Drawing on recent debates about the relationship between propositional and practical knowledge, this article is concerned with broad concepts of agency. Specifically, it is concerned with agency that involves the forming and putting into effect of intentions over relatively extended periods, particularly in work contexts (called, for want of a better term, ?project management?). The main focus of interest is thus not on ?know-how? in the sense of ability to perform types of tasks but on the ability to form and (...) carry through projects. Much, although by no means all, of the limited literature on this topic assumes that such abilities are largely independent of social interaction. This article will challenge that assumption. The article concludes with a reflection on the implications of an adequate account of project management ability for contemporary debates on the relationship between propositional and practical knowledge, and examines the implications for vocational and professional education that prepares people for this type of broadly based agency for their personal development. (shrink)
Sound initial vocational education is an important precondition for subsequent episodes of vocational education or professional development. The presence of strong occupational identities and labour markets is argued to be a precondition for high-quality initial vocational education and training (IVET) and continuing vocational education and training (CVET) in many countries. The question of whether occupational identity and boundaries are in decline or are relatively stable is examined in relation to the UK and to northern European countries, particularly Germany. A review (...) of the evidence suggests that, in contrast to societies such as the UK where occupational identity is relatively weak, countries such as Germany where it is very strong are characterized by strong systems of IVET and relative occupational career stability. Broadly based IVET also allows for occupational mobility across intrasectoral occupational boundaries. In the UK, take-up of CVET is closely related to positive prior educational outcomes. (shrink)
This article discusses three related aspects of know-how: skill, transversal abilities and project management abilities, which are often not distinguished within either the educational or the philosophical literature. Skill or the ability to perform tasks is distinguished from possession of technique which is a necessary but not sufficient condition for possession of a skill. The exercise of skill, contrary to much opinion, usually involves character aspects of agency. Skills usually have a social dimension and are subject to normative appraisal. Transversal (...) abilities rely on but are not reducible to the exercise of skill, but require a further degree of attention and seriousness in their exercise. Transversal abilities can be displayed in different ways using different skills, depending on context. They include: planning, communicating, evaluating—all important features of successful professional action. Project management or the putting into effect of relatively long-term sequences of action involves the articulation of different transversal abilities. It is a form of agency which is considered to be important in some European vocational and professional education systems and usually involves a strong social dimension. The article concludes with a discussion of the educational implications of these distinctions and of their interrelationships. (shrink)
Three kinds of knowledge usually recognised by epistemologists are identified and their relevance for curriculum design is discussed. These are: propositional knowledge, know-how and knowledge by acquaintance. The inferential nature of propositional knowledge is argued for and it is suggested that propositional knowledge in fact presupposes the ability to know how to make appropriate inferences within a body of knowledge, whether systematic or unsystematic. This thesis is developed along lines suggested in the earlier work of Paul Hirst. The different kinds (...) of know-how and their relationships are discussed and it is suggested that they occupy different places and different relationships in any curricular hierarchy. The changing role that knowledge by acquaintance plays within this hierarchy is also discussed. Implications of this account for the current National Curriculum and for curriculum design more generally are discussed, looking at History, Science and Design Technology as examples. (shrink)
The current crisis in British VET (Vocational Education and Training) is explained in terms of the decline of opportunities beyond preparation for university for young people after school. The continuing large numbers of ‘NEETS’ (those not in employment, education or training) is but one aspect of this problem: much larger is the decline in good quality VET opportunities for those who do not intend to go to university. A very important element in the problem is a misunderstanding of the relationship (...) between Education and Training and a continuing preoccupation with a narrow skills-based form of training rather than vocational education. The distinction between training and VET is made clear and it is argued that, although training is an important element in VET, it is a mistake to identify the two. There are significant liberal and civic elements in any VET worthy of the name. There follows a brief review of British VET policy, which starts from the 1964 Industrial Training Act and goes on to follow the decline that took place in the 1980s and 1990s until the point at which it was realised that there was a significant problem with British VET. The article goes on to consider recent developments, culminating in the Wolf Report of 2011. The connection between VET and schooling is considered, as is contrasting VET practice in much of Europe. Finally policy options for VET in the UK are considered. (shrink)
An influential view of education is that it prepares young people for adult life, usually in the areas of civic engagement, leisure and contemplation. Employment may be a locus for learning some worthwhile skills and knowledge, but it is not itself the possible locus or one of the possible loci of a worthwhile life. This article disputes that view by drawing attention to those aspects of employment that make it potentially an aspect of a worthwhile life. The exercise and development (...) of one's abilities, co-operation with others, self-discovery and the pursuit of excellence are all identified as potential components of a worthwhile life. If such an aspect of life is worth striving for then education should prepare one for it. Objections to this argument are reviewed and ultimately rejected. (shrink)
