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What is excellence in practice?: Empirical explorations of vocational Bildung and practical wisdom through case narratives
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The approach of vocational Bildung didactics (VBD) has been developed to investigate practical knowledge in matters of education for Bildung and phronesis (practical wisdom). Case narratives of unusual richness or success are at the core of the approach, each case representing an articulation of someone’s practical knowledge. The concept of a practice as developed by MacIntyre is introduced here as a way of situating the practical knowledge of Bildung and phronesis gained from case narratives. A series of case studies are discussed in order to examine the practices thus surfaced. The result is a differentiation of MacIntyre’s concept in two directions: one more specific called vocational practice and one more general called a cultural practice. This differentiation is then applied to the case studies and it is argued that it helps illuminate aspects of them that previously were difficult to comprehend within the framework of VBD. The conclusion is that biographical cases where cultural and vocational practices intersect are uniquely positioned to afford knowledge of how such intersections have been achieved through education and what they have meant for the person initiated into such matrixes. This, in turn, contributes to the insight with which we are able to design vocational education and training (VET) curricula that support initiation into dynamic vocational practices with a focus on the internal goods and virtues possible to develop through them.

Keyword [en]
Practice, Practical wisdom, Bildung, Narrative, MacIntyre, Excellence, Vocational education, Practical knowledge
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137295OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137295DiVA: diva2:1061528
Available from: 2017-01-02 Created: 2017-01-02 Last updated: 2017-02-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Rough Ground: Narrative explorations of vocational Bildung and wisdom in practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Rough Ground: Narrative explorations of vocational Bildung and wisdom in practice
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This compilation thesis, consisting of five articles, focuses on narrative explorations of vocational Bildung and wisdom in practice. It is an explicitly practical and empirical approach to what, for the most part, tends to be limited to philosophical discussions. This is motivated by the relative lack of systematic knowledge about how to enact wisdom in practice and afford vocational Bildung to those engaged in vocational education and training (VET). The absence of such knowledge makes it more difficult to develop VET practice and curricula and also leads to significant parts of the internal goods of practice to remain tacit, personal and local when they need to become articulated and shared. The aim of the five articles has been to explore how Bildung and practical wisdom can enrich our understanding of vocational practice and didactics on a theoretical, methodological and practical level. Conceptually the thesis draws extensively from narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly 1995, 2000), reflective practice (Schön 1983, 1987), Aristotelian philosophy regarding practical wisdom (Aristotle 2009, Nussbaum 1990), MacIntyre’s concept of a practice (2011) and the Bildung-tradition (Rittelmeyer 2012) to create a coherent framework for the inquiry termed vocational Bildung didactics (VBD). It is located in the phronetic social science paradigm articulated by Flyvbjerg (2001) where the main aim for research is to enrich practice rather than generate theory. The methodology for this kind of inquiry is the collection of narrative cases focusing on unusually rich/successful/wise cases of a practice, what Flyvbjerg (2001) terms extreme and paradigmatic cases. On a conceptual level the inquiry has resulted in the framework of VBD that provides the structure for engaging in this kind of research. It has also resulted in some further conceptualizations driven by the interpretation of cases, in particular a differentiation between vocational and cultural practices. On a methodological level it has resulted in a kind of double didactical method: the case narratives function as articulations of practical knowledge regarding vocational Bildung and practical wisdom but also as the didactical tools for teaching this. On a practical level the inquiry has resulted in suggestions for curriculum-development as well as ways in which the case narratives can be used to enrich the understanding of practitioners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University, 2017. 149 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 47
Keyword
Vocational education, Bildung, Practical wisdom, Narrative, Practice, Didactics
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137676 (URN)978-91-7649-640-4 (ISBN)978-91-7649-641-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-03-06, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-02-09 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2017-02-10Bibliographically approved

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