As Robert McClintock argues, educational researchers often rely upon a distributive model of justice, despite its insufficiency in describing education’s formative aims. In this essay, I argue that the limits of our contemporary view of education as a distributable good can be traced to two distinct and contradictory traditions in educational thought: one, the distributive ideal of divine plenitude and the other, the formative principle that McClintock identifies in Plato’s Republic.
Does Plato’s trailblazing discussion of common education in The Republic include all children or only those of the elite guardian class? The author proposes a new way of answering this question. He suggests that Plato’s ambiguous treatment of the third class’s education in The Republic may have been intentional, designed to provoke his readers to address this question.
This paper introduces the human problem of acting justly; it discusses the work that concepts of justice perform in human action; it situates a concept of formative justice relative to other forms of justice (i.e., distributive, retributive, social); and it explores some implications formative justice can have for educational policy and practice.
In this article, the author criticizes popular responses to the question whether education is possible in the world today. He argues that the question of education needs to be kept open in order to ensure the continuation of education itself.
The authors draw from the historical aspects associated with the formation of Freedom Schools during the Civil Rights era and the concept of school as sanctuary to understand the pedagogical and philosophical underpinnings associated with the establishment of Freedom University. The findings demonstrate that Freedom University is a postsecondary space with characteristics resembling a sanctuary school by centering students’ experiences within the curriculum, using Civil Rights history to complicate contemporary anti-immigration sentiments, and enacting transformational resistance by both students and faculty. The authors suggest that, by creating sanctuaries of learning on a postsecondary level, students without documentation are afforded a space to continue their education for the sake of learning but not for a college degree.
Putting the word moral in the title of this volume carries some risk, because moral is an unusually slippery as well as powerfully evocative word. For some, it is a grim and proper word, suggesting the constraint of a moralistic or rule-bound view of life, summed up in a narrow compendium of “thou shalt not’s.” For others, it is a sacred word that implies (as it did for many of the early supporters of the common school in the US) the necessary superiority of Christianity over any other view of life. For others, it is a nostalgic word, calling to mind a better day and bringing an invitation to lament the decline of civility or the corruption of the social order.
This chapter argues that schooling neglects virtue through the dominant quest for right answers. This is not only intellectually disreputable in presuming the correctness of what is taught, but it undermines the development of necessary intellectual virtues, such as open-mindedness, impartiality, and accuracy in the school curriculum, and it fails to create the intellectual and moral framework for the democratic citizen, specifically in the development of tolerance, social responsibility, and prudence. This neglect of virtue in schooling is primarily visible in the intellectual characteristics and attitudes of the college freshman.
This chapter examines the gap between the widespread acknowledgment that teaching is a moral endeavor, on the one hand, and the lack of explicit, systematic teacher education research and practice to support preparing teachers for the moral aspects of teaching. After providing an initial description of the aforementioned gap, the chapter surveys the evidence that such a gap exists, then takes up a number of themes found in the literature bordering the gap. It concludes with a discussion of possible paths for teacher education research and practice to move forward.
This chapter contrasts the aims of progressive and traditional state-mandated schooling, and argues that the former represents a new form in the history of Western education, oriented to individual, social and moral reconstruction rather than reproduction, and guided by the evolutionary possibilities inherent in human neoteny. The school is identified as a key site for the reconstruction of civic virtue in its role as a “just community” or embryonic society grounded in the principles and practices of participatory democracy.
“Aesthetics” is often taken to be the study of art, but it has come to mean a variety of rather different things in contemporary educational theory and practice, such as: (i) sensory education; (ii) appreciation of beauty; (iii) education in appreciation of the arts. The danger of running these different senses together is explored and the main argument of this chapter is that the moral significance of the aesthetic dimension of works of art lies in its direct engagement with the affective or emotional aspects of moral development.
This chapter looks at John Dewey’s consideration of childhood as a platform from which to view the significance of childhood in moral life. It argues that the concept of childhood is integral to our thinking in the teaching and learning relationship. When we consider childhood from Dewey’s platform, we see that childhood is relevant to society both because it is a source of continued renewal and growth for our society and because its plastic and imaginative grounding enables children and their childhoods to fundamentally change educational relationships.
To teach for instrumental and innovative growth for both student and teacher is not simply a technical challenge. It is a moral task, requiring intimacy in the service of developing autonomy. It involves moral sensitivity and moral perception in prompting and framing responsible pedagogical action. It is an emotionally fraught enterprise, one that runs headlong into the human resistance to development and growth (Bion, 1994). What follows is an uncovering of this pedagogical responsibility. As we shall show, the way in to the moral dimensions of a teacher’s work is the same path that leads to academic effectiveness. Taking the moral seriously is not a diversion from the preparation and development of effective teachers, nor is it an added consideration; it is central to the very possibility of responsive and responsible education.
