Learner, student, speaker: Why it matters how we call those we teach

Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (5):540-552 (2010)
In this paper I discuss three different ways in which we can refer to those we teach: as learner, as student or as speaker. My interest is not in any aspect of teaching but in the question whether there can be such a thing as emancipatory education. Working with ideas from Jacques Rancière I offer the suggestion that emancipatory education can be characterised as education which starts from the assumption that all students can speak. It starts from the assumption, in other words, that students neither lack a capacity for speech, nor that they are producing noise. The idea of the student as a speaker is not offered as an empirical fact but as a different starting point for emancipatory education, one that positions equality at the beginning of education, not at its end.
Keywords speaker  Rancière  learner  democracy  students  politics  emancipation  democratic education
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DOI 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2010.00684.x
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