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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

David Martindill and Elaine Wilson

The purpose of this paper is to study the use and value of practical work in the secondary school science classroom. Informed by the findings of a large survey of students…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the use and value of practical work in the secondary school science classroom. Informed by the findings of a large survey of students from a wide variety of schools, a case study of pupils in the middle secondary range sought to investigate the precise role of practical work in the learning of a specific topic over a series of lessons.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative and quantitative assessment of academic progress of two classes of pupils revealed that students who undertook practical tasks made greater gains in knowledge and understanding than those who undertook non-practical alternatives. In order to explore students’ views about the practical tasks and whether they found them to be an affective and effective aid for their learning, data were collected using questionnaires, lesson observations and interviews of focus groups.

Findings

The data suggest three reasons why practical work supported pupils’ learning. First, practical work supported their visualisation of abstract concepts and provided a stimulus for the recall of key facts later. Second, it provided a distinctive opportunity for pupils to work collaboratively, with associated gains. Finally, hands-on tasks promoted a classroom atmosphere rich in variety, semi-autonomous learning and self-discovery, which pupils found intrinsically motivational.

Originality/value

This study, which responds to the criticism practical work has received in recent years, sheds some light on the mechanisms through which the strategy supports learning in certain contexts. Moreover it argues that practical work needs to be effectively planned to maximise the learning gains made by pupils.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1987

David Baker

Library assistants were originally considered to be professional librarians in the making, and were trained accordingly. With the expansion of libraries and librarianship…

Abstract

Library assistants were originally considered to be professional librarians in the making, and were trained accordingly. With the expansion of libraries and librarianship, Britain's “apprenticeship” system of qualification gave way to formal library school education, and a new category of “non‐professional staff” was created, of people who were unwilling or unable to proceed to graduate‐level qualification. The development of non‐professional certificates of competence in the UK is described against parallel developments in the US, Canada and Australia; the COMLA training modules are also examined. The theoretical and practical issues surrounding training are discussed, training schemes and qualifications in the four countries analysed, and the relative merits of in‐house training and external certificate programmes argued.

Details

Library Management, vol. 8 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Abstract

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Narrative Conceptions of Knowledge: Towards Understanding Teacher Attrition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-138-1

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Article
Publication date: 25 November 2020

Michelle Nathalie Eliasson

The purpose of this study is to explore how Swedish police officers describe occupational knowledge. By learning more about how officers describe occupational knowledge…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore how Swedish police officers describe occupational knowledge. By learning more about how officers describe occupational knowledge, the study gives more insight about the types of information that they may be more likely to adopt in their occupational tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, the author conducted 27 semi-structured interviews with Swedish police officers. I asked officers several open-ended questions about their everyday work life and professional experience.

Findings

Swedish officers divide knowledge into two categories, which are theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge is learned in the academy and is described as “black and white,” meaning that it is considered static and not applicable to what happens out in patrol. Practical knowledge is learned in the field from colleagues.

Research limitations/implications

Police officers around the world have a wide range of requirements and training to become police officers. However, empirical studies have found that officers tend to use different types of information when performing policing tasks. Depending on how information is perceived and is taught, officers may respond differently to different types of knowledge, due to their evaluation of the validity of the knowledge.

Originality/value

The findings in this study support previous empirical studies on the area of policing and knowledge in two ways; first, this study argues that there is a categorization of knowledge among police officers. Second, this study suggests that officers view one occupational knowledge type as more theoretical and one as more practical.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Rannveig Dahle

This chapter deals with a long and intense conflict between nurses and nursing assistants within the context of the Norwegian health care system. Caring work is culturally…

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Abstract

This chapter deals with a long and intense conflict between nurses and nursing assistants within the context of the Norwegian health care system. Caring work is culturally coded as female. A major issue embedded in the conflict concerns the definition of knowledge. The issue, it is argued, is not so much what constitutes knowledge, but what counts as professional expertise and theoretical knowledge when it comes to women’s work, which is devalued. As a middle‐class women’s occupation, nurses have strong aspirations that their work be acknowledged as a full profession. Their knowledge base is a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge, profoundly different from medicine they themselves argue. Such a “professionalisation” of care work is, however, threatened by the mere presence of nursing assistants and the overlapping work they do. For various reasons – not least strategic – the concept of basic care was introduced more than ten years ago. The term was rather vaguely defined, but seems to comprise all personal care for the patient and the patient’s body, including intimate tasks such as washing, dealing with bodily waste products, feeding, etc. Making basic care the exclusive preserve of nurses and delegating the more “housewifely” tasks to nursing assistants effectively excludes the latter from caring work and, not surprisingly, they strongly oppose existing working boundaries and the redistribution of tasks. We investigate the power relationship between the two occupational groups and examine dual closure strategies. Interestingly, nurses have invested in a precarious strategy by reclaiming the hands‐on bodywork that is often labelled “dirty work”. In Western societies these tasks are commonly left to working‐class women. The conflict is thus about both gender and class in an androgynous professional world. The aim is to explore the occupational conflict and to trace some of its implications for theorising professions. Professional tasks, knowledge claims, and the concept of dirty work are addressed, and professional projects and strategies discussed from a gender perspective.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 23 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Silvio Carlo Ripamonti and giuseppe scaratti

