are legal and ethical frameworks for human dignity. And they’ve existed for many, many, many years, in many traditions, in many cultural backgrounds but they were most kind of concretized after the Second World War, as nations came together in the wake of two world wars, looking at the horrors of the Holocaust, and the ravages of what happened there -trying to create a shared moral, ethical, legal framework for individuals, communities, nations living in peace and in dignity.

Will Brehm  2:52
And that framework -that moral, and ethical, legal framework- was through the United Nations?

Monisha Bajaj  2:57
Yeah, so the United Nations came about -the ideas for it had existed through the League of Nations and other proposals that had existed before World War Two. But after World War Two, as nations recovered from many different things on many different continents that were happening, the proposals really moved forward in terms of creating the architecture and the structure for the United Nations. And through that there was a proposal for a Universal Declaration of Human Rights that would codify some basic human standards for living together. The basic principles for which every human would be entitled to.

Will Brehm  3:35
And so human rights as a framework through the United Nations, that was in the 1940s, 1950s, but when did the Human Rights “Education” first emerge?

Monisha Bajaj  3:46
Sure, so actually, Human Rights Education as I mentioned, you know, you have these traditions and cultures where notions of human rights emerged for many years and education about rights and basic values of human dignity have existed in many cultures historically and through the years. But again, at this codification in 1948, through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -through these 30 articles of this kind of milestone document that’s been translated thousands of times, all around the world- there is Article 26 that fundamentally in Part 1 says that everyone has a right to education. And notably, in Part 2 of that says that education should be directed to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. So, there was this awareness and the individuals who debated this document, there were three years of debates and, you know, arguing over language and getting the right terms and the right notions and the phrasing and the types of principles that would be in this document. There was a lot of debates about individuals who were educated that participated in the Holocaust. So, people who were medical doctors who were experimenting in awful ways on individuals: torture, murder, atrocities, and the Nazi indoctrination of youth through education during that time -during the Nazi regime. So, there was this perspective that it’s not just access to education, which is Part 1 of Article 26, but education for what? Education towards peace, tolerance, friendship among nations, the strengthening of fundamental freedoms, respect for human rights. So HRE has actually existed -since in that kind of formal form- since the creation of the document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Will Brehm  5:28
And who are some of the main proponents of Human Rights Education?

Monisha Bajaj  5:51
Sure. So, in that kind of debating, there were people from different nations. There was a lot of strong support from women from India and from the Dominican Republic, who are delegates in drafting this document for inclusive language around gender. In terms of education, a lot of the Latin American countries pushed the economic, social and cultural rights into the document. Obviously, some of the drafters that we know about were Rene Cassin of France. Different individuals who were leading philosophers and theorists of that time, Charles Malik of Lebanon -other individuals. And so, these debates were happening among this group of individuals. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the council that drafted the declaration, but she didn’t actually participate in a lot of the drafting of it, which is a bit of a misconception that a lot of individuals have -that she was the main drafter of the declaration. So, these were all kind of leading scholars, philosophers, intellectuals of the time that had come together through this platform of the drafting committee to put in what they saw were the most important rights that each individual should have across societies. What’s interesting about that drafting committee, a lot of individuals bring up the cultural relativist critique. And actually, the strong support for the kind of universalism was from nations of the global South. The few that were involved at that time who had already become free -if we think about the period of 1948 a lot of the countries of Asia, South Asia, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa, were still under colonial rule. And a lot of the colonial powers didn’t want the universal language to be in there. Because that would mean that then the colonies that were under their rule would have to be entitled to these rights that they weren’t at that time giving them. So, there’s this misnomer, I think, right? Or this misconception these days that cultural relativism is something that global South nations are arguing for. But at this time in the 1940s it was actually the reverse: That European powers were arguing for cultural relativist language so that they could maintain you know, their power over the colonies that they had that were very lucrative for them. But a lot of that history is very hidden.

Will Brehm  7:40
So, when did it change to the critique being that cultural relativism was what the global North was doing?

Monisha Bajaj  7:47
Yeah, so that -there’s a really interesting book, it’s a long answer to that question but I would point any listeners towards this book by -I think the first name of the, I can’t remember the first name of the author, but the last name is Burke, and again, the name of the book also escapes me- but it’s a I think it’s something on Decolonizing human rights or something like that. And it talks very extensively -it’s about a 200-page book- about every debate through the process of drafting the declaration. And then how different nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, different representatives from there, switched the debate on cultural relativism to then be a debate about the western imposition of values in order to be able to resist some of the universal framing around the 60s and 70s that was coming out about bringing attention to nations that were not abiding by some of these standards and advancing human rights for all people in those countries.

Will Brehm  8:44
Yeah, I know in the 90s a lot of Asian nations, when they came together during the Vienna Conference, they explicitly stated that human rights should not be used to pressure nations into a universal direction. They kind of made this very interesting balance between, on the one hand, they recognized human rights as universal but at the same time, they didn’t want nations -particularly a Western nations- to pressure Asian nations into following a certain direction of human rights. And it makes me realize that this difference between cultural relativism and the universal notion of human rights I mean, its intention and obviously, as you’re saying changes over time, depending on which nations are advocating for the different sides.

Monisha Bajaj  9:36
Yeah, I mean, I think the history of that debate is a really productive area to look into because it’s so complex and it’s so interesting to look kind of from the 1940s to the present who is on each side of that debate and how that’s shifted over time and even within nations to look at who argues for each of that. I know in my own work my I know we’re talking right now about this new book, but in my previous book on Human Rights Education in India, I looked at kind of the different definitions of Human Rights Education that people have. And it definitely was a lot of individuals who had a bit more privileged status that were arguing for cultural relativism and that these notions can’t be imposed on us. We have Asian values, or we are not like those nations that want us to be like them. Whereas the communities kind of at the very bottom, particularly Dalit rights activists and organizations that I work with -Dalit is considered formerly called “untouchable” groups. A lot of the organizations that were advancing Human Rights Education were Dalit rights organizations. And what they were saying is that, “we do want these universal notions because then what it can allow us to do is advocate for rights that we’ve been denied for thousands and thousands of years”. And the individuals who were arguing for cultural relativism were individuals who would then be upset or disrupted by a change in social relations that had privileged them for a very long time. So, I think it’s also very fruitful to look within nations to see how different structures are arranged and when groups who are some of the most marginalized begin to use human rights framing and language, how then the cultural relativist critique comes from local elites that don’t want any disruption of the privileges and benefits that they’ve had for a very long time.

Will Brehm  11:15
Right. So, it can be particular interests domestically, can latch on to some of these international ideas to push their agenda forward.

Monisha Bajaj  11:23
Yeah. And who is attending the UN meetings where they’re arguing for cultural relativism? For example, in the declaration that you mentioned, in the Vienna conference, the individuals who represent nations are often from elites, right? So, when there’s not the parallel tracks for NGOs or civil society or social movements to be part of those conversations, only one side of the story often gets put forward. So, it would be interesting to see -I think the World Conference against Racism in Durban in 2001 was a very interesting conference where many NGOs, social movements, civil society groups were present alongside the government representatives, and particularly around Dalit rights and the human rights framing, as well as other issues globally. You had a very sort of tense conference where even government actors walked out of the conference because of the strong presence of civil society that were basically telling them when the government of certain countries would say, No, the situation is like this. The civil society actors would say, “No, it’s not. We are living this, we are working this”. And so, you had both voices and it was very difficult for governmental actors to be able to spin a story that wasn’t countered by anyone else because you had a strong presence of civil society there.

Will Brehm  12:39
Yeah. So, let’s switch or let’s change gears to this: How Human Rights Education is actually practiced. Is this something that we see civil society and NGO organizations practicing? Or are governments actually practicing it as well?

