Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Let's Talk: a discursive approach to training professional community educators

Keywords: Habermas, Discursive Pedagogy, Critical Competence, Community Education, Professional Training

Author: Mr John Bamber (University of Edinburgh)

This paper considers how HE lecturers and students could collaborate to produce appropriate practice knowledge in the subject area of community education. It argues that four principles derived from the Habermasian concept of communicative action, could inform the requisite teaching and learning strategies. The first principle directs attention to the acts of reciprocity that underpin learning. The second focuses on how practice knowledge can be constructed through redeeming validity claims. The third signals the necessity of safeguarding participation and protecting rationality in argumentation. The fourth points to the idea of competence as a constructive achievement. Taken together, the principles express the ideal of a discursive pedagogy based on a commitment to open communication and argumentative reasoning. Approximating the ideal conditions of such a pedagogy, it is argued, could help to develop critically competent professionals who are able to address the why and how of practice simultaneously.

The paper argues that there is a need to move beyond transmissive models of education in HE focussing on individual learners. It should interest educators seeking to develop constructive models based on collective and collaborative forms of learning in professional training.

Date: Wednesday 23 January 2008, 4.00-4.30

Venue: Carrick Three

Return to list of abstracts

Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).