13 SES 09, Is There a Need for the Rediscovery of Teaching?
This symposium proposal has its origin in Gert Biesta’s book The Rediscovery of Teaching, which was published in 2017 by Routledge, with translations in Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese coming out in 2018. In the book Biesta provides what he refers to as a ‘progressive argument for a conservative idea.’ The book is first of all a response to the way in which teaching and teachers have been side-lined as a result of the rise of the ‘learning paradigm’ in contemporary education, a development in which the teacher has been moved from a ‘sage on the stage’ to a ‘guide on the side’ and, according to some, a ‘peer at the rear,’ a fellow-learner in a learning community, no longer distinguishable as having a specific identity and a unique responsibility. Biesta is interested in a rediscovery of the significance of teaching and a recovery of the teacher. But unlike discourses that argue that teaching matters for the effective production of prespecified learning outcomes – a view in which the importance of teaching is articulated in terms of the control of the educational process – and also unlike discourses that call for strong teachers in order to restore authority in school and society, Biesta provides a progressive argument for the importance of teaching, by showing its crucial role in education that is orientated towards emancipation and freedom. This freedom is, however, not the neo-liberal ‘freedom of shopping,’ the neo-liberal freedom to just do what one wants to do, the neo-liberal freedom to just follow one’s impulses and satisfy one’s desires. It is rather orientated towards grown-up freedom which always engages with the question which of one’s desires are desirable for living well, individually and collectively, on a planet with a limited capacity for fulfilling all our desires. Just as teaching is therefore no longer the opposite of freedom but actually (re)appears on the side of grown-up, democratic freedom, Biesta also argues that the alleged ‘freedom to learning’ – of with a phrase from Levinas: the ‘freedom of signification’ – is not automatically or necessarily the avenue towards such grown-up, democratic freedom and in this regard the turn towards learning is not automatically the ‘solution’ for the problem of teaching as control. This symposium is not intended as a discussion of Biesta’s book per se, but rather takes the question to which this book provide an affirmative answer – the question whether there is a need for the rediscovery of teaching – as its focal point. Biesta will kick off the symposium with a brief overview of his response to this question, arguing that there is indeed a need for the rediscovery of teaching, both because there is more to teaching than just control and because there is less freedom in learning and meaning making than often is assumed. There will then be three contributions – by Piotr Zamojski (University of Gdańsk, Poland), Bianca Thoilliez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain) and Stefano Oliverio (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) and Paul Otto Brunstad (NLA University College, Norway) – that each will give a response to the central question of this symposium, with reference to but not exclusively focusing on Biesta’s book. In this way we hope that the symposium will make a contribution to extending the discussion about the future of teaching in the ‘age of learning’. Gert Biesta will provide some concluding observations before opening up for questions and contributions from the audience.
Biesta, G.J.J. (2017). The rediscovery of teaching. London/New York: Routledge.
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.