Monisha Bajaj  12:56
Yeah. What I think is really interesting about Human Rights Education is you have a sort of “from above” approach and a “from below”. And then a lot of kind of grassroots, transformative education, social justice education, you only have the “from below”, which is kind of empowerment education, trying to reach marginalized groups, bring some sort of Freirean-inspired consciousness raising education in order to empower them. With Human Rights Education, you have that. You have a lot of grassroots movements. This was particularly true in Latin America, during the time of authoritarian rule. A lot of organizations were working with communities to bring in Human Rights Education to build a political base for movements to overthrow authoritarianism. You see that in many different contexts. At the same time, from the 1990s forward, you have a very strong intergovernmental legitimization of human rights discourses and Human Rights Education, particularly through the Vienna Conference on Human Rights in 1993. That was the first big World Conference on human rights after the fall of the Soviet Union where in the declaration that come out of the plan of action that came out of this conference, there were many paragraphs devoted to Human Rights Education being a priority. That awareness about human rights. Through that declaration, there was also the creation of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education, which was 1995 to 2004. So, you have this very strong intergovernmental movement at the same time that you have this very vibrant sort of grassroots movement and it looks different in both those places. So, the way governments talk about Human Rights Education may be putting a paragraph in a textbook, or kind of doing it so that they look good in the international community. Whereas grassroots movements are really trying to bring about individual and social change through working with marginalized groups to advocate for their own rights and demand sort of more dignity and basic freedoms. So, you have this interesting dual movement happening, and maybe there are other levels as well, but it also allows grassroots movements to draw on that global framework to bring legitimacy to what they’re doing. And you see a lot of groups -I see this in my work in India, as well as in other places where I’ve done research- where groups that we’re framing their work on education or consciousness raising around a particular right like the right to land or the right to be free from caste discrimination or gender, that they start using human rights more broadly to frame the issues that they’re working on because it does link to this global framework and this global discourse that then all of a sudden they can make claims on the nation-state because the nation-state has said that they agree to these kinds of global values and norms. So, you see a lot of reframing in the 1990s of individual social movements and NGOs that are working in different areas to a broader human rights lens because funding, legitimacy, networks and different ways of accessing these global goods can also be available by reframing into a human rights lens. And it’s not that what they were working on isn’t human rights. It’s just that all of a sudden there’s this kind of more pan-human rights perspective that individuals can link their own demands and struggles into.

Will Brehm  16:11
So why are nation-states -at this at these intergovernmental agencies and conferences- why are they adopting the language of human rights? Even if it’s only, like you said, a paragraph in a textbook. What is the reason for this global convergence in a sense at that intergovernmental level?

Monisha Bajaj  16:33
There are many scholars who’ve written on this, and I think -it’s not an area that I focus on squarely in my work. But we do have some chapters in the book that do talk about this kind of shift towards the kind of more individual rights in the global kind of economy. You see, this rise of neoliberalism to some extent has opened up the space for this discussion of individual rights. I would say it has a lot to do with kind of how the movement, particularly this kind of Cold War period, where it was very much the First World, the Second World, the Third World. Different groups were focused on different rights. So, the West and the global north was definitely kind of more on political and civil rights. Whereas you see the kind of Soviet nations more focused on economic-social rights, not necessarily cultural rights in that regard. But you see this kind of emergence of political and civil rights as sort of this framework that then becomes to frame a lot of the post-Soviet period. So, it is this way that human rights originally kind of gets in these documents and gets to this kind of international community through the political and civil rights. But as more people enter this space and start using the whole expanse of the human rights documents and frameworks that you see more attention to economic, social, cultural rights coming in as well

Will Brehm  17:53
Since the end of the Cold War -and maybe since the Vienna conference in the early 1990s- has the practice of Human Rights Education changed to today in 2017?

Monisha Bajaj  18:06
Yeah, definitely. So, I would say that -so you have this document in 1948 where Human Rights Education is clearly stated as a fundamental right, you know, a kind of social good that’s in this universal declaration, but not much action on it, or very disparate, different movements towards Human Rights Education. Until really there is this kind of global convening, this focus on Human Rights Education that comes out of the Vienna Conference, and then through the decade -that was like an interagency decade for Human Rights Education across UN agencies- there was then coordination and movement for individuals who are doing different things and may not even know about each other. If you think about the early 1990s, there wasn’t even the internet as easily available that really comes about in the late 90s, early 2000s. So, this decade really allowed people to coordinate and say, “hey, I’m doing this over here. Hey, I’m doing this over here, hey, let’s connect, let’s get together”. And through that coordination of action plans, nation-states then had an incentive because they were being required to submit action plans of what was happening, they had to take stock nationally and say, “Hey, what’s going on in our nation? What can we report that will make us look good about what’s going on in Human Rights Education”? So, it was also a chance for this kind of connection horizontally across the globe, at the civil society level. And I know in the case of India as well, which is where a lot of my research has taken place, government actors got interested in what civil society was doing, because they could use it as a way to show the UN agencies what was happening. Whether or not they were actually involved in it or not, but they could kind of take some credit for actions and show up at events that NGOs were putting on -there was a creation of a National Human Rights Commission at that time in India, for example. So, it was a chance to kind of take stock, connect and also move different initiatives forward because of this kind of international -I wouldn’t say comparison but this kind of focus that then everybody wanted to rally around and show what they were doing.

Will Brehm  20:06
Is Human Rights Education fundamentally different today than it was in the 90s? Or do we see similar trends happening?

Monisha Bajaj  20:14
Yeah, so I would say it is different. So, you see this kind of exponential growth in the term Human Rights Education being used. Initiatives that are specifically on Human Rights Education. So, whereas before the 90s, you probably had very disparate, very kind of Amnesty International was working in that space. Some individuals and organizations were but after the 1990s, you see a lot of individuals who had been doing education -maybe citizenship education or agenda rights education- using Human Rights Education as a frame. Sort of repackaging, maybe expanding the focus of what they were doing to include other rights and then just a monumental shift in pedagogies, practices, publications, textbook reforms, pedagogical reforms. So, the proliferation of initiatives and activities and NGOs that were working in this space after the 1990s till the present day. And what we see now, I think, which is really interesting is just different approaches. So, some of my previous work has also kind of looked at different ideological bents to Human Rights Education. So, I’ve kind of conceptualized some different areas of Human Rights Education for global citizenship, Human Rights Education for coexistence, where different groups whether those ethnic groups, religious groups have been in conflict, bringing initiatives for Human Rights Education that addresses that. And then Human Rights Education that is rooted much more in sort of analysis of asymmetrical power relations that really seeks to bring about transformative learning and action that will address some of these inequities locally and in some instances globally. So, you have a proliferation of initiatives with very different ends. So you might have someone calling what they do Human Rights Education that is very different even in the same nation-state as another group that is using the term Human Rights Education and working with a very marginalized group, and doing something that looks totally different than something that’s happening 50 miles away in a privileged, urban, private school that is sort of doing Skype chats with individuals in other countries and trying to bring about global citizenship. So, you definitely have sort of this proliferation of the term and the perspectives of Human Rights Education, but with very different definitions of what that means as you get down into what they’re doing, what rights they’re focusing on, and what approaches they’re taking to impart learning around human rights.

Will Brehm  22:35
So, I mean, this makes me wonder, what is the value of using the term Human Rights Education if it can mean so many different things?

