Hermeneutics and Education

Bloomsbury have kindly allowed me to share a sample chapter of my newly released book via my institutional repository.  I include a summary of the chapter’s content below, and you can download the chapter and get full citation details here.

This chapter considers the implications of philosophical hermeneutics for the well-known ‘pedagogical triangle’ of teacher, student and subject matter. We find our way to what is specifically educational in the hermeneutic dialogue by considering examples of deficient or degenerate conversation. The close relationship between the ‘instructional’ (or pedagogical) triangle and the hermeneutic situation can then be emphasized, particularly once we acknowledge Heidegger’s requirement that the teacher must learn to ‘let learn’. All hermeneutic situations, it will be shown, are educational. How, then, moving beyond this global understanding, can hermeneutics inform those local situations that we wish to think of as specifically educational (i.e. schooling)? This leads us to consider the constellation of hermeneutic circles that constitute the event of classroom learning. An important distinction will be made between the ‘object of study’ and the ‘subject matter’. The subject matter – Gadamer’s ‘die Sache’ – ‘emerges’ in the event of learning, which implies a transformation of teacher, student and curriculum.

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