Learn All About the Pedagogy of the Other
In this interesting article, you’ll learn all about the pedagogy of the Other. This educational perspective is based on respect for others and aims to build solidarity in school and social practices.
The pedagogy of the Other is an educational approach based on fundamental pillars such as democracy, justice, and solidarity. Educationally speaking, this translates into consideration, understanding, and tolerance of the “Other.”
Origins of the pedagogy of the Other
This educational trend originated in the theory of the Other, which is a philosophical perspective developed by Emmanuel Lévinas (1906), a Russian philosopher and writer of Jewish origin. In his theory, the author maintains that human ethics and morality aren’t based on individual intellectual reasoning but that their source is the Other.
On this basis, this philosopher posed an asymmetric relationship regarding bonds and interpersonal relationships, giving preponderance to the other subject and their needs.
Based on these philosophical foundations, the pedagogy of the Other constitutes a pedagogical trend that aims to generate a more balanced and equal relationships between teachers and students.
Thus, it fosters an ethical relationship between educators and students under the premise of recognition, respect, responsibility, and acceptance of the Other.
“The relationship with the Other puts me into question, empties me of myself and, also, empties me without end, showing me ever new resources.”
– Emmanuel Lévinas –
Basic pillars of the pedagogy of the Other
Acceptance implies that the educator must accept the student as they are. In this sense, they must respect and understand their needs and highlight their individuality and differences as a form of recognition.
Accepting another jointly implies taking responsibility towards that other person and their personal circumstances. In other words, the teacher must be responsible regarding their students’ personal and contextual circumstances.
In addition, when the teacher takes responsibility in relation to their students, according to the pedagogy of the Other, this supposes a certain degree of dependency. This dependency is based on love, empathy, and solidarity with each student’s personal circumstances.
The bond that the pedagogy of the Other proposes to build between the teacher and their students has a transformative purpose. Through a close relationship with the Other, a transformation is achieved, both in terms of educational and social practices, and based on a democratic construction of the We.
Birth in the pedagogy of the Other
A birth is comparable to the foundation on which the pedagogy of the Other is based. In fact, the bond a mother or caregiver establishes with a newborn serves to exemplify how the educational bond should be.
In other words, when a child is born, their caregivers and other adults welcome, love, accept, and build a bond with them that serve as a pillar to build their identity on.
Thus, according to this pedagogy, the link between teacher and student must resemble and constitute a bond based on dialogue and constant understanding.
As it happens with a newborn, inside the classroom, this theory defends a more humane relationship between the teacher and their students. It states that it does so by establishing a two-way bond that differs from the one-way bond that traditional education establishes. To a certain degree, this also implies that the teacher will lose some of their authority, as traditional education establishes.
The otherness, as in the ability to be another or different, that this pedagogical approach fosters, promotes the encounter and knowledge between students and teachers. The educator also assumes responsibility in providing their students the necessary tools so that they can transform into a social being. This sociability is developed from an individual’s relationship with others and the internalization of a “we.”
Thus, considering an education based on the “we”, the Other is a critical and reflective pedagogy with a strong political connotation. In short, this is a pedagogy that tries to address situations of injustice, generating solidarity and tolerant practices, and giving the excluded a voice.