Defining the Tacit in Pedagogy

ECER- Conference at the University of Cadiz/Spain, 18. – 21. Sept. 2012


Dr. Anja Kraus

Defining the Tacit in the Tacit Turn

On the one hand, today´s pedagogy is ruled by the perspective of caring for the child and for its future in society and the normative framing by personal, social and political-economical demands. On the other hand, pedagogy today is led by a high esteem for the personality, the responsibility and also the autonomy of the child. Both approaches are deeply rooted in the tradition of Enlightenment (cf. Adorno 1947). This means that social reality is regarded as being governed by planning and by rational decisions, by rules, by transparent procedures, by unambiguous facts and by other characteristics of rational order. When this is not the case, pedagogy (and with it each child and each pedagogue) is usually considered as when attempting toto change the situation for the better

It seems however as if pedagogy usually fails. In a variety actual scientific models of pedagogy the view is quite different. At the beginning of the 1970s emancipatory and rationalistic concepts were at their peak. However, in 1979, Francois Lyotard proclaimed the “end of master narratives“, such as “emancipation”, “autonomy”, “societal progress” etc. The postmodern movement stressed the self-interpretation, the contingency, the discoursivity as well as the stage-character of phenomena and worked this out for the different fields of human and non-human existence. This paradigm shift was mostly carried out by referring to the materiality of the body, of experience, of history and of the interdependencies between the diverse species. Hereby, new fields of social research have been opened up. In these approaches, to quote Gebauer& Wulf 1995: 10, the shared “[…] position is critical of rationality, however, without surrendering the claim of reason to the irrational”. By focusing mainly the tacit side of practices, we follow up a paradigm shift in pedagogy. This paradigm shift entails not only a revision of instructional practices but also a revision of the existing theoretical approaches to educational practices and learning. Further the learning goals and the means of instruction have to be revised. In this it is discussed what turn-taking in pedagogy means, causes, effects and implications.

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