Values and further Education

British Journal of Educational Studies 44 (1):66-81 (1996)
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This paper is a philosophically informed contribution to debate about the values that might inform and be communicated by a further education. It includes a historical review of the concern of colleges of further education with economic and personal development that was reflected in the distinction between vocational and liberal studies. This distinction is seen to arise out of a mistaken epistemology which attempts to distinguish once and for all as it were, objective facts from subjective values. As instrumentalism came to dominate the further education sector, the idea of liberal studies became obsolete and the sector might now appear to some commentators to be little concerned with values other than those of a monetary kind. The paper is focused on a traditional conception of further education colleges as places where people learn practices such as plumbing, joinery and hairdressing. It is argued that the distinction between academic and vocational practices is not based on the logic of the practices, but on the primary purpose of the person who is making the distinction. Practices such as plumbing, joinery and hairdressing are value laden as, more obviously, are other practices such as literary criticism and feminist pedagogy. The idea that the former type of practices are somehow value free and in need of additional study in moral competence or life skills is mistaken. Instead it is argued that all practices are evaluative and that an induction into any practice is bound to be a form of values education.



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Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
From a Logical Point of View.W. V. O. Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.
Personal Knowledge.Michael Polanyi - 1958 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Knowledge and Human Interests.Jürgen Habermas - 1971 - Heinemann Educational.

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