The Rediscovery of Teaching: A Progressive Argument for a Conservative Idea

Professor Gert Biesta (Brunel University London) lectures in this seminar organized by research group Curriculum Studies, Leadership and Educational Governance (CLEG).

Seminar abstract

The Rediscovery of Teaching: A Progressive Argument for a Conservative Idea

by Professor Gert Biesta.

In the current 'age of learning' teaching has gained a rather problematic reputation which, in turn, has affected teachers. The turn from teaching to learning is generally seen as something progressive and, as a result, the teacher has been moved from what is sometimes referred to as the 'sage on the stage' to a 'guide on the side' and, in contemporary 'learning communities' even to the status of a 'peer at the rear,' indistinguishable from fellow-learners.

Professor Ger Biesta. Photo: private.
Professor Gert Biesta. photo: private.

While some see this as progress, often also because they perceive the role and position of the teacher as a limitation of the student's freedom, I wish to argue that things are not as simple as they may look. On the one hand I will suggest that there is a different connection possible between teaching and freedom, one where teaching actually ends up on the side of freedom. On the other hand I will suggest that the alleged 'freedom to learn' is perhaps less free than it appears to be. Along these lines I will make a case for the rediscovery of teaching and will discuss the way in which this might help teachers to recover their identity as those who teach.

About our Guest Professor

Gert Biesta is Professor of Education in the Department of Education of Brunel University London and NIVOZ Professor for Education at the University of Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands. In addition he has a Professor II position at NLA University College, Bergen. Since 2015 he is a member of the Educational Council of the Netherlands, the advisory body of the Dutch government and parliament. He is associate editor of the journal Educational Theory, and co-editor of the British Educational Research Journal, the main journal of the British Educational Research Association. His work focuses on the theory of education, and covers such areas as curriculum, teaching, citizenship, education policy and the theory and philosophy of social and educational research.


The Rediscovery of Teaching (Routledge, 2017)

Letting Art Teach (ArtEZ Press, 2017)

Arts, Artists and Pedagogy (Routledge, 2018)

Published Jan. 26, 2018 10:57 AM - Last modified Apr. 20, 2018 9:45 AM