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Learning Democracy in School and Society

Education, Lifelong Learning, and the Politics of Citizenship

Gert Biesta

This book explores the relationships between education, lifelong learning and democratic citizenship. It emphasises the importance of the democratic quality of the processes and practices that make up the everyday lives of children, young people and adults for their ongoing formation as democratic citizens. The book combines theoretical and historical work with critical analysis of policies and wider developments in the field of citizenship education and civic learning. The book urges educators, educationalists, policy makers and politicians to move beyond an exclusive focus on the teaching of citizenship towards an outlook that acknowledges the ongoing processes and practices of civic learning in school and society. This is not only important in order to understand the complexities of such learning. It can also help to formulate more realistic expectations about what schools and other educational institutions can contribute to the promotion of democratic citizenship. The book is particularly suited for students, researchers and policy makers who have an interest in citizenship education, civic learning and the relationships between education, lifelong learning and democratic citizenship. Gert Biesta (www. gertbiesta.com) is Professor of Education at the School of Education, University of Stirling, UK.

Obstinate Education

Reconnecting School and Society

Series:

Gert Biesta

What should the relationship between school and society be? Obstinate Education: Reconnecting School and Society argues that education is not just there to give individuals, groups and societies what they want from it, but that education has a duty to resist. Education needs to be obstinate, not for the sake of being difficult, but in order to make sure that it can contribute to emancipation and democratisation. This requires that education always brings in the question whether what is desired from it is going to help with living life well, individually and collectively, on a planet that has a limited capacity for giving everything that is desired from it.

This book argues that education should not just be responsive but should keep its own responsibility; should not just focus on empowerment but also on emancipation; and, through this, should help students to become ‘world-wise.’ It argues that critical thinking and classroom philosophy should retain a political orientation and not be reduced to useful thinking skills, and shows the importance of hesitation in educational relationships. This text makes a strong case for the connection between education and democracy, both in the context of schools, colleges and universities and in the work of public pedagogy.

Edited by Deborah Osberg and Gert Biesta

Complexity theory has become a major influence in discussions about the theory and practice of education. This book focuses on a question which so far has received relatively little attention in such discussions, which is the question of the politics of complexity. The chapters in this book engage with this question in a range of different ways. Whereas some contributions make a case for the promotion of complexity in education, others focus more explicitly on questions concerning the reduction of complexity in and through education. The chapters do so using theoretical, historical and empirical arguments, paying attention to a range of different educational settings (including early childhood education, school education, post-compulsory education, lifelong learning and work-based education), and focusing on different aspects of these practices (such as curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, architecture, and management). Taken together the chapters not only reveal the potential of complexity for engaging with questions about the politics of education in new and different ways. They also provide examples of a more reflexive engagement with the politics of complexity in education itself.