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Professional Life and Work

Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives: studies in education and change

Educational Research as a Public Intellectual

In each of these cases however, there is evidence of New Right overreach.  Let us take them in order for they represent some of our opportunities to rejuvenate our public intellectual work.

Firstly, the attack on the professionals.  Specifically here, the attack on the teaching profession.  In terms of strategic politics the alliance between teachers and externally located researchers is potentially very powerful.  This is because the teacher unions, certainly their leaders, now realise that the attack on educational research and theory was an attack on teachers' professionalism.  Professional groups traditionally trade on their underpinning theoretical bodies of knowledge.  Without these they become technicians devoid of professional claims.  Research and Theory and teacher unions pursuing profession and status desperately need each other.

This provides an important coalition for reworking the relationship and indeed the substance of theory and practice.  This time we must avoid the estrangements of foundational theory and develop engaged, practice-informing research and theory - especially new theories of educational inclusion.  Given the CARE legacy John Elliots' work on disaffection, Jean Ruddocks' work on innovation and change are two eloquent examples of such theorising.

Above all, we must see that only when practice and new forms of theory come together can educational research hope to have any hold on defining educational visions and on planning new educational structures.  We must grasp the central historical point that theory and practice are not inevitably or intrinsically divorced: it is structures and institutionalised missions that have created the recent divorce.  But new structures and institutionalised practices could consummate a new marriage.  Historically, the relationship of theory to practice follows a cyclical pattern.

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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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