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ERIC Number: EJ1135128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0309-8249
Confronting the Dark Side of Higher Education
Bengsten, Soren; Barnett, Ronald
Journal of Philosophy of Education, v51 n1 p114-131 Feb 2017
In this paper we philosophically explore the notion of darkness within higher education teaching and learning. Within the present-day discourse of how to make visible and to explicate teaching and learning strategies through alignment procedures and evidence-based intellectual leadership, we argue that dark spots and blind angles grow too. As we struggle to make visible and to evaluate, assess, manage and organise higher education, the darkness of the institution actually expands. We use the term "dark" to comprehend challenges, situations, reactions, aims and goals, which cannot easily be understood and solved by agendas of quality assurance and professionalisation of higher education. We need to understand better why gender issues or ethnic conflicts emerge, and why students take up arms, within an institution which is thought to be inclusive, inviting and open to all kinds of people and cultures. And we need to study the educational potential of days of boredom or isolation, caught up in daily routines of teaching or studying which do not lead anywhere or give way to any productive work. These matters have not been sufficiently researched and conceptualised as meaningful in themselves. We aim here to open a space for insights through the concept of darkness presented in this paper. In order to make educational darkness palpable we draw on the philosophies of darkness found in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Emmanuel Levinas. Through those philosophies we argue that the growing darkness within higher education is not a symptom we should fear and avoid. Having the ability and courage to face these darker educational aspects of everyday higher education practice will enable students and teachers to find renewed hope in the university as an institution for personal as well as professional imagination and growth.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A