Birmingham Branch Seminar
Kevin is Senior Lecturer in Education at Dublin City University. His wide-ranging research interests include the work of Michael Oakeshott and Gilbert Ryle, nationhood and internationalism in civic life, religion and the public space, and the philosophy of foreign language education. He is the author of Education and the Voice of Michael Oakeshott (2007) and Faith and the Nation: Religion, Culture and Schooling in Ireland (2005).
Students of education in the 1970's commonly read important thinkers in order to glean from them what were often banal comments about teaching and learning. Quite appropriately, the philosophy of education has long moved on from constructing platitudinous doctrines from thinkers from the past, but there remains much to be learned from searching exploration of the great authors who have meditated on education. Montaigne is one such thinker and this paper endeavours to draw together the strands of his pedagogy and to demonstrate how they gain purchase in the business of teaching and learning. The paper also proposes to supplement his vision with practical examples from fiction and autobiography. Perhaps the most striking theme is the need to be able to decentre from the comfort zone acquired beliefs and convictions, and the crucial role played by conversation in cultivating the intellectual and moral openness in order to do so. A pre-condition of being in a position to decentre, however, is that learning must be genuinely personalized rather than based on the authority of others or on what can be derived from books. For this reason, the paper first explores how Montaigne understands personalization in learning.
Tuesday 15 March
Matthew Sinnicks, University of Birmingham
Self-interest, flourishing and teaching environmental ethics
The programme can also be found on the University of Birmingham website here.