The changing mind. From neural plasticity to cognitive modifiability
Autore: Umberto Margiotta (a cura di)
Nr. Pagine: 356
Formato: 17.00 x 24.00 cm
One issue of democracy is the relationship between education and welfare politics. One may legitimately wonder whether representative democratic systems can still grow in parallel with the politics of citizenship and inclusion. The relationships among the social composition, the perception of needs, the genesis of questions, the system of protections have changed a lot. With all its ambiguities, the issue of the individual right to learn is moving the active welfare from a perspective of “workfare” to a “learnfare” point of view. While the former doesn’t deal with the contradiction of the growing temporariness of work, the latter ensures the effective access of the individual to the opportunities of learning, which are coherent with either the needs of economy and personal life projects. Here the point is, as Amartya Sen underlines, “to go beyond the human capital definition, after having recognized its relevance”. The so called “welfare of the capabilities” should thus be undertaken. That should be considered more than just a welfare of the competencies, being connected with the collective and individual possibility to act ones own right to learn.
This new perspective makes urgent a deep change in the methods and in the research styles within the Learning Sciences. Furthermore, it improves the necessity to use new paradigms in order to study those problems every individual is faced with when one is asked to constitute their own formative capital. In order to study this difficult problem it must be claimed, together with Reuven Feuerstein, that education has to submit itself to the circularity between cognition and experience. This in turn paves the way to an enactive approach to deep and continuous change that makes every human being a person. The embodied nature of the processes of modifiability characterizing the adult should be therefore explored starting from the empirical evidence resulting from the cognitive neurosciences. The purpose on the educational and formative level can be traced back to the role that the simulative mechanism (i.e., imagining to do something) has in the learning/teaching processes. Based on that simulative function, the processes of comprehension evolve and interact with experience, i.e. with the possibility to imagine (or to simulate) what is being talked about and acted upon. Both Feuerstein and Rizzolatti are in favor of the embodied approach, which states that cognition is the generative process which ties together body and mind. Consequently, it seems that mind works and learns differently than it has been hypothesized up to now. That brings ultimately to radically transform the environments of school learning as well as the organization of teachings. So the future of education is the future of peace in the world. In this Reuven Feuerstein is our master. His ouvre that he has been able and willing to carry out activities on a worldwide scope according to his theory of structural cognitive modifiability makes him an indisputable anticipator and prophet.