The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
36. Disciplining the Discipline
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Disciplining the Discipline
This chapter takes as its focus an examination of the practices sanctioned by educational psychology’s dominant discourse and investigates the effects of these practices. The earlier discussion regarding technical rationality and the nondiscursive power-knowledge relationships of the discipline facilitates the turn to this focus. This turn is imperative as the ideas generated by the meaning-making structure evident in the discursive principles of educational psychology “gain strength and are a form of power [because]…they take concrete shape in the actions of our daily lives” (Freire & Faundez, 1992, p. 26).
Through the process of education students are “socialized” so as to adapt to the world. Students are judged, labeled, sorted, and selected according to how well they fit in. Through its knowledge base and practices the discipline of educational psychology claims to explain characteristics of the student and the teacher; the assertion of the discipline is “to know those objects truthfully.…[by their] ‘natural characteristics’” (Usher, 1993, p. 18).
Using the perspective of Foucault, a different view of socialization is proposed. Foucault is skeptical regarding modern disciplines (1980a), especially those connected with education (Ball, 1990). Foucault’s position is that knowledge of the modern disciplines is organized around the power to define and name others—especially to define persons as normal and as abnormal. Human beings are defined and made subjects of the society through the process of normalization...
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