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Education as the Practice of Freedom - Tony Ward Education

about a new kind of education, education as the practice of ..

Bell Hooks: Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom - Education Essay Example
He has studied world religions, eastern psychology, thousands of traditional practices, under the tutelage of 50 Himalayan masters, in addition to his formal education in physics, chemistry, psychology and physiology.

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Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Click to read more about Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks
Here I have picked five key texts that both give a flavour of Roger’s thinking and practice, and are of direct relevance to the work of educators.

 

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Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (Harvest in Translation) by bell hooks
The history and focus of Carl Rogers’ work was one of the reasons why he has been so attractive to successive generations of informal educators. This was a language to which they could relate. The themes and concerns he developed seemingly had a direct relevance to their work with troubled individuals. Informal educators also had access to these ideas. Rogers’ popularity with those providing counselling training (at various levels) opened up his work to large numbers of workers. Crucially the themes he developed were general enough to be applied to therapeutic work with groups (for example, see his work on Encounter Groups (1970, New York: Harper and Row) and in education. Significantly, Carl Rogers took up the challenge to explore what a person-centred form of education might look like.

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In this we can see something of Rogers’ debt to – but something else had been added in his particular concern with and . First, there is an interest in looking at the particular issues, questions and problems that participants bring (this is not a strongly -based orientation and has some parallels with the subsequent interest in in learning). Second, he draws in insights from more psychodynamic traditions of thinking (as did educators such as and Homer Lane).


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The strength of Rogers’ approach lies in part in his focus on . As he once wrote, ‘The facilitation of significant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities that exist in the personal between facilitator and learner’(1990: 305). Freedom to Learn (1969; 1983; 1993) is a classic statement of educational possibility in this respect. However, he had already begun to explore the notion of ‘student-centred teaching’ in (1951: 384-429). There, as Barrett-Lennard (1998: 184) notes, he offered several hypothesized general principles. These included:

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Carl Rogers has provided educators with some fascinating and important questions with regard to their way of being with participants, and the processes they might employ. The danger in his work for informal educators lays in what has been a point of great attraction – his person-centredness. Informal education is not so much person-centred as dialogical. A focus on the other rather than on what lies between us could lead away from the relational into a rather selfish individualism. Indeed, this criticism could also be made of the general direction of his therapeutic endeavours.

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Kirschenbaum, H. and Henderson, V. L. (eds.) (1990) , London: Constable. An excellent collection of extracts and articles . Includes autobiographical material, discussion of the therapeutic relationship, the person in process, theory and research, education, the helping professions, and the philosophy of persons. Also explores the shape of a ‘more human world’. The 33 pieces are a good introduction to his work.

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Thorne argues that it is not too simplistic to, ‘affirm that the whole conceptual framework of Carl Rogers rests on his profound experience that human beings become increasingly trustworthy once they feel at a deep level that their subjective experience is both respected and progressively understood’ (1992: 26). We can see this belief at work in his best known contribution – the ‘core conditions’ for facilitative (counselling and educational) practice – congruence (realness), acceptance and empathy).