Reviving forgotten connections in North American teacher education: Klaus Mollenhauer and the pedagogical relation

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Despite the dominance of instrumental, psychological approaches to educational theory and practice in North America, a different understanding of the value and dynamics of education is often articulated informally in cultural representations (e.g. fiction and feature films) and in personal recollections. This alternative understanding is one in which the personal characteristics of a teacher or professor, and the relation between student and teacher are often paramount. Through reference to existing research and to examples drawn from real-life practice, this paper presents a broadly existential and explicitly relational way of understanding education, or, rather, pedagogy. It gives special emphasis to the way that such an understanding has been articulated in the text Vergessene Zusammenhange: uber Kultur und Erziehung [Forgotten Connections: On Culture and Education] by Klaus Mollenhauer. The paper describes how the insights of Mollenhauer and other writers regarding an existential and relational pedagogy were translated and adapted for a North American course in teacher education, and how such a course can serve as an important ingredient in nurturing undergraduate students who are becoming teachers.

Keywords: Mollenhauer; culture; educational philosophy; educational practices; pedagogical relation; teaching education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada 2: School of Education in the Norwegian Teachers' Academy, Bergen, Norway

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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