Framing ethical relationality in teacher education : possibilities and challenges for global citizenship and service-learning in the physical education curriculum in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Knowledge society and neoliberal discourses have recently supplanted modern humanistic projects in Aotearoa/New Zealand education. Knowledge society discourses include conceptual shifts in knowledge and learning. In this doctoral report (which also includes four published articles) I argue that both neoliberal knowledge society practices and modern humanistic perspectives present significant challenges as epistemic violence toward the Other pervade education settings. As Mouffe (2005) and others (Mignolo, 2011; Todd, 2009) have pointed out, neoliberal and humanistic projects have failed spectacularly on multi-systemic levels. There is a consequential need to educate, to think, and to see Otherwise: To do this requires the ability to learn Otherwise. Challenging limitations of critical humanism that I encountered in my own teaching practice, and challenging liberal humanism so evident among the pre-service teachers with whom I work, in this thesis I provisionally suggest postcritical strategies which may offer possibilities for ethical relationality toward the Other.
Motivated by social justice possibilities for teacher education, and for physical education teacher education (PETE) and service-learning (S-L) specifically, the aim of this study was to critically examine how varying conceptualisations of S-L and PETE are interpreted across a range of different theoretical and pedagogical perspectives. I was particularly interested in understanding how ethical relationality with the Other (where the Other is defined as one radically different to oneself) may be enabled through different theoretical and pedagogical perspectives in order to advance possibilities for social justice within community and education contexts. Interrelated contexts shaped and informed this study and these include: (a) shifting conceptualisations of knowledge and learning in contemporary educational thinking; (b) theoretical and pedagogical possibilities and limitations of global citizenship education (GCE); and (c) curriculum implications for Physical Education (PE), PETE and S-L. A central theme of this study that connected these interrelated concepts together was
difference and diversity, specifically ethical relationality with the Other. The two main research questions guiding this study were: What types of engagement with difference are enabled and constrained by different discourses in PE and PETE? And what possibilities and difficulties emerge in critical and postcritical frameworks of S-L?
There were two phases to this study. During phase one I used a self-study research methodology to critically analyse my own teaching practice within the Aotearoa/New Zealand PETE context where I work. I was particularly interested in exploring the ways in which shifting conceptualisations of knowledge and learning could impact upon PETE and S-L curriculum and pedagogy formations, with a specific focus on varying understandings of ethical relationality with the Other. The findings of the self-study led to the development of a theoretical framework which situated different discourses of engagement with difference, and with the Other, by applying technicist (neo-liberal, knowledge society discourses), liberal and critical humanistic, and postcritical perspectives. This framework, developed in large part by drawing upon GCE literature, included the early development of a postcritical theoretical and pedagogical possibility for teacher education, specifically PETE and S-L contexts. During phase two, I applied this theoretical framework to a mixed methods research study which utilized survey and interview data collection methods. I collected and analysed data from first year PETE students in the Aotearoa/New Zealand university context where I work. The purpose of this phase was to investigate PETE students’ understandings of global citizenship, with a particular focus on the ways in which their understandings of the Other were interpreted across a range of theoretical perspectives. Findings from this study indicated that the majority of participants came from monocultural backgrounds. Findings also indicated that participants overwhelmingly drew upon liberal humanism perspectives when considering relationality with the Other, and this included patterns of ethnocentrism, salvationism and paternalism, and universalist desires for sameness. By synthesising and integrating data from phase one and two of this study, I was able to consider the varied ways in which ethical relationality with the Other is understood within the PETE context in which I work. Consequently, I developed a postcritical theoretical and pedagogical possibility that may address some of the limitations inherent within humanist perspectives. Finally, I explored the implications of a postcritical practice for PETE and S-L contexts, including some of the challenges and limitations that such a practice may present.