This article explores the centralpragmatist and feminist philosophical assumption thatknowers can not be separated from what is known, thatthere is a dialectical relationship between socialbeings and ideas that is dynamic, flexible, andreciprocal. The author seeks a closer examination ofconstructive thinking in relation to the practice ofthinking constructively within social communities. She discusses social communities that constructknowledge as radical democratic communitiesalways-in-the-making, and the skills of communicatingand relating which help knowers be able to activelyparticipate in the construction of knowledge. Giventhe fallibility of (...) the pluralistic subjects, she showsthe importance of addressing cultural influences andpolitical power in theories about thinking. Sheargues for the value of embracing pluralistic anddemocratic commitments on epistemological grounds aswell as moral grounds. (shrink)
Thayer-Bacon tells her story in a conversational tone that traces her personal and professional roots as she describes various chapters of her life: first as a philosopher, how she became involved in education, and then how that involvement became a career as a philosopher of education, in a large teacher education program, and now at a research institution. She sketches her philosophical contributions, as a pragmatist, feminist, postmodernist, and cultural studies scholar, to philosophy, philosophy of education, and education.
In A Pluralistic Universe, James argues that the world we experience is more than we can describe. Our theories are incomplete, open, and imperfect. Concepts function to try to shape, organize, and describe this open, flowing universe, while the universe continually escapes beyond our artificial boundaries. For James and myself, the universe is unfinished, a “primal stuff” or “pure experience.” However, James starts with parts and moves to wholes, and I want to start from wholes and move to parts and (...) back to wholes again. This is an issue between us I further consider, for while he describes himself as a radical empiricist, emphasizing the parts, my descriptions are in terms of w/holism. I use this opportunity to explore James’s contributions to my metaphor of “pure experience” as being like an infinite Ocean and the fishing nets we create represent our ontologies and epistemologies that help us catch up our experiences and give them meaning. I also make the case for why a better understanding of ontology matters for us as educators, using Maria Montessori’s curriculum and instruction design, Dinè Primary School, and Cajete’s theology of place and culturally based science as examples of relational fishing nets we could be using to teach our children. (shrink)
: My project aims to develop a relational, pluralistic political theory that moves us beyond liberal democracy, and to consider how such a theory translates into our public school settings. In this essay I argue that Dewey offers us possibilities for moving beyond one key assumption of classical liberalism, individualism, with his theory of social transaction. I focus my discussion for this paper on Dewey's renascent liberal democracy. I move from a discussion of Dewey's liberal democratic theory to what a (...) relational, pluralistic democratic theory might look like, with Dewey's help. (shrink)
This issue marks the beginning of a new editor-in-chief for Studies in Philosophy and Education . I am excited to begin my tenure in this role, and to continue developing the long-standing strength and quality of this journal, which enjoys a 54-year history of continual support from editors in the fields of philosophy, philosophy of education, social science, and educational policy, in support of addressing philosophical, theoretical, normative and conceptual problems and issues in educational research, policy and practice.Let me introduce (...) myself a little. I am a “military brat” who grew up on USA military bases around the world during the Cold War, the 1960s civil rights movement, the 2nd wave of the feminist movement, and the Viet Nam War, all of which greatly affected me. I am a former Montessori elementary teacher, mother of four very talented adult children and grandmother of two adorable granddaughters.I am a full professor, who worked in undergraduate teacher education for .. (shrink)
Thayer-Bacon uses this opportunity to further explore Rancière's ideas concerning equality as described in The Ignorant Schoolmaster and their connection to democracy, as he explains in Hatred of Democracy. For Rancière, intelligence and equality are synonymous terms, just as reason and will are synonymous terms. Rancière recommends the only way to really teach a student is by viewing the student as an equal. Thayer-Bacon learned to view students as equals through her experience as a Montessori teacher, and so she brings (...) Montessori into conversation with Rancière to further explore the idea of equality between teachers and students, as well as between citizens in a democracy. There are problems with both Rancière's perspective and Montessori's that feminist theory, in the form of a relational ontology and epistemology, can help us solve by finding our way out of the paradoxes of democracy and on to trusting our students, our future democratic citizens. (shrink)
My article aims to develop a relational, pluralistic political theory that moves beyond standard theories of liberal democracy, and to consider how such a theory translates into our public school settings. I use a narrative style argument to share stories that focus on homogeneity and diversity from my visit to a Japanese elementary school, as I consider, drawing on the work of Chantal Mouffe, the important role harmony and disagreement, and a tension between homogeneity and diversity, play in encouraging citizens (...) to contribute to their school and their larger communities in a democracy-always-in-the-making. I argue that there is much we can learn from Japanese educational practices. (shrink)
Democracies Always in the Making develops Barbara Thayer-Bacon’s relational and pluralistic democratic theory, as well as translates that socio-political philosophical theory into educational theory and recommendations for school reform in American public schools. Democracy is a goal, an ideal which we must continually strive for that can guide us in our decision-making, as we continue to live in a world that is unpredictable, flawed, and limited in terms of its resources.