Since the last session workshop with Lindsay, where we had to read the selected text ‘Public education ‘an excerpt from ‘Higher Education and the Public Good: Imagining the University’ by Jon Nixon. I have become very interested in further research in his idea of the ‘public good’ and the distinction made here to ‘public interest’.
The text was complex and triggered many questions, thinking about the broader moral and ethical considerations and implications for education and its role in society at large. This thinking is where theory meets teaching practice and I am beginning to slowly unravel my understanding of the term pedagogy.
The text begins with the Enlightenment period ,marked as a defining moment for education, where the idea of scientific and empirical knowledge above all as reason, truth and progress, ‘human control over the complex environment within which we live an plan for the future.’ was the ‘constituent element’ of the ‘Enlightenment project.’ (Nixon pg.19)
The focus of Nixon’s writing is the strained relationship between education as a ‘liberating’ force and education as social control, for the benefit of the ‘social good’ ie. the broader sociological perspective where Nixon leads us back to Durkheim’s positivism, thus understanding society through scientific distancing ; objectifying its subjects and seeking objective truth .
I will continue to read this book, as I am interested in ethics and education ,especially as a lecturer, but also particularly in relation to ethical codes,practice and mission statements of universities on the whole. How is ethics approached in universities and how does this filter down to how students learn and create .
‘The technological ‘turn’ that science took throughout the various phases of the industrial revolution should be seen, therefore, as intrinsic to the scientific project as originally conceived. The terms ‘science’ and ‘technology’ are now linked in ways which are often assumed to be uniquely contemporary. The financial infrastructure that supports S(‘.ientific enquiry is now almost entirely focused on outcome, impact and applicability as the essential foreground of enquiry and precondition of funding. Research goes hand in hand with development. So-called ‘blue skies’ research is undertaken, but always on the tacit understanding that the research may yield significant albeit unspecified pay-offs at some later stage. However, this emphasis does not constitute an epistemological break. On the contrary, the ‘technological revolution’ as we have come to think ofit is all ofa piece with the founding impulse of scientific enquiry: the impulse, that is, to know the natural and social world and, in knowing it, to control it; and, in controlling it, to enhance its resources and to expand our resourcefulness.’