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The Rough Ground: Narrative explorations of vocational Bildung and wisdom in practice
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (VETYL)
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 [en]
Vocational education, Bildung, Practical wisdom, Narrative, Practice, Didactics
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137676ISBN: 978-91-7649-640-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7649-641-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137676DiVA: diva2:1063292
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
List of papers
1. The didactics of vocational Bildung: how stories matter in VET research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The didactics of vocational Bildung: how stories matter in VET research
2016 (English)In: Journal of Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 1363-6820, E-ISSN 1747-5090, Vol. 68, no 3, 359-377 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the research on education, the field roughly covered by the concept of Bildung has seen a wide-ranging discussion philosophically but less has been said and done from an empirical and vocational perspective. Bildung includes matters such as: formation of character, ethical and aesthetic knowledge/capability, capacity for wise deliberation and reflection as well as the development of personal autonomy. The focus here is on how narratives about teaching and curricula, both enacted and experienced, can be used to articulate significant aspects of Bildung-related practical knowledge. The empirical basis for this draws on a variety of narrative sources. By presenting, comparing and discussing narratives, it will be argued that there is a number of Bildung-related educational matters, not least in vocational education and training, where a narrative articulation can contribute. These can be differentiated in at least five groups: enriching knowledge of vocational tasks; conceptual development and critical reflection; advancement of practice; development of ‘practice fields’ and the articulation of patterns of vocational Bildung affordances. In distinguishing these different ways in which vocational Bildung as a form of practical knowledge can be enriched through narrative studies, the article contributes to our capacity for doing systematic research in the subject area.

Keyword
Teacher training, philosophy of VET, curriculum innovation, pedagogy, vocational education and training
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133158 (URN)10.1080/13636820.2016.1213762 (DOI)000382693100005 ()
Available from: 2016-09-02 Created: 2016-09-02 Last updated: 2017-11-21Bibliographically approved
2. Pedagogical imagination and practical wisdom: the role of good narratives in teacher education and professional development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pedagogical imagination and practical wisdom: the role of good narratives in teacher education and professional development
2016 (English)In: Reflective Practice, ISSN 1462-3943, E-ISSN 1470-1103, Vol. 17, no 4, 456-471 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an increasing awareness that teaching is a practice where moral action is inseparable from pedagogical action and where wise deliberation or reflection on what course of action to take as an educator is an important part of being a good teacher. This paper will focus on rethinking the role of narratives as an articulation of such practical knowledge and the enrichment they might bring to a teacher’s pedagogical imagination. Working within a conceptual framework drawing on Schön and Aristotle, the study presents a group of narratives describing successful conflict resolution told by students at a newly launched teacher education program. These are discussed as part of a teachers’ practice repertoire and the argument is made that the local and personal repertoires of practitioners need to be complemented with elements from the repertoire of others, something systematic research into narratives of teaching in action can be part of.

Keyword
Reflective practice, pedagogical imagination, phronesis, narrative, teacher education, professional development
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120546 (URN)10.1080/14623943.2016.1172479 (DOI)000377026900007 ()
Available from: 2015-09-12 Created: 2015-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. What Would Humboldt Say: A Case of General Bildung in Vocational Education?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What Would Humboldt Say: A Case of General Bildung in Vocational Education?
2016 (English)In: International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 2197-8646, Vol. 3, no 3, 230-249 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A classic philosopher in the Bildung-tradition, Humboldt, argued that general Bildung was the opposite of specialist training (vocational education). This has been a matter of contention and the aim here is to revisit the issue through an empirical case study. In the vocational education biography of craft master Wolfgang B. he speaks about aspects of his education that have much in common with Humboldt‘s ideal of general Bildung but transposed into the context of vocational education and training (VET). The concept of vocationalism (Beruflichkeit) provides context to the present argument which is that the contrast Humboldt made is relevant but not in the sense of there being two categories of education (general and vocational) but rather two expressions of pedagogy: one expansive and one exclusive. Furthermore, there are two versions of general or expansive Bildung present in the case. The conclusions are that empirical studies of vocational Bildung expand on the concept of Bildung, increase our understanding of how VET contains affordances of Bildung and of the curriculum-patterns related to this.

Keyword
Vocational School, Instructional Design, Curriculum Development, Case Study, Educational Innovation, Vocational Education and Training
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137294 (URN)10.13152/IJRVET.3.3.4 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-02 Created: 2017-01-02 Last updated: 2017-02-06Bibliographically approved
4. When Expectations Clash: Vocational Education at the Intersection of Workplace and School
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When Expectations Clash: Vocational Education at the Intersection of Workplace and School
2016 (English)In: Interchange, ISSN 0826-4805, E-ISSN 1573-1790, Vol. 47, no 1, 51-63 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Next to highly regarded varieties of apprenticeship-based vocational education there are, in many countries, forms of mainly school-based VET (voca- tional education and training) that suffer from a clash of expectations between schools and workplaces as sites of vocational education. School-based VET is viewed as of lesser value compared to work experience or workplace based training and one reason for such negative views on mainly school-based VET is the lack of authentic work-related experiences in schools. In what follows I will, based on a case study of a social development project, argue that there is a potential hybrid form of school-based VET that could deal with this issue of authenticity by working around the usual binary of school and workplace. This has resulted in some sug- gestions for how to reconsider vocational education curricula in schools, aiming at authentic learning environments through the systematic enactment of social and cultural developmental projects. The result is not only a way of dealing with the problems that face school-based VET but an argument for how to take advantage of schools being predominantly cultural institutions.

Keyword
vocational education, curriculum, social development, liberal arts
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123146 (URN)10.1007/s10780-015-9271-5 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-11-17 Created: 2015-11-17 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
5. What is excellence in practice?: Empirical explorations of vocational Bildung and practical wisdom through case narratives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What is excellence in practice?: Empirical explorations of vocational Bildung and practical wisdom through case narratives
(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
Practice, Practical wisdom, Bildung, Narrative, MacIntyre, Excellence, Vocational education, Practical knowledge
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137295 (URN)
Available from: 2017-01-02 Created: 2017-01-02 Last updated: 2017-02-06Bibliographically approved

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