My cousin Martin works at a couple low-income schools outside the city of Buenos Aires and I accompanied him to work last Tuesday. Because Martin had to run from one school to another , we didn’t have time for lunch. At the second school, Martin passed out a quiz in which 14/15-year-old students worked in groups to answer questions about an excerpt from “Brave New World”. He would have preferred for them to work alone, but students had to share because of a lack of books. As I snuck away to grab a bite of food, a woman who works at the school stopped me and asked who I was. She told me that we must notify the authorities before visiting. After I ate a milanesa sandwich and returned, the same woman entered the classroom to inform me that the vice director wanted to speak with me. The vice director was very excited to share his views with a yanqui educator. A few times, he asked me questions and answered them before giving me a chance to do so. Among other things, the man drew me a graph to explain some basic ideas.
He started with a circle representing the “universe of education” and then drew several lines converging on that circle. He explained that within education, we find various disciplines and the teachers that teach them. However, in order to succeed, there needs to be some force to unify the potentially disjoined experience. That force is a “concept of national identity”.