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What aspects of reasoning do further education college lecturers use in writing rationales?

Soden, Rebecca and Maclellan, Effie (2004) What aspects of reasoning do further education college lecturers use in writing rationales? Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 56 (1). pp. 97-116. ISSN 1363-6820

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Abstract

Commonly, the task of constructing rationales is used in development programmes as a means of advancing Further Education College (FEC) lecturers' understanding of their practice. Often lecturers also teach this task as a part of student project work. Drawing on psychological research on argumentative reasoning the aim was to illuminate strengths and weaknesses in lecturers' rationale construction by identifying (a) components of reasoning and (b) ideas used in rationales. A descriptive sample survey design plus a focus group interview was employed on an opportunity sample of 22 FEC lecturers. They provided 89 pages of word-processed responses to nine questions. Content analyses indicated that participants used only two of Kuhn's (1991) five broad components of argumentative reasoning and educational literature was cited without commentary or evaluation. It is argued that course design needs to draw on ideas from at least three bodies of research: pedagogies for learning argumentative reasoning, 'aspects of knowledgeability' (Bereiter, 2002) and situated learning.