Facing Uncertainty in Education

Wednesday, 09 September, 14:00 - 15:00

Location: IV. Előadóterem [Main]

One of the most pressing concerns identified in current European educational discourse has to do with the transition of students from school to higher education and from educational institutions to the labour market. Government anxieties over the precariousness of the future has led to increasing regulation and measurement of ‘skills’ and ‘competencies’ for students in an attempt to suture over these transitions. However, in doing so, policies risk further alienating and dehumanizing students in turning classrooms into testing zones and places of high risk assessment that pigeon-hole students into limited futures. I argue in this paper that if youth are to contribute meaningfully to a future that is, by definition, not something that is certain or knowable in advance, then is it not a more appropriate response to think about the kinds of sensibility that would help students orient themselves toward a changing and unpredictable world? This paper outlines how a project of facing uncertainty (what the poet John Keats referred to a ‘negative capability’) actually shifts the terms upon which policies and curricular reform can be constructed.

About Sharon Todd

Prof Sharon Todd

Sharon Todd is Professor of Education at Maynooth University, Ireland. Her research has focused on educational practice, policy and curriculum, and is situated within the field of philosophy of education and is informed primarily by feminism and contemporary continental philosophy. Topics include the political and ethical aspects of education, interculturalism and diversity issues, images of femininity and masculinity in current curriculum knowledge, and the importance of educational relationships for pedagogical practice. She has published widely on cross cultural conflict, democracy and cosmopolitanism, human rights education, debates about Muslim dress in European schools, and the idea of transformation within educational thought.  Current work explores questions of embodiment, sensibility and the idea of uncertainty in education from both western and eastern philosophical traditions.

Books include:

  • Toward an Imperfect Education: Facing Humanity, Rethinking Cosmopolitanism. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press, 2009
  • Learning from the Other: Levinas, Psychoanalysis and Ethical Possibilities in Education.  Albany: SUNY Press, 2003
  • and Co-editor with Morwenna Griffiths, Marit Hoveid and Chris Winter Re-imagining Educational Relationships: Ethics, Politics, Practices. Oxford: Wiley, 2014.

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