Margarita Kozhevnikova - III, 12, 14. I, 3. II, 10. IV. 21, 28, 22, 33, 31, 23
From Human Education in the 3rd Millennium
(Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia. St. Petersburg, Russia)
NB - I'm in the process of completing my text. This version will be updated.
III. Being human. III.12, 14
I. Policy. I. 3
II. Democracy. 10
IV. Pedagogy. 21, 28, 22, 33, 31, 23
• Education along with other spheres of human activity finds itself today in the context of the so-called “Cruel optimism”. Considering this problem, in order to clarify the criticized vision of education and the desirable vision, we need to recognize what are the notions of human being, underlying education and educational policy in its different versions. There is even more fundamental connection between this point and education. The content of education will gain its holistic ideal if it answers to the questions about the notions of human being (considering the entire context of the world). (IV.)
• Educational policies should also be understood as representing one’s particular attitudes and positions and obviously as a struggle of various paradigms in education. (I.)
• For a better understanding of a human being I consistently defend and develop the theory of subjectness. I develop it through dialectical analysis on a base of phenomenological observation of experiences. The essence of this vision is ‘subjectness’ (an inherent property of the living). On different levels of our experience we find the various properties of subjectness that are inherent in us as an organism (directivity, experience, memory) or animal (‘light of conciousness’; ‘openness’ of one’s subjectness to oneself and others; happiness as a meaning of directivity, etc.) or human-as-such (specific vision; essential characteristics, such as self-expression, self-transendence, open encompassing character of subjectness). (III. 12)
• The dialectic ‘self – other’ (opposition, transition), defining the whole development of the living, especially is crucial for the development of humans which occurs during the life from the newborn state to the state of maturity, the latter characterized mainly by the ability and position of a personal and social responsibility with other/Others. The same dialectic of development defines the main line in education. (IV,21) Thus, the main direction of education can be understood as facilitating the expansion (growth) of the flow of human subjectivity, which leads to a state of personal maturity, which sublates self-other/Others opposition (in the dimensions of thinking, motivation, emotions, relationships, actions). (IV)
• The whole area of education also has a mission to lead a society towards greater maturity (IV,28). This implies for education the necessity of responsible critical function, which can be accomplished only in a case of true autonomy of the whole educational system. (II. II, 10)
• The main conclusions from this vision of education for pedagogy are that we have to identify the turn necessary in education as a turn towards subjectness, which implies 1) a need for the subjectivization of the content, process and educational methods, in particular, extending the field of knowledge in education to personal knowledge (IV, 22); 2) the motivational sphere in education should become an educational priority (III, 12) 3) facilitating students (of all ages) to acquire the causes for a state of personal maturity is the main agenda of education. (IV).
• The whole field of knowledge in this case is understood in another way, and a look at knowledge in the perspective of subjectivity helps clarify and solve the problem of suppressing a man with information and losing its meaning. (IV, 22)
• In particular, (in terms of this vision) a place for ‘indefinite’ must be reserved and specifically suggested in education (IV.33), IV.31, given the current dangerous trend of developing and implementing more methods to directly or indirectly control or manipulate people who are taken for definite along with their desires and expectations (in terms of "desiring-machine"). In this connection the simplifying utilitarian, hedonist approaches, welfarism should be identified and opposed. (III, 14) • The development of increasingly complex forms of commercial manipulation; social and political engineering (manipulation) is a very dangerous threat. The development of counter-manipulative resilience should be understood as a very important mission of education. (I, 3)
• In this sense, the problem of teachers' autonomy (self-determination) should not be underestimated. Teachers’ autonomy is possible only in case of the outer conditions (specific system of management of education, etc.) and the inner conditions (cultivating teacher’s thinking and self-awareness). (II, 10). In the 21st century it becomes more and more essential the role to be the model of a human (not ideal, but a model!), which would embody and represent human subjectness. Thus the development of teachers’ subjectness is one of the most important aims to be accomplished in teacher education.
