... it’s a shame that units on educational philosophy have, along with units on educational history, largely disappeared ...
There is a growing concern about the struggles of early career teachers and an increasing questioning of the preparation being offered by teacher education courses. The question is often asked, by the public, by schools and by the universities themselves: Are our preservice teachers being given workable strategies and techniques to allow them to survive the early years?
It's right that we're worried that that early career teachers are underprepared, but framing the problem in terms of ‘workable strategies and techniques’ is misplaced. There is something more fundamental at issue, to do with unexamined philosophical assumptions about human nature, the desire to learn, the nature of communities and the need to relate. Ontology matters, and it’s a shame that units on educational philosophy have, along with units on educational history, largely disappeared, and that teacher education is still in the grip of structuralist worldviews. As a result, the conversation keeps being dominated by attempts to find effective ways of teaching workable strategies and techniques, at a time when a more fluid, playful and complex postmodernism might offer us a more vital view.
Some years ago, a group of us set out to write about this in a non-didactic way, through the telling of some classroom stories. The philosophical underpinnings of our writing were provided by Spinoza, Deleuze and Guattari, and (though they weren’t explicitly mentioned) the contemporary writings of Doreen Massey and Kathleen Stewart.
The result was the article 'A love towards a thing eternal: Spinoza and the classroom’.