Tacit Dimensions of Pedagogy

Symposium at FU Berlin, 25. – 26. March 2011

The contributions to the symposium are published by WAXMANN in 2012


25. March 2011

26. March 2011

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Prof. Dr. Christoph Wulf (Freie Universität Berlin), JProf. Dr. Anja Kraus, Dr. Anna Herbert


In pedagogy there is a tendency to take for granted that reflection as an important dimension of pedagogy and pedagogical efforts produces “consciousness”, which implies that our experiences can be grasped on a cognitive level. Furthermore, pedagogical theories and practices mostly argue in a normative way, often referring to the kind of empirical research which is based on the concept of quantifiable competences, a measurable output or the like.

From phenomenological and post-structural perspectives, however, this view is not completely acceptable. Reflection here is regarded as a “secondary experience”, ciphered out from a basic pre-reflexive multiplicity, e.g. of experiences. Thus, finding ourselves in a concrete situation, we tend to complete our actual experiences by reconstructing the invisible sides of the situation, realizing the unsaid as it is revealed by the explicit, by focusing on issues read between the lines. In doing so we often recur to a corporally conveyed experiential knowledge, and we come back to it whenever we want to decide whether or how something makes sense to us. All this can be regarded as a tacit side in pedagogical processes.

Beside explicit decisions concerning pedagogical measures, social settings, subjects, schedules, didactical tasks a.s.o. the implicit meanings of spoken and written statements and the tacit expressions and contextualizations of body-communication and -interaction come into sight, so also the aesthetical frames, the objects and other un-verbalized resources and limitations of commodities, tools and architectural environments. These aspects constitute a sort of incidental scenery that might grant pedagogical interventions and support ways of teaching and learning or might also inhibit them. Aspects of the sketched issue have been discussed as a ‘hidden curriculum’ in the 1970ies and as a ‘systemic approach to teaching’ in the 1990ies and actually are a central topic in phenomenological and post-structural analyses of educational processes. We here focus on a research that regards itself as a continuing contribution to this latter tradition which has in recent discussion become conventional e.g. under the label of ‘discourse-analysis’.

The sketched issue also concerns the question of literacy respectivelyBildung and with this all the ethical, political and emancipatory dimensions of education: If we consider the enhancement of self-development a fundamental goal of education, we have to clarify to which extent the implicit influences constrain or empower learners and teachers in understanding, transcending and creating the world. The aim is to provide an innovative theoretical framework for the democratic and emancipatory development of education.

In this regard, especially influences of urban surroundings are of interest.

Indicative areas of research:

  • Methodologies and methods in the qualitative empirical reconstruction of “Tacit Dimensions of Pedagogy”, as questions like:
    • What kind of data can be regarded as fitting to the aim described above?
    • How can implicit phenomena be distinguished from explicit phenomena in empirical regards?
    • How can a certain implicit process be isolated from others?
    • How can implicit processes be documented?
    • How can implicit processes be analyzed? How can e.g. body-language, body-communication and body-interaction be deciphered?
    • How can implicit relations between several persons be explored?
  • Explicit and tacit meanings of
    • instructional and everyday life discourse in pedagogical situations
    • iconic representations
    • architectural, especially urban environments
    • didactic tools and commodities
    • time structures


Submissions to the Symposium „Tacit Dimensions in Pedagogy“

How to formulate knowing in theatre education
Pernilla Ahlstrand
(Stockholm, Sweden)

The event and the Other
Bosse Bergstedt
(Lund, Sweden)

Aspects of time and space in open classroom education
Sabine Reh
(Berlin, Germany)

Educational practice and technologies in the field of lived body, pastoral power and didactics
Malte Brinkmann
(Ludwigsburg, Germany)

Ethnographical research on turn taking as an example to analyze tacit routines in school lessons
Jürgen Budde
(Halle, Germany)

The Tacit Significance of Dissection: Transparency or Disruption?
Norm Friesen
(Kamloops, Canada)

What does Easter mean to you?
Bernd Hackl & Sandra Hummel
(Graz, Austria)

Learning as Transformation
Anja Kraus
(Ludwigsburg, Germany)

Teaching Professional Reflexivity – Learning (about) Hierarchies: (Counter-) Productive Effects on Students’ Reflection Competences in Educational Settings
Maja S. Maier
(Heidelberg, Germany)

Reflection and reflection evocative structures
Christian D. Magnus
(Heidelberg, Germany)

School – Body – ‚Bildung‘.
Ruprecht Mattig & Ingrid Kellermann
(Kyoto, Japan) & (Berlin, Germany)

Pedgogical tact – concretizing a tacit dimension in pedagogy and rendering it measurable
Jean-Luc Patry
(Salzburg, Austria)

 The ability to differentiate – a teacher’s prerequisite for dealing with heterogeneity
Katharina Rosenberger
(Vienna/Krems, Austria)

Cultural Learning as Mimetic Learning: New Perspectives on Implicit Learning
Christopf Wulf
(Berlin, Germany)

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