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Title: Re-conceptualising vocational education: the transition from powerful to useful knowledge
Author(s): Canning, Roy
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Editor(s): Pilz, M
Citation: Canning R (2012) Re-conceptualising vocational education: the transition from powerful to useful knowledge. In: Pilz M (ed.) The Future of Vocational Education and Training in a Changing World. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 43-61.
Issue Date: 2012
Date Deposited: 3-Apr-2013
Abstract: First paragraph: In an interesting chapter in his book 'Bringing Knowledge Back In' Michael Young asks an important and timely question: 'How can vocational knowledge be distinguished from school or academic knowledge'? Justifiably he claims that very few authors (Billet, 1997; Winch, 2000; Guile, 2006; Hager, 2007) have attempted to answer this question by giving a coherent epistemological account of the type of knowledge that underpins vocational education (Young, 2008). His answer to the question rehearses the argument in support of social realism and the forms of knowledge grounded in the sociology of Durkheim and Bernstein. Here knowledge acquires meaning and objectivity through historical and social processes that transcend the conditions of its production. This form of knowledge is contrasted with that of social constructivism and the particular vested interests of powerful social groupings. In the case of vocational knowledge, the main culprits are the 'standards movement' that has relegated the role of knowledge to that of a supporting act for outcome-based occupational competencies (Wheelahan, 2009).
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