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Abstract

The public character of school has recently been called into question more often. I examine the question given in the title in terms of three different aspects (juridical, institutional and performative), each of which is linked with a number of disturbing transformations of public schools (privatization of that which is public, re-feudalization, and commodification of education). By virtue of such an analysis and with reference to research on the essence of what is public, I make an attempt to formulate the key meanings of the public character of school.
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Abstract

The main aim of the article is an analysis of the privatization of pedagogical knowledge using an example of one of the alternative pedagogies (Montessori Method). We claim that nowadays, pedagogical knowledge is treated as economic capital, and therefore subject to modifications characteristic for neoliberal culture. In our analysis we implement qualitative focus interviews conducted with various members of the Montessori community (teachers, owners and administrators of schools) who have gained access to a rare commodity – that is, knowledge regarding the teaching methodology of this particular pedagogical approach. The results of this empirical research point to mechanisms characteristic for making pedagogical knowledge classiffied and „gilded”, mechanisms that limit it to the closed space of a particular discourse society. We conclude that this ‘inbred’ form of knowledge transfer can lead to an inability to renew meanings and, as a consequence, to the replacement of critical and in depth pedagogical considerations with a form of dogma that may be culturally inadequate and reproduced as a technical procedure, which is far from what Montessori herself wrote about the method.
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