The Rhetorical Education of Isocrates and the Exemplary in Teaching: Overcoming the “Learnification of Education”

  • Lars Petter Storm Torjussen University of Bergen, Norway
Keywords: rhetorical education, exemplary teaching, authority,, outcome-based education


This article argues that the rhetorical education of Isocrates can serve as a vital alternative to today’s dominating trend of outcome-based education, or what Biesta calls “the learnification of education.” According to Biesta, “the learnification of education” represents an individualising discourse separating the content, purpose and personal aspects of education. This article analyses “the learnification of education” primarily as a crisis of authority, with the political thinking of Hannah Arendt as a point of departure, suggesting that educational theory need to rediscover the roots of the didactical tradition in rhetorics. Thus the rhetorical education of Isocrates, based on examples and exemplary teaching, may rediscover an ancient conception of authority still relevant for our post-traditional and multicultural society.

Author Biography

Lars Petter Storm Torjussen, University of Bergen, Norway

Associate Professor at the Department of Education