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Knowledge and expertise in vocational education and training


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Questions of the knowledge that students acquire through vocational studies is fundamental to understanding educational settings oriented to preparation for work. What forms of knowledge are valid is central to policy debates in several countries, as requirements to centre learning further on the workplace jostle with renewed emphasis on disciplinary knowledge essential to advanced skills and academic progression.

Research has variously addressed the knowledge accessible through workplace practice (Billett 2006; Fuller et al. 2007) and associated issues of identity, ‘becoming’ and community participation (Gherardi and Perotta 2014; Hodkinson et al. 2008); as well as forms of knowledge and knowing increasingly valued in the contemporary workplace (Eraut 2004; Guile 2010), extending to notions of a creativity-focused ‘epistemology of the hand’ (Brinkmann and Tanggaard 2010). Such approaches raise epistemological questions about the nature of expertise and relationship between forms of know-that and know-how (Winch 2010). Others have emphasised that expertise in many occupations relies on ‘specialised’ knowledge indispensable for the making of sound judgements in practice (Young and Muller 2014; Shalem 2014) whilst it has been argued that such generalisable knowledge may have considerable transformative value to individuals and society (Wheelahan 2010; Johnson 1988).

This event, supported by the Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET), draws together leading international researchers whose recent publications have explored the place of knowledge and expertise in vocational curricula (Young & Hordern 2020), in professional judgment (Winch 2020), in the accounts of teachers (Tarabini and Jacovkis 2021) and as it becomes systematised from practice (Moodie 2020).

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Bill Esmond, Professor

Professor at University of Derby

Bill Esmond is Professor of Professional Education and Training at the University of Derby. His work examines the policies, structures, institutions and discourses that shape the spaces and practices of learning and work internationally. Recent...

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Mike Seal, Professor

Professor in youth and community education, professor in critical pedagogy and national officer at St. Marys University

I have three part-time roles: Director of the Centre for Research into the Education of Marginalised Children and Young Adults (CREMCYA) and Professor of Youth and Community Education at St Mary's University Twickenham, Professor in Critical...


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Jim Hordern, Dr

Senior Lecturer at University of Bath

Jim Hordern works in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. His research interests are in educational knowledge and practice.

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Christopher Winch

Professor at King's College London

Chris has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Leeds and received his PhD from the University of Bradford in 1982. He has taught in primary, further and higher education. From 2008 until 2012, he was Head of the Department of Education...

Profile picture of Aina Tarabini
Aina Tarabini, Professor

Associate Professor - Sociology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Aina Tarabini is Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and researcher in the research groups GEPS (Globalisation, Education and Social Policy) and IGEP (Interdiscipliary Group on Education...

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Judith Jacovkis, Professor

Doctor in Sociology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Judith Jacovkis is Doctor in Sociology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2011). She has participated in different research projects on cash transfer social policies, inequalities and educational policies specially addressed to...

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Gavin Moodie, Dr

Adjunct Professor at University of Toronto

Gavin Moodie is adjunct professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. He has published over 50 journal articles, book chapters and encyclopaedia...

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