Why the form of teaching matters: Defending the integrity of education and of the work of teachers beyond agendas and good intentions

Gert Biesta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

If we understand the good of education exclusively in terms of intentions and agendas, there remains a risk that education itself – which is first of all about the work done day in day out by teachers in schools, colleges, and universities – is entirely understood and approached in instrumental terms, that is, as the way in which particular intentions and ambitions are to be achieved. The problem here is not just that even with a broad understanding of what education is supposed to be for, the discussion can quickly move back to technical questions about effectiveness and efficiency. The problem is also that in such an approach it remains difficult to articulate the ‘integrity’ of education itself which, in turn, makes it difficult for education to resist when it is being asked to do things that would go against its integrity. In this paper I explore the question whether the integrity of education may perhaps have to do with the specific form of education rather than with the aims and purposes that frame educational activities. The paper consists of a detailed reconstruction of the work of the German educational Klaus Prange who has put forward the idea that the distinctiveness of education lies in its mode of operation, where he suggests that the most central form is that of pointing. I argue, with Prange, that a focus on the form of education allows for a different way to resist attempts to undermine the public and democratic orientation of education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-33
Number of pages21
JournalRevista de Educacion
Volume2022
Issue number395
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • attention formation
  • Klaus Prange
  • pointing
  • teaching
  • the form of education
  • the integrity of education
  • the work of teachers

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