Monisha Bajaj  22:44
Yeah, I mean, I think the value of using it is very similar to the value of kind of any social justice efforts, right? It allows for people to congregate around this banner of Human Rights Education and address different issues of basic dignity, social justice, critical analysis, but the way that people take up that movement will always be very different. And I think that’s where scholars and practitioners can be in dialogue. I think what’s interesting about Human Rights Education is because it’s a fairly new field, and it’s very grounded in both practice and scholarship. There’s one listserv that is extremely vibrant, that’s coordinated by the US based NGO, Human Rights Education Associates, that started kind of in the late 90s, early 2000s with a few dozen people. When I wrote my book on Human Rights Education in India a few years ago, it was about 8,000 people on the listserv. I’m on this listserv now. I think the latest I looked up its 16,000 people on this listserv from 170 different countries. And it’s an extremely active space for people to share what’s going on, what they’re doing, perspectives, insights, government efforts, feedback on the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training that came out a few years ago. There were several conversations about what should go into that. It’s very rare in other intergovernmental spaces, that you would have such an active civil society participation in the drafting of a declaration or in the discussions about the everyday kind of practice. So, I think being a field that’s relatively new and relatively small, more or less, it allows for this very vibrant and dynamic space where people can contest the definitions or bring in new ideas to it. But it also means that we can’t think it’s all the same. It’s not a monolithic whole. The way individual’s kind of think about Human Rights Education is shaped by where they’re positioned, their social location, what their goals are through the project. And that’s why I think this book is really, you know, it’s meant to be a very introductory textbook on you know, what is Human Rights Education, who’s in the space, what are the different perspectives that exists there and kind of teasing out some of these different conceptual and theoretical perspectives that infuse the way that we think about the field

Will Brehm  25:00
Are there any examples of the outcomes of Human Rights Education? Like, “this is a great outcome of this particular initiative or practice of Human Rights Education”.

Monisha Bajaj  25:14
Yeah, so the area of sort of, I mean, I think research contributes to that. But definitely the area of evaluation is very contested. Because, as with any sort of educational program, it’s difficult to say this is the concrete outcome of this. But there have been studies that look at kind of prejudice reduction, there are three kind of large buckets that Human Rights Education focuses on: So, one is the cognitive. So greater awareness, knowledge about human rights history, standards, norms, maybe they’re domestic rights that everyone has access to. The second bucket would be kind of the affective, attitudinal. So, how does Human Rights Education affect the way that individuals interact with each other? This kind of emotional or attitudinal behavioral area. Is there actually less bullying because Human Rights Education is happening in a school? Is there greater inclusion among different social groups in a school or educative community? And then the third bucket is action-oriented. And that’s one of the trickiest areas to assess because a lot of school children don’t have a lot of time for social action. But Human Rights Education also takes place in a lot of non-formal education learning spaces where there are adult learners, it can happen in community-based spaces, it can happen in after school spaces. So, these are areas that different scholars have looked at. So, what is kind of the content, what are the sort of affective, and what are the action-oriented components that learners -whatever age they are- develop and incorporate into -and even educators- as they learn about Human Rights Education, what are they taking up and doing with this information? I look at that some in my book on Human Rights Education in India. Schooling for Social Change, is the name of that book. Other scholars have also done that, and we have, you know, chapters by about 20 different authors in this new book Human Rights Education: Theory, Research and Praxis, that gives short chapter snippets of what they’re looking at. One of the really interesting chapters that we were excited to include in this book is by Oren Pizmony-Levy and Megan Jensen, where they look at a professional development Human Rights Education program for individuals who work with people who work with refugees who are claiming asylum based on persecution of their gender identity or sexual orientation. So, this was a really important chapter to include because a lot of human rights frameworks, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, doesn’t identify sexual orientation as an area that you have to be free from discrimination of. And as we move from the 1940s forward, more declarations and conventions and international frameworks have incorporated some around sexual orientation, but it is a very sort of contested area when you think about the different nation-states and different laws that criminalize activity. So, this was an important chapter to include and they present some evidence of a training program done by an organization that really does show how individuals who participated, in a quantitative measure, reduce prejudice towards individuals of different sexual orientations through participation in this professional development. So, there are these ways of sort of evaluating. It could be that long term, there are kind of reversals to old ways of thinking, but there are different methodological approaches in the field and some attention towards addressing, “Okay, what are the outcomes and how do we assess these outcomes so that we are moving towards greater respect for human rights through Human Rights Education?”

Will Brehm  28:52
I want to bring the conversation all the way to today when where Marine Le Pen did not win the French presidency, but she came in second and earned more votes than her father did. And in a way she exemplifies this rise of nationalism and ethnocentric thinking -at least in Europe and maybe in the US where Donald Trump won the presidency- and we see this new anti-global talk and discourse and much more nationalistic and I wanted to in your sense: Do you think that this sort of discourse that we see in Europe and in America is going to affect Human Rights Education?

Monisha Bajaj  29:41
So, I see it as not only Europe and America. I mean if we look at the Philippines what’s going on with the leader there. India you know there’s been a tremendous cracking down on descent, revoking of human rights organizations sort of national permission to operate by the Prime Minister there right now. I think it’s a global trend. So, I just want to say that it’s not just the United States and Europe, even though that’s what we get most of the news about. It is really a global trend towards this kind of authoritarianism. In my opinion, it definitely makes Human Rights Education more necessary than ever. So, if you see Human Rights Education as a political and pedagogical project, we need more consciousness raising, critical thinking, critical media literacy, we need it more than ever. And the way I kind of give a quick definition of Human Rights Education sometimes is that space where cosmopolitanism meets Paulo Freire’s ideas. So, I think there’s this beautiful merging of this cosmopolitan thinking, that we are kind of global citizens, that we do have these shared moral, legal, and ethical frameworks which we see in human rights. But that individual consciousness raising has to happen at very local levels with very kind of tailored approaches to the communities that you’re involved in. So how individual communities link to that global, ethical framework and what’s needed to get them to think in perspective, or in relation to that is very different. So that consciousness raising that political, pedagogical, participatory education that happens has to take into account how people are situated in relation to this global. And right now, I think this move towards authoritarianism and this very kind of “rise of nationalism”, is related to a very sophisticated explanation that these kind of charismatic leaders who tend towards authoritarianism are able to give, which is that your economic woes and your hardships are because of “the other”. So particularly with Brexit, there was a very strong propaganda, whatever effort, towards blaming immigrants for the economic hardships when in reality if you take a structural lens on what’s happening is that manufacturing -a lot of the industrial jobs that individuals were in- moved overseas long ago. But the way that the kind of right-wing efforts were able to pin that answer, when people were asking, “Why is my life so hard?”, they were able to pin that answer on individuals who looked different and this kind of rise of multiculturalism through the European Union and migration that had been facilitated to that. When that actually, structurally, was not the reason why people’s lives were harder. It was the collapsing global economy and the rise of neoliberalism and factories moving to where wage labor is the cheapest in places like Bangladesh or Cambodia or Haiti. So, there’s this very sophisticated, I would say political education by the Right to give answers to these kinds of questions that we human rights educators really have to counter with correct and clear analysis that includes critical thinking, critical media literacy, historicizing the situations that individuals find themselves in but I think some of the ways that Human Rights Education operates is so grassroots. It’s very difficult to counter such sophisticated and well-funded campaigns on the other side.

Will Brehm  33:10
Well, Monisha Bajaj, thank you so much for joining FreshEd, it was really great to talk today.

Monisha Bajaj  33:15
Thank you so much for having me.

