Becoming Critical: Education Knowledge and Action Research by Wilfred Carr

By Wilfred Carr

First released in 1986. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Sample text

For someone to claim that they know, they must convince us that their ideas survive critical examination: that they can be justified, that they can survive attempts to show them to be false, and that they are not incredible. This is a severe test for teachers’ knowledge. Apart from the difficulty of getting ideas ‘out in the open’ so that they can be analyzed critically, there is the difficulty that social and historical cricumstances of teaching and curriculum may differ widely from school to school and classroom to classroom.

The most dominant of these two forms of consciousness is one in which education is seen as essentially technical and, hence, echoes the attitude of techne. The second outlook sees education as practical, echoing the attitude of praxis. There is, however, an alternative outlook now emerging which is explicitly informed and guided by phronesis and that involves a view of education which is essentially strategic. The purpose of the next section is to explore and examine these three modes of consciousness.

Expertise under this view does not consist of designing a set of sequenced means or techniques which ‘drive’ learners towards expected learning outcomes. It consists of spontaneous and flexible direction and redirection of the learning enterprise, guided by a sensitive reading of the subtle changes and responses of other participants in the enterprise. To exert a consistent influence in this spontaneously changing and evolving drama, the practitioner finds guidance not in the pursuit of fixed goals or the certainties of particular known techniques (although these things may provide some direction).

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