Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RTB Likes "Promoting Confusion in Educational Psychology"

Casie, no need to skewer rjmr...I've got it. Better yet, I hired a hit-theorist:
Fenstermacher, G., & Richardson, V. (1994). Promoting confusion in educational psychology: How is it done? Educational psychologist, 29(1), 49-55. (The Bereiter Stuff is on pp. 50-51)
I try to do a bit of irritating condensation, of course...(sometimes in medias res...) The bullets are mine. Anything in medias res is tagged as mine.
We tease you because we love you,bro!

(now there's a great example of a productive "non-progressive" discourse!)

  • Progressive discourse = Bereiter's attempt to graft behaviorism/cognitivism to postmodernism:

    • "Bereiter deserves praise for his honest and straightforward effort to work out the implications of postmodern thought for his own conception of what is involved in doing educational psychology. This exploration has, it seems, moved his thinking away from the behaviorist and cognitive theories of learning for which he is well known toward a conception of scientific method that places empirical warrant within a discourse community."

  • Progressive discourse = Bereiter's attempt to impose the hegemony of research/science on education/praxis:

    • "There are still signs in his article, however, of a conception of theory into practice that promotes the authority of some (i.e., researchers and theorists) to prescribe the practices and thought processes of others (i.e., teachers and students). This continues a long tradition in educational psychology that assumes that educational reform is a linear progression from the development of formal knowledge by researchers to the adoption of principles from this research by teacher-consumers."

  • Progressive discourse = Bereiter's attempt to "put lipstick on a pig":

    • "In accommodating to the postmodernist view, Bereiter redefined the scientific method as a commitment to progressive discourse. This allowed him to maintain a sense of scientific progress — a position at odds with postmodernist thinking — while accepting the postmodernist position on the impossibility or irrelevance of a concept of objectivity in research. Locating the judgment of progress within a scientific community allowed Bereiter to reject a realist position that there is a reality external to an individual that may be apprehended through the scientific method-while moving the judgment of progress to a position that is external to the individual. For Bereiter, it is the discourse community that determines whether new ideas and their research evidence should be rejected or synthesized, or whether they should replace other ideas. He developed a set of prescriptions or entailments that ensure that the discourse process leads to progress..."

  • Progressive discourse = Bereiter's attempt to equate progress with consensus, and by so doing, silence heterodoxies:

    • "Bereiter's commitment to discourse as the forum for the creation and judgement of  scientific progress joins a strong and growing literature in social theory that proposes that dialogue, as engaged within certain sets of rules or entailments [<RTB>Let's call these discourses</RTB>], is our only hope for enlightened political and social decision making — as well as empowering educational processes...Unlike Bereiter's, however, most other sets of entailments [<RTB>discourses</RTB>] deal with the issue of equality of participation. Further, the goal of such discourse processes may not be consensus. Equating progress with consensus is precisely what postmodernists...would suggest leads to the hegemony that silences marginalized voices."

  • Progressive discourse = Bereiter's attempt to be "'da Man" for teachers, and to have teachers be "da Man" for students:

    • "When Bereiter moves to the educational implications of his progressive-discourse theory, one can see why equal participation in the discourse is not one of his criteria. The concept of authority is strongly represented in his conceptualization of the discourse community classroom. The first authority is Bereiter, himself, who, as a learning theorist, developed prescriptions for teachers on the nature of the progressive-discourse classroom, and for the role of the teachers in such classrooms. The next authority is the teacher, whose role is to lead students forward by having them examine authoritative texts and other expert sources and come to common interpretation of their meaning. The teacher would also determine whether the discourse is progressive and would intervene if it were not. Thus, authority over the nature of the classroom discourse and the goals and role of the teacher resides in the theorist — Bereiter — and authority related to [<RTB>Insert your discipline here</RTB>] resides in the text, the teacher, and other forms of expertise."

  • Progressive discourse = Bereiter's attempt to impose a hegemony of knowledge, and by so doing, promoting inequality and marginalizing democracy:

    • "Bereiter's article represents a provocative attempt to accommodate the subjective elements of postmodernism within a postpositivist approach to scientific method, but it ignores a most important issue in the postmodern thinking — the critique related to the hegemony of knowledge. By ignoring the concern that discourse communities may be undemocratic, Bereiter's approach would not appease the postmodern critics nor would it contribute to reducing the inequality present in the enactment of [<RTB>Insert your discipline here</RTB>]."

RTB throws down his keyboard and walks off à la Ralphie May........