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Darren Garside

Personal statement

After a short pre-service career working for academic libraries, political organisations and a management consultancy, I entered teaching in 1999 with a BSU PGCE specialising in Primary and ICT.

It was my privilege to work in a school that was noted for its innovation and for the outstanding care of its pupils. One initiative, The Play Project, is the subject of a Teachers' TV documentary. Our innovative design and implementation of a School Council, based on the principles of Rawls' Theory of Justice was recognised by The Childrens' Society. My fascination as a KS2 practitioner was with how socio-dramatic play, Philosophy for Children (P4C) and PSHE and Citizenship teaching could be combined into a meaningful curriculum underpinning all the children's learning.

I joined Bath Spa University in 2007 after completing a Masters of Teaching into the conversational dynamics of P4C inquiries. Initially I joined the PGCE English team and am now a core member in the Education and Childhood Studies degree programme, specialising in the philosophy of education. Working at BSU has facilitated my growing teaching and research interests into P4C and philosophy of education, and I am now actively exploring how P4C methodologies can be used to enhance learning at university.

Academic qualifications

  • BA(Hons), University of Reading
  • MTeach, Bath Spa University
  • PhD, University of Bath

Professional qualifications

  • PGCE with QTS (2000) Bath Spa University College
  • Master of Teaching in Critical and Creative Thinking
  • SAPERE Philosophy for Children Level 1 and 2

Professional memberships

  • Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB: Journal Philosophy of Education)
  • SAPERE, SOPHIA, ICPIC (UK, European and World bodies for Philosophy for Children).

External examiners

  • PGCert Philosophy with Children, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • BA Education Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent

Recent professional updating

  • At the start of my higher education career I completed the Certificate of Professional Learning in HE where I have learned to translate and transform my pedagogical understanding gained in primary classrooms to the context of teaching and learning in HE.
  • Recent RSA updating includes Applying for Grants and Awards, Critical Reading for Writing, Increasing Exposure through Citation Databases and Organising Academic Conferences'.
  • I am participating in BSU's Early Career Researcher Programme.

Teaching specialism

My initial PGCE training incorporated ICT as a subject specialism. I spent my entire career as ICT co-ordinator and developed this as I took on management responsibility for whole-school assessment. I still retain a keen interest in ICT and am beginning to research into the uses web 2.0 technologies, specifically e-portfolios, and HE pedagogy.

As a Primary English specialist, my specific sub-specialism was in classroom speech and language. I started being interested in the structure and dynamics of interaction and this has evolved into an interest in pedagogical ethics.

Nowadays, my teaching is located in the undergraduate Education Studies degree. I teach:

  • a Level 4/Year 1 module "Philosophy and Thinking in School"
  • a Level 5/Year 2 module "Values, philosophy and education" and
  • a Level 6/Year 3 module "The subject of education: identity and ethics in the classroom".

These modules provide a coherent introduction to philosophy of education, graduating from active philosophising together on the basis of research-informed experience to engaging with notable philosophers from the canon. At all times I stress the relevance of philosophy for the conduct of our professional and personal lives.

I also co-lead the compulsory Level 4 module “Education for Change", and am a tutor on the Level 6 core dissertation module, and am currently supervising one Masters and one Doctoral student.

I regularly provide guest lectures at the University of Bath and for colleagues at BSU.

Current scholarship

I have recently completed my doctorate in the field of philosophy of education (March 2014). Entitled 'Edifying Judgement: Using Rorty to redescribe judgment in the context of Philosophy for Children', I consider Rorty to be an important philosopher for helping us manage contingency and educational pluralism in late modern liberal democratic societies. I am currently developing some of the ideas in the thesis to explore the Impact agenda in Horizon 2020, the role of philosophers in education settings, and new developments in philosophical pragmatism.

I am fortunate in securing the financial support of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain for 2009 (2000 GBP) and 2010 (2000 GBP). I would like to acknowledge the Society's investment in my research capabilities. I am the current Branch Secretary for Bath and Bristol Branch of PESGB.

Other research interests include:

  • the role and teaching of argumentation in education studies
  • philosophy for children pedagogy in higher education
  • the use of web 2.0 technologies in scholarship (specifically LaTeX and Mendeley)

In general, I believe that philosophers have collaborative roles to play across all areas of educational inquiry.

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

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