ويل بريهم: مونيشا باجاج، أهلًا بيكي في برنامج فريش إيد
مونيشا باجاج: شكرًا جدًا لاستضافتكم لي يا ويل
ويل بريهم: إيه هو تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، التعريف الأوّلي لتعليم حقوق الإنسان أن هو أي تعليم وتعلم بيحصل عشان ينقل القيم والمفاهيم والمعرفة الخاصة بحقوق الإنسان بين المتعلمين. وحقوق الإنسان، بشكل أساسي، هي الإطار القانوني والأخلاقي لكرامة الإنسان. وهي موجودة من سنين بعيدة جدًا وفي ثقافات كتيرة، لكنها لم تصبح بالأهمية دي غير بعد الحرب العالمية التانية، لما اجتمعت الدول بعد حربين عالميتين وشافت أهوال الحرب النووية وويلات ما حصل فيها، وحاولوا يعملوا إطار أخلاقي وقانوني مشترك للأفراد والمجتمعات والدول عشان يعيشوا في سلام وكرامة.
ويل بريهم: وهل كان هذا الإطار القانوني والأخلاقي من خلال الأمم المتحدة؟
مونيشا باجاج: نعم، ما حدث هو إن الأمم المتحدة جابت الأفكار إللي كانت موجودة قبل كده من خلال عصبة الأمم، وكمان بعض المقترحات إللي كانت موجودة قبل الحرب العالمية الثانية. لكن بعد الحرب العالمية التانية، ومع تعافي الدول من أمور كثيرة كانت بتحدث في قارات مختلفة، أخذت المقترحات دي خطوة حقيقية للأمام ساهمت في وضع المبادئ التأسيسية والهيكل التنظيمي للأمم المتحدة. ومن خلال هذا تم اقتراح إعلان عالمي لحقوق الإنسان وإللي فيه وضعت معايير إنسانية أساسية للتعايش المشترك. المبادئ الأساسية إللي يحق لكل إنسان إنه يحصل عليها.
ويل بريهم: هذا معناه إن حقوق الإنسان كإطار تم وضعه من خلال الأمم المتحدة في الأربعينات والخمسينات من القرن الماضي، لكن متى ظهر “تعليم” حقوق الإنسان لأول مرة؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، في الواقع كما قلت، ظهرت مفاهيم حقوق الإنسان في تقاليد وثقافات مختلفة من سنين، كذلك التعليم عن حقوق الإنسان والقيم الأساسية للكرامة الإنسانية كانت موجودة تاريخيًا في ثقافات كثيرة عبر السنين. لكن مرة تاني، في تشريع سنة 1948، من خلال الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان- ومن خلال بنوده الثلاثين إللي بيحتويها كوثائق مهمة، وهذا الإعلان تمت ترجمته آلاف المرات في كل أنحاء العالم. ينص الإعلان بشكل أساسي في المادة 26 والجزء الأول منها على أن لكل شخص الحق في التعليم. وخصوصًا في الجزء الثاني من المادة وبينص على أنه ينبغي أن يتم توجيه التعليم إلى تعزيز الاحترام لحقوق الإنسان والحريات الأساسية. لذلك فإن هذا الوعي كان موجودًا، والأفراد إللي ناقشوا هذه الوثيقة على مر 3 سنين كانوا بيتناقشوا بخصوص اللغة المستخدمة، وبيحاولوا الوصول للمصطلحات والمفاهيم والصياغات والمباديء الصحيحة إللي كانت ستحتويها هذه الوثيقة. وكان هناك جدل كبير بخصوص الأفراد المتعلمين وإللي شاركوا في الهولوكوست، أو محرقة اليهود، مثل بعض الأطباء إللي عملوا تجارب طبية مروعة على الأفراد من تعذيب وقتل وأمور فظيعة. وكمان بخصوص التلقين النازي العنصري للشباب من خلال التعليم أثناء حكم النظام النازي. علشان كدا كان هناك هذا المنظور وهو: إن الموضوع مش مجرد الحصول على التعليم، كما هو موجود في الجزء الأول من المادة 26، لكن التعليم بأي غرض؟ التعليم المتجه إلى السلام والتسامح والتآخي بين الدول وتعزيز الحريات الأساسية واحترام حقوق الإنسان. كان تعليم حقوق الإنسان موجود بالفعل من وقت وضع هذه الوثيقة، الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان.
ويل بريهم: ومن هم أهم المؤيدين لتعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، في هذا النوع من النقاش بيشارك ناس من دول مختلفة. فكان هناك مثلًا دعم كبير من النساء من الهند ومن جمهورية الدومنيكان، وإللي كانوا ممثلين في صياغة هذه الوثيقة بهدف الحصول على لغة شاملة تتناسب مع كل جنس. وفيما يتعلق بالتعليم، فكثير من دول أمريكا اللاتينية اهتمت بالحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية في الوثيقة. من الواضح أن بعض المشاركين في الصياغة وإللي نعرف عنهم كان منهم رينيه كاسان من فرنسا. كذلك كان هناك فلاسفة وأصحاب نظريات في ذلك الوقت مثل تشارلز مالك من لبنان وغيره. كانت المناقشات بتحصل بين هذه المجموعة من الأفراد. وترأست إليانور روزفلت المجلس إللي صاغ الإعلان، لكنها لم تشارك فعليًا في صياغة كتير منه، وهذا مفهوم خاطئ بعض الشيء موجود عند ناس كثير، لكنها كانت العامل الرئيسي في صياغة الإعلان. كان كل هؤلاء من كبار العلماء والفلاسفة والمفكرين في ذلك الوقت وإللي اجتمعوا مع بعض من خلال منصة لجنة الصياغة لوضع ما رأوا أنه يكون أهم الحقوق إللي لابد يتمتع بها كل فرد في المجتمعات. من الأمور المثيرة للاهتمام بخصوص لجنة الصياغة، أن أفرادًا كثيرين أثاروا فكرة النقد الثقافي النسبي. وفي الواقع، فإن الدعم القوي لهذا النوع من الشمولية كان من دول الجنوب وهي الأقلية إللي كانت مشاركة في ذلك الوقت وإللي بالفعل تحررت من الاستعمار. لو فكرنا في فترة 1948 فإن كثير من دول آسيا، وجنوب آسيا أو على الأقل في أفريقيا جنوب الصحراء الكبرى، كانت لاتزال تحت الحكم الاستعماري. وكثير من القوى الاستعمارية ماكنتش عايزة وجود اللغة العالمية هناك. لأن هذا يعني ان المستعمرات إللي كانت بتخضع لحكمها لابد أن تحصل على هذه الحقوق، لكنها ماكنتش بتاخدها في ذلك الوقت. علشان كدا، اعتقد ان فيه خطأ في التسمية. كمان هناك الاعتقاد الخاطئ في تلك الفترة بأن النسبية الثقافية هي أمر تنادي به دول الجنوب. لكن في الأربعينات كان العكس هو الواقع. كانت القوى الأوروبية نفسها بتدافع عن لغة النسبية الثقافية عشان يستمروا في الاحتفاظ بسلطتهم على المستعمرات إللي كانت مربحة جدًا ليهم. لكن كتير من هذا التاريخ مخفي.
ويل بريهم: متى تغير هذا لنقد فكرة أن النسبية الثقافية هي ما كانت تمارسه دول الشمال؟
مونيشا باجاج: فيه كتاب غاية في الروعة يجاوب على هذا السؤال باستفاضة وأنا أحب أوجه المستمعين إليه. هذا الكتاب كتبه واحد اسمه……..، الحقيقة مش قادر افتكر اسمه الأول لكن اسمه التاني بروك، وللأسف نسيت كمان اسم الكتاب لكني اعتقد إن اسمه “انهاء استعمار حقوق الإنسان” أو شيء شبه هذا. وهذا الكتاب يتكلم بتركيز شديد في حوالي200 صفحة عن كل الجدال إللي حصل أثناء عملية صياغة الإعلان. وبعدين بيتكلم عن كيف حوّلت الدول المختلفة،وخصوصًا السعودية والمندوبين المختلفين النقاش بخصوص النسبية الثقافية ليكون النقاش بعد ذلك عن تطويع الغرب للقيم علشان يقدروا يقاوموا بعض الأطر العالمية في فترة الستينيات والسبعينيات إللي تم وضعها لمحاسبة الدول إللي لم تكن تلتزم بمعايير حقوق الإنسان وتتيحها لكل الناس في تلك الدول.
