Wondering what it is like to attend the NAAPE conference? The 2018 Kabango Fellowship winners provide a glimpse into their experiences last year:
Ini Periodi - K-12 Teacher
The Creative School, Bangalore, India
I was quite nervous on the first day of the conference because it was my first solo trip abroad, in addition to it being my maiden trip to the US. It was, of course, overwhelming and intimidating being surrounded by scholars from all across the world with much more experience and credibility in the field. But I remember how warm and welcoming everyone was and how this had put me at ease immediately. I had the space to be myself, go at my own pace and make the most out of this opportunity.
The conference for me at many levels reiterated the importance of having both micro and macro pictures. Being a teacher, it is often easy to lose sight of the bigger picture or larger questions, because we are in the middle of it all. Each day is filled with its own set of challenges that need to be dealt with some kind of immediacy. So the conference, especially for a teacher, makes it possible, to question the relevance of everything we do (with our students, in classrooms, with colleagues etc) and gain clarity about why we do what we do and test them against these larger philosophical questions about education.
The conversations and discussions outside the panels and time dedicated to that were invaluable. I had the opportunity to interact with a wonderful variety of people both individually and in groups. It is inspiring to hear what other people are doing, and it is as rewarding and insightful to get a chance to talk about your own work and have people listen to it with interest and respond.
In many ways, it both opened my heart to new possibilities but also made me feel extremely rooted in what I'm already doing. I'm grateful for that.
University of California, Irvine | Website
Attending a conference on philosophy and education is itself a stimulating experience. At the North American Association for Philosophy & Education (NAAPE), conversations ranged from anarchism and post-Trumpian politics, to character education, epistemology, and the fundamental aims of education. On the peaceful grounds at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL, discussion occurred not just during panels, but also over shared meals and on walks around St. Mary’s Lake. The meditative environment of the seminary added depth to our interactions. I came away with new friends, some who I coordinated with to present on panels at other conferences. I also came away with fruitful intellectual and professional development.
By holding a Graduate & Early-Career Scholar Pre-conference, the conference organizers saw to it that graduate students had professional development opportunities. They invited philosophy and education professors to talk about the job market from the perspective of hiring committees. Tony Laden (UIC Department of Philosophy) gave pointed advice about how to be attractive to philosophy departments; Mark Schroeder-Strong (Educational Foundations, UWisconsin) and Bryan Warnick (Education, The Ohio State University) shared pointers to those pursuing education professorships; and Derek Attig (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) spoke about graduate-career development. On another panel, we heard from editors at the Journal of Philosophy of Education, Journal of Moral Education, on_education,and The Point. They gave advice about getting published and were approachable after the panel to discuss project ideas.
The overall atmosphere was friendly, open, and intellectually stimulating. Because we shared three meals a day together, graduate students could more naturally interact with tenured faculty and journal editors. The conference hosted a fabulous reception with live music each evening, so we had ample ways to continue philosophical conversations from earlier in the day. I sincerely enjoyed both the atmosphere as well as the mix of scholars from both fields.
I had the pleasure of attending the NAAPE Conference and the honor of being a Kabango scholar in Fall 2018. Based on my experience, I would definitely encourage other graduate students in philosophy to come to the conference. First and most important, this was a great opportunity to meet other scholars working in philosophy of education and to discover more about interesting new work in this area. This kind of exploration can lead to generating new ideas and to building lasting relationships with colleagues in this and adjacent fields. The talks at the conference covered a vast array of areas - whatever your specific interest in philosophy of education, you are likely to find something interesting and relevant to your own thinking. In addition, this was a great opportunity to practice sharing ideas and to receive constructive feedback. Finally, there were some sessions specifically designed for early career scholars (on publishing and finding jobs), which graduate students would find particularly helpful. For all these reasons, I highly recommend the NAAPE Conference and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of this enriching and thought-provoking event.