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Review: Rewriting Bildung for Postmodernity: Books on Educational Philosophy, Classroom Practice, and Reflective Teaching

Reviewed Works: Educating Humanity: Bildung in Postmodernity by Lars Løvlie, Klaus Peter Mortensen, Sven Erik Nordenbo; Looking into Classrooms. Paper on Didactics by Peter Menck; Teaching as a Reflective Practive. The German Didaktik Tradition by Ian Westbury, Stefan Hopmann, Kurt Riquarts
Review by: Klaus-Henning Hansen
Curriculum Inquiry
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp. 93-115
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30054724
Page Count: 23
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Rewriting Bildung for Postmodernity: Books on Educational Philosophy, Classroom Practice, and Reflective Teaching
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Abstract

In the first part of this essay review ("Bildung Between Human Value, Political Rhetoric and Historical Transformation"), the term Bildung is introduced and central questions for the review are raised. How can a term that is charged with the utopian hopes of enlightenment and the appropriation of these hopes by the rising middle class between 1770 and 1830 guide the current discourse on education? How can Bildung serve as a principle of contemporary educational practice? In the second part of this essay review ("Rewriting Bildung: The Place of a Normative Theory of Education"), I look at the rewriting of this idea in a collection of essays written by educational philosophers in Educating Humanity: Bildung in Postmodernity (Løvlie, Mortensen, & Nordenbo, 2003). These authors present transformations of Bildung to cope with postmodern realities. I review these essays in terms of their potential to save human values against dehumanizing trends of postmodernity and globalization. In the third part of this essay, I examine the transformation of Bildung into educational practice via "Bildung-centered Didaktik." Two German Didaktik traditions are explained and the other two books, Looking Into Classrooms: Papers on Didactics (Menck, 2002) and Teaching as Reflective Practice: The German Didaktik Tradition (Westbury, Hopmann, & Riquarts, 2000), are reviewed with respect to their role for the contemporary discourse on Didaktik and their contribution to classroom practice. The relationship between Bildung and curriculum serves as a background to several of the papers. I also discuss the role of Bildung and Didaktik for teacher education and confront the books' theoretical ideas with current issues of educational reform. Finally, I present a discussion of the different approaches and my own conclusions. They include arguments to defend a utopian and partly idealist concept against managerial approaches to education that restrict themselves to performativity and effectiveness. My conclusions also underline the need for rewriting Bildung in the late modernity.

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