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Recognising health care assistants' prior learning through a caring ideology
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Studies in Adult, Popular and Higher Education. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2010 (English)In: Vocations and learning: Studies in Vocational and Professional Education, ISSN 1874-785X (Print) 1874-7868 (Online), Vol. 3, no 2, 99-115 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article critically appraises a process of recognising prior learning (RPL) using analytical tools from Habermas’ theory of communicative action. The RPL process is part of an in-service training program for health care assistants where the goal is to become a licensed practical nurse. Data about the RPL process were collected using interviews and observations. Through appraising RPL as a social practice, it is held that the process progresses through a ‘caring ideology’. The caring ideology is the foundation that makes it possible to build up health care assistants’ trust in teachers’ authority. In this process, the teachers, by means of strategic actions, become the possessors of (the validity claim) truth. From this starting point, the assistants’ prior experiences are strategically acknowledged in two ways: by affective comments ‘recognising’ their identity/personality and by generating a grade in the courses for which their prior learning is being accredited. The findings show that the lifeworld of these workers is assimilated and colonised through the RPL process and important issues such as power, gender and class are not accounted for. These matters should not be left out in research on caring practices performed by women from low socio-economic groups. These issues must be included if RPL processes are not merely assumed to systematically and uncritically reproduce an existing normative discourse. Based on the RPL practice analysed here, it is proposed that a more reflexive, emancipatory and communicative RPL process could play a central role in the development and enlightenment of health care assistants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands , 2010. Vol. 3, no 2, 99-115 p.
Keyword [en]
Recognition of prior learning - Health care assistant - Caring ideology - Theory of communicative action - Gender - Power
National Category
Pedagogy Sociology Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-52920DOI: 10.1007/s12186-009-9031-8OAI: diva2:285743
Available from: 2010-01-13 Created: 2010-01-13 Last updated: 2012-09-13
In thesis
1. Recognition of Prior Learning in Health Care: From a Caring Ideology and Power, to Communicative Action and Recognition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recognition of Prior Learning in Health Care: From a Caring Ideology and Power, to Communicative Action and Recognition
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Validering i omvårdnadssektorn : från en omvårdande ideologi och makt, till kommunikativt handlande och erkännande
Abstract [en]

During the last decades Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) has become a more frequently used method to recognise adult’s prior learning. This thesis analyses a process of RPL in health care, where health care assistants are assessed against subjects in the upper-secondary health care program. Prior research on RPL is to a high degree non-theoretical and focus is primarily on policy level research. This thesis adds to the field by progressing a critical social theory perspective on RPL. In the thesis the RPL process is analysed through Jürgen Habermas’ theory of communicative action and Axel Honneth’s Recognition theory. General questions posed are: What are the power issues in the RPL process? What implications does the tension between the lifeworld of work and the system of education have? What consequences does mutual understanding and communication have for the outcome of the RPL process? What part does recognition play for the participants? The results disclose the power relations that emerge in the relationship between participants and teachers. A caring ideology is developed and problematized. Further, the importance of mutual understanding between participant and teachers in the assessment of prior learning is discussed focusing on the consequences a lack of mutual understanding could have for the outcome in such assessments. On a macro level the analysis demonstrates the tension between the participants prior learning and the educational systems demand for formalising prior learning. In addition, analyses of a more developmental character that intends to show the potential for critical learning, change and recognition are progressed.

The results suggest that communicative action can be used to develop RPL into processes focusing on critical learning and change. Recognition of traits and abilities could also enhance individual’s positive relations with the self. Such recognition could develop self-confidence and thus RPL could encourage learning and cultivate continuing self-realisation through work.

Abstract [sv]

Validering har under de senaste decennierna blivit en alltmer använd metod för att erkänna vuxnas tidigare lärande. Denna avhandling analyserar en valideringsprocess inom omvårdnadssektorn för vårdbiträden med mångårig erfarenhet. Vårdbiträdena valideras mot ämnen inom omvårdnadsprogrammets karaktärsämnen. Tidigare forskning om validering är i hög grad icke-teoretisk och mycket fokus har legat på policynivå. Denna avhandling bidrar till forskningsfältet genom att problematisera validering utifrån ett kritiskt samhällsteoretiskt perspektiv. I avhandlingen analyseras valideringsprocessen utifrån Jürgen Habermas teori om det kommunikativa handlandet och Axel Honneths erkännandeteori. Exempel på mer generella frågor som ställs är: Vilka är maktfaktorerna i valideringsprocessen? Är handlingarna i processen koordinerade mot gemensam förståelse? Hur ser förhållandet mellan system och livsvärld ut? Vilken roll spelar erkännandet i validering för deltagarna? Resultatet synliggör de maktförhållanden som uppstår mellan deltagare och lärare i bedömningsprocessen. En omvårdande ideologi lyfts fram och problematiseras. Därtill diskuteras betydelsen av gemensam förståelse mellan deltagare och lärare vid bedömning, samt vilka konsekvenser brist på gemensam förståelse kan få. På ett makroplan åskådliggör analysen spänningen mellan deltagarnas erfarenheter och utbildningssystemets krav på formalisering. Vidare genomförs mer utvecklingsfokuserade analyser som vill visa på möjligheterna för kritiskt lärande och förändring i validering. Resultatet demonstrerar också, bland annat, betydelsen av att bli erkänd för sina förmågor och hur detta kan utveckla individens självuppskattning och främja lärande.

I studien föreslås det att kommunikativt handlande kan utgöra en norm för hur validering kan utvecklas mot mer kritiskt lärande och positiv förändring. Men också att erkännande av tidigare förmågor kan gynna individens positiva relation till sig själv, hur detta främjar lärande, självuppskattning och hur validering därmed kan utgöra en grund för ett vidare självförverkligande genom arbete.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. 129 p.
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 166
RPL, health care, health care assistant, critical social theory, communicative action, recognition, adult education, adult learning, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, Validering, omvårdnad, vårdbiträde, kritisk samhällsteori, kommunikativt handlande, erkännande, vuxnas lärande, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth
National Category
Pedagogy Sociology
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81396 (URN)978-91-7519-814-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-19, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-09-13 Created: 2012-09-13 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved

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