This is a book about what many teachers know but are increasingly being prevented from talking about: that real education always involves a risk. The risk is there because, as W. B. Yeats has put it, education is not about filling a bucket but about lighting a fire. It is there because students are not to be seen as objects to be moulded and disciplined, but as subjects of action and responsibility. The Beautiful Risk of Education is organised around a critical discussion of seven key educational concepts: creativity, communication, teaching, learning, emancipation, democracy, and virtuosity. By opposing the risk aversion that characterises many contemporary educational policies and practices, Gert J.J. Biesta makes a strong argument for giving risk a central place in our educational endeavours and brings risk taking to the forefront of a critical pedagogical practice.
"Beautiful Risk of Education is rhetorically ingenious and ironically quite powerful. Biesta's intellectual project does not just bid us to think differently about education, but suggests a more aspiring motivation to educate.""
—Teachers College Record
“In his latest book, The Beautiful Risk of Education, Gert Biesta calls for a weak education. Instead of arguing for education to become stronger, more secure, more predictable, and risk-free, he returns to precisely those qualities of education that are bemoaned by current standardized testing and measurement trends as defects to be overcome. Indeed, Biesta makes the claim that the stronger education becomes, the more we lose sight of what education actually is: a practice that is slow, difficult, insecure, unpredictable, and full of risks and uncertainties…the clarity, exactitude, and formal rigor of his presentation embody a kind of philosophical beauty in its own right. The prose is nothing less than elegant.”
“This us a carefully crafted work that rewards an equally considered effort by the reader. Gert Biesta presents an elaborate, thoroughly referenced and researched critique of assumptions currently embedded in contemporary education. It’s a book of several unexpected twists and turns, wonderfully woven and often intensely rich. Frequently from a single paragraph a range of avenues emerge, each worth pursuing in its own right.”
—Resurgence & Ecologist
“Penned by a brilliant scholar with a generous heart, Beautiful Risk solidifies Biesta’s place as an international leader in philosophy of education.”
—Lynda Stone, University of North Carolina
“The Beautiful Risk of Education is a thought-provoking and riveting book by Gert Biesta, a book that gives education back to schools, colleges, universities, and adult or community education. Against the risk aversion of policy makers and politicians, in which education more or less evaporates from the practical settings, Biesta makes an argument for giving risk a central place in educational endeavors, hence preventing the subjects involved from turning into machine-like beings. The Beautiful Risk of Education will be read and re-read for decades to come as education is seen from new and unexpected angles.”
—Dr. Herner Saeverot, University of Bergen
Prologue On the Weakness of Education Chapter One Creativity Chapter Two Communication Chapter Three Teaching Chapter Four Learning Chapter Five Emancipation Chapter Six Democracy Chapter Seven Virtuosity EpilogueFor a Pedagogy of the Event Appendix Coming into the World, Uniqueness, and the Beautiful Risk of Education: An Interview with Gert Biesta by Philip Winter