The 'problem of the problem with educational research'

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Journal Article
The Australian Educational Researcher, 2006, 33 (2), pp. 43 - 60
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This paper takes up the question of the way in which 'the problem with educational research' is represented. It takes as its point of departure two recent views on 'the problem' - one expressed by an educational journalist and one presented by the Australian Council of Deans of Education. It locates these within a larger frame of international debate about educational research and its problems and considers how these arise out of particular dispositions towards educational research and, by extension towards, education itself. The paper suggests that the different positions on the problem with educational research, and hence on the solution to the problem, fail to engage in the question of education itself as a problem of the present. It argues that this problem is produced through twin fantasies about education: a redemptive fantasy about the possibility and the imperative for education to solve problems of social disadvantage; and a disciplinary fantasy that faculties of education can do this by themselves. Through an examination of the 'de-sciencing' of education in the past decade or so, and its recent 're-sciencing', the authors conclude that, with all the problems that might be identified that pertain to educational research and to faculties of education, the most significant might well be a failure of research imagination. Overcoming this problem demands engagement with provocative ideas coming from outside traditional educational expertise.
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