The Rediscovery of Teaching: On robot vacuum cleaners, non-egological education and the limits of the hermeneutical world view

Educational Philosophy and Theory 48 (4):374-392 (2016)
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Abstract

In this article, I seek to reclaim a place for teaching in face of the contemporary critique of so-called traditional teaching. While I agree with this critique to the extent to which it is levelled at an authoritarian conception of teaching as control, a conception in which the student can only exist as an object of the interventions of the teacher and never as a subject in its own right, I argue that the popular alternative to traditional teaching, that is to make the teacher a facilitator of learning, is insufficient. The reason for this has to do with the fact that learning, understood as a process of interpretation and comprehension, ultimately also does not allow the student to exist as a subject. I provide support for this point through a reading of two articles by Emmanuel Levinas in which he puts forward the case that our subjectness is not generated through our own acts of signification, but is rather constituted from the outside, that is, through the address of the other. It is in this event, where a different conception of teaching emerges—one that, unlike authoritarian teaching and unlike self-generated adaptive learning, is precisely aimed at making the subjectness of the student possible.

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