Thomas Aastrup Rømer, Education and causality
In this paper, I will do two things. First, I argue that the prevailing understanding of the relationship between teaching and learning is based on confusion regarding the sequence of causality: what should be understood as the independent variable is made dependent and vice versa.
The independent variable refers to the object that is assumed to be the exogenous cause, in this case “teaching”. The dependent variable is the effect of the exogenous cause, in this case “learning”. The point I make is that much current educational research misunderstands and confuses this relationship: such research tends to regard the independent variable as a problematic aspect of the dependent variable. Inspired by recent research on causality, I call this “reverse causality” (Hariri 2012). I argue that this “reverseness” tends to ignore the ontological aspects of education, educational theory and practice.
Second, I discuss different views of causality, ranging from statistical and epistemological views, rooted in different interpretations of Hume and Kant, to phenomenological-ontological concepts, drawing on post-Heideggerian realism.
Keywords: teaching/learning; reverse causality; ontology of education