The Tyranny of ‘Teaching and Learning’

Alex Buckley*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    37 Downloads (Pure)


    The phrase ‘teaching and learning’ has essentially replaced the word ‘teaching’ in educational discourse. The linguistic shift occurred as part of a wider movement in the 1980s and 1990s to give greater attention to learning in the educational process, and the phrase served a sloganistic function. With the learning paradigm now largely uncontroversial, the phrase—like other ex-slogans—may now be carrying implications more tied to its literal meaning. This paper suggests that the constant reference to learning in the context of teaching carries the implication that teaching is always accompanied by learning. After applying Gilbert Ryle’s distinction between task and achievement verbs, the paper argues that under certain interpretations, the idea that teaching implies learning is deeply problematic. The paper proposes that we instead use ‘teaching and studying’: to communicate the deep connections between the activities carried out by teachers and students, without supporting the unhelpful idea that the activity of teaching must always lead to the achievement of learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)415-427
    Number of pages13
    JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
    Issue number4
    Early online date28 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


    • Learning
    • Policy
    • Study
    • Teaching

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Philosophy


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