The Pedagogy of Content


Recently, a congress on school failure was celebrated in Madrid, during which a research study was shared about dealing with school failure in the European Union. The study asserts that Spain has one of the highest rates of school failure, about 25 percent in compulsory secondary education, which is higher than the European average, i.e. about 20 percent.

These data coincide with the General Diagnostics of the Education System elaborated by the Quality and Evaluation National Institute of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. The conclusions of the Diagnostics warn about the generalized decrease of the quality of education.

There is disorder and perplexity today’s world of education, and neither parents, teachers, or society can clearly define the direction of where education is going and what it should be teaching.

Mercedes Ruiz Paz tackles this problem in the book entitled The Limits of Education (“Los límites de la educación”, Grupo Unisón Ediciones, Madrid, 1997, p. 187). The book analyzes the main problems concerning education and proposes a series of solutions that, from a logical point of view, defend the role that teachers play as well as the function that education must carry out in society.

The first problem is that educational content has decreased, and that there is an absence of criteria that the official pedagogy demonstrates when it comes to the value of cultural content. Only ignorance can do without cultural content that is valuable for society, or, in the best of cases, place the latest scientific advances and the most relevant aspects of daily life at the highest level ranking of importance.

Another important aspect is the methodological euphoria that has eliminated the use of the memory and the exercise of repetition from educational methods, which are very valuable tools for studying if used in the correct manner. Both the methodology and educational content are important, and they complement each other in the way that the methodology must adapt to the nature of the educational content.

Furthermore, the role of the teacher has also degraded. A teacher is thought as a monitor and entertainment expert, as well as a care taker and socio-cultural animator of students taking away from them presence and relevance in society, discipline in the classroom, and authority in school. The teacher body has lost importance in favor of the School Board.

Another aspect that should be worked on is the role played by parents, who in many occasions could care less and participate at a minimum when it comes to the common task of their children’s education.

The words “sacrifice” and “discipline” have disappeared from the school vocabulary, which in turn favors the lack of exigency: it is only intended to introduce children to a utopian happiness, which conceives school life as a fairytale. This leads children to shun from making an effort. Modern pedagogy has taught us, through a devastating didactic, how infinite tolerance, extreme and definite permissiveness, and education with no limits can only guarantee education in and for impunity.

In the conclusions of the book, the author defends an Educational Content that eliminates the current injustices that are committed against those students who study, work, and make an effort.

Children must always keep in mind that they go to school to learn and study, even if there are times for playing such as recess. Children should be taught that the effort they make to learn is worthwhile, since it offers a lot of satisfactions. The teacher must be seen as a figure that deserves respect and the student must learn to respect him or herself as well as his or her classmates.

The conceptual pillar of this Pedagogy is composed of the contents that are to be transmitted to students through education. The capabilities, methodologies, and didactics shall be adopted as useful tools, and never as generators, in accordance to the educational content.

Arturo Ramo

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