Reclaiming the artistry of teaching
Dr. Gert Biesta
As educators and educational researchers, we live in interesting times. On the one hand we’ve been told for quite some time now that education is ‘all about learning.’ This message has not just moved teachers to the side-line of the educational endeavour, turning them into mere ‘facilitators of learning.’ It has also led to the suggestion that we should stop doing educational research and hand it all over to the learning sciences. On the other hand, however, we are being told that the teacher is the most important in-school factor in the production of measurable learning outcomes, with the implication that if teachers just follow what the research evidence shows, everything will be fine. In between such powerful and influential discourses teachers are, in a sense, ‘lost.’ They know that their work involves much more than the meagre phrase of ‘facilitating learning.’ And they know that research evidence about ‘what works’ only covers a very small part of the complexities of their everyday practices, if it speaks to those complexities at all. What seems to be needed, therefore, is a different discourse about teaching, not just to make sense of the practice of education, but also to ensure that educational research is about the realities of education rather than a distortion of such realities. In my presentation I will examine these issues and explore the potential of the idea of the ‘artistry’ of teaching for providing an alternative discourse about teaching and a different ‘frame’ for educational research.
Education and citizenship in multilingual contexts
Dr. Katerina Strani
It is often forgotten that multilingualism goes hand in hand with multiculturalism. A bilingual person is often also bicultural. Yet language and culture are not static and rigidly demarcated. In this sense, multilingualism does not simply refer to people speaking multiple languages. Such definitions are archaic and presuppose that languages are bounded and finite entities that can be acquired. This discussion moves beyond reified conceptions of language and understands languages as living, dynamic and porous, “expressing” and “symbolising” cultural reality(Kramsch and Widdowson, 1998, p.3). At the same time, multilingualism constitutes an integral part of post-national citizenship, in which social and political participation may defy linguistic barriers. Intercultural education has a crucial role in this, and it needs to move beyond superficial acknowledgment of cultural differences or different backgrounds. The role of intercultural education needs to be more explicitly connected to fostering citizenship practices against the backdrop of the multilingual, multicultural condition of contemporary societies.
Children and young people’s participation rights—what kind of knowledge counts, and whose?
Dr. Cara Blaisdell
In this talk, I will explore the central question of knowledge(s) and their relevance to children and young people’s participation rights. Struggles over children’s supposed lack of ‘correct’ knowledge or ‘sensible thinking’ have been a major stumbling block in the fulfillment of their participation rights. However, in Haraway’s (1988, 2008, 2016) view, knowledge is always situated—it comes from somewhere and is shaped by particular political and ethical standpoints (even if these go un-named). Moving away from a hierarchical model of what counts as knowledge, Haraway (1988, p.585) instead calls for a different kind of objectivity, one that ‘privileges contestation, deconstruction, passionate construction, webbed connections, and hope for transformation of systems of knowledge and ways of seeing’. In dialogue with Haraway and others, I will draw on several research projects and practice reflections to explore what kind of knowledge counts in formal educational settings—and whose?
Translanguaging in Daighi (Taiwanese mother tongue) primary education
While celebrating the rich linguistic diversity of the world, one should not overlook the effort of language maintenance that contributes to it. This study focuses on a local language in Taiwan referred to as Daighi, meaning ‘Taiwanese language’; currently one of the threatened local languages in Taiwan. Although it was the dominant language before 1945 when the Kuomintang (KMT) came to rule Taiwan, it is currently going through an intergenerational shift: the younger generations (under 30 years old) are mostly monolingual, speaking the national language – Taiwanese Mandarin. However, starting from 2001, the Ministry of Education implemented the Local-Language-in-Education Policy to make studying local and indigenous languages as one of the primary school mandatory subjects in the National Curriculum. The talk approaches translanguaging as a pedagogy in multilingual education setting, and in the field of language maintenance. It showcases how teachers adopt translanguaging as a pedagogy specifically to interrogate linguistic equality, and further promote positive attitudes to Daighi.