The purpose of this paper is to explore the enactment of safety routines in a transshipment port. Research on work safety and reliability has largely neglected the role of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the enactment of safety routines in a transshipment port. Research on work safety and reliability has largely neglected the role of the workers’ knowledge in practice in the enactment of organisational safety. The workers’ lack of compliance with safety regulations represents an enduring problem that often involves first-level managers, who are willing to turn a blind eye toward divergent practices. The CHAT conceptual vocabulary and theoretical model is used to explore this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

A grounded, empirical study in a large transshipment port in the Mediterranean area is conducted. Ethnographic methods including participant observation and interviews are used, and emerging data are analyzed through an interpretive methodology. The paper explores 30 employees’ narrated accounts of how safety rules are enacted or infringed while living and working in the field in a transshipment port. Data obtained through organisational shadowing provided secondary data. Interview data were analyzed using content analysis, using a CHAT framework. Constant comparison and theoretical sensitivity were pursued through an iterative analysis process.

Findings

This study documented the critical role the workers’ knowledge played in practice in ensuring the efficient functioning of the port, and evidenced that the disconnect between safety procedures and technical productivity standards is the most important factor determining the erratic compliance with prescribed procedures. The selective application of safety norms was deliberate in nature, collectively shared and culturally regulated.

Research limitations/implications

This contribution fails to address probably the most important aspect of the activity theoretical approach: its developmental orientation. The initial analysis intervention was meant to lead to a longitudinal process of expansive learning and development in the activity system. The authors had planned to initiate a cycle of expansive learning laboratories involving representatives of the dockworkers, the port management and the safety certification firm, but this had to be postponed to an undefined time due to the significant changes occurred in the international maritime cargo industry and the decision of the multinational company who owns the transshipment port to cut down its cargo traffic and privilege other ports in the Mediterranean area.

Practical implications

The practical implications of the case study concern the conception and design of safety training and management for the port organisation. By acknowledging the disconnect between espoused safety routines and the constraints and affordances of the workers’ everyday work practice, it is suggested that safety training could be more effective if it engaged the workers (or first-level supervisors) in the fine tuning of safety regulations. Workplace learning opportunities could enable the workers to learn and construct situated safety practices.

Social implications

This paper seeks to highlight how the consideration of local knowledge and context-dependent practices can achieve better comprehension of situated application of safety norms.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to understanding the complexity of enacting and translating safety procedures into everyday work practices.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Yew‐Jin Lee and Wolff‐Michael Roth

Sociocultural learning theories, usually premised on participation in some community, explain workplace learning well up to a certain extent. The paper aims to extend…

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1215

Abstract

Purpose

Sociocultural learning theories, usually premised on participation in some community, explain workplace learning well up to a certain extent. The paper aims to extend beyond these and to account for learning in repetitive and mundane work environments from a dialectical perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a longitudinal ethnographic study of one salmon hatchery in Canada and the fish culturists that work there, theory (dialectics) is blended with empirical fieldwork (interview data, participant observation data, field notes). Codes that emerged were classified into categories that formed the basis for the tentative hypotheses.

Findings

Two assertions are proposed concerning learning from a dialectical perspective: the dialectic of doing (actions might seem repetitive but are in fact always different and productive in nature) and the dialectic of understanding and explaining (practical understanding develops dialectically with conceptual understanding when the latter is subjected to scrutiny). These can account for learning in places that at first sight are not conducive to change and transformation.

Research limitations/implications

Using the proposed framework, researchers/management can no longer get at individual learning independent of collective learning, which simultaneously is the effect and cause of individual learning. That is, individual and collective are inseparable ontologically.

Practical implications

The study suggests a need to rethink the nature and possibilities of learning in mundane work environments that are believed to be widespread.

