The sprouting of a dormant seed

'Being and time' by Martin HeideggerA recent tweet from my colleague Emma gave me cause for reflection. Emma shared how Heidegger’s ideas are important to her. She may sometimes teach about Heidegger, but students may or may not be interested in Heidegger or in how much she cares about his work.

Back in the late 90s/ early 00s many of my fellow PhD students at Bristol were into Heidegger. My masters’ degree (1997-8) covered much in the way of ‘continental philosophy’, but in all honesty I found such philosophy self-indulgent and of marginal interest to the concerns of someone studying what was to my mind a human geography course. I had time for Foucault and Baudrillard, but others struck me as irrelevant.

This is not a post about Heidegger per se, but last year I read ‘Being and Time’ and much regretted having been so dismissive. I found a lot of ideas of relevance to the educational research I now conduct. For the teacher, this is a reminder that that:

The significance of what you teach may not be understood/ appreciated immediately, but you have brought the student from a point of not having heard about something or someone to a point that they have.

Ideas/concepts/ skills can lie dormant in a student mind for a long time (perhaps 20+ years), then come to fruition. The ideas/ concepts/ skills were ‘there’, but not developed.

No student survey/ outcomes data is ever going to capture this.

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