Education in an Age of Crisis: Praxis and Wellbeing Under Pressure

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Education in an Age of Crisis: Praxis and Wellbeing Under Pressure
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Andrew O'Shea, Dublin City University, Ireland
Maeve O'Brien, Dublin City University, Ireland


Praxis and wellbeing are under pressure today due largely to multiple crises in education and from ill-fitted solutions which create disruptions to the basic educational relation. Such solutions often involve the objectifying affects of measurement. Through metrics, numbers, and statistics, our obsession with measurement increasingly determines what counts as success in teaching and what constitutes excellence in education and care for students (Simoni 2020 Noddings 2012). While there is no necessary relation between so called success and something we call wellbeing, nonetheless faith in this measurement paradigm to deliver good education intensifies globally. PISA test scores are part of these developments; a kind of ‘code fixation’ (Taylor 2008) that drives everything from league tables to strategic planning on a global scale, and what Biesta calls “learnification”. The inability of this perspective to capture the human and relational dimensions of a more democratic education has been frequently criticized (Reay 2012; Lilji 2018), and it leaves notions of happiness in abeyance (Dunne 2016). This paper argues that education is not just any form of action but is crucially and critically a form of praxis, the acknowledgement of which highlights its ethical and relational characteristics and how these are integral to learning and living well together.

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