Studies in Philosophy and Education vol:32 issue:2 pages:189-203
This article explores the uses of Agamben’s philosophy for understanding the educational meaning of practices that typically take/took place at school, such as the collective rehearsal of the alphabet or the multiplication tables. More precisely, I propose that these forms of ‘practising’ show what schooling, as a particular and historically contingent institution, is all about. Instead of immediately assessing the ‘practice of practising’ in terms of learning outcomes, I turn to Bollnow’s attempt to analyze this phenomenon in a substantially educational way, which for him essentially consists in opposing practising and learning. I show that his analysis is superficial and that we need Agamben’s notion of ‘potentiality’ in order to come to grips with the sense of this phenomenon. This will allow to see that practising concerns an uncommon way to relate to a subject matter that makes possible a transformation of individual and collective existence. The main objective of this investigation is not to hold a plea for reintroducing obsolete pedagogical methods, but to rethink the very meaning of education.