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Therapeutic education is undermining young people and adults

What happens when academic institutions start to value the expression of emotions over the expression of ideas? And, what happens when these same institutions begin to view both students and staff as emotional, vulnerable and helpless? According to Katherine Ecclestone what happens is that we turn teaching into therapy and in the process we destroy the education system.

In their book The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education, Professors of education Dennis Hayes and Katherine Ecclestone of Oxford Brookes University argue that teachers and lecturers are subjected to a rise in what they call therapeutic education.   Which, at its essence, is an approach which views the learner as fragile and needing fixed rather than as resilient and capable. It also assumes that the teacher is psychologically damaging for the learner and that students need counseling in response to this.

They say that therapeutic education is rife and give examples of initiatives which are being rolled out which aim to help academics and teachers to tap into student?s feelings to improve learning.  Teachers are observing an increased presence of parent on campus, staff counseling, and students declaring difficulties in order to get the benefits of being say ?dyslexic?. 

Hayes and Ecclestone argue that this perspective not only undermines human potential, but encourages people to feel that they need to express their emotions, that they can?t cope, and that they need fixed.  This is not only damaging for the students and staff but for academic institutions too. To read the Times Higher Education article click here


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