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My Teaching, My Philosophy

Kenneth Wain and the Lifelong Engagement with Education


Edited By John Baldacchino, Simone Galea and Duncan P. Mercieca

My Teaching, My Philosophy brings together twenty of the most prominent thinkers on education, philosophy, art, and literature to converse with Kenneth Wain and the many facets of his work. It shows how Wain’s passionate engagement with various issues, most prominently philosophy and education, continues to re-generate new ideas and thoughts through his philosophical method. This book gives Wain’s philosophy the attention it deserves and succeeds in continuing an open-ended philosophical conversation with its readers. My Teaching, My Philosophy is a must-read for anyone wanting to get a snapshot on the most recent thinking on philosophy of education.
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11. Integrity and Subordination in Educational Practice

← 168 | 169 → • CHAPTER ELEVEN •


Kenneth Wain’s educational ideas, in his writings, in his presentations to conferences, and in his contributions to educational policy debates, are a major source of fresh thinking on ideas such as lifelong learning and the learning society. Apart from the incisiveness of his insights and the painstaking erudition of his arguments, Wain’s work is an exemplary instance of self-critical scholarship. His earlier writings sought to provide extensive theoretical resources for understanding and advancing “a learning society of social democrat inspiration” (Wain, 2004, p. 88). His later work, however, calls into question this entire project. His analysis traces how the lifelong learning movement, as originally envisaged by UNESCO and other international bodies in the early 1970s, has been taken over by an ascendant reign of performativity on a global scale. He now emphasises a different imperative for philosophical research in education: “It is the criterion of performativity that needs to be attacked today in the name of education” (Wain, 2004, p. 89). Accordingly, central to his later writings is the new elaboration of a politics of suspicion and resistance, informed by his engagement with a range of thinkers in a postmodern vein, most notably Foucault. This makes the tenor of these writings sceptical of any detailed constructive elucidations of educational practice, though they carry some suggestive remarks in this direction: “If enculturation is to be regarded as the necessary first step to education, as I agree it must be, it must be an enculturation that includes social criticism in its agenda...

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