ERG SES D 04, Parallel Session D 04
In this paper I explore what teachers think about their students values and where those ideas are drawn from. This paper is part of a Marie Curie funded Ph.D. research project on students' values in Further Education and its implications on social justice. In the introduction I want to explore the idea of social justice in education using the Capability Approach framework and link it with the construction of values and aspirations in an educational institution. In the second part I will provide an initial analysis of 4 semi-structured interviews with Further Education teachers to explore their ideas of what it is that students value and the resources from which they draw their ideas. The analysis will be framed by the question of how the construction of values potentially challenges as well as legitimates structural inequalities. Therefore, in the third and last part, I draw a conclusion from my findings of my analysis with a theory of social justice in education. In particular I want to explore some of the implications of my findings on the normative framework of the Capability Approach and the ways how the idea of what “somebody has reason to value” (Sen, 1999) and the concept of “adaptive preferences” can be thought.
Looking at the teacher/students relationship in Further Education I therefore would like to look at the power of professional expertise in this context. Sen (2009), using the area of health as an example, argues that “one of the complications in evaluating states of health arises form the fact that the person's own understanding of their health may be limited by lack of medical knowledge and by inadequate familiarity with comparative knowledge.” (p.284). At the same time, though, Sen argues referring to Wittgenstein: “if you feel pain, then you have pain” (p.285). Certainly those observations, lack of knowledge and lack of a comparative perspective, also hold true for a teacher/student relationship. We therefore need an understanding of how the teacher/student relationship enforces or weakens structural inequalities and we need to understand the basis of how teachers form their ideas a what a valuable life means for their students.
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