chapter  1
11 Pages

Introduction: Theory, Practice and Educational Aims

WithBill Marsden

The distinction between 'craft' and 'professional' teachers must not be polarised. As White has indicated, the National Curriculum is extremely rich in its presentation of specific objectives, but poverty-stricken in its attention to aims. This does not, of course, mean that the government has no aims for the national system of education: rather, perhaps, that it prefers that they should remain undebated. Harris argued that the development of personal autonomy is the overarching educational aim. The pursuit of autonomy aim is inevitably linked with moral education. The moral dimension of schooling can be divided into three elements: moral training, moral understanding and moral reasoning. The context of educational practice is manifestly one of warring ideologies. Yet educational ideologies can be framed in constructive terms, so long as they are kept in balance and under critical scrutiny. Skilbeck has identified four types of educational ideology: classical humanism, progressivism, utilitarianism and reconstructionism.