I wrote in yesterday’s post about being an ‘efficacious agent‘. Dewey has a much better term for this: freedom. The freedom which comes from the “power to frame purposes, to judge wisely, to evaluate desires by the consequences which will result from acting upon them; power to select and order […]
What does it mean to be an efficacious agent? Some sketchy notes on critical realism and educational sociology
In the last few months, I’ve been trying to define my interest in education and often find myself coming back to the idea of the efficacious agent. This is a placeholder really but it rests on my sense that education (in the broadest sense of the formal or informal) leaves […]
I’m unsure whether ‘collateral learning’ is a throwaway phrase used by Dewey in Experience and Education or whether it’s more fully developed elsewhere. However I’ve found it a really useful concept to make sense of informal learning through social platforms and their impact upon the socialisation process.
What I find particularly valuable in Dewey is his sense of how as an individual “passes from one situation to another, his world, his environment, expands or contracts” with the “knowledge and skill in one situation becomes an instrument of understanding and dealing effectively with the situations which follow” (pg 44). The nature of this experience constitutes the conditions which facilitate or frustrate the individual’s flourishing.
I found this reprint from Hubert Dreyfus quite inspiring to engage with again, over a decade since I read the original book. It feels more relevant than ever when considering the constraints of education during the pandemic, with the core challenge posed by Dreyfus of how much involvement can be established remotely being one which anyone teaching via Zoom will have felt over the last year.
The ability to inquire and create constructively and independently without external controls.
What sorts of experiences do social platforms generate? What “attitudes and habitual tendencies” (pg 38) are being generated? Which “are actually conducive to continued growth and what are detrimental” (pg 39)?
This is a really powerful account by Roberto Unger about the role of education in producing capable agents, able to act within the present order but also to resist it and see beyond it, opening out possibilities for transformation which are latent within the way the world currently is. He […]
I’ve spent an enjoyable afternoon listening to Chomsky talk about education. The overarching issue this has raised for me is how education relates to agency. How does education support the capacity to act in the world? How does it redistribute power in Weber’s sense of the probability that someone will […]
An education of the kind that Bertrand Russell or John Dewey talked about. That’s a value in itself, whatever impact it has on society. It’s a value because it helps creates better human beings. After all that’s what an education system should be for.
“Why is it, in spite of the fact that teaching by pouring in, learning by a passive absorption, are universally condemned, that they are still so entrenched in practice? That education is not an affair of “telling” and being told, but an active and constructive process, is a principle almost as generally violated in practice as conceded in theory.”