03 SES 16 B JS, Theorizing Education: A dialogue between philosophy, pädagogik/pedagogikk, and curriculum studies
Joint Symposium NW 03 and NW 13
In 1916, John Dewey famously concluded Democracy and Education by calling for a “philosophy” that would be “the theory of education as a deliberately conducted practice” (p. 403). 1916, of course, was a year of profound international crisis, one year before US entry into the WWI, but a year afterthe tragedies of Gallipoli and the Lusitania. Again in the face of growing political risks and ecological threats to our common future, we believe it is now important to heed Dewey’s call: to reconsider the relationship between democracy and education, and above all to return to our theoretical roots and reconsider the “theory of education as a deliberately conducted practice”
In English-speaking Philosophy of Education and Curriculum Studies, such a “return to roots” has recently been evident in increasing interest in the construction of education in the language and scholarship of Northern and Central Europe(e.g. English 2013; van Manen 2015; Friesen, 2017; Uljens & Ylimaki 2017). English-speaking Philosophy of Education and Curriculum Studies have both long seen themselves as posing questions that span education as a whole—ranging from its current policies and practices to its most fundamental impulses and ideas. This means that although these fields have no direct disciplinary equivalents in Northern Europe, they would find their interlocutors most readily in the areas of “pedagogy” or “general pedagogy” (e.g., AllgemeinePädagogik or Erziehungswissenschaft,Pedagogikk).
While these general pedagogical disciplines have long been reflected on the ontological and epistemic grounds of their own field (e.g., Flitner, 1989; Fatke & Oelkers, 2014), this has frequently notbeen undertaken in a comparative or international inflection. In addition, except for a common interest in the educational works of Dewey (e.g., Bellmann 2007; Hickman, Neubert, Reich 2009) and in Didaktikand curriculum (e.g., Westbury, Hopmann & Riquarts 1999), there has been little evidence of an explicit Anglo-Continental dialogue between these fields.
This panel initiates such a dialogue by focusing specifically on how representatives from these different perspectives define education and upbringing (Erziehung, Oppdragelse/Utdanning, etc.), and how they understand their disciplines as having “access” to education, so defined. In the English-speaking world, education is largely understood as designating the world of formal learning (i.e. schools, universities, etc.). As Gert Biesta points out, these institutional contexts, then, are “seen as a ‘field’ or ‘object’ of study and it is argued that in order to study this field [or] object we need input from a range of (proper) academic disciplines,” frequently psychology and sociology (2015, p. 14). The starting point could not be more different in Northern European contexts. This is evident in the everyday meanings of their equivalents for “education” itself. These terms designate both institutional education and“education” which occurs through non-specialized forms of upbringing. However, as Biesta emphasizes, what unifies this rather broad spectrum for Northern European scholars is “a distinctive educational concernthat provides a particular way of looking at and engaging with educational phenomena” (2015, p. 15). To borrow from Schleiermacher, this interest is one that is defined by our answer to the question: “What do [we as] the older generation actually want from the younger” (1826/2000, p. 13).
Characterizing differences in this way, however, inevitably leads to over-generalizations. This panel instead provides an opportunity for experts in Philosophy of Education, Curriculum Studies, and the “general” educational disciplines in Northern Europe to describe their own understandings of the meaning of the term “education” in their own linguistic and national contexts, and to develop the implications of these understandings for the future—both in terms of research and practice.
References Bellmann, J. (2007). John Deweys naturalistische Pädagogik: Argumentationskontexte, Traditionslinien. Paderborn: Schöningh Biesta, G. (2015). On the two cultures of educational research, and how we might move ahead: Reconsidering the ontology, axiology and praxeology of education. European Educational Research Journal 14(1) 11-22. DOI: 10.1177/1474904114565162 Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan. English, A.R. (2013). Discontinuity in learning: Dewey, Herbart and education as transformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fatke, R., Oelkers, J. (2014; Eds.) Das Selbstverständnis der Erziehungswissenschaft: Geschichte und Gegenwart. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 60. FriesenN. (2017). The pedagogical relation past and present: experience, subjectivity and failure.Journal of Curriculum Studies, 49(6), 743-756. Hickman, L., Neubert, S. & Reich, K. (2009). John Dewey between pragmatism and constructivism. New York: Fordham University Press. Hopmann, S. Westbury, I. & Riquarts, K. (1999; Eds.) Teaching as a reflective practice: the German didaktik tradition. Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum Pinar, W. (2016). Character of curriculum studies: Bildung, currere, and the recurring question of the subject. Boston: Palgrave Macmillan. Schleiermacher, F. (1826/2000). Texte zur Pädagogik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Uljens, M. & Ylimaki, R. (eds; 2017). Bridging educational leadership, curriculum theory and Didaktik: non-affirmative theory of education. New York: Springer. van Manen, M. (2015). Pedagogical tact: Knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do. New York: Routledge.
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