ويل بريهم: فعلًا أنا عارف أن في التسعينيات كثير من الدول الآسيوية، لما اجتمعوا مع بعض خلال مؤتمر فيينا، أعلنوا صراحةً أنه لا ينبغي استغلال حقوق الإنسان للضغط على الدول لتسير في تيار عالمي معين. وبكده يكونوا عملوا توازن رائع بين اعترافهم بحقوق الإنسان كأمر عالمي من جهة، لكن في نفس الوقت ماكانوش عايزين الدول، وخصوصًا الغربية، تضغط على الدول الآسيوية لاتباع اتجاه معين لحقوق الإنسان. ودا دفعني إن أنا أدرك إن هذا الاختلاف بين النسبية الثقافية والمفهوم العالمي لحقوق الإنسان بيتغير من وقت للتاني بحسب الدول إللي بتدافع عن واحد من الجانبين.
مونيشا باجاج:نعم، أنا أعتقد إن تاريخ هذا الجدال هو مجال مثمر للبحث فيه لأنه معقد للغاية ومن الشيق البحث في الفترة من الأربعينيات حتى الوقت الحالي عن مين من الدول كان بيدعم أي جانب من جوانب الجدال، وكيف تغير هذا مع الوقت حتى داخل نفس هذه الدول لتحديد مين إللي كان بيدعم كل جانب من النقاش. أنا عارف إننا بنتكلم دلوقت عن كتابي الجديد، لكن في كتابي السابق عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان في الهند، أنا بحثت في نوع من المفاهيم المختلفة عند الناس عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان. وكان بالتأكيد معظم الأفراد إللي بيتمتعوا بمكانة مميزة بيدافعوا عن النسبية الثقافية وأنه لا يمكن فرض هذه الأفكار علينا. عندنا قيمنا الأسيوية يعني إحنا مختلفين عن الدول إللي عايزانا نبقى زيها. في حين إن نوعية المجتمعات إللي في القاع وخصوصًا نشطاء منظمة داليت الحقوقية والمنظمات إللي بتتعاون معاها، منظمة داليت تعتبر رسميًا مجموعة “محظورة”. كتير من المنظمات إللي كانت بتقدم تعليم حقوق الإنسان كانت من منظمات بتتعاون مع داليت الحقوقية. وكانوا بيقولوا احنا عايزين القيم العالمية دي لأنها هتخلينا قادرين على الدفاع عن الحقوق إللي اتحرمنا منها لآلاف السنين. والأفراد إللي كانوا بيدافعوا عن النسبية الثقافية شعروا فيما بعد بالإحباط والانزعاج بسبب التغير إللي حصل في العلاقات الاجتماعية إللي ميزتهم لمدة طويلة. علشان كدا أنا بعتقد انه كمان من المفيد النظر داخل الدول لفهم كيفية ترتيب الهياكل التنظيمية المختلفة ومتى بدأت بعض أكثر المجموعات المهمشة في استخدام لغة ومبادئ حقوق الإنسان، وكيف بعد ذلك جاء النقد النسبي الثقافي من النخب المحلية إللي لا تريد أي تعطيل للامتيازات والفوائد إللي تمتعوا بيها لفترة طويلة جدًا.
ويل بريهم: صحيح، فممكن تكون هناك مصالح خاصة على الصعيد المحلي وبتلتصق ببعض الأفكار الدولية علشان تدفع أجندتها لقدام.
مونيشا باجاج: طبعًا، ومين إللي بيحضر اجتماعات الأمم المتحدة إللي بيدافعوا فيها عن النسبية الثقافية؟ على سبيل المثال، في الإعلان إللي ذكرته، في مؤتمر فيينا، غالبًا بيكون الأفراد إللي بيمثلوا الدول من النخبة، صح؟ علشان كدا لما مش بيكون فيه مسارات موازية من المنظمات غير الحكومية، أو المجتمع المدني أو الحركات الاجتماعية علشان تكون جزء من هذه المحادثات، غالبًا بيتم طرح جانب واحد بس من القصة. علشان كدا هيكون من الشيق إننا نشوف هذا. أعتقد أن المؤتمر العالمي لمناهضة العنصرية في ديربان في عام 2001 كان مؤتمر مثير للاهتمام لأن العديد من المنظمات غير الحكومية حضرت فيه، كذلك الحركات الاجتماعية، ومجموعات المجتمع المدني إلى جانب ممثلي الحكومة، حضروا خصوصًا لمناقشة قضية حقوق داليت وتأطير حقوق الإنسان، وغيرها من القضايا الأخرى على الصعيد العالمي. كانت هناك نوعية من المؤتمرات المتوترة، وإللي انسحب منها حتى الممثلين الحكوميين بسبب الوجود القوي للمجتمع المدني، لما كانت حكومات بعض الدول بتقول “لا، الوضع عندنا كذا”، فكان ممثلو المجتمع المدني يردوا ويقولوا “لا، الوضع مش كدا، احنا عايشين بهذه الطريقة، وبنشتغل بالطريقة الفلانية. وهكذا، كان عندنا كلا الصوتين وكان من الصعب جدًا بالنسبة للممثلين الحكوميين انهم يختلقوا قصة لا يتم التصدي ليها لأن كان هناك حضور قوي للمجتمع المدني.
ويل بريهم: تمام، خلينا ننقل أو نغير الحديث لنقطة تانية: كيف تتم ممارسة تعليم حقوق الإنسان فعليًا؟ هل نرى إن المجتمع المدني والمنظمات غير الحكومية بتمارسه؟ أو هل الحكومات كمان بتمارسه فعليًا؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، الأمر إللي أنا بعتقد أنه شيق جدًا بخصوص تعليم حقوق الإنسان أن عندنا مدخلين “من أعلى” و “من أسفل”. في مدخل “من أعلى” هناك أنواع كتيرة من التعليم الشعبي، والتعليم التحولي، والتعليم عن العدالة الاجتماعية. أما مدخل “من أسفل”، فيوجد فيه فقط التعليم التمكيني، ودا بيحاول يوصل للفئات المهمشة، وبيستحضر نوع من التعليم المستوحى من الأفكار المنسوبة لفرير وهو فيلسوف وتربوي برازيلي ركز على رفع مستوى التعليم والوعي للناس بهدف تمكينهم من حقوقهم. مع تعليم حقوق الإنسان تجد الآتي. هناك حركات شعبية كثيرة، ودا صحيح على وجه الخصوص في أمريكا اللاتينية خلال فترة الحكم الاستبدادي. كتير من المنظمات كانت بتشتغل مع المجتمعات لنشر تعليم حقوق الإنسان علشان تبني قاعدة سياسية للحركات بهدف الإطاحة بالاستبداد. وتقدر تشوف دا في سياقات مختلفة عديدة. في نفس الوقت، من التسعينيات وما بعدها، هناك شرعية حكومية دولية قوية جدًا لخطابات حقوق الإنسان ولتعليم حقوق الإنسان، وخصوصًا من خلال اعلان مؤتمر فيينا عن حقوق الإنسان في سنة 1993. ودا كان أول مؤتمر عالمي ضخم عن حقوق الإنسان بعد سقوط الإتحاد السوفيتي وفيه تم الإعلان عن خطة الأعمال إللي نتجت عن المؤتمر، وكانت هناك فقرات كثيرة مخصصة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان كأولوية تساهم في زيادة الوعي عن حقوق الإنسان. من خلال هذا الإعلان، قامت الأمم المتحدة بتخصيص فترة عشر سنين لتعليم حقوق الإنسان، من 1995 لـ 2004. عشان كدا عندنا الحركة الحكومية الدولية القوية جدًا، في نفس الوقت إللي فيه الحركة الشعبية النابضة بالحياة دي؛ ويبدو الأمر مختلف بين هذين الاتجاهين. فالطريقة إللي بتتكلم بيها الحكومات عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان ربما تكون بوضع فقرة في كتاب مدرسي، أو أي حاجة زي كدا علشان يظهروا بصورة جيدة قدام المجتمع الدولي. في حين إن الحركات الشعبية هي فعلًا بتحاول تعمل تغيير على مستوى الفرد والمجتمع من خلال العمل مع الفئات المهمشة للدفاع عن حقوقها والمطالبة بنوع من الكرامة والحريات الأساسية. علشان كدا عندنا الحركة المزدوجة والمثيرة للاهتمام دي، وربما هناك كمان مستويات تانيةـ لكن دا برضه بيسمح للحركات الشعبية انها تستفيد من الإطار العالمي علشان تضفي شرعية على إللي بتعمله. واحنا بنشوف فئات كتيرة- أنا مثلًا بشوف دا في شغلي في الهند وكمان في أماكن تانية عملت فيها أبحاث. هناك مجموعات بتقوم بوضع إطار لشغلها على التعليم ورفع الوعي حول حق معين زي حق الأرض، أو حق الحرية من التمييز الطبقي أو الجنسي، وإنهم يبدأوا يستخدموا حقوق الإنسان على نطاق أوسع لوضع إطار للقضايا إللي بيشتغلوا عليها لأنها بترتبط بالإطار العالمي دا، والخطاب العالمي دا، وبكدا يقدروا يقدموا مطالبات للدولة القومية لأنها قالت إنها موافقة على هذه الأنواع من القيم والقواعد العالمية. علشان كدا انت بتشوف إعادة صياغة كتير في التسعينات لحركات اجتماعية فردية ومنظمات غير حكومية بتشتغل في مجالات مختلفة لتوسيع نطاق حقوق الإنسان لأن الدعم المالي، والقواعد، والشبكات والطرق المختلفة للوصول للسلع العالمية بتكون متاحة من خلال إعادة صياغة نطاق حقوق الإنسان. وفجأة أصبح عندنا هذا النوع من منظور حقوق الإنسان إللي يقدر الأفراد يربطوا مطالبهم وصراعاتهم بيه.
ويل بريهم: طيب ليه، الوكالات والمؤتمرات غير الحكومية دي، ليه بيتبنوا لغة حقوق الإنسان؟ حتى لو، زي ما حضرتك قلت، انها مجرد فقرة في كتاب مدرسي. إيه سبب هذا التقارب العالمي على المستوى الحكومي الدولي؟
مونيشا باجاج: فيه علماء كتير كتبوا عن هذا، وأنا أعتقد، إنه مش المجال إللي أنا بركز عليه بشكل مباشر. لكن عندنا بعض الفصول في الكتاب بتتكلم عن هذا النوع من التحول تجاه شكل من الحقوق الفردية في الاقتصاد العالمي. فتح صعود الليبرالية الحديثة إلى حد ما المجال لهذا النوع من المناقشات عن الحقوق الفردية. عايز أقول إن فيه حاجات كتير عايزة تتعمل بخصوص الكيفية إللي لابد تتعامل بيها هذه الحركة مع الفئات المختلفة، وخصوصًا في فترة الحرب الباردة، إللي بينقسم العالم فيها للعالم الأول والعالم الثاني والعالم الثالث. فئات مختلفة ارتكزت على حقوق مختلفة. فالغرب ودول الشمال بالتأكيد أكثر تركيزًا على الحقوق السياسية والمدنية. في حين ركزت الدول السوفيتية على الحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، ومش ضروري الحقوق الثقافية. لكنك بتشوف هذا النوع من ظهور الحقوق السياسية والمدنية كنوع من الإطار إللي أصبح بعد كدا إطار لمعظم فترة ما بعد الإتحاد السوفيتي. هذه الطريقة إللي بتدخل بيها حقوق الإنسان في الأساس لهذه الوثائق وبتصل للمجتمع الدولي من خلال الحقوق السياسية والمدنية. لكن كل ما دخل ناس كتير لهذه المنطقة وابتدوا يستخدموا وثائق وأطر حقوق الإنسان بشكل كامل، كل ما هتشوف اهتمام أكبر بالحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية.
ويل بريهم: من نهاية الحرب الباردة وربما من وقت مؤتمر فيينا في أوائل التسعينات حتى الآن، هل حصل تغير في ممارسات تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: طبعًا بالتأكيد، عشان كدا أحب أقول أن عندنا هذه الوثيقة من سنة 1948 وفيها تم الإعلان بوضوح على إن تعليم حقوق الإنسان هو حق أساسي، وكون إن هذا ورد في الإعلان العالمي هو أمر جيد اجتماعيًا، لكن لم يتم اتخاذ إجراءات أو خطوات كثيرة تجاه تعليم حقوق الإنسان. لما حصل الاجتماع العالمي تم التركيز على تعليم حقوق الإنسان إللي نتجت عن مؤتمر فيينا، وبعدها خلال العشر سنين إللي كانت عبارة عن عشر سنين مشتركة بين وكالات الأمم المتحدة بخصوص تعليم حقوق الإنسان، كان فيه تناسق وحركة لأفراد بيعملوا حاجات مختلفة وربما كانوا حتى لا يعرفون بعضهم البعض.  لو فكرت في بداية التسعينيات، ماكانش فيه حتى إنترنت متاح بسهولة زي أواخر التسعينات وأوائل الألفية التانية. عشان كدا العشر سنين دول بالفعل سمحت للناس بالتنسيق مع بعض وأنهم يقولوا لبعض “انتبه، أنا بعمل دا هنا، وأنا بعمل دا هناك، خلينا نكون على اتصال، خلينا نشتغل مع بعض.” ومن خلال التنسيق لخطط العمل، كان للأمم المتحدة بعد ذلك الحافز لأنهم مطالبون بوضع خطط عمل للي كان بيحصل. وكان عليهم إجراء تقييم على المستوى الوطني ويسألوا، “انتبه، إيه إللي بيحصل في بلدنا؟ وإيه إللي نقدر نعلنه يساعد في إننا نظهر بصورة كويسة بخصوص إللي حاصل في موضوع تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟” دي كانت كمان فرصة لهذا النوع من التواصل الأفقي العالمي على المستوى الاجتماعي المدني. وأنا عارف أن في حالة الهند كذلك، تم فيها اجراء أبحاث كتيرة، اهتمت جهات حكومية بما يعمله المجتمع المدني، لأنهم يقدروا يستخدموه كوسيلة عشان يظهروا لوكالات الأمم المتحدة إللي بيحصل. سواء كانوا فعلًا مهتمين ومنخرطين في الموضوع أو لا، إلا إنه يُحسب ليهم إنهم أخدوا إجراءات وأظهروا في الأحداث إن المنظمات غير الحكومية كانت بتدّعي حاجات مبالغ فيها. كان فيه ظهور للجنة قومية لحقوق الإنسان في ذلك الوقت في الهند على سبيل المثال. فدي كانت فرصة لإجراء تقييم وللتواصل وكمان نقل مبادرات مختلفة لقدام بفضل هذا النوع من التركيز الدولي، مش هقول المقارنة، لكن الكل أراد إنهم يجتمعوا ويظهروا إللي كانوا بيعملوه.
ويل بريهيم: هل تعليم حقوق الإنسان مختلف اليوم اختلافًا جوهريًا عما كان عليه في التسعينيات؟ واللا احنا بنشوف اتجاهات مماثلة بتحصل؟
