John M. Novak and Kenneth A. McClelland,
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
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.