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A Public Intellectual

Academic freedom can be said to be a well-accepted feature of the tenure (in the education system) and the status of the educational institutions is a self-governing knowledge creating community. The terminology ‘public intellectual’ is actually adopted when a specific person (whom might be an expert in any specific discipline) makes the decision to speak, write or communicate with a more extensive audience in comparison to their professional colleagues or contemporaries. Upon the preliminary inspection, such an explanation might seem to be identical to that of the function of any teacher whose chief duty is to serve the role of ‘an instructional specialist’, who would be responsible for guiding the other individuals in their own specific subject (as well as other subjects if they possess skill in not just a single field). In spite of this, Killion and Harrison have actually articulated and specified the numerous responsibilities and roles that the teachers should assume in connection to their practice, like serving the role of a mentor in respect of the students who all are under their guidance as well as undertaking pastoral duties. It is evidently clear that serving the role of a ‘public intellectual’ cannot be said to be the only role that any teacher has to assume (Rigas and Kuchapski 2018). However, this somewhat shifts away from the key basis of the topic of this essay as to whether the teachers should and could be the public intellectuals. Hence, the main aim of this particular essay is to forward a discussion regarding the fact that up to what degree any teacher should or could be a ‘public intellectual’.

The main question in this regard is what are or who are the public intellectuals. A public intellectual can be said to be an individual who actually pursues or places a lot of value on the things of the interest to the understanding or intellect or the more complicated fields and kinds of knowledge, as philosophical or aesthetic matters, particularly on a general and an abstract level. A public intellectual is a tremendously rational individual, that is, an individual who hinges upon the intellect instead of the feelings or emotions. Any particular public intellectual is usually a renowned specialist in any specific field, who may have become famous to the general populace for an inclination and readiness to comment regarding the current affairs. It should be noted that the public intellectuals actually help shape the public opinion, or to state the minimum, the public discussion regarding what things are actually pertinent, and what has to be thought as well as done regarding such things (Jeremic 2019). According to the definition that has been forwarded by Noah Millman, a public intellectual can be considered to be an individual who is (i) making an honest intellectual contribution, that is, there must be something important and original regarding what a person is doing, (ii) communicating with a huge, non-sectarian addressees, that is, the work cannot be known or of interest just to the academics, and (iii) generating any specific response as well as moving the debate, that is, the arguments of a person cannot just stay in splendid isolation (even when they are well-regarded by countless) but must give effect to a considerable intellectual response, become portion of the actual intellectual discussion (Reynolds 2019).

Should Teachers Be Considered As Public Intellectuals?

Public intellectuals can be said to be the individuals who actually deliberate and discuss openly regarding the issues of significant concern to the entire society where everybody lives. Dissimilar to the academics, they cannot be said to be exceedingly specialized in any specific discipline, and they never actually utilize the careful verbiage of the scholarship. Although, very similar to the academics, they actually address the main questions in relation to the human life, the questions in relation to literature and philosophy, politics and ethics, religion and economics. Dissimilar to the policy wonks, the public intellectuals do not emphasize upon the technical solutions or the intricacies of the regulations and the laws. However, just like the policy wonks, the public intellectuals get involve in the punditry, and very frequently the partisan punditry, and the public intellectuals propose the solutions in respect of the issues that are faced by any society. The public intellectuals certainly take sides in connection to the arguments regarding the social queries of the day, and it must be noted that such public intellectuals do so from a clearly articulated and voiced viewpoint (Mayo 2022).

The main question in this regard is whether the teachers should be considered in the role of public intellectuals. Intellectuals can be said to be the group or assemblage of the individuals who are actually responsible in relation to social change and stability. In accordance to Gramsci, it is the intellectuals who actually sustain, modify as well as alter the modes of the behavior and conduct of the masses. Gramsci has labelled them as the purveyors or spreaders of consciousness. Each and every society requires public intellectuals, because the public intellectuals enable to shape the public opinion, or to state the minimum, the public discussion regarding the things that are important and vital, and in what manner such important and vital things can be achieved. Normally, the public intellectuals help to articulate and establish a specific viewpoint on behalf of the individuals who do not possess the skills to realize the required goals. At certain times, the pubic intellectuals actually direct towards things that are certainly wrong in any specific society, which others have not noticed, or just ignored directly. At certain times, they give effect to new ideas that actually develop the series of the options that would be open to any society as the complicated issues of its time are addressed (Jandri? and McLaren 2021). However, the public intellectuals do require certain things, if such public intellectuals wish to flourish (or even be present at all).

