FORCING A SMILE: THE PLIGHT OF TODAY’S EDUCATOR

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Very rarely do I find myself taking seriously any sort of postmodern nihilism. It always strikes me as a contradiction, a playful devil’s advocate for the sake of it stance: like the Londoner who declares with very little conviction that all Londoners are liars – why should I believe them?

But I kind of like this blog by Ansgar Allen reblogged from Discovering Society

The hope of the educator cannot be sustained in abstraction. The idea that this is a benevolent profession, that it is essentially good, requires propping up. Abandoned by educational ideals, the benevolent educator needs something concrete on which to cling. For this reason, initiatives launched by government and sponsored by business that promise to deliver this good hold a certain attraction. These initiatives trade on over-inflated and often politicised and commercialised promises of hope, happiness, individual wellbeing and collective security. They are not uniformly adopted, nor are they implemented without adjustment. Occasionally they are rejected. Their success when it occurs, is not the simple product of managerial imposition. The success of techniques that promise to deliver value to the educational project is dependent on and proportionate to the felt need they satisfy. Their promise is to redeem education through its adoption of fresh innovations. These innovations satisfy an educational desire which is committed to a project of educational redemption whilst being profoundly pessimistic about the possibility of its realisation.

Allen ends on a strangely optimistic note. Strange because the piece advocates for a strong cynicism and boasts of presenting the educator with an indigestible meal. Yet, when Allen concludes this blog post, he concludes with an invitation to radically rethink

the educational endeavour with a coolness it rarely receives, and ask: Shall we continue? And if so, according to whose agenda?

The answer to those questions is too glib and too easy. Of course we should and our own. The real question is ‘How?’

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