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What Do We Mean by Good Work? Issues of Practice and Standards of Quality in Vocational Education

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Abstract

In Chap. 1, contemporary understandings of practice are brought face-to-face with older, more comprehensive and more coherent accounts of how the concept of practice has been understood in the past. This chapter builds and extends the discussion introduced in Chap. 1 to argue that understandings of practice are of particular relevance to three important questions in relation to Further Adult and Vocational Education (FAVE) in England. Firstly, the relationship of practice to theory. Secondly, the existence of a vocational-academic divide Finally, what we mean by good work (the standards through which quality is judged) in any form of practice, including the practice of education.

This chapter traces the historical origins of the existence of a theory-practice divide to  the rise of nineteenth-century rationalist philosophy and theory of action. It moves further back in history to locate assumptions about the existence of a vocational-academic divide in the social and political stratifications in Ancient Greece. Through the work of Hyland (Craft Working and the “Hard Problem” of Vocational Education and Training. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5, 304-325. https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.201759021, 2017; Embodied Learning in Vocational Education and Training. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 71 (1). https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2018.1517129, 2018), this chapter illustrates how this separation of the vocational and academic, and the historical construction divisions between theory and practice, have brought about the undervaluing and a marginalization of embodied learning. This subordination, it is argued, continues to contribute to the second-rate connotations attached to vocational education in comparison to its academic counterparts in systems of education across the world today. Hyland notes how preoccupations with the cognitive aspects of learning have led to an underdevelopment of the psychomotor and affective domains of learning . Using Bloom et. al's (1956) taxonomy as both a cautionary example and a focusing device, this chapter concludes by offering some insights into how the psychomotor and affective domains of learning might be revisited to contribute to mainstream contemporary discourses surrounding planning for learning and what we mean by good work in relation to education in the FAVE sector.

Keywords

  • Theory-practice and vocational-academic  divides
  • Taxonomies and Domains of Learning 
  • Practice
  • Theory
  • Quality
  • Standards
  • Assessment

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Correspondence to Margaret Gregson .

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Gregson, M., Spedding, P., Kessell-Holland, P. (2020). What Do We Mean by Good Work? Issues of Practice and Standards of Quality in Vocational Education. In: Gregson, M., Spedding, P. (eds) Practice-Focused Research in Further Adult and Vocational Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38994-9_11

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38994-9_11

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