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Professional Life and Work

Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives: studies in education and change

Educational Research as a Public Intellectual

The group working in CARE are united in a reaction against this, the predominant tradition at present.  While not questioning the intellectual standard of the work being done in the constituent disciplines, we question its practical relevance.  Holding that we understand too little of the educational process at policy, school and classroom levels, we are evolving methodologies for the study of the realities of educational systems.  The emphasis is not unique to CARE, but I would claim that the CARE group is the most advanced unit of its kind in this country and that it has now developed a tradition which is characteristic (CARE, 1974).

For the moment, I want to stay with Lawrence's diagnosis before returning to applied research as the solution.  I've been spending a good deal of time recently thinking about the role of educational theory in schools of education.  The focus on disciplined educational theory arose from the location of many schools of education within the university milieu.  Clifford and Guthrie (1988) have summarised the differences which Lawrence was focussing on in the 1970s in this way.

Our thesis is that schools of education, particularly those located on the campuses of prestigious research universities, have become ensnared improvidently in the academic and political cultures of their institutions and have neglected their professional allegiances.  They are like marginal men, aliens in their own worlds.  They have seldom succeeded in satisfying the scholarly norms of their campus letters and science colleagues, and they are simultaneously estranged from their practising professional peers.  The more forcefully they have rowed toward the shores of scholarly research, the more distant they have become from the public schools they are duty bound to serve.  Conversely, systematic efforts at addressing the applied problems of public schools have placed schools of education at risk on their own campuses (Clifford and Guthrie, 1988).

In short, the schools of education may have entered into a 'devil's bargain' when they entered the university milieu.  The result was that their mission changed from being primarily concerned with matters central to the practice of schooling towards issues of status passage through more conventional university scholarship.  The resulting dominance of conventional 'disciplinary' modes has had a disastrous impact on educational research.

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Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives
  • Date of publication: 01/09/2003
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 160
  • Publisher: Open University Press
  • Co-author: NAN
  • Subject:
    Professional Life and Work
  • Available in:
    English
  • Appears in:
    Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives: studies in education and change
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £23.99
  • ISBN: 9780335204113
  • Purchase this book:
    Open University Press
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