Philosophical and Historical Perspectives
The beautiful risk of education (Gert Biesta), creativity, communication, teaching, learning, democracy, emancipation, virtuosity
Running through all the other units will be philosophical considerations of several important themes in education: creativity, communication, learning, teaching, emancipation, democracy, and virtuosity. We will be taking up the challenge of Gert Biesta to imagine a kind of ‘weak education’ that does not depend on controlling, or even predicting, its outcome. Thinking of education this way calls into question much of what we tend to take for granted in our day to day college experience. That students should expect a tangible return on their ‘investment.’ That teachers should be able to specify the goals and outcomes of their curricula and courses. That success can be measured. That students can and will ‘learn on their own,’ and the teacher’s job is merely to shepherd them through this process. That schools should be neutral and non-political spaces. Additionally, this difficult philosophical text will challenge our notion of what it means to read and understand, and how to talk to others about complex ideas and realities. The title of Biesta’s book, The beautiful risk of education, will be our theme throughout the course, stimulating us to think (together) what education might be good for, in the present or the future, and what we are willing to commit to in order to be educated.
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