• The development of “internal values” in education requires special methods, mainly in the “internal sphere” of students, first of all (future) teachers themselves. (IV. 23); (IV. 31)
• Education along with other spheres of human activity finds itself today in the context of the so-called “Cruel optimism” as a civilizational threat, manifested in the problem of our moving forward by the force of uninformed socially imposed pursuit, without realizing the real state of affairs, that is, the state of what we are (‘we’ individually and ‘we’ on a scale of society), and what we really desire. To analyze this problem, we need to turn to ourselves (individually and societally) in a critical reflection. In the same way, in order to clarify the existing critisized vision of education as well as the desirable vision of it, that we are going to develop, we need to to turn in a critical reflection and recognize what are our notions of human being (on individual and societal scales), what are the notions underlying education and educational policy in those different versions. For educators in their practice such recognition of their own notions of a man would be a clarifying or orienting point. And there is a more fundamental connection between this need and education, making a being endowed with a human body, a real human being. I argue that for education in general the question should be raised: “What we, human beings (specifically myself) are, considering the entire context, that is the world, taken with its various interrelations; particularly the world of living beings; especially the cultural societal human world; and our relations with Others and with ourselves?” Thus the content of education possibly will acquire its holistic ideal in the form of a common axis, linking different objects into one continuity, if it becomes the complex of answers to these questions, or rather the process of individual investigation, stimulated by natural personal quest to find own place, identification, part in interactions.
Such awareness creates the dimension for a “human-oriented education”. (IV.)
o A point for a future Declaration: “Specific responsibility of being a human”.
o Entry point to discuss at the WF: What is a place of notions of human being in education? In teacher education? In educational theory and policies of education?
• Since any “policy” implies the representation of various attitudes (positions) in society and the struggle between them, educational policies should also be understood as the representation of their specific attitudes and positions. Obviously, they form the struggle of different paradigms in education. But with such recognition, we can begin to accept as a standard the requirement from educational policy makers to disclose their vision of man and society and include other views in the political space, turning it into a real space for discussion. (I.)
o - This is the point for future declaration.
• I see the way to a better understanding of a human being in the consistent defense and development of the theory of subjectness, which a) joins the lineage of philosophical research of subject/ subjectivity (Descartes, Hegel, etc.); b) follows the basic ideas of the philosophy of life; c) belongs to the line of voluntarism philosophy (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hartmann); d) shares many common agendas and positions with philosophical and psychological understandings of activity (starting with the ‘self-moving’ principle of Aristotle, including a discussion of activity initiated by Spinoza; Vygotskiy’s psychological concept of fundamentally dynamic structure of personality and concept of activity, particularly of directive consciousness, the whole Vygotskian tradition of activity approach in Russian psychology (Rubinshtein, Leontiev, etc.), Bernshtein’s psychological and neurophysiological theory of activity; and ending with the modern ideas of agency, ‘agentive experiences’, etc.). I develop the theory of subjectness through dialectical analysis on a base of phenomenological observation of experiences. Thus, the vision of a human being is built in the framework of a systemic vision taken as a basis (‘system’ is a pra-phenomenon for our experience, as well as for all phenomena). But the essence of this vision is ‘subjectness’ (an inherent property of the living “to be a subject”; this is such self-identity, which manifests as the adoption of one’s own direction, constituting a vector of change, movement, emanated from a self, which is other for itself; and thus this latter acts as an inexhaustible and indefinite source of unfolding). The concept of subjectness’ has a great explanatory power regarding the mobility of our entire experience. On different levels of experience we find the various properties of subjectness inherent in us as an organism (directivity, experience, memory) or an animal (‘light of conciousness’; ‘openness’ of one’s subjectness to the perception of oneself and others, which is mostly understood as intersubjectivity; a meaning of directivity revealed now as happiness) or a human-as-such (specific human vision; essential characteristics, such as self-expressing, self-transending, open and embracing character of subjectness - ‘encompassing‘ implies more then ordinary intersubjectivity, but an ability to encompass Others’s directivity by own subjectness, thus including their motivations into one’s own motivation). (III. 12)
• The ‘self – other’ dialectic (opposition, transition), that determines the whole development of the living, in general, is crucial for human development which occurs during the life from the newborn state to the state of maturity, the latter being mainly characterized by the abilities and position of a personal and social responsibility with other/Others. (I mean not imposed but deliberately accepted responsibility). This development, connected with other/Others, implies a transition from projection states which are characteristic of immaturity and become an actual problem in the modern world, to project states, which are characteristic of maturity. And the same dialectic of development constitutes the main line in education (IV,21).
