Practical wisdom and democratic education: phronesis, art and non-traditional students

Broadhead, Samantha and Gregson, Margaret (2018) Practical wisdom and democratic education: phronesis, art and non-traditional students. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783319733104

Abstract

Phronesis or practical wisdom has been understood in relation to the professions where people were able to deliberate wisely by drawing upon their knowledge, character and experience. This project proposes that non-traditional (mature or Access) students also have the potential to draw upon their practical wisdom in order to act well on their degrees. Using the ideas of the educational sociologist Basil Bernstein1924-2000 it is argued that higher education within art and design in particular advantaged some groups of students over others. He proposed a democratic education where everyone felt enhanced, included and able to participate. Informed by his work, this book argues that phronesis, the ability to deliberate well should be an intrinsic part of a democratic education not only in the arts but in other vocational and academic disciplines and subjects. This includes consideration of four case studies that discuss the narratives of four post Access-to HE students during the three-four years of their degrees in art and design. The book aims to make the work of Basil Bernstein accessible to those interested in the sociology of education (students, academics, managers and researchers). It ends with some recommendations for students, Access to HE tutors and lecturers in Higher Education regarding what is good and what is right in democratic curriculum design and pedagogy in Art Education in particular and more widely in other subjects and disciplines.

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