This afternoon I'm in the plenary session of the Southeast Philosophy of Education Society meeting, at a comparative session, Philosophy of Education: Global Perspectives.
Sikharini Majumdar (University of Alabama) discussed Tagore's Ideals of World Education. Rabindranath Tagore was the Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1913, describing the ties between Tagore's life and education. Majumdar argues that while Tagore is best known as a poet (and the person who tagged Mohandes Gandhi with the "Mahatma" label), he also had significant influences in education, including the university he founded.
SoYoung Kang (Ohio University) discussed The Influence of Korean Tradition and Culture in Haerim Montessori School, based on her observations at a Montessori school she visited in Korea in the last year. After a standard explanation of Maria Montessori's idea of freedom within a certain structure, Kang explained the interface with Confucianism and the submission of individuals to the group and the preference of harmony over equality. Apart from the expected adaptations of Montessori to Confucianism, there are a few surprises, such as the amount of singing Korean Montessori teachers engage in, as well as teachers' touching students (on the shoulder or back, I gather) and parent-education lectures.
Chad Lykins (Vanderbilt University) presented on a paper with a much longer title: Who Should Sit on the Evaluation Committees of the Research Assessment Exercise? Rethinking the Relationship between Knowledge, Research, and Profitability in the U.K. Motivated by (or at least referring to) the Spellings Commission argument that prospective students need more information about higher education, Lykins discusses Thatcher-era higher-ed policies. Well, being a philosopher, he starts with Plato's bifurcation of abstract vs. applied knowledge (i.e., Plato's anti-sophism) and argues that pre-80s British policies gave advantage to non-applied research in line with Plato's dualism. According to Lykins, Thatcher-era reforms collapsed higher-ed distinctions and gave considerable incentives for polytechnics (or former polytechnics) to go for research funding for applied programs.
The first concurrent sessions this morning required a choice... sex or Dewey:
Sexuality and Education
Sexual Desire, Pleasure and Females: Hip Hop as the New Sex Education (Jennifer Esposito & Bettina Love, Georgia State University)
Democracy and Sexuality Education: Toward the Most Enclusive Ethical Order (Chad Lykins, Vanderbilt University)
Sex Education Curricula and the Governance of Youths’ Sexualities (Leslee Grey, Georgia State University)
Perspectives in Dewey Studies
Education and Democracy Revisited: A Comparative Analysis of the Pedagogy and Politics of John Dewey and Paulo Freire (Ken McGrew, University of Alabama at Birmingham)
Television and Knowing: A Deweyan Critique of the Epistemology of Television (Dennis Attick, Georgia State University)
It's Lost in Translation: A Critique of John Dewey's Theory of Experience (Haroldo A. Fontaine, Florida State University)
I'll admit I went to the sex session... but Lykins mentioned Dewey!
I presented on the problems of expertise and testing, and several participants gave me some useful ways of thinking about our society's trust in testing.