Thus, the main direction (definition) of education is revealed as ensuring the expansion/growth of the flow of human subjectness (expansion arising due to encompassing other/Others) as leading to personal maturity, a state that sublates self - other/Others opposition (concretely in the dimensions of thinking, motivation, emotions, relationships, actions). (IV)
• And the whole area of education also has a mission to lead a society towards greater maturity (IV,28). This implies for education the necessity of responsible critical function, which can be accomplished only in a case of true autonomy of the whole educational system. Just as a person needs to reflect about herself for self-transendence and future growth, so the society needs this critical (that is truly reflective) function of Education, as Education is about the future and the growth. This is similar to the logic of all democratic processes in a society; thus education by its inherent function serves democracy.
Autonomy of education can be understood by the example of autonomy of jurisdiction. Since it serves the needs of the whole society and the state, it is recognized and funded by the latter, and at the same time the best service on its part occurs only within its autonomy. (II. II, 10)
• Thus, it is found that our necessary or perceived as a desirable turn in education, essential for current civilizational development, is a turn to subjectness. This is especially important in the light of the machine world, machine thinking, human “machine identity” in education, which develops under the influence of a vision for a human from the point of view of machines, especially artificial intelligence. All these are the tendencies, which cultivate the vision of education as “extracorporeal”, that is, such which is able to exist outside of a living human personality, which can be transmitted regardless of the teacher’s identity, can be presented in the form of a nobody's 'purely objective' information, be it educational content, methods or programs; can be mastered in the form of objectively detectible 'competences', etc. and thus can be 'transparent' for quantitative accountability.
“Turn to subjectness” means 1) the need to subjectivize the educational content, processes and methods at all levels (in this regard, to include in education various types of “techniques of the self”) , which, in particular, expands the area of knowledge in education to personal knowledge (IV, 22);
2) the motivational sphere in education (education of the will, values, life meanings) needs increased attention to become an educational priority, because it is our motivational sphere that determines our deliberate responsibility and decision making, which distinguishes us from artificial intelligence and cannot be transferred into its work (III, 12);
3) assistance to students (of all ages) in progressing towards acquiring the causes of the state of personal maturity should be the main agenda of education. (IV)
• From the point of view of this vision, in particular, the place for the “indefinite” as the very source of subjectness’ unfolding should be reserved and specifically offered in education as unstructured unbusy time (IV.33), the programs of immersion in nature, creative activities, contemplative practices, IV.31. This is all the more relevant given the current dangerous trends to develop and introduce in the spheres of politics, commerce and social engineering new methods of direct or indirect control or manipulation of people who, together with their desires and expectations, are taken for definite (in terms of "desiring-machine").
In this regard, it is necessary to identify and repel the simplifying utilitarian or hedonistic approaches, welfarism (which considers well-being as the only value). (III, 14)
• The development of increasingly complex forms of commercial manipulation; social and political engineering (manipulation) is a very dangerous threat. Development of counter-manipulative resilience should be understood as a very important mission of education. Currently, in many cases, education is subjected to manipulative pressure through pedagogical sciences, which promote educational policy and education management, which creates conditions and incentives for teacher manipulation, and teachers, in turn, manipulate students and teach them to accept manipulations, by this way the hidden curriculum is transmitted through education. (I, 3)
• In this sense, since the educational process basically begins with teachers, the problem of teacher autonomy (self-determination) should not be underestimated. But on the educational agenda, the teacher is in most cases the “missing link” because the teacher is not taken with his / her agency, but only as part of a teaching method or process, be it knowledge-based or student-oriented education.
The autonomy of the teacher becomes possible only in the case of external conditions (specific system of education management, etc.) and internal conditions (cultivation of the teacher’s thinking and self-consciousness). (II, 10).
