MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThere are some notions which most of us think we know what they are and assume that others share the same or similar ideas. These can include ideas such as fairness, equality and justice. They are terms which are easy to use and to feel that we understand what we mean by them but notoriously difficult to explain to others, other than by appealing to common sense and asserting that ‘everyone’ knows what justice, fairness, equality and so on actually are. Some terms, such as professionalism, are even best described by their absence. To define professionalism per se is notoriously difficult but unprofessional somehow appears easier, even if in reality unprofessional is more often exemplified than defined. In this morass of potential confusion, there are the phenomena which we recognise when we see them but would be hard put to describe in anything even vaguely resembling objective terms. Among these slippery concepts is the concept of education. Education is what might be termed an essentially contested concept (Winch and Gingell 1999). It is one with a vast range of definitions, none of which is totally satisfactory. For example, we have the common equation between education and school. In this case, what about higher education? Where does further education fit in? And, for that matter, where do we place things we teach ourselves? We can discuss education that includes all of these arenas for learning or we can exclude at least some of them. We may even do as Abbs (1979) does and claim that ‘education and school can refer, and often do refer, to antithetical activities’ (p 90). Or we can go even further and align ourselves with Illich (1986) and assert that school is not only the antithesis of education but that its main function is to provide custodial day care for young people. This chapter has its function to consider what education might be. I intend to do this by considering a well-known attempt at defining education. I will then consider some of the things that education can be for and, lastly, I will consider what it might mean to be educated before briefly considering Education Studies itself.
JournalAn Introduction to the Study of Education. 4th edition
TypeChapter in book
The following licence applies to the copyright and re-use of this item: