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    Virtue, Vice and Vacancy in Educational Policy and Practice

    Hogan, Padraig (2000) Virtue, Vice and Vacancy in Educational Policy and Practice. British Journal of Educational Studies, 48 (4). pp. 371-390. ISSN 0007-1005

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    The incessancy of the educational reforms of recent decades in Western countries, and their prominent association with conceptions of quality drawn from industry and commerce, tend to becloud the lack of educational substance at the heart of many of the more influential of the reform patterns. This lack betokens something of a sophisticated renaissance of the late nineteenth-century mentality of payment-by-results. Exploration of the reforms also reveals a preoccupation with performance which bypasses the central concerns of education itself. Quality, in short, becomes redefined by a privative rationality, which then furnishes the conceptual arena and the predominant language for decision-making in matters educational. Writings of two influential contemporary thinkers – MacIntyre and Lyotard – are reviewed to illustrate the nature and significance of what the reforms have neglected. These thinkers’ contrasting analyses reveal how intricate the contexts of educational policy and practice have become in the pluralist circumstances of late modernity. Where MacIntyre adopts a largely traditionalist stance and Lyotard a largely dismissive one in the face of the competing inheritances which battle for the minds and hearts of learners, this paper suggests not a middle way, but a different way. This pursues a kind of thinking which is itself educational more than political, self-critical more than adversarial. Declining the path of self-assured advocacy it concentrates instead on opening up an educational issue which is more often overlooked, or busily bypassed, than understood: What actually befalls the experience of teachers and learners in the practical conduct of education? How can that experience benefit best as teaching and learning are defensibly practised? A range of communicative rather than combative virtues is identified in this connection and their promising import is briefly explored.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Indexed performance; Educated public; Inheritances of learning; Virtues of teaching; Virtues of learning;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 8577
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Padraig Hogan,
    Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 15:08
    Journal or Publication Title: British Journal of Educational Studies
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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