In the 21st century for a 'teacher in person' (existing now along with a 'teacher-computer') it becomes more and more essential the role to be the model of a human (not ideal, but a model!), which would embody and represent human subjectness. Thus the development of teachers’ subjectness is one of the most important goals to be achieved by appropriate types of 'teacher education (including the context of the learning pedagogical community, training in pedagogical critical thinking, contemplative processes, in particular developing self-awareness and empathy) (IV. 23)
• The development of “inner values” in education requires special methods, mainly in the “internal sphere” of students, first of all (future) teachers themselves. These special methods imply focused attention to the mind (reflexive observation of the mind’s activities, and then the purposeful development of its rational functioning through critical thinking and the development of deeper wisdom by identifying the limitations of one’s own thinking patterns); attention to emotions (especially the development of empathy); own motives (reflexive observation, analysis, deliberate correction by overcoming narrow egoistic thinking, empathic moral research, etc.) (IV. 31)
Margarita Kozhevnikova (2016) The problem of teachers' autonomy (The glance from inside the Russian educational reforms) - A paper given at the Dewey conference. - de16.pg2.at/abstracts/
Teachers' autonomy is a problem, which was not properly recognized, though it is directly connected with the problem of education for democracy. The problem of teachers' autonomy becomes even more urgent under the conditions of neo-liberalism, the ideology and practice of which are spreading in different versions everywhere in the world.
J. Dewey touched upon the problem of teachers' autonomy, discussing the aims of education, he mentioned that teachers were in the position where they received the ends laid down from above. Also Dewey mentioned general distrust of the teacher's experience influencing pupils' experience in its turn. Thus, "until the democratic criterion of the intrinsic significance of every growing experience is recognized, we shall be intellectually confused by the demand for adaptation to external aims". ('Democracy and education'Ch. VIII)
But this situation has not principally changed by now. A student herself or her growth is taken as the aim of education, and it seems inevitable that teacher would assume an instrumental position as facilitator or organizer or provider for this aim. In that sense I would call teacher a 'missing link'. But taking democracy or student’s autonomy or student’s growth or development of student’s individuality, etc. as education’s main ends, we won’t reach them as long as this teacher is a 'missing link'.
And we can make a conclusion concerning the connection between the situation and state of mind of a teacher and those of a student. Elaborating the same topic in relation to methods, Dewey objected to the possibility of authoritatively recommending "methods" to teachers, arguing that methods should be an expression of teachers own intelligent observations. (Ch. XIII).
In 1920-es in Germany. Weniger stated: "Although there are authorities on one side, and practicability or organizational and political issues on the other, inner freedom and independence of pedagogical actions should obtain external organizational expression ... with pedagogical autonomy being necessary and possible, in spite of the lack of institutional freedom of education and teachers themselves." (…)
We need also to clarify a role of teacher. I think, if we define it as a specific role of such teacher, who could not be treated as teaching technology or machine, but as alive and embodied, then this role could be described as a 'model of a man'.
Saying this, I feel a need to distinguish between a model and an ideal, norm or standard. In the history of education in different cultures for a long time teacher had been understood as a norm or an ideal, and the problems, generated by such attitude, are well known. Higgins discussed this attitude as an image of ‘saints’. When I say ‘model of a man’, I imply different modality – not due, but possible, not how man should be but how he or she might be. In this sense teacher represents herself rather as an example, possible version of human being.
The issue which should be particularly recognized, is the role of teacher’s autonomy for education for democracy. If the idea of student’s autonomy is essential here, for students to learn the model of autonomy, students need an autonomous teacher, a free, self-governing individual, who can educate them, as much as only the creative teacher can educate the creative students, etc.
The other issues of primary importance, are the outer and the inner conditions of teacher’s autonomy. Taking the definition of autonomy, developed by modern interpretation (Dworkin, G., 1989 Feinberg, J., 1989), autonomy implies sovereign independence in self-govening. For this teacher needs to get appropriate outer and inner conditions. In terms of outer conditions we need to recognize specific system of management of education, proper attitude towards teachers in society, support for origination and cultivation of teachers' professional community , concordant procedures of teacher assessment and evaluation. Regarding inner conditions of teacher’s autonomy the following two factors are needed: professional ability or qualification and cultivating of teacher’s self-awareness.
