Tropics of Teaching: Productivity, Warfare, and Priesthood
Published: December 2002© 2002
192 Pages, 6.24 x 9.25 x 0.76 in
Teacher education and research on teaching are surrounded by 'a culture of niceness' which can prevent the expression of problems experienced by teachers and researchers. Based on the premise that deconstruction and demystification are a necessary counterforce to 'shared myths,' François Tochon offers a provocative, original assessment of mass educational concepts and teacher education, leading to a challenge of rethinking pedagogy in general.
The author identifies three shaping metaphors: 'productivity' (output standardization; business efficiency), 'warfare' (strategy; expertise), and 'priesthood' (the enlightened subject) - which he argues stifle individual growth in a classroom context. He then advocates an entirely different approach, which he terms 'a countermethodology of self-reflection, rather than an incursion into the life of the Other.' This approach is achieved, in part, via a technique he calls Action-Poetry: a means of research and educational activism.
Tochon's original contribution to educational scholarship - and his direct challenge to educators themselves - is the practice of reflective, situated research with classroom observation (his own journal entries are included in the text). Tropics of Teaching is a call to education specialists and to scholars in social and literary studies to rethink current education curricula, policies, and philosophies.
' [Tochon] certainly succeeds in engaging ... readers by putting into question some of the major paradigms behind current teacher education and teaching practices at work in the classroom and the colleges and faculties of education in North America today, all the while offering up new suggestions and vistas for self reflection in a domain that is of critical importance to society in general.'Paul Perron, Department of French, University of Toronto