ABSTRACT

Learning may be dened as a laying down of concentric and intertwining ideas and identities. The child, who is already the result of the mixing of their parents’ genes, develops only by admixtures. All teaching and learning sees the child reconceived and reborn: born left-handed one learns to use the right, remains left-handed or is reborn right-handed. One is born to a local identity but learns a national one. If one travels, one assumes more identities, more cultures. One takes on the culture and language of his/her signicant other. The circles of identity and culture subdivide and mix and become like a patchwork of intertwining and overlapping segments. (Serres 1991: 86-87) All learning, whether in school or otherwise, transforms the individual and adds to their patchwork of culture and identity. In discussing how an individual moves across cultures, Serres (1991) uses the term renaissance or rebirth to describe how they are transformed by being subject to multiple cultural inuences and by learning how to live with otherness and diversity. This means that through their contact with education, every person, from their most tender years, progressively forges a multi-stranded identity; in effect a web of identities, by which she/he becomes pluricultural and acquires pluricultural skills. One’s identity becomes a patchwork with multiple afliations perfectly integrated and inseparable. These constitute the person’s identity. A subsequent phase in education would certainly consist in recognising in oneself the diverse components of one’s identity and to recognise how human nature is founded on diversity. In order to be in a position to help a pupil carry out this analysis, the teacher needs to have done it for him/herself. It is only after having understood and accepted one’s own internal diversity that one can really accept the diversity of the other; the otherness of the other, so to speak.