After Higgins and Dunne: Imagining School Teaching as a Multi-Practice Activity
Article first published online: 15 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Author. Journal of Philosophy of Education © 2013 Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.
Journal of Philosophy of Education
Volume 47, Issue 3, pages 475–490, August 2013
How to Cite
Davies, R. (2013), After Higgins and Dunne: Imagining School Teaching as a Multi-Practice Activity. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47: 475–490. doi: 10.1111/1467-9752.12030
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 15 MAY 2013
There remains a concern in philosophy of education circles to assert that teaching is a social practice. Its initiation occurs in a conversation between Alasdair MacIntyre and Joe Dunne which inspired a Special Issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Education. This has been recently utilised in a further Special Issue by Chris Higgins. In this article I consider two points of conflict between MacIntyre and Dunne and seek to resolve both with a more nuanced understanding of the implications of applying the concept ‘social practice’ to teaching. I critique both Dunne's and Higgins' focus on schools and school teaching. It is their focus on school teaching, rather than a broader account of teaching, that leads them astray. The result is that Dunne and Higgins have not shown that teaching is a social practice. School teaching is not a complex activity, but a complex set of different activities co-located in one place and engaged in by the same agents. In a final section I offer an account of ‘school teaching’ as a multi-practice activity which is consistent with MacIntyre's approach, and argue that schoolteachers have both an institutional and an educative role.