Education, educational research and the good for humankind 1 STEPHEN KEMMIS Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE) Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia 2 Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary of Jyväskylä Teacher Seminary 1863 -2013 Uno Cygnaeus (18101888) proposed national system of folk schools for Finland, established 1863. Appointed Chief Inspector of Schools, 1863 Established Jyväskylä Teacher Seminary 1863 and was first Director 1863-1869. 3 Education and the good for humankind 2. Education as an initiation into practices 3. Educational research 4. Educational research as research within practice traditions 1. Overview 4 1. Education and the good for humankind Education has a double purpose: the formation of individual persons and the formation of societies. In the Ethics, Aristotle says: “we are conducting an examination, not so we may know what virtue is, but so that we may become good” (Bartlett and Collins, 2011, p.27). The happiness of the eudaimon is achieved through living a life of moral and intellectual virtue, and thus a life that is noble not only for the one who lives it, but also because it contributes to the good for humankind. 5 1. Education and the good for humankind Aristotle, in the Politics (Bk. VII, Ch.13): It is not in Fortune’s power to make a city good; that is a matter of scientific planning and deliberate policy. Politics (Bk. VIII, Ch.1): it is a lawgiver’s prime duty to arrange for the education of the young. ... since there is but one aim for the entire city, it follows that education must be one and the same for all and that oversight of education must be a public concern, not the private affair that it now is, each man separately bringing up his own children and teaching them just what he thinks they ought to learn. In all matters that belong to the whole community the learning to do them must also be the concern of the community as a whole. And it is not right either that any of the citizens should think that he belongs just to himself; all citizens belong to the state, for each is part of the state; and the care bestowed on each part naturally looks also towards the care of the whole 6 1. Education and the good for humankind Hannah Arendt (1958, pp.26-7): To be political, to live in a polis, meant that everything was decided through words and persuasion, not through force and violence. In Greek self-understanding, to force people by violence, to command people rather than to persuade, were prepolitical ways to deal with people characteristic of life outside the polis, of home and family life, where the household head ruled with uncontested, despotic powers, or in the life of the barbarian empires of Asia, whose despotism was frequently likened to the organisation of the household. 7 1. Education and the good for humankind Bartlett and Collins (2011, p.x): “Everybody now knows that nobody knows what the good life is”. 8 1. Education and the good for humankind Three kinds of intersubjective conditions and social media that make democratic communities possible: in semantic space and the medium of language, shared cultural-discursive understandings that make it possible for people to comprehend one another and the world … ; in physical space-time and the medium of activity and work, shared material-economic arrangements that preserve individual and collective well-being and provide access to an interesting and satisfying life for all … ; and in social space and the medium of power and solidarity, shared social-political arrangements that make possible the forms of life characteristic of just and democratic societies, and that, through the power of reason, allow people to balance their individual and collective interests … . 9 1. Education and the good for humankind An answer, for our time, to the question of what the good for humankind might look like: a society that works both to overcome limits to, and to extend, people’s individual and collective opportunities and capacities for self-expression, self-development and selfdetermination in ways compatible with the collective opportunities and capacities of all. 10 2. Education as an initiation into practices In relation to the good life for humankind, education is an initiation into the kinds of practices characteristic of the good life for humankind, namely, practices that enact and secure 1. 2. 3. a culture based on reason, a productive and sustainable economy and environment, and a just and democratic society. 11 2. Education as an initiation into practices Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P. and Bristol, L. (2014) Changing Practices, Changing Education. Singapore: Springer. A definition of education: Education, properly speaking, is the process by which children, young people and adults are initiated into forms of understanding, modes of action, and ways of relating to one another and the world, that foster (respectively) individual and collective self-expression, individual and collective self-development, and individual and collective selfdetermination, and that are, in these senses, oriented towards the good for each person and the good for humankind. 12 13 2. Education as an initiation into practices Using the definition positively to build a curriculum of practices mathematics education Sloyd (veisto), manual arts education Using the definition negatively to critique educational practices 14 3. Educational research Education versus schooling Education is the practice of forming selves and societies that goes on in all sorts of settings – including formal settings like the classroom, non-formal settings like the everyday life of schools outside the classroom, or in workplaces, and informal settings like the family or community. Schooling, by contrast, is the institutionalised process of transmission of knowledge, skills and values that goes on in the formal settings of educational institutions. Schooling may be intended to be educational, but it can also be noneducational or even anti-educational. 15 Educational research vs schooling 3. Educational research research Educational research asks whether our practices are, in fact, educational. Schooling research aims to assist the administration of schooling, and to make the process of schooling more effective and efficient in producing people adapted to the needs of the economy (that is, to be the bearers of skills for production and the means for consumption) and the needs of the administrative state (that is, people who are willing providers and clients of services). 16 Research that asks ‘Are our current 3. Educational research practices educational?’ Practitioners can use the definition of education negatively (that is, critically) to decide whether, instead of enacting education as we defined it, their practices in fact unreasonably limit and constrain the practice of education. Are our putative ‘educational’ practices in fact educational? Or are they non-educational or even antieducational? 17 Do our current practices, and … our 3. Educational research educational institutions, unreasonably limit and constrain the ways people (for example, teachers, students, administrators, community members) understand things, and their opportunities for individual and collective self-expression, the ways people are able to do things, and their opportunities for individual and collective self-development, and the ways people are able to relate to one another and the world, and their opportunities for self-determination? 18 Educational research that aims to 3. Educational research foster communicative action– that is, conversation in which we strive for intersubjective agreement about the language and ideas we use, mutual understanding of one another’s perspectives and points of view, and unforced consensus about what to do. 19 A change in perspective in educational 3. Educational research research: from schooling research that is that is preoccupied with discovering what works best in schools and school systems, measured in learning outcomes, to educational research that aims to discover whether our educational practices and institutions are enacting education. 20 A change in perspective in educational 3. Educational research research: from research that answers theoretical or technical questions to research that answers practical questions; from contemplation of the nature of things to deliberation about what to do, from the abstract to the concrete, from the general to the particular, from epistemology to ontology, and from concerns about truth to concerns about how to act in history; from nomothetic research (aimed at producing generalisations) to idiographic research (aimed at interpreting cases). 21 Research that contributes to a way of 3. Educational research life – living well – in the sense that Pierre Hadot (1995) described it for the ancients in Greece and Rome: living a ‘logic’ by thinking and speaking well and clearly, avoiding irrationality and falsehood; living a ‘physics’ by acting well and productively in the world, avoiding harm, waste and excess; and living an ‘ethics’ by relating well to others and the world, avoiding injustice, exclusion and causing suffering. 22 Participant research creates the conditions for practitioners to: 3. Educational research 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. understand and develop the ways in which practices are conducted ‘from within’ the practice traditions that inform and orient them; speak a shared language, using the interpretive categories, and joining the conversations and critical debates of those whose action constitutes the practice being investigated; participate in and develop the forms of action and interaction in which the practice is conducted; participate in and develop the communities of practice through which the practice is conducted, both in the relationships between different participants in a particular site or setting of practice, and (in the case of a professional practice) in the relationships between people who are collectively responsible for the practice; and transform the conduct and consequences of their practice to meet the needs of changing times and circumstances by confronting and overcoming irrationality, unsustainability and injustice. 23 4. Conclusion: Research within practice traditions Participatory research by educators examining whether their own practices are educational, conducted in the mode of practical philosophy and critical participatory action research, in public spheres, for communicative action. 24 4. Conclusion: Research within practice traditions Around the world, schooling research threatens to supplant, undermine and obliterate educational research. Schooling research is perhaps the most important and the principal form that neoliberalism and the New Public Management (Evetts, 2009) take in the discipline and the professional field of education. Schooling research is a creature of the culture of late modernity, one of the canonical social practices of our era. Just as greenhouse gases are the signature environmental threat to the environment in our times, it seems to me that schooling research is the signature threat to education in our times, and thus, around the world, to our cultures, our economies, and our societies and political life. 25 4. Conclusion: Research within practice traditions For the moment, vast parts of the world economy depend on burning fossil fuels, and a substantial section of the world economy depends on investments in fossil fuels. A changing international consciousness may yet pull us back from the brink of the irreversible climate change that will certainly follow our continued reliance on fossil fuels. Likewise, for the moment, a vast part of the educational research industry internationally is in fact devoted to schooling research that serves the interests of the managers of education systems rather than those whose lives and work shape and are shaped by education. I think we need a changed international consciousness that might bring us back to Education from schooling, before rising generations of teachers forget the intergenerational chain of links that connects our conceptions of education for our times to the educational traditions that have nourished us since Plato and Aristotle. 26 4. Conclusion: Research within practice traditions I hope you will join me in supporting the development of a social movement in our field, that will place educators at the heart of educational research, and not just their managers. Many of you now support ‘reflective practice’ and ‘action research’ in many forms in the initial and continuing education of teachers. Perhaps we can also find new ways to strengthen the capacities and resources that educators need if they are to have the professional autonomy to be the principal researchers into their own practices, to discover whether and how their practices are indeed educational. I invite you to join me in this movement, not in the name of schooling, but in the name of education. I invite you to join me, not in the interests of the effective administration of schooling, but in the interests of achieving the things that education in our time should both enact and secure: a culture based on reason, a productive and sustainable economy and environment, and a just and democratic society. Thank you 27 COMMENTS? QUESTIONS?