The Great Rethink in Education, v0.1.1
The premise of the conference: there is a need in education for more intellectual depth and clarity, more philosophy of education, more engineering from first principles. You can read my remarks at the first conference here for a full statement of where I think we are in the history of education and why this sort of discussion is critical. Or, in Ray Girn’s more concise words:
The sessions were fantastic:
Kmele Foster spoke on the culture wars and education. He argued that school choice was a good way to provide some badly needed de-escalation to the culture wars—and explained why he chooses education that prioritizes the individual and offers guardrails against totemization.
Michael Abello talked about the work of Bezos Academy, with a special emphasis on the kinds of innovation that are needed to increase access, on both the supply and demand sides, to pedagogically radical education.
Emily Lawrence walked through a few hundred years of the history of concert dance, especially the evolution of ballet, and showed how tied the art form was to pedagogy: its conservative classical forms are coupled to rigid classical pedagogy in studios, and its more modern evolutions are coupled to progressive pedagogy in higher education.
Kerry McDonald surveyed six decades of alternate education in the US, noting, among other things, that what started as a small, radical trend is increasingly mainstream and big tent.
Vriti Saraf spoke about web3 and education, arguing that both the technology itself was promising for education and that the ethos and culture around the technology dovetail nicely with better pedagogical trends.
Luc Travers offered a pedagogical demonstration of his approach to the visual arts. Luc’s approach deemphasizes technical and historical context and instead centers on explicating and relating to the narrative implicit in the visual arts. (Luc also provided tours at the Met.)
Caleb Hicks discussed his work bringing real problems and experts from industry into high school education, and ran a workshop demo of his pedagogy as well.
Joseph Connor looked at the types of education policy shifts that are occurring in many states, and offered both a taxonomy of the types of organization that is emerging to
Ray Girn and I provided bookends to the conference, arguing that inadequately philosophical pedagogy is a blocker to education reform, and that we shouldn’t be shy about providing more controversial rationales for heterodox positions.
We’ll be hosting again in Austin in the late fall; email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in attending.