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Celestin Freinet's Printing Press: Lessons of a Bourgeois Educator

Carlin, MA (2018) Celestin Freinet's Printing Press: Lessons of a Bourgeois Educator. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 51 (6). pp. 628-639. ISSN 0013-1857

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Abstract

This article seeks to provide a new reading of the work of Celestin Freinet and his use of the printing press. Specifically, this article aligns Freinet’s approach to teaching and learning with a counter-reformation in pedagogical thought-an approach that places him both within and outside of the ‘progressive’ turn in education that began to emerge at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Freinet’s pedagogical experiment in rural France during mid-twentieth century demonstrated the way that student freedom, uninhibited by overarching ideological pre-emption, and unbound from the progressive imperatives typical of reform education in either its Marxist or liberal variants, can be utilized as a way to inspire pedagogical techniques founded on alternative social, political, and anthropological postulates. Specifically, the authors demonstrate how Freinet’s use of the press helps us to think about the following: 1) a different relationship to technology and the role it could play in the conception of the common within the classroom; 2) the creation of an existential good as opposed to the private good discovered through the amassing of property and the advancement of the related notion of progress; 3) and a reaffirmation of the possibility of a genuine workers education.

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