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serotoninronin

Philosophy of Ed?

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International Ed Policy, but previous MA advisor was a philosopher, so I've looked for programs with at least one faculty in Philosophy of Education. Where are you applying?

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Cool man. Applied to Harvard, Penn, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Colorado, and Michigan. So far no gos on Michigan and Pitt explicitly and Harvard presumed. I have literally no K-12 teaching experience and my background is entirely in philosophy, both undergrad and MA, so whatever. What are you interested in specifically?

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I'm interested in Education in Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically in Zambia and bordering countries. Want to analyze how colonialism and international efforts have contributed to the institution of education there. Education programs can be very policy orientated, so I'm also looking for some historical or philosophical component to my work, and to situate it more in the context of postcolonialism.

 

What aspect of Philosophy of Ed are you interested in? I'm also applying to some of these schools (though Michigan State). From my experience, many PhD students have tertiary teaching experience (no classroom teaching in public schools) or even none at all. Most programs, hopefully, have realized there's a vast difference between teaching and research about education.

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That's great. Yea I worry about the seemingly myopic policy focus myself quite a bit.

 

I'm mainly interested in civic ed, the history of educational philosophy (Plato, the Sophists, and Rousseau, mainly), and anarchist education. I have some interest in moral and religious ed too.

 

On the teaching experience thing, I really think it's the worst aspect the field, and has stunted its development tremendously. There's this dogma that unless you have "on the ground" experience or "have been in the trenches" or whatever, you can't do good work in education, which is transparently nonsense I think, especially if you're interested in theory/philosophy. If you want to understand some practical activity theoretically, the last person you want to talk to is someone who actually does it. Philosophers who study aesthetics know not to talk to painters or musicians about aesthetic theory. You watch them and think about how they do what they do, but it's a bad idea to assume that they have a good handle on it themselves. I know that's super controversial, at least in education, but I think it's true.

Edited by serotoninronin

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Good point. I think a clear distinction between theory and practice has been set in other fields, but this hasn't happened yet in education. Psychology might be a good example of this - to my knowledge, there isn't a requisite that everyone studying the mind should practice therapy first. In policy we're interested in bridging practice & theory, but having a bridge does not necessitate that the territories should be muddle - rather they should be distinct. Maybe this is a hold out from education's past, from being an institution constructed for the employment of women, set apart from science and the humanities, with clear boundaries between teaching (the profession of women) and learning theory/philosophy (a field considered outside of the experience/knowledge of women). And then schools of education are seen mostly as technical schools, which certainly doesn't help the field.

 

What aspect of anarchist education are you interested in? That's an area I've had some exposure to, being interested in free schools (like Summerhill), and Ivan Illich's pre-Internet concept of learning webs.

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That's great. It's a pretty fertile area, in my opinion. I'm interested in Max Stirner, the American individualists (mainly Thoreau and Emerson, but Warren, Spooner, and Greene also), and Christian anarchism (which is where most of my interest in religious education comes from).

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