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Educating in respect: against neutral discourse as a norm for respectful classroom discussion

Easton, Christina ORCID: 0000-0001-7018-7112 (2018) Educating in respect: against neutral discourse as a norm for respectful classroom discussion. Philosophy, 93 (2). pp. 187-210. ISSN 0031-8191

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0031819117000602


Since 2014, British schools have been required to ‘actively promote’ the value of ‘mutual respect’ to the children in their care. This is relatively unproblematic: liberals are agreed that good citizenship education will involve teaching mutual respect. However, there is disagreement over how ‘respect’ should be understood and what it should imply for norms of respectful classroom discussion. Some political liberals have indicated that when engaging in discussion in the classroom, students should provide only neutral reasons to defend their views. This paper provides a number of arguments against this claim. For example, I argue that this norm relies on a distorted understanding of what it is to respect others and that it stifles the development of civic and epistemic virtue in the next generation of citizens. Even from within the perspective of political liberalism, there are good reasons to favour critical discussion of non-neutral reasons. Education policy should therefore accord greater priority to discussion of students’ actual motivating reasons than to discussion constrained by a norm of neutral discourse.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2018 The Royal Institute of Philosophy
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2018 10:04
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2024 02:39

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