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An Existentialist Account of Teaching
This book has been published in 2022 as part of the 'Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education' Springer series. It builds upon my research as a doctoral student at the UCL Institute of Education, which I completed in 2020. Against the current grain of teacher accountability in educational policy, it aims to reconceptualise how we might account for teaching through an engagement with the early existentialist movement in philosophy. It begins by situating the discussion in relation to school self-evaluation policy in the Republic of Ireland, a concrete example of what I refer to as a ‘technicist’ understanding of teaching. In this book, I aim to show how this ‘technicist’ understanding of teaching not only impacts the ways in which we ‘recognise’ effective practice, but also that it influences our conception of teaching in a broader sense, particularly in terms of how we might account for what teaching involves. In turning away from the inherent reductionism that characterises such accounts of teaching, I instead turn towards the rich but demanding work of Jean-Paul Sartre. By paying close attention to everyday examples of teaching, I aim to build upon Sartre’s key concepts such that they might open up new ways of thinking about the practices of teaching. This book will be particularly relevant for educational practitioners, teacher educators and those who work in the field of philosophy of education and policy studies.
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