Studia paedagogica, 16:1, 2013

Topic: Good and evil in education

The forthcoming issue of Studia paedagogica has been entitled Good and 
evil in education. The educational sciences have recently undergone a 
unique boom, widening the scope of the phenomena they focus on. For this 
reason, we think it is worth paying attention to some basic questions of 
education. We intend to follow previous monothematic issues explored by 
the journal, which concentrated on space, relations and time in 
education as well as the language of the school, and go on to evaluate 
various phenomena related to current education. The next issue of Studia 
paedagogica will offer space for polemical contributions looking at good 
and evil in education from various viewpoints. In our understanding, the 
notion of good is a basic category of moral philosophy, denoting what is 
useful, pleasant or perfect. Although throughout the history of 
philosophy the way in which good is understood has been subject to 
change, e.g. as the highest idea (Plato) and a transcendental essence 
which pervades all categories similarly to existence, truth and beauty, 
our intention is to use the categories of good and the evil in a 
metaphorical manner and to look at the basic processes of education 
through the perspectives they offer.

Good and evil can be explored at a subjective level, which means 
focusing on the individual and asking questions about what they enjoy 
and what is pleasant for them. Questions like the following may be asked:

/What is pleasant and what is unpleasant in education? What kinds of 
wishes and desires do today's pupils and students have? What kinds of 
relationships to teachers do pupils prefer? Which ways of maintaining 
discipline do they dislike? Which working conditions do teachers 
perceive as pleasant? What do teachers like or dislike about in-service 
training? Which forms of communication with the school are satisfactory 
for parents? Which forms of education would be favoured by seniors?
Good and evil can also be related to society (at an objective level) and 
questions about usefulness may be asked, such as:

/What is purposeful and what is harmful in education? What is the 
relation between education and economic utility? What kind of positive 
(or negative) effects can be expected from the blanket testing of 
pupils'  knowledge? What is the purpose of having increased numbers of 
higher education students? Is parent education useful? Is professional 
foster care better than institutional care? What is the actual result of 
initiatives towards lifelong learning?
And finally, the reference point for good and evil can be found at its 
transcendental level. Answers can be sought to questions concerning the 
meaning of 'moral' and moral action, such as:

/What is good and what is bad in terms of morality? What are the moral 
dimensions of a teacher's mission? Which values should the school pass 
on to pupils? Is the school an "institutionalized museum of human 
virtues"? How does a fair teacher behave? Is it necessary to liberalize 
education or, conversely, to restore the authority of teachers and 
parents? What is characteristic of a good parent?
Polemical and critical reflections on key questions of education and on 
education itself are welcome. Many phenomena associated with current 
forms of education may be viewed equivocally or contradictorily. Good 
and evil can often be relative, so it is worthwhile reflecting on what 
the related reference framework consists of -- in other words for whom 
and for which reason something is good -- by asking questions such as 
the following:

/Are society-wide problems reflected in schools? Is the clash of 
generations reflected in schools? For which schools is the introduction 
of the state 'maturita' (graduation) examination good? How does the 
existence of six- and eight-year grammar schools affect gifted children 
and what does it mean for those educated at basic schools? Who is going 
to lose by, and who is going to profit from the introduction of tuition 
fees in higher education? Which kinds of parents might consider 
intensive communication with the school as a pleasant phenomenon? Which 
adults can profit from the offer of informal educational activities?
We are looking forward to your theoretical and empirical contributions. 
Among other points, we are interested in how 'good' and 'bad' in 
education can be investigated using the tools of educational research, 
be it at the level of actors, of the school, or of the 
schooling/education system.

Obviously the questions outlined above cannot cover the whole range of 
possibilities which open up when the idea of "good and evil in 
education" is explored. Nevertheless, we hope they can serve as a 
starting point for contributors. Please send your abstracts (200 to 400 
words) by *15 September* to [log in to unmask] The deadline 
for full texts is *15 December 2012*. This issue of Studia paedagogica 
will be published in July 2013.

The editors of the issue entitled Good and evil in education are Milan 
Pol and Roman ©vaříček. For further information and detailed 
instructions for authors, please visit