13 SES 11 A, Educational Theory, politics, and encounters with radicalised bodies
The aim of the paper is to illustrate how pedagogical theory can inform thinking and practice in teacher education, in particular as regards how teaching can inform student being and becoming in modern university education. Although pedagogical theories are not always intended to directly inform teacher students in their future practice, they illustrate the development of educational thinking and how it affects educational organization and practice. Thus, pedagogical theories contribute to thinking about education and educational practice rather than to offer directly applicable solutions or answers (Saugstad, 2002). We argue that this type of thinking is important for teachers and teacher students to understand their own societal and educational context and its historical and current development.
We begin our argument in Deborah Britzman’s explanation of built-in aversions towards development that seem to affect both teachers and teacher students. Rather than avoiding these aversions, we argue that the formative (pedagogic) role of teacher education needs to be addressed more thoroughly and more explicitly. We believe that Klaus Mollenhauer’s Forgotten Connections is a fruitful point of departure for doing this. Mollenhauer formulates a central (and provocative) question that connects the origins of educational phenomena with educational thinking: “Why do we want children at all?” (Mollenhauer, 2014, p. 8). Which can be re-formulated to be of relevance to teacher education as “why do we want teacher students at all?”.
By seriously reflecting upon the paraphrased question “why we want teacher students at all?” we will highlight aspects of Mollenhauer’s “general pedagogy” and how it can inform teacher education as both form and content. We focus especially on education as
1) “presentation of the world” i.e. intentional gestures to channel and form attention in interaction with the world (or as for teacher students: the school)
2) As representation, i.e. didactical choices of material from different school subjects as a way of filtering and slowing down the younger generation’s introduction to the surrounding world, and finally,
3) As a mediation between processes of Bildung and Self-activity, i.e. as a manner of encouraging the teacher students own activity in their “studies”, rather than their “learning”, and to motivate their individual Bildung-journeys.
This paper consists of a philosophical argument informed by educational theory. As described above, we have our point of departure in Deborah Britzman’s work, but our main emphasis is on discussing individual elements from Mollenhauer’s attempt to formulate a “general pedagogy” and to apply these elements on teacher education rather than on schooling in primary or secondary levels. This focus will not only allow us to illustrate the pedagogical dimensions of teacher education, which are both its contents and its form, but also to discuss the advantages and limits of Mollenhauer’s conceptual apparatus and to suggest amendments.
Using Mollenhauer’s pedagogical theory as a backdrop we argue that teacher education, aside being a societal arrangement aiming at teacher competence, can be viewed as a pedagogic gesture, organized within a semi-safe environment that protects them from the harsh reality [sic] of the outside world. Thus, Mollenhauer’s pedagogy connects us to central didactical questions that regard the choices one makes as a teacher educator in order to make a particular subject matter comprehensible to the newcomer, in this case the teacher students. These pedagogical and didactical connections are not only of interest to teacher education, but can be relevant to university teaching in general.
Britzman, D (2006) Teacher education as uneven development: toward a psychology of uncertainty. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 10(1), p. 1-12. Magnusson, G. & Rytzler, J. (2018). Approaching Higher Education with Didaktik – University Teaching for Intellectual Emancipation. European Journal of Higher Education, 0(0), s. 1-13. Masschelein, J. (2010). E-ducating the Gaze. The Idea of a Poor Pedagogy [Electronic version]. Ethics and education, 5(1), pp. 43—54. Mollenhauer, C. (2014). Forgotten Connections. On Culture and Upbringing. (N. Friesen, Trans. & Ed.). UK: Routledge. Saugstad, T. (2002). Educational Theory and Practice in an Aristotelian Perspective. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 46(4), 373-390.
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