Après le déluge: Teaching and learning in the age of COVID with Dr. Bakhurst

Dr. Christopher Martin, Associate Professor, is hosting a Canadian Philosophy of Education Society seminar. 

Dr. David Bakhurst, Queen’s University will be presenting on Après le déluge: Teaching and learning in the age of COVID. In his 2020 paper ‘Teaching, telling and technology’, Bakhurst explored the essentially second-personal, I-thou, relation between teacher and student—a relation he takes to be essential to teaching at its most effective and inspiring. He concluded that essay with a critique of web-based instruction in universities, arguing that there are features of online courses that undermine dimensions of the teacher-student relation that are profoundly valuable. ‘Teaching, telling and technology’ appeared just as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the completion of the 2019–20 academic year and forced many schools and colleges around the world to teach part or all of the 2020–21 academic year online. In this paper, Bakhurst considers whether the experience of teaching remotely during the pandemic vindicates or refutes the position he took in his earlier paper. He finds that, while we all have reason to be grateful that remote learning platforms made it possible for formal education to continue during the pandemic, there remain reasons to be wary of online courses, particularly when taught asynchronously. This, he argues, is particularly, though not exclusively, true of teaching in the humanities. More concerning still is that many problematic features of web-based instruction are symptoms of deleterious trends in higher education in general. Drawing on such diverse thinkers as Oakeshott, Kant and Coetzee, Bakhurst maintains that, if we are to initiate pupils into the conversation of humanity, enable them to think for themselves, and to understand what learning is and how it occurs, then educational encounters must foster and exhibit the creative movement of thought in conditions of uncertainty and controversy, and that the ideal medium for this is real-time, in-person intellectual engagement between embodied beings in shared physical space.

Thursday, October 7
9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Via Zoom

The event is open for all to attend. While attendance is free, you still need to register to receive the Zoom link.


About the Speaker

Dr. David Bakhurst is George Whalley Distinguished University Professor and John and Ella G. Charlton Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University, Ontario.  His book, Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy (Cambridge, 1991), represents the first critical history of Soviet philosophical culture. The primary research was conducted in Moscow under the mentorship of Felix Mikhailov. Since then, in addition to continuing his work on Russian thought, Bakhurst has written on epistemology, metaphysics, Wittgenstein, ethics and philosophy of education. Recent publications include The Formation of Reason (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and the edited collection, Teaching and Learning: Epistemic, Metaphysical and Ethical Dimensions (2020), which appeared as a special issue of Journal of Philosophy of Education. He has held visiting positions at All Souls College, Oxford; Exeter College, Oxford; UCL Institute of Education; the Australian National University. He is presently a participant in an international research project on the philosophy of Kant, based at the Akademia Kantiana of the Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad. Bakhurst is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

About the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society Seminar Series

The Canadian Philosophy of Education Seminar Series aims to create a space to support in-progress work in the philosophy of education, provide opportunities for pre-tenure/early career and graduate students, and contribute to the cultivation of scholarly community. Anyone working at the intersections of philosophy and education are welcome to contribute to the series.

If you are interested in presenting a paper in future events, contact Dr. Christopher Martin at christopher.martin@ubc.ca.