In order to be aware of somebody who might have the capacity to boost knowledge to extra level, one should certainly “Forewords and Afterwords” by W.H. Auden, which was published in the year of 1973. It should be noted that W. H. Auden actually sheds light upon the political turmoil in the medieval Europe on macro-level, although, he also provides advice for the teachers to control the classroom behavior in a better manner at micro-level. It has been demonstrated by W. H. Auden demonstrates that how the learned individuals from any specific discipline might express extensively across the subject areas in manners that actually inform the modern social issues (Tang 2019). Therefore, it can be said that Auden can be considered to be an ideal version of a public intellectual.

Public intellectuals should be considered to be a treasure. They can be said to be a group or an assemblage of individuals whose fundamental work takes on an obligation to speak as well as act in a free, extensive as well as fearless manner. It is possible to state that the academics may adhere to the Greek ethical model of adding a charisma and ‘character’ to any society. It may also be said that the academics, through nature of their calling, aptitude and inclination, must enable in defining the guiding ideals or beliefs that characterize, portray and describe any culture, society or community, by assuming the particular responsibility in the role of public intellectuals. Another factor in this regard is that the academics should actually get involve with the general populace actively, whereas other individuals specify that the academics are able to hugely influence the general populace as well as the students (Peters et. al. 2021). Therefore, a teacher certainly fulfills the above said credentials. However, as believed by Karl Rove subsequent to the U.S. presidential election of 2012, the voter suppression of one individual is the voter registration of another individual.

The public intellectuals can be said to be ‘opinion journalists’. They actually give a thought in relation to the big matters and problems of the day and with the help of their writing and script for an overall audience and addressees, promote specific manners of tackling such issues. According to Herbert Gans, the public intellectuals are actually ‘pundits’. They are actually the ‘pundits’ of the refined and educated classes, the ‘pundits’ of the scholarly as well as the upper-middlebrow populaces. It can be said that the teachers actually fulfill the above said role in a proper manner. Therefore, the teachers should be considered to be public intellectuals (Ducey 2021).

A public intellectual should possess a series of unrelated opinions, although, an evidently consistent and articulated viewpoint. Such viewpoint cannot be casual or indifferent in relation to the particular matters and problems of the day, rather, they should promote any specific kind of cause, which might be a vision for the rejuvenation (or conservation) of the culture. Prior to taking into consideration the purpose or the activities of any public intellectual, it would be worth it to reflect upon what or who any public intellectual might be. Cursorily, this is possibly not an argumentative question or a question that might be difficult to solve. For instance, the term can be said to be very common to be defined in the particular Oxford English Dictionary. As per the definition that has been forwarded in the OED, any public intellectual can be said to be an intellectual who might express his or her views (particularly on the prevalent topics) with the intention of communicating to an overall audience (Giroux 2018). However, it should be said that even though such definition might be sufficiently clear, such assertion might be a little indecisive. The definition can be said to be very wide and does not have any explanatory precision, and also the definition tends to be disproportionately limiting.

Conceivably an intellectual can be considered to be an individual who might be thinking in a critical manner and engaging a perspective or viewpoint that would be informed as well as supported by the systematic analysis. There are certainly numerous possibilities in connection to who might be a public intellectual, such as an industrialist, a doctor, a politician, a journalist or any entertainer or any civil servant. Such possibilities may also be extended in regard to an astronaut, a sportsman or even a dustman. In this regard, it could be stated that a public intellectual gives effect to the procedure of reaching an informed opinion or point of view (Giroux 2019). Any public intellectual shall encompass the mastery and command of the factual insight and information that could be employed or utilized in the delivering answers to particular questions. The public intellectuals endorse the quest for new knowledge as well as understanding. It is important to note that the public intellectuals actually employ the cognitive and methodological techniques as well as training in order to break open the new perceptions and insights into the entire world (Song 2018). They actually possess the aptitude and capability to debate as well as pontificate from a basis of sound and comprehensive general knowledge. Such aspects in relation to the public intellectuals are not intended to be elevated as the dichotomies, rather, they are only regarded to be possibilities or likelihoods that will facilitate the whole scope of the restrictions of the ideologies that has to be demarcated (Maisuria et. al. 2020). Therefore, in this regard, it can be said that the teachers could be intellectuals because they are self-evident, and serving the role of an intellectual or thinking in an intellectual manner can be said to be an important part of what has to be done by them as public intellectuals.

Another particular dimension that should be considered is whether ‘public’ in the terminology ‘public intellectual’ merely means working for the public (the general populace), for the good of the public, whether through direct communication with them or not. It should be noted that the general populace is required to be exposed to name of an individual (or to their appearance or voice) in order for that specific individual to be regarded as a public intellectual. However, in certain instances, the result of their endeavors might be adequate enough. Although, such instances are extremely rare. Furthermore, it is very essential that there must be a degree of impact and influence of the work upon the general populace for somebody to be regarded as a public intellectual. Hence, in this regard also, the teachers are good candidates. Therefore, it can be said that the teachers could be considered to be public intellectuals.

