Per una pedagogia dello sguardo. Jean Vanier e il volto dell'altro

  • Anna Aluffi Pentini


This paper seeks to underline the centrality of the metaphysical dimension in pedagogical reflexions and practice. It thereby makes reference to those questions of what constitues ultimate reality which in educational practice, or rather in the encounter with the ‘other’, are inseparably linked to one’s own sense of existence. The differentiation of pedagogical disciplines has delegated the reflexion on ultimate meanings of pedagogical actions to the sector of general pedagogy and to more specific disciplines the task of making them operational. But pedagogy derives its energy from metaphysics and not only on account of its historical direct link with philosophical reflexions, but because the capacity of ‘going beyond’ continuously provides this energy for educational action. From this perspective the integrated approach contained in the pedagogy of Jean Vanier represents a model based on a ‘metaphysical’ regard for the person with a cognitive disability. The impulses that can be derived from a pedagogy which is indeed ‘special’ can also help the secular reflexion on the purpose and meaning of education. Hereby a specific discipline can restore a sense-creating perspective for a general discipline once it allows itself to consider in depth the needs of a particular target population. It is stated here that this approach must be considered as complementary and not oppositional to those characterising disability studies.