The lesson of the pandemic for a school that educates for choice

Western society is organised according to the so-called contractualist legislative model, i.e., all subjects act on the basis of benefits or sanctions resulting from their behaviour; this means that everyone chooses his or her behaviour according to the social role he or she plays and the utility of the action he or she performs. The same pattern is also used in schools: children are offered content that is associated with rewards and punishments, and this teaches the functional value of behaviour. This scheme, during the pandemic period, proved to be ineffective: the attempt to convey knowledge of the world by means of the reward-punishment strategy leads to disaffection, anxiety, unsuitability; this happens because any strategy aimed at coercing consent compresses the individual and his spontaneous tension towards freedom. From childhood, all forms of knowledge should be imparted to educate autonomy and free choice, fundamental steps to stimulate a sense of responsibility in everyone. A new method is needed to promote education for freedom, so that every human being becomes autonomous and capable of understanding his or her place in the world.