Originality/value

Approaches workplace learning from a dialectical, hermeneutical perspective that is not widely appreciated. Affirms the dignity of workers.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2012

Izhar Oplatka

The purpose of this paper is to identify the legacies of the Journal of Educational Administration (JEA) since its foundation in 1963 to the present (2011) and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the legacies of the Journal of Educational Administration (JEA) since its foundation in 1963 to the present (2011) and to illuminate the main contributions of the Journal to the academic field of educational administration (EA) worldwide.

Design/methodology/approach

The method employed in analysing the Journal's articles was “qualitative content analysis” which includes constant comparisons for discovering patterns, emphases and themes in an array of documents. The first stage of analysis included extensive reading, sorting and searching through the Journal's abstracts resulting in the coding of categories, key words and themes. In the second stage, themes and categories were identified and compared until main themes and sub‐categories in each abstract emerged.

Findings

The paper traces the Journal's legacies in every decade since its foundation, and highlights the dynamic nature of this publication. Likewise, the dominance of the “empirical legacy” as compared to the other five legacies is emphasised, and the rise and fall of different topics and perspectives throughout the years are illuminated. Some thoughts about plausible future directions of the Journal conclude the paper.

Originality/value

The historical review provides an opportunity to glean information about the distinctive intellectual identity of the field of EA. Likewise, reviewing existing research and scholarship in the JEA may increase our intellectual and theoretical understanding of the ways by which the scholarly boundaries of EA as a field of study have been shaped and reshaped, after all, JEA has long been an outlet for hundreds of works from the four corners of the earth.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 50 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2014

Ulla-Maija Koivula and Sirkka-Liisa Karttunen

Finland represents one of the Nordic welfare states where the role of the public sector as the organiser and provider of health and social care is strong. However, the…

Abstract

Purpose

Finland represents one of the Nordic welfare states where the role of the public sector as the organiser and provider of health and social care is strong. However, the amount of voluntary work in social and health care services is surprisingly big. The strongest advocates for keeping the volunteers outside are hospitals and health centres while at the same time they are suffering from shortages of staff and staff is reporting lack of time to provide needed care for their patients. The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a study of the attitudes of professionals towards voluntary work in hospitals.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an exploratory study done in three hospitals, two from an urban area and one in a rural area. The interviewees represent nursing and care staff (n=21). The main questions were how staff members see options, constraints and drawbacks of volunteering regarding professional roles, work division, coordination and management.

Findings

Attitudes of staff varied from positive to conditional. The approaches towards voluntary work varied from holistic to task-centred or patient-centred and were linked with organisational approach, professional approach or considerations of patients’ well-being. Critical views were expressed related to managerial issues, patients’ safety and quality of care. Increasing the amount of voluntary work done in hospitals would require a considered strategy and a specifically designed process for coordination, management and rules on the division of labour.

Research limitations/implications

The research raised themes for further quantitative studies to elaborate the findings on the similarities and differences of the opinions of different staff categories and to be able to develop further the heuristic model of volunteer management triangle suggested in the paper.

Social implications

The study raises questions of the need and promotion of volunteers in general and especially in health care services. It also raises critical views related to voluntary work in hospitals.

Originality/value

The study is a new initiative to discuss voluntary work and how to manage volunteers in hospitals. It provides valuable knowledge for practitioners in health care involved in volunteer management and coordination.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2010

Fatima Malik, Linda McKie, Rona Beattie and Gillian Hogg

The purpose of this paper is to outline the development of a toolkit designed to assist UK small to medium enterprise businesses (SMEs) manage work‐life balance (WLB…

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4107

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the development of a toolkit designed to assist UK small to medium enterprise businesses (SMEs) manage work‐life balance (WLB) policies and practice issues, across the life stages.

Design/methodology/approach

A multi‐method approach was adopted combining a literature review, limited empirical study and piloting of the toolkit.

Findings

Life stages pose complex work‐life challenges for employees and resource and workforce management issues for employers. Demographics, employment cultures and socio‐economic and labour market trends impact on the physical and psychological wellbeing of employees. In striving to fulfil multiple work‐life roles, workers constantly face challenges in terms of (un)paid work/non‐work commitments, caring responsibilities and changing family structures resulting in work/family tensions. This leads to workforce planning, recruitment and retention costs for businesses. Employers face challenges in working with the growing number of WLB policies and in monitoring and evaluating policies, practices and procedures. SMEs require support to adopt a comprehensive WLB approach, whilst meeting operational requirements within resource capabilities and ensuring business sustainability.

Practical implications

The toolkit is a source of WLB guidance for practitioners and those with an HR role in SMEs. The paper encourages reflection on research from business and social science research to better inform human resource (HR) practice.

Originality/value

The paper identifies the critical need for “WLB across the life‐stages” policy and practice guidance for UK SMEs.

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