The education structure in United Kingdom is separated into 4 primary parts, which includes the primary education, the secondary education, the further education and finally the higher education. Children in United Kingdom have to lawfully go to primary as well as secondary education. After any student completes the secondary education, then, they may opt for extending into further education in order to take the A-Levels, the GNVQ's, the BTEC's or any other similar qualification. The students of United Kingdom who all wishes to attend college or university, should complete the further education. Regarding the higher education, most of the international students will go in directly into the higher education structure of United Kingdom, subsequent to concluding the alike ‘further education’ of their own home country (Kelly 2019).

To state in a broad manner, the function or role of the teachers is to aid and assist the students in the process of learning by imparting and conveying knowledge in respect of them as well as by establishing a situation where the students shall be able to learn in an effective manner (Shaturaev 2021). Although, the teachers actually fill a complex series of functions, which differ from one specific society to another as well as from one specific educational stage to another. It is a known fact that the human connection is vital to the development of a child, and the teachers of the educational institutions actually manifest such knowledge in practice. The teachers actually help the children to grow and develop, thereby, ultimately contributing in the development of a nation as a whole. Therefore, considering the present educational structure in United Kingdom, it could be said that the work of the teachers certainly reflects in the progression and development of a nation and hence, they could and should be considered to be public intellectuals (Giroux 2020).

Conclusion

In the conclusion, it can be said that the teachers endorse the quest for new knowledge as well as understanding. The teachers employ the cognitive and methodological techniques as well as training in order to break open the new perceptions and insights into the entire world. The teachers certainly possess the aptitude and capability to debate as well as pontificate from a basis of sound and comprehensive general knowledge. The teachers actually help the children to grow and develop, thereby, ultimately contributing in the development of a nation as a whole. Therefore, considering the present educational structure in United Kingdom, it could be said that the work of the teachers certainly reflects in the progression and development of a nation and hence, they could and should be considered to be public intellectuals.

References

Ducey, K., 2021. Using Herbert Gans’ model to explain how a campaign to save nine lambs became public sociology. The Routledge International Handbook of Public Sociology.

Giroux, H., 2019. Public Scholarship, Public Intellectuals, and the Role of Higher Education in a Time of Crisis. The Oxford Handbook of Methods for Public Scholarship, p.37.

Giroux, H.A., 2018. The new Henry Giroux reader: the role of the public intellectual in a time of tyranny. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Giroux, H.A., 2020. Beyond the Ivory Tower:: Public Intellectuals and the Crisis of Higher Education. In Higher education under fire (pp. 238-258). Routledge.

Jandri?, P. and McLaren, P., 2021. Critical intellectuals in postdigital times. Policy Futures in Education, 19(6), pp.626-639.

Jeremic, R., 2019. What Would Gramsci Tweet?. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2019(164), pp.109-120.

Kelly, E.A., 2019. Education, democracy, and public knowledge. Routledge.

Maisuria, A., Evans, B., Del Fierro, F.D., Jackson, R., Macrine, S. and Rimmer, A., A Book Review Symposium: Henry A. Giroux (2020) On Critical Pedagogy . Bloomsbury Academic Publishing ISBN 0978-1-3501-4498-9. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 18(2).

Mayo, P., 2022. Gramsci, Antonio (1891–1937): Culture and Education. In Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education (pp. 286-301). Brill.

Peters, M.A., Jandri?, P., Fuller, S., Means, A.J., Rider, S., L?z?roiu, G., Hayes, S., Misiaszek, G.W., Tesar, M., McLaren, P. and Barnett, R., 2021. Public intellectuals in the age of viral modernity: An EPAT collective writing project. Educational Philosophy and Theory, pp.1-17.

Reynolds, G.H., 2019. The social media upheaval (Vol. 5). Encounter Books.

Rigas, B. and Kuchapski, R., 2018. Educating Preservice Teachers in a Neoliberal Era: Specialized Technicians or Public Intellectuals?. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 64(4), pp.393-410.

Shaturaev, J., 2021. 2045: Path to nation’s golden age (Indonesia Policies and Management of Education). Science and Education, 2(12), pp.866-875.

Song, M.H., 2018. Scholar-Public Intellectual. PMLA, 133(2), pp.406-412.

Tang, Y., 2019. Allegory of the Reichstag Fire in WH Auden’s “New Year Letter”. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, 32(1), pp.55-59.

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