Education as Dialogue

Education as Dialogue: Its Prerequisites and its Enemies

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 218
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  • Book Info
    Education as Dialogue
    Book Description:

    Although talk about dialogue is common, nothing clear, significant, and educationally useful has been written about the nature of dialogue and the principles and conditions that support or undermine it. Education as Dialogue argues that true dialogue and education require beliefs, rules, virtues, and habits that facilitate learning while preventing the acquisition of doctrines.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8074-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)

    This book intends to serve as a contribution to the philosophy of education as well as an introduction to the discipline from a particular perspective; unlike other introductions it constitutes one extended argument that invites the reader to see education as dialogue and appreciate its intrinsic value. As I mention later in the book, there has never been an ideal society of education or dialogue, nor have there ever been perfect educational and dialogical institutions and appropriate social conditions in the history of humanity; we are only after an approximation of an ideal. The book identifies and examines the prerequisites...

    • 1 Philosophical Inquiry in Education
      (pp. 11-21)

      Important educational problems are neither simple nor of the same category; they are both complex and heterogeneous problems requiring different approaches and methods for their solutions. Consider, for example, the general question that is one of the most important questions every civilized society must try to answer satisfactorily: “How shall we educate our children?” Sound educational planning requires that, in order to decide on worthwhile content, suitable methods and appropriate institutional or other arrangements for dealing with that question we need to get clear about the nature of education, its scope, and its importance; we must decide first what is...

    • 2 The Concept of Education
      (pp. 22-47)

      One might think thateducationis a clear and unambiguous term in the English language; after all, it is not a technical term and we all know how to use it in our everyday conversations. We talk about well-educated persons, about educating the young, or about the educational value of books and experiences; but we also use the word education when we talk about schooling or the educational system of a country, about educational studies in a university, or about all the formative influences on people throughout their lives, as in the titleThe Education of Henry Adams.

      It is...

    • 3 Can Education Have Aims?
      (pp. 48-64)

      The answer to the question “Can education have aims?” is not unlike the answer to the question “Does life have aims?” – neither

      of them can have aims, unless of course byeducationone meansschoolingand bylifeone meansa person’s life. And yet, the “aimsof education,” whereeducationis used in its normative sense, have been debated in modern history and have been restated countless times. Today there are still some educationalists who continue to insist on the need for formulating the “aims of education,” while others maintain that all such statements are useless, high-sounding vague claims...

    • 4 The Prerequisites of Education
      (pp. 67-88)

      The extensive discussion of the nature of education in the first part of this book was necessary because we must have a clear view of the character of our educational ideal in order to choose the content, methods, and institutional arrangements that are appropriate to it. The fact that people may disagree about the content of education does not refute or weaken this claim. Proposed educational programs may be broad or narrow, progressive or conservative; whatever their character or scope they must be based on some defensible view of education if they are to be considered serious educational proposals. Without...

    • 5 Education as Dialogue
      (pp. 89-111)

      It is quite certain that at no other period in human history has there been so much talk on the need for dialogue; dialogue among members of the family; within communities, regions, and countries; among various churches, religions, and nations. The perceived value of dialogue, however, is usually considered to lie in its instrumental value: it is better for humans to reach an agreement through dialogue rather than through fiat, force, or deception. In order to see how inappropriate and inadequate the instrumental view is we must examine the nature, prerequisites, and principles of dialogue and the social conditions that...

    • 6 Forms of Miseducation
      (pp. 112-135)

      Although most educators would agree that indoctrination is the most pernicious enemy of both education and dialogue, since it violates the knowledge criterion of education and distorts the value criterion, there are still those who continue to support the teaching of doctrines in the name of education. The proponents of that view employ several arguments – all of which, in my view, are philosophically wanting. Perhaps the most common strategy of the advocates of indoctrination is to so relax the criteria of education as to render it indistinguishable from that hazy, all-embracing and confusing term,socialization. First, then, we must examine...

    • 7 The Enemies of Dialogue
      (pp. 136-159)

      There has never been an ideal society of dialogue or education, because there have never existed ideal dialogical citizens and institutions or utopian social conditions anywhere in the world. Genuine dialogue is not fully attainable, and we always fall short of the ideal to some extent. It is obvious, therefore, that we are not after flawless dialogue but only an approximation of it. In every personal relationship and within every institution and society, dialogue is to some extent imperfect, truncated, violated, undermined, corrupted, or deficient; and the causes of these imperfections are within ourselves as well as the nature of...

    • 8 Education, Dialogue, and Human Nature
      (pp. 160-180)

      One could argue that human nature is so complex or unstable or even mysterious that any attempt to reveal its nature and dimensions is doomed; all of philosophy, all the social sciences, and some of the natural sciences are studies of human nature, but they have not been able to offer an adequate and coherent picture. Maybe Heraclitus was right when he opined that “no matter which path you take you will not reach the limits of the human soul because itslogosis so deep.”¹ Perhaps. But we might find that some paths are more appropriate and fruitful than...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 181-190)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 191-200)
  9. Index
    (pp. 201-207)