Education, educational research and the good for humankind

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


(1) Education, properly speaking, is the process by which children, young people and adults are initiated into (a) forms of understanding that foster individual and collective self-expression, (b) modes of action that foster individual and collective self-development, and (c) ways ofrelating to one another and the world that foster individual and collective self-determination, and that are, in these senses, oriented towards both the good for each person and the good for humankind. On this view, education is necessarily normative. The good life for humankind hasbeen and continues to be interpreted differently in different places, and for changing times and circumstances; it is always contested, but it is also the subject of an enduring conversation that aims to be universally inclusive, although it is everywhere enabled and constrained by theparticularities of language and culture; time, space and resources; and relationships of power and solidarity that limit who can join the conversation.(2) Education is an initiation into practices that enact and secure (1) a culture based on reason, (2) a productive and sustainable economy and environment, and (3) a just and democratic society.(3) â''Educational researchâ'', as it is conceptualised today, encompasses a wide range of practices, not all of which are aimed at exploring, analysing and interpreting whether and how, in fact, practices of education, wherever they occur, are or are not educational. Rather, some of these practices aim to work out â''what works bestâ'' in schooling, in terms of yielding the largest harvests of learning outcomes for students. This latter kind of research might better be describedas schooling research.(4) Educators themselves need to ascertain whether their own practice (individually and collectively) is indeed educational; for this reason, many educators (both individually and as a profession) conduct research into their own practices, frequently some form of action research or practical philosophy. Only educators can conduct research from the perspective of practitioners of the practice (that is, participant research), and from within the practice traditions that inform their practice. This paper argues that, in our times, more of this kind of educational research is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFERA 2013
Place of PublicationFinland
PublisherFinnish Educational Research Association
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAnnual Finnish Educational Research Association Conference on Educational Research - University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä
Duration: 21 Nov 201322 Nov 2013


ConferenceAnnual Finnish Educational Research Association Conference on Educational Research


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