3. 'MANAGERIAL ' PARADIGM IN EDUCATION AND THE PROBLEM OF TEACHERS’ AUTONOMY
Two paradigms in education
Summarizing the analysis of the Russian educational reforms, we see all those processes as the result of a hidden conflict between different paradigms developing in politics, theory and practice of education. We must admit, that shift which was announced in Russia as one moving from the ‘knowledge’ paradigm’ to the ‘humanist’ paradigm is nothing but a desired and declared picture of reality. We see that legislative, theoretical and practical grounds of reforms contain the ideas of the two somewhat opposite paradigms, which can be identified as 'proper humanist' and 'managerial' ones, those leading to the contemporary changes in the educational models globally. So the actual result of paradigmatic break-up of the 'knowledge paradigm' became that as soon as the 'knowledge paradigm' with its values wanes, immediately the ‘managerial paradigm’ occupies dominating positions, and the ‘proper humanist’ paradigm (which should be distinguished from widely declared "humanist" that often happens to be managerial de facto), has little strength to defend its positions in the unequal rivalry.
Now in Russia we have two polarities of management, manifesting in education. Those are ‘Scylla’ as business administration, as an economic governing and as a business-thinking and ‘Charybdis’ of the state bureaucratic management. Both are saturated with neoliberal mentality. So the values compounding the foundations of the 'managerial paradigm' in education are ‘excellence, efficiency, success’.
Both spheres seek "efficiency" and are based on the belief in "facts", finding it possible to understand and organize the human reality considering organizations of all sorts, including educational establishments on the basis of objective factual findings. This belief is substantial for our ovservation, since it affects not only ‘managerial’ policy of education, but also ‘managerial’ educational research and pedagogical theory, and the latter of these, for its part, forms and prepares the practice of education through teacher’s education.
The foundation of ‘managerial paradigm’ in education
Here we approach the aspect of understanding the notion of ‘fact’. A. McIntyre greatly contributed to the investigation of the topic. According to A. McIntyre’s analysis of genealogy and functions of the notion of ‘fact’ in European culture, few moments in their connections became clear. Firstly, the term "a fact" as a deceptive idea about objective (neutral by value) element of human existence was launched into circulation as the basis of mechanistic scientific and social world image in the 17th and 18th centuries. And in the 20th century W.V. O. Quine in his logical work came to the conclusion that the science about human behavior indeed would be possible only in terms excluding human intentions, goals and motivation of actions.
Secondly, the concept of efficiency, justifying importance, social functions and the very existence of a class of managers (including bureaucratic managers) has a derivative nature, since the concept of efficiency is derived from relying on knowledge of 'factual law-like generalizations' how the social sciences according to A. MacIntyre must be called.
Thirdly, the situation in management science and other social sciences, including educational research, is such a way that the processes of scientific activity pass ‘not into really scientific achievements, but into social actions’, and it is somehow hidden by scholars from others and even from themselves. Two ‘sins’ of those 'factual law-like generalizations' claiming to be based on socio-scientific expertise, in particular, management expertise are striving towards value-neutrality and the other one is a claim to manipulative power. Thus McIntyre interpreted the very attitudes of social science as an ideology of bureaucratic power (MacIntyre, 1979, Social science methodology as the ideology of bureaucratic authority), and in our times we should extrapolate it to the power of class of managers.
The current situation in educational research was identified on the example of America by L. Fendler as "the union of science and social control." ( Fendler, 2006, p. 438).
Also it is clear, that the foundation of discussed phenomen of managerialism, in general, and of managerial paradigm in education, in particular, could be explained in accordance to the new Critical Theory, as 'instrumental reason' expressed by the words of Adorno and Horkheimer, who maintained that in modern time knowledge became more technical than critical, and that the fear to distance from the facts (that is from accepted social direction) is connected with the loss of belief in objective reason. It means also that the functionality came afore, and the reason has no more power to define ends. Such reason knows only how to construct and to develop instruments for established and non-discussed ends, which are moreover controlled by the state. This is what an instrumental reason is.
The main evil of managerial paradigm in education is manipulative model regarding teachers and other actors of education, resulting not only in their own position and state, but also with them reproducing this manipulative model into society via students. Neoliberal approach takes teachers as ‘homo economic pedagogicus’, which can be translated in terms the concept of pedagogical machines. Recognizing this and raising the principle of teachers’ autonomy, which realizes their subjectivity, we’ll affect the situation by such feedback, according to the logic of ‘double hermeneutic’. (A. Giddens)