Doing the ultimate public good through teacher education.

Year: 2004

Author: Webster, Scott

Type of paper: Refereed paper

It is argued here that the many public goods associated with education are derivatives of an ultimate good. This ultimate good is the overall purpose of life in general and is similar to a telos as understood in ancient Greek culture. This paper reviews the notions of 'good' and telos, and examines implications of Bauman's analysis of our present individualizing era, the role of personal meaning making and the nature of education. It is then argued that pre-service teachers can do the ultimate public good in a postmodern society, by articulating a developed personal, professional perspective that expresses a purpose (telos) of life.

This is not an idle esoteric project. Dewey (1958, p. 383) reported that "the greater part of life" will remain in darkness unless illuminated "by thoughtful inquiry". It is argued in this paper that such an illumination into the greater part of life can be made possible by the articulation of a telos. This perspective provides the basis for all other goods which teachers decide to do. This project accords well with a recent UNESCO report which calls for such a perspective, and its importance is clearly indicated in its claim that "It is no exaggeration on the Commission's part to say that the survival of humanity depends thereon" (Delors, 1998, p. 18).