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Seminar 3 Professionalism

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  • 1. AED 105 The Professionals in Education Objective: To reflect on how teachers can be educational professionals . Required Reading: Chua, J.S.M. & Sison, A.G. (2008). Herbert A. Simon: Helping Professionals Find Themselves. In Tan, C. (Ed.), Philosophical Reflections for Educators. Singapore: Cengage, Chapter 9. Hairon, S. (2008). The Emancipatory Value of Habermas’ Critical Theory in Education. In Tan, C. (Ed.), Philosophical Reflections for Educators. Singapore: Cengage, Chapter 8.
  • 2. Charade Time! In your presenting group, send 1 representative each round to either act or draw out the meaning of the word(s) given. The rest of the group members will have to guess the correct answer. There will be 3 rounds. CLUE: all the words are taken from the 2 prescribed chapters. 2 points for each correct answer. If the group cannot answer it, it will be open to other groups to answer the question. Correct answer for other groups: 1 point per correct answer. Volunteer for a time-keeper ?
  • 3. Teachers as Educational Professionals (Chua & Sison, 2008)
    • Human rationality is limited – or “ bounded ” (Herbert Simon)
    • Since optimisation (or maximisation) is unattainable, we need to “ satisfice ”: reach for a solution that is generally acceptable but which may not be the theoretical best.
    • Implications:
    • Educators should support their students’ authentic self-constitution by supplying a context of freedom.
    • Educators will also promote practical reason: intelligence’s direction towards choiceworthy ends. .
  • 4. Teachers as Educational Professionals (Hairon, 2008)
    • Habermas conceptualises society as constituted at two levels – the lifeworld and the system .
    • The lifeworld is described as the preconscious and taken-for-granted presuppositions, understandings and perceptual filters that determine how people experience reality.
    • The system regulates social relations only via money and power through external means such as weapons or goods, threats or enticements.
    • The colonisation of the lifeworld by the system leads to alienation and loss of meaning which will disrupt the successful functioning of the system.
  • 5.
    • “ If teachers perceive the tool of education policy implementation as meaningless, yet they are still constrained to carry out the implementation because of control mechanisms such as an appraisal system or a documentation regime, they may experience a loss of meaning to their calling as teachers, or a loss of meaning as human beings because being able to think and to make decisions are basic conditions of being human persons.” (Hairon, 2008)
    Teachers as Educational Professionals (Hairon, 2008)
  • 6. Teachers as Educational Professionals (Hairon, 2008)
    • Habermas recommends communicative action where human agents enter into a rationally mutual understanding to reach consensual actions.
    • Habermas also recommends two key principles of discourse ethics: the universality principle U and the discourse principle D .
    • The universality principle U is fulfilled when
    • “ all affected can accept the consequences and the side effects its general observance can be anticipated to have for the satisfaction of everyone’s interests (and these consequences are preferred to those of known alternative possibilities for regulation) (Habermas)”.
    • The discourse principle D is fulfilled when
    • “ only those norms can claim to be valid that meet (or could meet) with the approval of all affected in their capacity as participants in a practical discourse (Habermas)”.
  • 7. Teachers as Educational Professionals (Hairon, 2008)
    • Policymakers or leaders in education need to provide spaces where the voices of teachers could be heard and negotiated agreement could be reached so as to minimise the excesses of the system imperatives of power and money.
    • Spaces for democratic participation and living can be created in many different educational environments such as:
    • (a) in the classroom setting between teachers and students
    • (b) in the school setting between senior management and teachers, and
    • (c) in the teacher community setting between teachers.
  • 8. Application: Group Skits!
    • Put up a group skit (10 mins) to illustrate how teachers can be professionals in the Singapore context. Choose a number for your group (1-4). The number you pick will be the topic assigned for your skit:
    • (1) How educators can support their students’ authentic self-constitution by supplying a context of freedom.
    • (2) How educators can promote practical reason for the students: intelligence’s direction towards choiceworthy ends.
    • (3) How educators can provide s paces for democratic participation and living in the classroom setting between teachers and students.
    • (4) How educators can provide s paces for democratic participation and living in the school setting between senior management and teachers, and between teachers.