مونيشا بجاج: أنا عايز أقول إنه مختلف. فاحنا بنشوف هذا النوع من التطور الهائل في مصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان وهو مُستخدَم. هناك مبادرات بشكل خاص في تعليم حقوق الإنسان. ربما قبل فترة التسعينيات كان فيه تباين شديد، وده نوع من الأشياء اللي جعلت منظمة العفو الدولية تشتغل في هذا المجال. كان فيه بعض الأفراد والمنظمات، لكن بعد فترة التسعينيات، بنشوف أفراد كتير من إللي بيقدموا ربما تعليم عن المواطنة أو عندهم أجندة عن التعليم عن الحقوق بيستخدموا تعليم حقوق الإنسان كإطار ليهم. نوع من إعادة التقديم ربما يتوسع في نطاق التركيز على إللي بيعملوه علشان يشمل حقوق تانية وبعدها يحصل تحول كبير في علم أصول التربية، والممارسات، والمنشورات، وإصلاح الكتب المدرسية، والإصلاحات التربوية. هذا موجود في كثير من المبادرات والأنشطة والمنظمات غير الحكومية إللي كانت تعمل في هذا المجال بعد التسعينيات وحتى اليوم. وده إللي احنا بنشوفه هذه الأيام، وإللي أعتقد إنه فعلًا شيق، وأعتقد إنه يقدم مداخل مختلفة. بعض أعمالي السابقة تبدو مختلفة بعض الشيء في التوجهات الأيديولوجية المختلفة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان. علشان كدا أنا عملت صياغة لبعض المجالات المختلفة مثل: تعليم حقوق الإنسان من أجل مواطنة عالمية، وتعليم حقوق الإنسان من أجل التعايش المشترك، في الأماكن إللي فيها فئات مختلفة سواء كانت فئات دينية أو عرقية بتعيش في صراع، وعملت مبادرات لتعليم حقوق الإنسان إللي بتخاطب هذا الأمر. كذلك تعليم حقوق الإنسان إللي بيتأصل أكتر في تحليل علاقات القوة غير المتكافئة وإللي بيحاول تحقيق تعلم تحولي بيعالج بعض أوجه عدم المساواة، محليًا وفي بعض الحالات عالميًا. إذًا هناك تزايد للمبادرات بأهداف مختلفة تمامًا. فربما نجد شخص يسمي ما يعمله تعليم حقوق الإنسان لكنه هيكون مختلف جدًا حتى في داخل الدولة الواحدة عن شخص آخر يستخدم مصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان ويشتغل مع فئة مهمشة جدًا تعمل أشياء مختلفة تمامًا عن أشياء بتحصل على بعد 50 ميل في مدرسة خاصة في مدينة قريبة تتمتع بامتيازات وبتعمل محادثات عبر الإسكايب مع أفراد من دول تانية وبيحاولوا يحصلوا على مواطنة عالمية. علشان كدا انت بالتأكيد عندك نوع من الانتشار لمصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان ووجهات النظر عنه، لكن مع تعريفات مختلفة لمعناه بحسب إللي بيعملوه والحقوق إللي بيركزوا عليها والأساليب إللي بيتخذوها لتوصيل المعرفة عن حقوق الإنسان.
ويل بريهيم: دا بيخليني أتساءل، إيه قيمة استخدام مصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان لو كان ممكن يعني أمور مختلفة كتيرة؟
مونيشا باجاج: أنا أعتقد أن القيمة من استخدامه متشابهة جدًا لقيمة أي نوع من جهود العدالة الاجتماعية، صحيح؟ لأنها بتسمح للناس انهم يتجمعوا حول شعار تعليم حقوق الإنسان ومعالجة القضايا الأساسية المختلفة مثل الكرامة، والعدالة الاجتماعية، والتحليل النقدي. لكن الطريقة إللي بيستخدمها الناس لعمل هذا دائمًا هتكون مختلفة جدًا. وأنا أعتقد إن هذه هي المساحة إللي فيها يقدر العلماء والممارسون أنهم يكونوا في حوار. أنا أعتقد أن الأمر الشيق بخصوص تعليم حقوق الإنسان هو أنه مجال جديد إلى حد ما ويرتكز إلى حد كبير على كل من النظرية والتطبيق. هناك مثلًا قائمة للتواصل الالكتروني حيوية للغاية، بيتم تنسيقها بواسطة منظمة غير حكومية مقرها الولايات المتحدة، وهي منظمة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان، وإللي بدأت تقريبًا في أواخر التسعينيات، وأوائل العقد الأول من القرن العشرين بعشرات قليلة من الناس. لما كتبت كتابي عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان في الهند من سنوات قليلة، كان فيه حوالي 8000 شخص في القائمة. أنا واحد من ضمن الموجودين على هذه القائمة الآن. أعتقد أن آخر عدد على القائمة وصل لـ 16000 شخص من 170 دولة مختلفة. وهذه مساحة نشطة جدًا للناس علشان يشاركوا بإللي بيحصل وبإللي بيعملوه وبوجهات نظرهم وبرؤاهم وبمجهودات الحكومة وردود الأفعال على إعلان الأمم المتحدة بخصوص تعليم وتدريب حقوق الإنسان إللي صدر من سنين قليلة. كان فيه أيضًا محادثات متنوعة بخصوص إيه إللي لابد للبدء في العمل بيه. من النادر جدًا في المجالات الحكومية الدولية الأخرى أن تكون عندك مشاركة نشطة مماثلة من المجتمع المدني في صياغة إعلان أو في المناقشات حول نوع الممارسة اليومية. علشان كدا أنا أعتقد أن كونه مجال جديد نسبيًا وصغير نسبيًا، أكثر أو أقل، فهو يتيح هذه المساحة الحيوية والديناميكية جدًا وإللي فيها الناس يقدروا يعارضوا المفاهيم أو يقدموا أفكار جديدة. ولكن هذا معناه أننا ما نقدرش نعتقد أن كل تعليم لحقوق الإنسان هيكون نفس الشيء. فهو مش مجرد وحدات جامدة متراصة. فطريقة تفكير الفرد في تعليم حقوق الإنسان بتتشكل من خلال مكانته، وموقعه الاجتماعي، وما هي أهدافه من خلال المشروع. لهذا السبب أعتقد أن هذا الكتاب فعلًا من المفترض أنه يكون كتاب تمهيدي وإللي فيه بتعرف، إيه هو تعليم حقوق الإنسان، ومين رواده، وإيه هي وجهات النظر المختلفة الموجودة بخصوصه، وكيفية استخراج بعض وجهات النظر الخاصة بالمفاهيم والنظريات المختلفة إللي بتغرس الطريقة إللي بنفكر بيها في هذا المجال.
ويل بريهيم: هل هناك أي أمثلة لنتائج تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟ مثلًا لو هتقول “إن هذا الأمر هو نتيجة عظيمة للمبادرة، أو تلك الممارسة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان.”
مونيشا باجاج: نعم، أنا أعتقد إن البحث العلمي بيساهم في هذا. لكن بالتأكيد مجال التقييم أمر فيه صراع. لأن، كما هو الحال في أي برنامح تعليمي، من الصعب أنك تقول كذا هو الناتج الملموس لكذا. لكن كان فيه دراسات بتبحث في تقليل التمييز. فيه 3 أنواع من الجوانب بيركز عليهم تعليم حقوق الإنسان: الأول هو الجانب المعرفي، إللي فيه بيحصل مزيد من الوعي والمعرفة بتاريخ حقوق الإنسان والمعايير والقواعد. ربما تكون هذه الحقوق حقوق محلية يمكن لكل فرد أن يصل إليها. الجانب الثاني هو الجانب السلوكي الوجداني. إللي بيبحث في، كيف يؤثر تعليم حقوق الإنسان على الطريقة إللي بيتفاعل بها الأفراد مع بعضهم البعض؟ هذا النوع من الجوانب السلوكية العاطفية. فهل فيه فعلًا انخفاض في نسبة البلطجة بفضل وجود تعليم حقوق الإنسان في مدرسة ما؟ هل فيه اندماج أكبر بين الفئات الاجتماعية المختلفة في المدرسة أو المجتمع التعليمي؟ الجانب الثالث هو الموجه نحو العمل. وهذا واحد من أصعب المجالات إللي يجب تقييمها لأن الكتير من أطفال المدارس معندهمش وقت كبير للعمل الاجتماعي. لكن تعليم حقوق الإنسان بيتم كذلك في كتير من أماكن التعليم غير النظامي إللي فيه متعلمين بالغين، فممكن يحصل في الأماكن الأهلية، أو يحصل في أماكن تفتح أبوابها بعد انتهاء وقت المدرسة. هذه المجالات بحث فيها علماء مختلفون. علشان كدا، ما هو المحتوى، وما هو الجانب السلوكي الوجداني، وإيه هي عناصر الجانب الموجه نحو العمل إللي المتعلمين، أيًا كان عمرهم، وحتى المعلمين بيتعلموها ويدمجوها أثناء تعلمهم عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان، إيه إللي بيعملوه أو بينفذوه بهذه المعلومات؟ أنا بناقش دا في كتابي عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان في الهند. التعليم من أجل التغيير الاجتماعي هو اسم هذا الكتاب. فيه علماء تانيين عملوا نفس الشيء، وأحنا عندنا فصول لحوالي 20 مؤلف مختلفين في هذا الكتاب الجديد “تعليم حقوق الإنسان: النظرية والبحث والتطبيق العملي” وإللي فيه فصول قصيره مقتطفة من المساهمين في الكتاب. واحد من الفصول الشيقة فعلًا وإللي كنا متحمسين أنه يكون في الكتاب كتبه أورين بيزموني ليفي، وميجن جنسن وإللي فيه بيبحثوا في برنامج تعليمي عن التطوير في مجال حقوق الإنسان للأفراد إللي بيشتغلوا مع أشخاص بيعملوا مع اللاجئين إللي بيطلبوا اللجوء بناء على اضطهاد هويتهم الجنسية أو ميولهم الجنسية. علشان كدا، كان هذا الفصل مهم بالفعل ويجب تضمينه في الكتاب لأن كتير من أطر حقوق الإنسان، وخاصة الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان، لا تحدد الميول الجنسية كمجال لابد أن يكون خالي من التمييز. واحنا بنتحرك من فترة التسعينات وما بعدها، تم إدماج اعلانات واتفاقيات وأطر دولية بعضها بخصوص الميول الجنسية، لكنها من الجوانب المتنازع عليها لما تفكر في الدول والقوانين المختلفة إللي بتجرم هذا الأمر. هذا الفصل هو فصل مهم موجود في الكتاب وهما بيقدموا فيه بعض الدلائل على برنامج تدريبي مهني قامت به منظمة بتوضح كيف أن الأفراد إللي شاركوا، في مقياس كمي، بيقللوا من تحيزهم ضد الأفراد إللي عندهم ميول جنسية مختلفة من خلال المشاركة في هذا التطور المهني. هناك وسائل للتقييم ممكن تتم على المدى البعيد. فيه نوع من الإنقلاب على طرق التفكير القديمة، لكن فيه مداخل منهجية مختلفة في المجال وبعض الاهتمام بالمعالجة، “طيب، ما هي النتائج وكيف نقيمها علشان نقدر نتحرك ناحية احترام أكبر لحقوق الإنسان من خلال تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟”
ويل بريهيم: ممكن ننقل الحوار لفكرة ثانية ونتكلم عن هذه الأيام لما ماري لوبان ما فازتش بمنصب الرئاسة الفرنسية، لكنها احتلت المرتبة التانية وحصلت على نسبة أصوات أعلى من والدها. وهي بتجسد بكيفية ما صعود القومية والتفكير العرقي، على الأقل في أوروبا وربما في الولايات المتحدة أيضًا، لما فاز دونالد ترامب بمنصب الرئاسة، واحنا بنشوف الحوار أو الخطاب الجديد المناهض للعالمية لكنه أكثر قومية، فأنا عايز أسألك عن إحساسك: هل تعتقدين أن هذا النوع من الخطاب إللي احنا شايفينه في أوروبا وفي أمريكا هيأثر في تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: أعتقد أن مش بس أوروبا وأمريكا. يعني لو ألقينا الضوء على الفلبين وإللي بيحصل مع القائد هناك. وفي الهند إنت عارف أنه كان فيه اجراءات صارمة ضد التوريث، لكنهم ألغوا منظمات حقوق الإنسان ولابد وجود تصريح قومي من رئيس الوزراء هناك. فأنا أعتقد إنه إتجاه عالمي. علشان كدا أنا عايز أقول إن مش بس الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا، على الرغم من أن هذا هو ما تعلنه الصحف لينا. هو فعلًا إتجاه عالمي تجاه هذا النوع من الاستبداد. في رأيي، إن هذا بالتأكيد يجعل تعليم حقوق الإنسان أكثر ضرورة من قبل. فإذا رأيت تعليم حقوق الإنسان كمشروع سياسي أو تربوي، فنحن في حاجة لزيادة الوعي والتفكير النقدي ومحو الأمية الإعلامية، محتاجين لهذا أكتر من أي وقت مضى. تعريفي المختصر أو السريع لتعليم حقوق الإنسان هو “تلك المساحة حيث تلتقي العالمية بأفكار باولو فرير”. فأنا أعتقد إن فيه دمج رائع لهذا التفكير العالمي، وإننا مواطنون عالميون بنتشارك في أطر أخلاقية وقانونية ندركها في حقوق الإنسان. لكن لابد يحصل رفع لهذا الوعي الفردي على المستوى المحلي مع وجود نوع من الأساليب المصممة لتناسب المجتمعات إللي إنت بتشارك فيها. فكيف تتواصل المجتمعات الفردية بهذا الإطار الإخلاقي العالمي وما هو المطلوب لجعلهم يفكروا بمنظور صحيح أو له علاقة بهذا؛ هو أمر مختلف جدًا. علشان كدا رفع الوعي السياسي أو التربوي والتشاركي إللي بيحصل لابد أنه يأخد في الاعتبار موقع الناس بالنسبة للعالمية. في هذا الوقت، أنا أعتقد إن التحرك ناحية الاستبداد، وكذلك “صعود القومية” له علاقة بتفسير معقد جدًا بأن هذا النوع من القادة الكارزماتيين وإللي بيميلوا للاستبداد قادرين على إظهار أن مشاكلك الاقتصادية والصعوبات التي تواجهك هي بسبب “الأخرين”. علشان كدا، خصوصًا مع خروج بريطانيا من الإتحاد الأوروبي، كان فيه بروباجاندا قوية جدًا تجاه إلقاء اللوم على المهاجرين كسبب للصعوبات الاقتصادية، بينما في الواقع، إذا نظرنا بعمق على إللي حصل، سنجد أن السبب هو الصناعة. فكثير من الوظائف الصناعية إللي كانوا بيعلموا فيها الأفراد- انتقلت للخارج من فترة طويلة. لكن الطريقة إللي كان يتم الإجابة بيها على تساؤل الناس “ليه حياتي صعبة جدًا؟” كانوا قادرين على تعليق السبب على الأفراد إللي يبدو إنهم مختلفون، وعلى التعددية الثقافية من خلال الإتحاد الأوروبي والهجرة إللي سهلت لهذا. إلا أن هذا فعليًا لم يكن السبب الحقيقي لمشكلة لماذا أصبحت حياة الناس أصعب. عندك مثلًا انهيار الاقتصاد العالمي وصعود الليبرالية الجديدة وانتقال المصانع للأماكن ذات الأجور المنخفضة زيبنجلاديش أو كمبوديا أو هايتي. علشان كدا فهذا التفسير معقد جدًا، وأنا عايز أقول إن التعليم السياسي إللي بتقدمه أحزاب اليمين كإجابات على هذه النوعية من الأسئلة لابد علينا كمعلمين لحقوق الإنسان أننا نواجهه ونقدم له تحليل واضح وصحيح يشمل التفكير النقدي، ومحو الأمية الإعلامية، وتأريخ للمواقف إللي الأفراد يجدوا أنفسهم فيها، لكن أعتقد أن بعض الطرق إللي بيعمل من خلالها تعليم حقوق الإنسان هي القواعد الشعبية. من ناحية تانية من الصعب جدًا مواجهة  حملات معقدة وممولة زي دي.
ويل بريهيم: أوك مونيشا باجاج، أنا بشكر حضرتك جدًا لوجودك معنا في برنامج فريش إيد. أنا استمتعت بالحوار معاكي النهارده.
مونيشا باجاج:شكرًا لاستضافتكم ليَّ.

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