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)
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)
This article considers how professional knowledge should be assessed. It is maintained that the assessment of professional know-how raises distinctive issues from the assessment of know-how more generally. Intellectualist arguments which suggest that someone's giving an account of how to F should suffice for attributing to them knowledge of how to F are set out. The arguments fail to show that there is no necessary distinction between two kinds of know-how, namely the ability to F and knowing that w is (...) a way to F, such that the latter is more fundamental. The consequences of this failure for our understanding of professional assessment are then considered. The issue of the assessment of tacit knowledge is then addressed. It is concluded that there is no context-dependent codifiable or articulable propositional knowledge of how to F which could be substituted for being able to F and that therefore tacit knowledge can only be assessed in performance. The parallel with Gettier cases is reviewed and it is concluded that the provenance of accounts of and justifications for the attribution of know-how are not matters of indifference to its assessment. Finally, the question of evaluability or what Ryle would have called the applicability of intelligence epithets is discussed in relation to its relevance to our procedures for assessing practical knowledge. Once again, it is concluded that excellent performance is necessary to attribute excellence in know-how. However, the ability to give an account of how and why an agent would do something in hypothetical circumstances is also very important for the assessment of professional knowledge. (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)
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)
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.
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)
This book addresses major debates about quality in education, the role of the state and the nature of accountability in the public services, in philosophical and political arenas. It engages with major philosophical discussions, drawing out the relevant policy issues.
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)
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.
Much of the debate on the nature of knowing how has been concerned with whether it is to be conceived of as an ability or as the possession of propositional knowledge, perhaps in a practical form. Comparatively little has been written about knowing wh constructions and the ways in which they do or do not fit into this debate. Do such debates have any bearing on the practical concerns of the educators of professionals? This paper considers the case of Knowing (...) Wh constructions and their epistemic status with reference to their use in professional contexts. The argument to be developed is that KT and KH are distinct but closely related epistemic abilities and that in assessing professional capacity we often find them together as part of an overall professional competence. The use of KWh constructions in professional settings supports this contention, as they can occur as cases of both KT and KH, depending on context. The claim is illustrated by examining and interpreting KWh constructions in professional qualifications and interpreting them in the context of what is required to make sense of them as elements of qualifications. (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)
This volume brings together a number of related contributions on the topic of expertise and education. Expertise is a topic that is beginning to receive more attention in the Philosophy of Education and discussions are closely related to the epistemological debate concerning the nature of know-how which has also burgeoned in recent years within ‘mainstream’ epistemology. More specifically, this volume focuses on the relevance of expertise to professional education and practice, with the aim on shedding light on what is involved (...) in professional expertise and the implications of a sound understanding of professional expertise for professional education. Although all contributions have roots in philosophical discussion, there is an element of cross-disciplinarity among them, reflecting the advances that have been made to our understanding of expertise from psychology in particular. (shrink)
The view of Wittgenstein as a ‘tragic’ philosopher of education is examined. Friesen’s claim rests on an interpretation of the way in which Wittgenstein uses the German term ‘Abrichtung’. This involves the claim that Wittgenstein saw training activities closely analogous to the breaking of an animal’s will. Close examination of various of the later texts of Wittgenstein and comparison of the original German with the English translation does not bear out this claim. Wittgenstein used ‘Abrichtung’ and related terms in his (...) own way and for his own purposes. The picture that emerges from an overview of Wittgenstein’s use of these terms is that he sees training as a variegated rather than a single kind of activity. (shrink)
This article will consider the claim that the possession of concepts is innate rather than learned. Innatism about concept learning is explained through consideration of the work of Fodor and Chomsky. First, an account of concept formation is developed. Second the argument against the claim that concepts are learned through the construction of a learning paradox developed by Fodor is considered. It is argued that, despite initial plausibility, the learning paradox is not, in fact, a paradox at all as it (...) rests on eliding the distinction between recognising something and recognising it as a something. The plausibility of eliding this distinction rests, in turn, on begging the question as to whether concept possession is a necessary condition for recognition of objects, events, properties etc. Fodor's positive arguments for innatism, as set out in LOT2 are considered and parallels with his account of stereotype formation and associationist accounts of concept formation are considered. The explanatory persuasiveness of this revised account of concept activation through the generation of stereotypes is weak. The article then examines the distinction between concept possession and concept mastery in greater detail, arguing that innatists have difficulty in accounting for the phenomenon of concept mastery, including within the contexts of formal and professional education. (shrink)
In this essay, Christopher Winch explores the relevance of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s account of rule‐following to vocational education with particular reference to the often‐made claim that any account of an activity in terms of rule‐following implies rigidity and inflexibility. He argues that most rule‐following is only successful when it involves a degree of flexibility. For instance, most technical work that involves rule‐following requires flexibility and situational awareness for success. Technical education that fails to take account of the need to apply rules (...) in a way that accounts for a wide variety of situations is likely to be unsuccessful. Winch offers an account of professional judgment based on Stephen Toulmin’s theory of argumentation and discusses progression from novice to expert in terms of Toulmin’s analysis. He also considers the relation between vocational education and other practices in the context of the wider civic implications of occupational practice. (shrink)
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)
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)
Recent years have seen a concerted and systematic move towards a school-led system of initial teacher training in England. The role of universities, and particularly their part in engaging new teachers with educational theory, has been radically challenged. Only around half of new entrants to the profession now follow university-based training routes. These seismic changes to teacher education have been driven through with a minimum of formal consultation or public debate. In this urgent and compelling pamphlet, Janet Orchard and Christopher (...) Winch argue for a conception of teachers as professionals who require a deep understanding of the conceptual, empirical and normative dimensions of educational practice. They explain why university education departments are better placed than schools to help beginning teachers acquire that understanding. And they propose a significant expansion of initial teacher education, with full licensure contingent on completion of both a preliminary teaching qualification and a higher grade apprenticeship in the first two years of employment. Teachers need educational theory because they must understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, and must be able to think intelligently about how to do it better. At present, universities have the capacity and the expertise to meet this need. But they may not have it for much longer if the shift to school-based teacher education continues unabated. (shrink)