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Against All Odds

An Empirical Study about the Situative Pedagogical Ethos of Vocational Trainers

2015 - 348 pages

Sarah Forster-Heinzer (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

ISBN Paperback: 9789462099395 ($ 54.00)
ISBN Hardcover: 9789462099401 ($ 99.00)
ISBN E-Book: 9789462099418

Subject: Moral Education

Number 8 of the series: Moral Development and Citizenship Education

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Against All Odds


It is nearly impossible to overestimate the significance of a professional ethos in pedagogical situations. Most theories of education understand ethos and ethical acting as belonging to the core of the pedagogical profession. Despite this evidence, remarkably few empirical studies exist on ethos. This book has three main aims: 1) to conceptualize the pedagogical ethos at the theoretical level, 2) to operationalize it systematically, and 3) to study it empirically from the trainers’ perspective but also from that of apprentices. Part 1 offers a critical discussion on different theoretical approaches of professional morality. These include theories on moral values or professional codes, virtue ethics, professional sensitivity, moral commitment, and caring. Identified communalities are combined to form a new model of professional ethos. More intensively than other existing theories, the ethos approach presented in this book stresses the content’s situational impact on decision-making and motivation. The main question guiding the instrument development, dealt with in Part 2, asks how we can distinguish professional morality from the general notion that people should be good. In order to answer this question, vocational education but also a trainer’s pedagogical duties and responsibilities are discussed. Part 3 then presents the result of two empirical studies with vocational trainers and apprentices. It offers some interesting findings for further reflection – input not only relevant for researchers but also educational institutes, professional associations, and practitioners themselves. In short: this book contributes significantly to research on professional morality as well as vocational education.

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Against All Odds
ISBN: 9789462099395
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