Fresh Approaches to Practice, Skills, Competence and Expertise

  • Paul HagerEmail author
  • David Beckett
Part of the Perspectives on Rethinking and Reforming Education book series (PRRE)


This book has demonstrated how complexity thinking, in particular, the concept of emergence, sheds new light on central aspects of human performances. In the previous chapter, this took the form of a co-constitutive account of agency and learning. This concluding chapter builds on this to provide new accounts of practice; skills and competence (and four other associated concepts); and, finally, expertise. In progressing this analysis, the shape of this chapter is as follows. We argue that affectively impelled ‘holistic practical judgements’, embedded in co-present groups, provide novel accounts of practices (Sect. 10.1), and of skills and competence (and other related concepts) (Sect. 10.2). Whilst we acknowledge that reductive or atomised analyses of these are popular and sometimes helpful, we dispute the utility of many of the outcomes of these. Too often they tend to obliterate the integrity of the very performance that is supposedly being valued. Next, because we regard all of these phenomena as normative activities, we provide a novel account of expertise, understood as highly skilled, highly competent practice, manifesting intellectual and other virtues (Sect. 10.3). Finally (Sect. 10.4), we offer some reflections on the emergent process involved in producing this book and, more widely, on the social science implications of complexity thinking’s theoretical perspectives.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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