Date of this Version
This article sketches the implications of Gergen’s relational approach for educational research and practice. Gergen suggests that we envision education as a set of processes intended to enhance relationships. This is a radical departure from most mainstream educational research and practice, which is designed to enhance the individual’s mind. We first examine three key assumptions about individuals and about knowledge that undergird mainstream educational research and practice—an emphasis on the individual as separate from the world, an account of knowledge as decontextualized and a tendency towards hierarchies which favor purified knowledge over lesser forms. We then describe three alternative assumptions from Gergen’s relational account of education—an emphasis on individuals as woven into contexts and knowledge as produced in relations, a view of knowledge as contextualized, and a view of knowledge and action as heterogeneous, not pure. We provide examples from current educational research and practice that illustrate these three assumptions about relational education.
The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com
education, relational psychology, social constructionism, knowledge
Wortham, S., & Jackson, K. (2012). Relational Education: Applying Gergen’s Work to Educational Research and Practice. Psychological Studies, 57 (2), 164-171. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12646-011-0120-z
Date Posted: 11 February 2015
This document has been peer reviewed.