Philosophy of Education · Powerful knowledge · Progressivism

The social reality of powerful knowledge

In my last blog, I discussed the academic/non-academic subject divide in education. In two recent blogs, Old Andrew defines an academic subject as: (…)  one where mastery of it was best characterised by further study. The people who are best at history, are historians and they study history. Following Bernstein, I argued that subjects require a field of knowledge… Continue reading The social reality of powerful knowledge

Philosophy of Education · Progressivism

Traditionalist and progressive knowledge: causally related but analytically distinct

Introduction In this blog I would like to offer a view of the progressive v traditionalist dichotomy through the lens of structure, culture and agency. I am also going to argue that ideas can exist as material objects in the social world. There is a proviso; the ideas must have the potential to be understood.… Continue reading Traditionalist and progressive knowledge: causally related but analytically distinct

Philosophy of Education · Progressivism

Recent history shows the value of the Prog v Trad divide

There are, on the internet, numerous lists categorising progressivism and traditionalism. Mostly they are wrong for one simple reason, the dividing line between the two is not pedagogical but philosophical. You can use direct instruction in both approaches but in different ways and for different reasons. It is not only how it is taught but… Continue reading Recent history shows the value of the Prog v Trad divide

Ofsted · Philosophy of Education · Policy · Progressivism

On the value of ideas and the search for causality in the classroom

Can an idea be “real” like a light bulb or a torch? Does the text of a book contain something more than just symbols on a page? Do ideas have a causal effect measurable by empirical science? I was pondering these questions whilst watching the world pour opprobrium on Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims. Few… Continue reading On the value of ideas and the search for causality in the classroom

Philosophy of Education

The question posed was “are all classrooms unique?”

The question posed was “are all classrooms unique?” They are but not every aspect of a classroom is unique. The classroom is a microcosm of the social world. So what is unique? The individual students are unique. They have agency and a unique psycho-biography. On the other hand individual students also have dispositions conditioned by society.… Continue reading The question posed was “are all classrooms unique?”

Philosophy of Education

On Mitra’s “no holes in the wall” and the DT Willingham meme: weak research needs clever discourse to survive

I wanted to try and thread some recent twitter debates together and make the point that,  often, random different arguments are related. I’m going to touch upon the Sugata Mitra debate. Mitra is accused of poor research. I would describe it as “discursive research”; it generates the potential for change but it is empirically weak. You could… Continue reading On Mitra’s “no holes in the wall” and the DT Willingham meme: weak research needs clever discourse to survive

Philosophy of Education

Theory and data in educational research is a wicked problem

Foucault describes data without a theoretical framework as a kind of “blind empiricism” that yields data but very little explanation. What is required is both theory and data. Paul Trowler describes the relationship between theory and data as a “wicked problem”. Wicked issues being: poorly-understood have many causal levels have no clear stopping point, where a… Continue reading Theory and data in educational research is a wicked problem