Maksymilian Chutorański, Jacek Moroz – A report on the proceedings of the “Forum of Talks on New Theories” (Szczecin, February 2009 – May 2010)

FRONT is an abbreviation for the Forum of Talks on New Theories. Since February 2009 a group of PhD students in the Pedagogy Institute at the University of Szczecin has been realizing a scientific project. This project involves organizing scientific meetings addressed to a wide range of students, PhD students senior lecturers and professors as well as all parties interested in theory and educational practice. Our intention was creating an intellectual space for thinking about education exceeding beyond the framework of classically conceived pedagogy. Hence the activity of FRONT is focused around a number of important aims: first propagating a new pedagogical (or a heretofore unknown approach within its frames) second pointing out the necessity of disseminating an interdisciplinary approach towards pedagogical issues, third pointing at the need of a critical analysis of what, on the one hand amounts to a widely conceived intellectual output of pedagogy of late decades, while being theoretical novelty on the other.

We realize appointed tasks of this sort by inviting representatives of diverse scientific fields (thus far the key speakers of FRONT were representatives of pedagogy, psychology and philosophy). A presentation’s topic is regarded as its theoretical core. Thus, a presentation aims at showing the problem field rather than searching for an answer thereto. Thus way an atmosphere for joint searching for possible solutions and meritoric arguments is established, thereby presenting a possibility for both experienced lecturers and young researchers to partake in discussions.

Thus far, within the frames of FRONT six meetings had taken place. The first one was hosted by Professor Maria Dudzikowa lecturing on: Interdisciplinary trends in science as a truism, alibi and challenge; wherein she asked questions about the importance of interdisciplinary trends in pedagogical research. While pointing at the necessity of conducting such research she accentuated the phenomenon of abusing the adjective ‘interdisciplinary’ in scientific practice. By referring to the category, researchers often want to ensure themselves an alibi for ‘multidimensional’ though superficial stance on research done.

The second meeting of FRONT took place on 24th of March 20009. Professor Maria Czerpaniak-Walczak lectured on The idea of the University. Current economic and social situation demands changes in the way of organizing and functioning of the University institution. The author pointed at certain consequences: marketing of science and education as well as at its preponderance at a higher level. The University institution can be conceived of as a factory imprinting itself in the foundations of free-market economy (thus by doing research assigned by the private sector). One could also conceive of the University as an institution whose aims is not economic activity but rather realizing the Universitas Idea.

Next key speaker was Professor Bożydar Kaczmarek who in his lecture titled Social Brain; basics of functioning of mind presented most up to date tendencies in research on cognitive processes as well as their biological and social requisites. Discussion centered on questions regarding the validity of certain pedagogical solutions within the frames of approaches conceptions and psychological theorems.

Free and determined is the title of dr Krzysztof Hubaczek’s presentation (10th of October 2009). The philosopher talked about various conceptions of freedom with a particular emphasis on discussions about the determinism-indeterminism controversy. During the discussion numerous limitations and problems resulting from adopting a given stance were pointed out.

Professor Piotr Szybek in the presentation titled Politics and science (presented on 28th of February 2010) pointed at reciprocal relations between scientific activity (especially pedagogical) and politics. Discussion centered on the notion of rising up process in the here and now democracy.

Dr hab. Anna Murawska in the presentation titled Hope – a troublesome dimension of education (delivered on 13th of April 2010) talked about humanistic contexts for pedagogical understanding of the hope category. The author stressed the presence of this element by referring to educational situations.

During the last meeting (11th of May 2010) two thematically linked presentations were delivered. Mgr Jacek Moroz, in the presentation titled How to conceive of basic cognitive values. Two perspectives-epistemological and pedagogical undertook the notion of understanding (and defining) two basic cognitive values of truth and lore on the basis of epistemology and pedagogy. The author pointed out the redundancy of highly objective knowledge for the theory of learning. A presentation by Maksymilian Chutorański titled Is a lie a virtue in education? centered on the consequences emerging from answering the said question for educational theory and practice.

The last two meetings were organized in the collaboration with Szczecin branch of the Polish Pedagogical Society and this ongoing collaboration shall favorably influence the meritoric and organizational quality of the project. We would like the FRONT’s activity to exit the ‘walls’ of Szczecin University; thus all respondents interested in the project (especially students and PhD students) are welcome to enter into the cooperation.

Authors contact:
Maksymilian Chutorański – maks1[at]
Jacek Moroz – jacekmoroz[at]