23 SES 14 B, Work Practice and Vocational Perspectives in Public Education
At the forefront of State education from the beginning of the industrial revolution and into the 21st Century has been the idea that schooling is the site where students learn how to actively participate as productive members of a labour force. The consequences of such an institutional orientation has far reaching implications for the kinds of things educators can typically do within the space of a classroom. This is particularly the case when one realizes that the emergence of the concept of labour and the associated embrace of production appeared to the detriment of a conception of work. As Hannah Arendt (1958) so clearly demonstrated, it was the embrace of animal laborans (humans as labourers who use their bodies) in place of homo faber (humans as creators who use their hands) that marked the industrial age and reduced the status of humanity to a purely biological entity. Although industrialization in many parts of the world has decreased, the logic of productivity and teleology of wealth metaphysics that marks the conflation of work and labour has remained in place. As a result, it has become essential for educators to look for untimely examples of pedagogical practice that can be utilized to challenge some of the contemporary understandings of the metaphysical constraints to production that reflect the conception of humanity as homo oeconomicus. In this essay, I argue that one such untimely example of pedagogical practice exists in the work of 20th Century French teacher Celestin Freinet (1896-1966). I will demonstrate how Freinet created the classroom conditions that did not merely allow students to shape new existential idioms but to also assume responsibility for the mechanical operation and materialization of them through the use of a printing press-a process that marked the possibility for the emergence of a genuine worker's life. It was within the context of being given the power to care for the machine, and create their own written forms of expression, that the theme of work for students gained a foothold over labour. Ultimately, what I intend to show is that Freinet’s basic pedagogical practice demonstrates how the incorporation of work into a classroom is essential for helping students learn to elaborate the entire material infrastructure of life in a way that marks a dispensation from the rule of productivity.
Arendt, Hannah (1958). The Human Condition. University of Chicago Press, 1958. Freinet, C. (1993). Education through work: a model for child centered learning. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
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Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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