Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations
Chapter Three: From the “Science of Disease” to the “Understanding of Those Who Suffer”: The Cultivation of an Interpretive Understanding of “Behaviour Problems” in Children (Christopher Gilham)
From The “Science of Disease” To The “Under- standing of Those Who Suffer”: The Cultivation of an Interpretive Under- standing of “Behaviour Problems” in Children christopher gilham The concern with things which are not understood, the attempt to grasp the unpre- dictable character of the spiritual and mental life of human beings, is the task of the art of understanding which we call hermeneutics. (Gadamer, 1996, p. 165) Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002) described hermeneutics as an emancipatory and practical philosophy (1977, p. 17). As a former consultant for “Emotion- al and Behavioural Disabilities” (EBD) in a large urban public school board, I worked with school teams to support their work with “behaviour” students. While a Faculty of Education PhD candidate specializing in interpretive work, my understanding of “behaviour” students profoundly changed. This emanci- patory transformation, at the risk of over-simplifying, was largely the result of understanding some of the history of the Special Education work in which I had been immersed. In this paper, I attempt to unpack some of the history and current framing of this discourse in schools. Furthermore, I problematize this history as “iatrogenic” (1975, p. 14) and “counterproductive” (pp. 212–214) in the sense articulated by C h a p T e r T h r e e 30 | christopher gilham Ivan Illich (1926–2002). Through this interruption, I hope to offer an emancipat- ing or generous understanding of difficult students in classrooms. a C e n T r a l a n d i l...
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