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ERIC Number: EJ870479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1744-9642
Education, Educational Research, and the "Grammar" of Understanding: A Response to David Bridges
Smeyers, Paul
Ethics and Education, v4 n2 p125-129 Oct 2009
This article is the author's response to a paper presented by David Bridges. Bridges' central question: "Is there something exclusive and superior about insider understanding which the outsider cannot understand?" is indeed not only crucial to the contexts he explicitly deals with, i.e. religious understanding, ethnographic research and intercultural understanding, but more general to all education. The author's short response is: "Yes of course!" But it will all depend on what is meant by "understanding". It is the grammar of the concept itself that plays tricks on people. In this article, the author deals with two of Bridges' substantial claims and concludes by briefly recalling some interesting details of the 1990 movie by Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner featuring Kevin Costner as Lt. John J. Dunbar, referred to by the Indians as "Dances With Wolves". The movie is full of evocative images: for instance, when people exchange something (a jacket, a hat), both of the parties have to give up something for which they care, or the insight that on being confronted with a different way of life, one's own is threatened as well. The message it conveys to the author for Bridges' paper points concerning educational research to the idea that though knowledge may be necessarily the beginning, it cannot leave philosophers of education to indulge themselves in the feeling of complacency that this is all they have to acquire or achieve. Indeed, it pushes them in the direction that they have to make it their business to know how to go on. In that sense too, they cannot but necessarily be insiders. The author contends that it cannot be a coincidence that Terry McLaughlin continually stressed the importance for education of a change of life. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A