Studies in Philosophy and Education 38 (5):453-466 (2019)

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Theories about relationships impact the ways in which we imagine that teachers and students can or should interact. These theories often involve either individualistic or relational assumptions. A contrast has been made between theories that assume that the individual is primary, and the relationship secondary, and those that assume that the relationship is primary and the individual secondary. Roughly mapping on to these assumptions are the implications that educational relationships either ought to facilitate autonomy or community, emancipation or socialization. I argue that educational contexts occupy a liminal space at the boundaries of multiple contexts, and so have limited ability to either emancipate or socialize students relative to these contexts. However, the very liminality of the educational space allows for a unique view and exploration of these contexts using autonomy and community as means rather than ends of education. Learning, described here as re-co-gnition, is facilitated as students move away from and then return to the liminal, and teachers and students view again together the boundaries of these various contexts as they intersect at the school. Implications for teaching in this liminal space are explored for recognizing relationships between student and teacher, childhood and adulthood, home and the “outside world,” and boundaries within and between disciplines.
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-019-09672-1
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