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Hs School of Education Hs School of Education
A dialogic approach to religious education is advanced in which subject matter emerges or transforms in the educational event. An example of religious dialogue is considered, through which it is demonstrated that religious education, in order to be considered educational, must take seriously the possibility of the transformation of its subject matter. Approaches to religious education which attempt to restrict in advance the contribution of Humanism or other non-religious standpoints do not take seriously the possibility of this transformation, and thus foreclose the possibilities for educational dialogue. Some objections to Humanism in religious education are then considered, and a bullet is bitten.
Each year a national day of commemoration of the war dead is celebrated on 11th November in the United Kingdom. Despite public controversy about the nature and purpose of remembrance, there has been no significant discussion of the role schools should play in this event. In this centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, with the government planning to send groups from every secondary school in Britain to tour the battlefields of the western front over the next four years, the question of how war should be remembered in schools is more pressing than ever.
In this bold and rigorous pamphlet, David Aldridge takes a hard look at the reasons usually advanced for involving children and young people in commemorating the war dead, and finds many of them wanting. He critically examines the high profile in schools of charities, like the Royal British Legion, with vested interests in certain kinds of commemoration. And he argues forcefully for a justification of remembrance in schools that requires a major rethink of established rituals and practices.
This is a compelling treatment of a topic high on the agenda of teachers and education policy-makers and will be an invaluable resource for anyone involved in planning centenary commemorative events for children and young people.
The thesis that all learning has the character of enquiry is advanced and its implications are explored. R. G. Collingwood's account of ‘the logical priority of the question' is explained and Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutical justification and development, particularly the rejection of the re-enactment thesis, is discussed. Educators are encouraged to consider the following implications of the character of the question implied in all learning: (i) that it is a question that is constituted in the event rather than prepared or given in advance, and that this leads to a necessary tension between learning and the curriculum or scheme, (ii) that it is a question that concerns some subject matter or issue that is at stake for both the student and the object of study, which draws our attention to the ‘intentionality' of learning, and (iii) that it is a question that operates on the level of being-students are ‘called into question', and thus transformed, by the object of study.
Pádraig Hogan has argued for a powerful conception of education as epiphany that is illuminated by the work of Heidegger and Joyce. But what are we to make of Stephen Dedalus’ intention (pretension?) to ‘Remember your epiphanies’? Developing the phenomenological Erinnerungsversuch or ‘essay in memory’ of David Farrell Krell, I will examine three ‘epiphanic fragments’ from the literature of education. The problem of the temporality of the educational epiphany will be identified and a resolution will be attempted. I hope thus to extend an ontological account of memory into the educational experience, and also to develop the educational significance of the remembered or recollected epiphany. The article concludes with some emerging thoughts on the relation of education, literature and vocation.
There has been limited engagement with Gadamer in the pedagogy of English religious education (RE) to date. Currently there remains confusion about the subject matter of RE and the application of the National Framework attainment targets, learning about and learning from. Instrumental justifications of RE are in tension with the desire to defend the specifically religious subject matter of this curriculum area. An application of Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics identifies religions as the texts rather than the subject matter of RE and offers an opportunity to interpret ‘learning from’ as an ontological condition for any learning in RE, but this can only occur when the subject matter is allowed to be constituted in the hermeneutic event. The desire to defend RE against perceived threats from other curriculum areas is recognised; however it is argued that addressing this by fixing a particular aspect or stratum of reality as the distinctive object of study in RE constrains the possibility of understanding.