This chapter explores the basis of rationality, arguing that critical thinking tends to be taught in schools as a set of skills because of the failure to recognize that choosing to think critically depends on the prior development of stable sentiments or moral habits that nourish a rational self. Primary among these stable sentiments are the delight of recognition and the surprise of uncertainty. The creative act of imagination that sparks the delight of recognition is an invitation to begin rational enquiry. A flash of insight provides a motive for valuing the principle of truthfulness, which in turn provides a basis for a community of enquiry. While acknowledging that in the current climate of accountability-through-assessment there are good reasons for teachers to believe that the aim of nourishing the stable sentiments that support rationality is out of their reach, the chapter argues that students become independent rational reasoners only because they have lived in a community or classroom in which the surprise of uncertainty is valued more than a right answer, and the delight of recognition is more celebrated than a test score.
The purpose of this chapter is to understand the spiritual dimensions of teaching by elucidating the cardinal and forgotten virtue of reverence. Reverence has a power beyond a typical understanding of it as something religious. Reverence involves a sense of wonder and awe for something or someone that meets at least one of the following conditions: (1) something we cannot control; (2) something we cannot create; (3) something we cannot fully understand; (4) something transcendent, even supernatural The chapter shows reverence in a wider context that does not diminish its spiritual connotations, but rather shows its importance and relevance to teaching in today’s classrooms.
The chapter examines John Dewey’s concepts of society and the public in the context of digital technology and its potential to transform society and the moral ethos of the public school. I argue that Dewey’s theory of society and the public, though articulated for an industrial age, are, like his moral vision of social democracy and public education, still of perennial importance as a ethical lens to frame and critique the emerging network society and publics.
In this chapter, the author proposes to imagine the aims of the school in light of a cosmopolitan philosophy of education. The first section that follows provides a summary account of what the author takes cosmopolitanism to mean. The second section frames a philosophy of education that stems from this account. The third and penultimate section sketches a conception of the school and its moral and ethical aims in light of this philosophy of education. The discussion will foreground normative ideals. Such ideals can be dangerous if they blind people to realities. They can be disappointing if failure to attain them weighs down hard on people. But if ideals are understood as sources of direction rather than as destinations, they can assist educators to sustain their course in the face of obstacles. The author’s core purpose here is to highlight why a cosmopolitan orientation can inspire, encourage, and help guide educators in realizing schools for our time.
This chapter presents a conceptual argument that positions two broad areas of educational scholarship—the moral and ethical dimensions of teaching and social justice education—as being quite separate, different, and ultimately antithetical, despite contemporary trends towards merging them in both theoretical and practical ways. It argues that an emerging tendency in social justice education to position its political agenda as a moral or ethical endeavor, especially within teacher education, is problematic in that it complicates, rather than enhances, the conceptualization of teaching as moral practice; it further distracts teachers and student teachers from fully engaging with the ethical aspects of their daily professional work.
This paper endorses the overall argument of the preceding contributions. It argues for an approach to teacher education focused more strongly on the nature of the educational enterprise and the why, wherefore and how of teaching specific subjects. The importance of distinguishing between the provisional nature of knowledge claims and relativism is stressed, as is the distinction between the uncertain and the arbitrary.
This article presents a critical analysis of Dewey’s two editions of How We Think.
This historical study traces the influence of John Dewey on the discourse of civic and social education during the formative years of the progressive education movement.
This paper introduces the special issue.
This article discusses what a virtues orientation might offer in terms of understanding and fostering good listing in educational contexts.
This article analyzes interpersonal listening, distinguishing between a cognitive (thinking) type and a noncognitive (empathic, feeling) type. Both have important roles in teaching and learning.
This article explores compassionate listening as a creative spiritual activity. Such listening recognizes the suffering of others in ways that open up possibilities for healing and transformative communication.
This article is about reverence, and listening reverently as teachers and educational leaders. The authors argue that reverence is central to the kind of teaching and leadership we need in today's schools and that listening is one of the prime activities of reverence. Thus, they argue that reverential listening is a key component of effective teaching and leadership.
Taking up an issue explored by John Dewey, Austin Sarat, and Walter Parker, as well as many others, I continue my study of the conditions under which people choose to listen to a perspective that challenges their own beliefs.
The author argues that the practice of speaking and listening to "strangers" is at the heart of democratic citizenship education and, further, that schools are fertile sites for this communicative work because they possess three key assets—problems, diversity, and strangers—alongside a fourth: curriculum and instruction.
This article describes several of the possible interpretations for student silence in classrooms and suggests that an understanding of the meanings of silence through careful listening and inquiry shifts a teacher's practice and changes a teacher's understanding of students' participation.
This article argues that listening inevitably involves attention to the social identities communicated through speech, exploring how one high school student was socially identified in a classroom across an academic year.
In this article, we examine the common activity of pretending to listen and argue that thinking about it carefully reveals some important insights into the practice of listening more generally. Then we turn to the question of pretending to listen in the context of teaching: Is it always inappropriate? Is it even avoidable? Does it sometimes serve valuable purposes? Is it sometimes "good enough"?