Debates about the nature of practical knowledge and its relationship with declarative knowledge have, over the last ten years, been lively. Relatively little has, however, been written about the educational implications of these debates, particularly about the educational implications of the two broad families of positions known respectively as ‘Intellectualism’ and ‘Anti-intellectualism’. Neither has much appeared in the literature about what Ryle called ‘intelligence epithets’ or evaluative elaborations on attributions of know how. Yet the use of intelligence epithets is a (...) central feature of Ryle's account of knowing how and that account cannot be adequately understood without an appreciation of their importance. The paper will offer a qualified defence of anti-intellectualism about practical knowledge, paying particular attention to the importance of intelligence epithets and, second, argue that anti-intellectualism offers the best opportunity for constructing a rationale for vocational and professional education that gives broad forms of agency, autonomous action and the pursuit of excellence their due place in such programmes. (shrink)
abstract Ryle's claim that knowing how is distinct from knowing that is defended from critics like Stanley and Williamson and Snowdon. However, the way in which Ryle himself deploys this distinction is problematic. By effectively dismissing the idea that systematic propositional knowledge has a significant bearing on knowledge how, Ryle implicitly supports a view of vocational education that favours narrow notions of skill and associated training over knowledge informed occupational practice of the kind found in most Northern European countries. The (...) source of Ryle's error in excluding systematic propositional knowledge from a significant place in the constitution of knowing how is traced. It is argued that Ryle's original distinction survives without the exclusion of systematic propositional knowledge from knowing how and the resulting account does more justice to the practice of vocational education in advanced economies than does Ryle's original treatment. (shrink)
The claim that 'learning how to learn' is the central ability required for young people to be effective 'lifelong learners' is examined for various plausible interpretations. It is vacuous if taken to mean that we need to acquire a capacity to learn, since we necessarily have this if we are to learn anything. The claim that it is a specific ability is then looked at. Once again, if we acquire an ability to learn we do not need the ability to (...) learn how to learn. After noting the implausibility of any such general ability, the paper goes on to examine the claim that certain specific but transferable abilities might satisfy the description 'learning how to learn'. Various candidates are considered: forming and testing hypotheses and abduction are two promising ones, but each has significant weaknesses. Numeracy and literacy are thought to be more promising, but achievements at the national level leave a lot to be desired, despite the clear advantages for learning of being able to read, write and count. If we needed to learn how to learn before we learned how to read, write and count, it is unlikely that we would get anywhere. Finally, certain non-cognitive dispositions and character traits rather than cognitive attributes are considered and, drawing on the work of Robert Dearden and others, it is suggested that the development of these aretaic (virtue-based) and personal qualities rather than cognitive ones may be most decisive for developing independent learning in a range of subject matters. (shrink)
This new edition of Philosophy of Education: The Key Concepts is an easy to use A-Z guide summarizing all the key terms, ideas and issues central to the study of educational theory today. Fully updated, the book is cross-referenced throughout and contains pointers to further reading, as well as new entries on such topics as: Citizenship and Civic Education Liberalism Capability Well-being Patriotism Globalisation Open-mindedness Creationism and Intelligent Design. Comprehensive and authoritative this highly accessible guide provides all that a student, (...) teacher or policy-maker needs to know about the latest thinking on education in the 21st century.'. (shrink)
We begin by examining the widespread scepticism about the value of empirical educational research that is found within sections of the philosophy of education community. We argue that this scepticism, in its strongest form, is incoherent as it suggests that there are no educational facts susceptible of discovery. On the other hand, if there are such facts, then commonsense is not an adequate way of accessing them, due to its own contested and variable nature. We go on to examine the (...) claim that teaching is a moral enterprise whose successful pursuit demands the grasp of moral concepts and their implications. We show that while this is the case, it is a necessary, not a sufficient condition for successful teaching, which also requires a grasp of facts that are relevant to effective teaching and learning. Finally we examine some protocols for educational research. (shrink)
The concepts of autonomy and of critical thinking play a central role in many contemporary accounts of the aims of education. This book analyses their relationship to each other and to education, exploring their roles in mortality and politics before examining the role of critical thinking in fulfilling the educational aim of preparing young people for autonomy. The author analyses different senses of the terms 'autonomy' and 'critical thinking' and the implications for education. Implications of the discussion for contemporary practice (...) are also considered. (shrink)
Various attempts to specify the nature of professions in general and of teaching in particular in relation to the knowledge that is needed for practice are considered. It is argued that there is no epistemic or moral criterion of professionalism that will sustain the claim of teaching to be a profession. The nature of teachers' knowledge is examined and the relationship between theory and application is seen to be both crucial to and problematic in our understanding of the nature of (...) teachers' work. The implications of the discussion for teacher education are assessed. (shrink)
In a clear and lively manner, this new reference explains all of the essential concepts used in contemporary and modern philosophy of education. It also provides invaluable background on the classic educational philosophy texts of Rousseau, Plato and others--readers will find coverage of seminal views on teaching, learning and indoctrination as well as such contemporary concepts as postmodernism, markets and school effectiveness . Students, researchers and anyone interested in contemporary education will be certain to want this unique and authoritative resource.
Christopher Winch launches a vigorous Wittgensteinian attack on both the "romantic" Rousseauian and the "scientific" cognitivist traditions in learning theory. These two schools, he argues, are more closely related than is commonly realized.