22 SES 13 B, Success or Failure? Indicators and Admissions
In recent years, political debate on changes in the welfare state has put focus on professional education, not least the welfare professions such as nurses, teachers, and educators. This is reflected in the overall political debate where the traditional understanding of a welfare state is gradually replaced by the notion of a ‘competitive state’ (ref.) Politicians and researchers indicate that the idea of the welfare policy will be associated with the competition agenda. Previously welfare had 'protection', 'treatment’, and 'care' as cornerstones, but in the future competition state the policy will change. In such statehood welfare is more about equipping all people as best as possible to succeed in the competition which the labour market entails (Kristensen 2014).
This shift has already had repercussions on the different levels in the educational system and will most likely have it for years to come. Not only is 'economic rationality', 'efficiency' and 'innovation' becoming keywords for educational planning, but also educational governance, structure and content is undergoing some changes, which puts some important and critical issues for debate.
Recent reform processes in the Danish professional education seem to be strongly influenced by the idea of the changeable, flexible, innovative society and inter-disciplinary professions. Thus the idea of general competences have emerged and been highlighted by the introduction of the term ‘generic competences’. Some developers involved in the reform process even consider such generic competences as the fundamental base of developing more specific disciplinary skills (Report theme 5). As generic competences move forward, disciplinary skills are downplayed.
This direction of the reform process may give rise to concern. One aspect is that of professional identity. We think ‘the generic idea’ might blur professional identity and thus become a problem for students and professionals in respect of identifying the knowledge base of their profession. Another related aspect is the issue of ‘disciplinarity’ and ‘coherence’ which concerns the ' disciplines’ and their internal consistency. We argue that disciplinary knowledge and coherence between disciplines are crucial to proficiency, and that it includes the ability to act in changing situations (Maton 2011). Many curriculum researchers are even very critical to this restructuring of knowledge in professional education. The move towards generic competences is often called ‘genericism’ and is considered by many as an ‘empty concept of learning’, because it is rooted in ‘something unknown’ (Bernstein 2000)(Young 2011)(Beck, John & Young, Michael F.D. 2005)
Our paper presents results from an ongoing research project about this trend of ‘genericism’ in Danish professional education. In the project, we explored the factors that have influenced the restructuring of knowledge, which we find in almost all areas of professional education in Denmark. We argue that the ability to act professionally and reflective, also in changing contexts, should foremost be based on competences which are developed on the basis of basic disciplines of the professions, also termed as disciplinary and procedural knowledge ' (Muller 2000). We also focus on how the restructuring of knowledge affects the curriculum processes of determining the learning content, so the sub question that we specifically want to discuss in this presentation is:
What implication does the restructuring of knowledge have for the processes by which educators and lecturers select and contextualise curriculum content knowledge?
Basically, the research project is a curriculum study with emphasis on the preparatory work for a new directive and new syllabuses for nursing educations in Denmark, which is progressing until summer 2018. The empirical work comprises analysis such as: • Document analysis of report and working papers prepared as a basis for a future reform of health education in Denmark • Interviews with key people involved in current curriculum work in the future nursing programme • Review of previous research articles on nursing education and observations and interviews of lecturers in a nursing programme developed in previous research projects e.g. (Larsen 2014)(McNamara 2010) The theoretical approach to the criticism of ‘genericism’ will be taken from an education sociological perspective, especially within a recent research tradition called 'social realism' (Maton 2010)(Muller 2000)(Young 2008).This tradition has strong references to the work of Durkheim, Bernstein and Bourdieu (Maton 2014) and to ‘critical realism’ (Bhaskar 1997) In continuation of the previous theoretical approach, social realists have developed analytical tools within the so-called Legitimation code Theory (LCT).This theoretical framework provides code theories and concepts to exploring various principles of structuring knowledge in curricula and pedagogical practice. ‘Specialization codes’ focus on ‘epistemic relations’ and 'social relations’ which are important structuring principles of knowledge. We apply those codes for studying how strong disciplines, methods and procedures within curriculum subjects are classified and framed. For the purpose of exploring coherence and consistency within – and between - curriculum subjects we apply curriculum theory, that enables us to distinguishes between different forms of coherence. Here ‘contextual’ and ‘conceptual’ coherence are important key concepts (Muller 2009).
The finished research project results in new insights into knowledge structures in professional education. Within this educational context, we specifically develop new understandings of curriculum coherence, consistency and theory-practice-relations concerning various types of knowledge, including how the interplay between disciplinary knowledge and generic knowledge may be conceptualised. Furthermore, as emphasised in the paper, we put focus on the effects on curriculum processes and illuminate how the restructuring trends specifically change the way that educators select and recontextualise content for the students learning. Finally, we aim to identify both advantages and disadvantages associated with such changes. The project does not directly include the issue of the students learning results, but we will present possible implications of the restructuring processes for the students acquiring of knowledge, based on the empirical data generated from educators and teachers responses.
Beck, John & Young, Michael F.D. 2005, "The assault on the professions and the restructuring of academic and professional identities: a Bernsteinian analysis", British journal of sociology of education, vol. 26, no. 2. Bernstein, B. 2000, Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: theory, research, critique, Rev. ed. edn, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham. Bhaskar, R. 1997, A realist theory of science, Verso, London. Deliveries by nursing education – January 2016 Larsen, V.,f.1959-06-09 2014, Faglighed og problembaseret læring : vidensstrukturer i professionsbacheloruddannelser : en ph.d afhandling, 1st edn, Aalborg Universitet. Kristensen, J.E. (2014): Welfare Professions in competition law - in the light of the welfare policy transformation. In: Harrits, G.S.et al. (ed.) (2014) Professions under pressure - status, knowledge and management. 1st edition. Maton, K. 2011, "Theories and things" in Disciplinarity Functional linguistic and sociological perspectives, ed. F.M. Christie Karl, Continuum, . Maton, K. 2014, Knowledge & knowers : towards a realist sociology of education, Routledge, London. Maton, K. 2010, Social realism, knowledge and the sociology of education : coalitions of the mind, Continuum International Pub. Group, London. McNamara, Martin: “Where is nursing in academic nursing? Disciplinary discourses, identities and clinical practice: a critical perspective from Ireland”, Journal of clinical Nursing, 2010 Muller, J. 2009, "Forms of knowledge and curriculum coherence", Journal of Education and Work, vol. 22, No 3, 205-226. Muller, J. 2000, Reclaiming knowledge : social theory, curriculum, and education policy, Routledge, London. Report Theme 5: Generic competences (www.Sundhed2016.dk) http://sundhed2016.dk/category/nyheder-om-sunhed2016/page/2/ Young, M.F.D. 2008, Bringing knowledge back in : from social constructivism to social realism in the sociology of education, Routledge, London. Young, M. 2011: The return to subjects: a sociological perspective on the UK Coalition government's approach to the14–19 curriculum, The Curriculum Journal, Issue 2, Routledge.
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