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ERIC Number: EJ1072476
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Beyond Oppositional Thinking: Radical Respect
Thornton, Sharon G.; Romano, Rosalie M.
Philosophical Studies in Education, v38 p199-209 2007
As a post-9/11 society in the United States, people live in a complex and pluralistic world that pushes to rethink how to approach education. People want to know what is right and good, but how to discern this in a world where consensual understandings of meaning are missing, even within the nation's borders? Those in the northern, and particularly western hemisphere, have defined what is good and true in relationship to how they understand their opposites. This is a view rooted in a western history of logic based on the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction: One cannot have A and not A at the same time. John Dewey represents this view when he says humans like to think in duality, black/white, good/evil, or conservative/liberal. Dewey's assertion assumes duality is a universal basis for rational reflection. But this "forced choice" thinking is not necessarily benign; it can foster exclusionary social practices where people become pitted against each other, resulting in some being deemed more valuable than others. In this article, the authors propose that the formation of radical respect can move students and teachers beyond the confines of oppositional thinking and relating. Furthermore, the authors believe the formation of radical respect is "caught" as much as it is "taught," and the classroom is a valid place for this endeavor. The kind of radical respect the authors are talking about involves six dimensions: (1) communal practice of listening; (2) communal practices believing; (3) communal practices of attention; (4) communal practices of advocacy; (5) communal practices of restoration; and (6) communal practices of interpretation. The six practices of radical respect begin to shift the reigning educational paradigm from individual authority in the classroom to encounters of interdependence and shared power. Education, then, becomes joined to projects of liberation, and personal insights broaden to historical consciousness. Educational philosophy becomes tied to social analysis, and hyper-rationalism is tempered by imagination and visions of the heart. Radical respect is a form of commitment to education that seeks to participate in what Freire calls "a pedagogy of freedom," a freedom that takes seriously the reforming of our academic and political life together and is dedicated to a vision of the full flourishing of all people.
Descriptors: Educational Philosophy, Western Civilization, Social Isolation, Social Bias, Thinking Skills, Skill Development, Teaching Methods, Teacher Attitudes, Cultural Background, World Views, Cultural Differences, Misconceptions, Teacher Student Relationship, Listening, Empathy, Imagination, Student Attitudes, Cultural Awareness
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site: http://ovpes.org/?page_id=51
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A