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Learning In and Out of School: Education across the Globe

Learning In and Out of School: Education across the Globe


Tuesday & Wednesday, May 22–23, 2012
Hesburgh Center for International Studies

All humans by nature desire to know.


Education—schooled or otherwise—is a major factor in the life of the young around the globe. This conference addressed some of the extraordinary variety in the ways humans learn, in and out of school, and sometimes in spite of school, in the contemporary world.

The Kellogg Institute conference expanded an ongoing conversation about two normally unexamined assumptions—namely, that human development requires schooling and that schooling will lead to improved human conditions.

Organized by Kellogg Faculty Fellow and Professor of Anthropology Susan Blum, the gathering grew out of the remarkable energy generated by a 2011 American Anthropological Association panel:

“Tracing School Effects: Toward a Critical Anthropology of Education.”  It was intended as a step toward an ambitious, multistage project.

Integrating Theory and Practice

The research question at the center of the effort is simple, but profound: what can we learn about the range of human learning, in schools and out of schools, at various ages, that has significant effects on individual and social well-being?

The conference addressed both theory—exploring what educational practices reveal about the nature of humankind—and practice—identifying applications that may improve the everyday learning of children and adults.

Participants included scholars and practitioners who focus on societies around the world.  They looked at the issues of schooling—or not schooling—from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives.

Research Questions Explored at May 2012 Conference

  • What are some of the ways that people learn outside schools?

  • How do people not-learn in a conventional way?

  • What are the roles of individual motivation and social goals, and how do these intersect in fostering or preventing learning?

  • How is learning fostered by recognition of humans’ social and embodied nature?

  • How can an unconventional grammar of schooling be incorporated into conventional school structures?

  • What various roles do experts and novices play worldwide?

  • What are the ways students’ well-being is fostered and how is it diminished through institutional encounters?

Presented by:

The Kellogg Institute for International Studies

With generous support from:

The Henkels Lecture Fund: Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, and the Office of Research at the University of Notre Dame

Cosponsored by:

Notre Dame's Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Educational Initiatives




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