Professing Education
A publication of the Society of Professors of Education
Dec, 2002. Vol. No.1

Professing Education

John M. Novak and Kenneth A. McClelland,

Brock University


We are proud to welcome you to the first edition of Professing Education, a semi-annual publication of the Society of Professors of Education. It is our intention to publish short, provocative essays on topics of interest to members and those concerned with the application and extension of educational thought. This first edition includes a selection from the 2002 Degarmo Lecture delivered by Faustine Jones-Wilson and five essays that focus on the theme "Professing Education." It is our hope that these essays will elicit responses.

In the first essay, Faustine Jones-Wilson argues for the importance of small schools for reducing the power of poverty. It is her contention, from an analysis of the research and professional experience, that cooperation and community can be better cultivated in smaller schools. She calls on those who profess education to fight the factory model of schooling and to prepare their students for the commitments necessary to develop the ethos of the caring smaller school.

Next, Robert Morris looks at what is essential to all education. According to him, professors of education should emphasize general culture, special scholarship, professional knowledge, and technical skills. He points out that "philosophy bakes no bread" and that those in education are bread-earners who need to be competent, coherent, and confident that they can do the job.

The third essay, by Dirk Windhorst, looks at three phases of teacher development. Using his professional and personal experience, he examines what is necessary to move from combat warrior to craftsperson to artist. Not getting trapped in an ivory tower, he shows the necessity of each phase. Carmen Schifellite also builds on his experiences to ask that we profess modest claims in this post positivist and post-post-modernist world. Humble and forthright recognition of complexity and limitations will serve our educational purposes better than irresponsible claims.

The last two essays take us to the Humanities and on-line worlds. Kenneth McClelland presents the case for the generating generalist, the educator who loves exploring ideas and finding ways to put them into practice. This is the space he advocates for professors of education. Rahul Kumar argues that professors of education should dwell in the space between techno-utopianism and neo-Luddism. This can be done by becoming technology critics who perform similarly to art, theatre, and food critics.

It is our hope that you take these essays to heart and add to the conversation. As we see it, professing education is a growing conversation about how we might savor, understand, and improve human experiences. We look forward to continuing the conversation. Our next issue in June will look at what gets in the way of the educational life. See the announcement inside for details.

Thank you to all six of the contributors. A special thanks goes to Robert Morris for his persistence with this project and Rahul Kumar for his technical expertise. The first got us going and the second got this into print. We look forward to future issues.