The Pedagogical Model of Thought and Activity in the Social World of Interaction Rituals - in the thought of Erving Goffman

Keywords: everyday life, thought and activity education, schoolboy model, interaction rituals, reality of facts, philosophy of education, subjective agency


Research objectives (aims) and problem(s): The purpose of the article is to point out the pedagogical implications of selected elements of Erving Goffman’s thought.

Research methods: To achieve this goal, the author used the methods of hermeneutic interpretation and existential problematisation.

Structure of the article: The topic may be boiled down to the essence of the ethos which underlies authentic pedagogical thought and activity. This issue has been problematised in terms of Erving Goffman’s theory of the presentation of self in everyday life and social interaction rituals. In this context, reference is made to the heuristic semantic potential of the metaphorical figure expressed in the concept of the “schoolboy model” and “schoolboy’s world.” In fact, it symbolises the essence of the ethos of pedagogical thought and activity, which always paves the way to authentically acquiring personal and social competencies – requiring time, effort and self-discipline. On this path, individuals gain genuine respect and recognition in society whilst acquiring the skills needed to fulfil their social roles. In this meaning, the heuristic figure of the “schoolboy model” mainly depicts the authentic, honest effort needed to follow the path that leads to personal and social development by facing the challenges and demands of education with integrity. Therefore, the metaphorical figure of the schoolboy model, referring to the rule of fairness (i.e., evaluating students based on their actual merits and achievements), assumes the validity of facts that can only be produced by means of diligent and honest work.

Research findings and their impact on the development of educational sciences: Thus, the subject matter calls for the application of selected categories of Erving Goffman’s work in contemporary pedagogical discourse and its key categories: the subjectivity, autonomy, self-education and self-realisation of the pupil.

Conclusions and/or recommendations: The model of pedagogical thought and action inspired by selected aspects of Goffman’s thought can be linked with the ways of understanding pupils’ status which express beliefs about individuals’ ability to create their own social and cultural status through their choices, reflexivity, activity, commitment and subjective agency. Thus, the heuristic figure of Goffman’s schoolboy model exposes the authentic acquisition of subjective competence for personal and social human development.

Author Biography

Jarosław Gara, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw

Basic stages of professional qualification: habilitation in the discipline of pedagogy (APS, 2011), doctorate in the discipline of pedagogy (APS, 2005), master's degree in political science in the field of social prevention and re-socialization (WSNS UW, 2001. Author of 4 original scientific monographs and more than 100 scientific publications in the field of general pedagogy, theory of education, theoretical foundations and their implications for the currents of modern pedagogy, considered in the methodological mode of Philosophy of Education. 

Head of the Department of Theoretical Foundations of Pedagogy and Educational Discourses, member of the Council of the Discipline of Pedagogy of the APS, member and vice-chairman of the General Pedagogy Section of the Pedagogical Sciences Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Selected author publications: monograph - Istnienie i wychowanie. Egzystencjalne inspiracje myślenia i działania pedagogicznego (2021); articles - Metafora granicy i heurystyka doświadczeń (po)granicznych oraz ich znaczenie dla myślenia i działania pedagogicznego (2022), Prometeusz i Epimeteusz – archetypy egzystencjalnych nastawień poznawczych jako wzorce nastawień edukacyjnych, (2021), Initial reflections on Man in the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Reality That Is and Is Not the Same Reality (2021), Problematyczność recepcji metody fenomenologicznej i jej stosowalności w badaniach pedagogicznych, (2020), „Semantyczne pola” egzystencjalnego doświadczenia językowego – epifania i alienacja jako mimetyczne struktury formacji wychowawczej (2019). More in:

Nauka Polska -




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How to Cite
Gara, J. (2024). The Pedagogical Model of Thought and Activity in the Social World of Interaction Rituals - in the thought of Erving Goffman. Multidisciplinary Journal of School Education, 13(1 (25), 169-190.