Struggling for purchase?: What shape does a vocational education and training agenda take within a contemporary university education faculty?


This paper focuses on the discourse among academics with a shared interest in the relationship between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education within the University of Southern Queensland's Faculty of Education. The authors endeavour to make sense of how VET pedagogies and praxis are currently envisaged and enacted within the faculty, how they respond to present-day influences and developments in the VET sector and how they will in turn shape teaching, learning and research activity.

In the paper, the authors put their personal and professional ideologies under the microscope in a dialectic that aims to inform the development of a shared set of meanings that will serve as a platform from which to move forward in their practice. This dialectic examines the nuances of practices from the perspectives of a reflective (Schön 1983; 1987) and a reflexive (Usher 1987) practitioner. Theoretical lenses drawn upon in this reflective and reflexive dialectic include critical theory (Habermas 1972; 1973), criticality (Barnett 1997) and the humanist tradition in education (Dewey 1916; 1938).

The results of this dialectic are then used to engage pedagogies that relate to further education and training (fet) within the faculty. To guide this situated engagement, several questions are asked. The conclusions drawn confirm that the convergence of these personal and professional ideologies is helpful in shaping the contributions of fet to the existing and emerging needs of the faculty's lifelong learners.


Catherine H Arden
Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

Patrick Alan Danaher
Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

Mark A Tyler
Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Australia


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