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Article

David Backer

“Ideology” has fallen out of favor as a term of art. Terms like “equity,” “bias,” “gap,” “discourse,” “norm,” various “isms,” “consciousness,” “experience,” and “policy” tend to appear in scholarly and mainstream education dialogue when it comes to social-political practices. Yet the term is important both historically and for the present day. After its first formal usage in the 18th century, intellectuals produced several concepts of ideology. Ideology transformed from a science of ideas to propaganda; from critiques of truth and falsity to necessary strategy; from a focus on consciousness to a focus on practice. These transformations impacted educational research, particularly in the postwar period during a renewed emphasis on schooling’s social context. Revisiting the various concepts of ideology, particularly ideology as a practice, is valuable for educators and scholars today.

Article

Inga Bostad

Gratitude may at first glance seem foreign to philosophy of education. Being grateful is often described and interpreted in psychology, anthropology, sociology, or religious contexts, while philosophers have to a lesser degree regarded gratitude as an interesting topic, and there is no agreed upon definition or status of gratitude in philosophy of education. However, the discipline of pedagogy is more than what happens in school, in education and upbringing; it may be interpreted in a broad sense, as the study of how we live together for the renewal and reproduction of a society, and thus the concept of gratitude throws light on the double relationship between teacher and student, wherein one both gives and receives, and makes us see ourselves as relational and dependent on others. In the philosophy of education, gratitude may work as a critical concept revealing imposed social and political orders, power relations, and repressive mechanisms as well as delineating interdependence and interconnectedness, appreciating the efforts and contributions of others as well as social justice. One can define gratitude as a positive, appropriate, and immediate feeling or attitude toward, or a response to, an advantage or something beneficial. Gratitude thus depends on a subject, a being with some kind of intention, consciousness, or emotional life directed toward something or someone. Being grateful to others may express and accordingly justify social hierarchies as well as a balance between actions and benefits, between behavior and quality of life. There are thus arguments for seeing gratitude as both a critical and an enlightening concept. Some argue that gratitude is first and foremost an imposed burden, and that the debt of gratitude is intimately interwoven with, but also differs from, being grateful, as the first implies that a person experiences indebtedness to someone for having received something that also requires some kind of response or reciprocation. Others view gratitude as a neglected and meaningful enrichment of people’s lives: gratitude may promote feelings of community, responsibility, and belonging. Moreover, it can strengthen our appreciation of other people’s efforts and kindness, and of valuable social and cultural institutions. Someone is grateful because they acknowledge what someone else has invested, and being able to express gratitude, or being hindered from it, is also part of the pedagogic relation. It is first and foremost the relationship that defines gratitude; it is both something other than the object—the undertaking or the experience that makes us grateful—and in relationship with that object. To be grateful expresses a sense of life, a condition that addresses not only what you get, but also the responsibility we have as relational human beings.

Article

A common definition of listening distinguishes between hearing and listening. The basic distinction describes hearing as a passive action of perceiving sounds, whereas listening involves paying active attention to various layers and elements of what one is hearing. Active listening to music, featuring the discerning of sounds, musical structures, harmonies, and the interrelations between the sounds, is akin to contemplating complex ideas. Providing meaning for this nexus of relationships requires listeners to grapple with these complex musical nuances, listening to different layers of the melody and harmony and connecting them to cultural and historical aspects. Challenging students to grapple with the complex nuances of musical pieces, to listen to different layers of the melody and harmony, and to connect those elements to cultural and historical aspects will provide them the opportunity to reflect upon the social and cultural contexts in which they live. The concept of what it means to be active (or mindful) has been examined from various perspectives and theories and holds great potential in advancing individual growth and social sensitivity.

Article

Tensions chronically exist in the research literature among bio-evolutionary scientists, constructivist-developmental psychologists, and socio-constructionist scholars about how to describe, understand, and predict our moral functioning. An analysis of the assumptions of each of these theoretical paradigms, the disciplinary fields that inform their conceptual models, and the empirical evidence they use to sustain their claims reveals the tensions that exist, as different communities of scholars assign different roles to nature and nurture, reason and intuition, and to the private minds of individuals and the social intelligibilities available to them in a given time and place of history. Using simple multilevel structures, it is possible to see that the divisions that exist within these scientific communities can be conceptualized in terms of their use of different levels of analysis, as they each focus on different populations and employ different underlying units of time and space. Bio-evolutionary scientists study humans as species, using slow-paced time units of analysis such as millennia, and their studies focus on the epigenetic dimensions of our moral sense, documenting inter-species variance in moral functioning. Socio-constructionists study humans as members of groups, using moderately paced time units of analysis such as decades and centuries, and their studies focus on cultural variations in what different groups of people consider to be good or bad, according to the social structures and intelligibilities that are available to them in a given time and place of history. Constructivist-developmental psychologists study humans as individuals, using fast-paced time units of analysis such as months and years, and their studies focus on the maturational dimension of our moral sense, documenting within- and between-individuals variation throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, by focusing on different populations and time units, these communities of scholars produce research findings that highlight certain aspects of our moral functioning while downplaying others. Interestingly, complex multilevel structures can illustrate how different levels of analysis are nested within each other and can demonstrate how different scientific endeavors have been striving to account for different sources of variability in our moral functioning. The use of complex multilevel structures can also allow us to understand our moral functioning from a dynamic, complex, multilevel theoretical perspective, and as the product of (a) genetic variations that occur between and within species, (b) variations in the social structures, discourses, and intelligibilities that are available in the culture and regulate what social groups consider good and bad at different places and times of history, and (c) variations in the personal experiences and opportunities of interaction that individuals have in different environments throughout their lifetime. Researchers need to clarify the epigenetic, historical, and developmental rules of our moral functioning, and the ways in which different dimensions interact with each other.