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Schizophrenia in Academia: The academic-professional divide a theoretical perspective

Author Kay O'Sullivan
Abstract Within faculties, academic and professional schools often occupy different parallel educational universes. Each has its own distinct curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment strategies along the lines of Basil Bernstein competence and performance models respectively. This paper sets out to examine how divergent pedagogies can emerge within one discipline, in the light of Bernstein's theories. Bernstein makes an analogy between Weber's religious paradigm of prophet, priest and laity and the pedagogical field of producers, reproducers or recontextualizers, and acquirers (1996, 51). The recontextualizers are those who constitute specific pedagogical discourses (Bernstein, 1996, 46), and whoever controls the pedagogical device 'has the power to regulate consciousness' (1996, 52). The rules guiding recontextualisation denote 'who may transmit what to whom and under what conditions and create specialised communications ... through its contexts and contents'(1996, 46). Shulman states that if you wish to understand why professions develop the way they do, study their forms of professional preparation; i.e. the fundamental ways in which future practitioners are educated for their new professions. In this paper, I will argue that the pedagogies which emerge under the auspices of professional bodies follow Bernstein's performance model while the academic follows the competence model. The performance model is determined by the professional bodies, in what Bernstein terms the pedagogical recontextualising field coming from within the discipline or specific professional domain. The competence model is determined by the official recontextualising fields which is determined by the state and its selected agents and ministeries and therefore has broader influences and terms of reference. Through an examination of Bernstein's theories and using the experience of the academic/performance dichotomy in music education, I will argue that the academic professional divide occurs at the recontextualisation stage, where decisions are made about what is transmitted, and where, when, and how it is communicated. I will outline the principal features of the performance and competence models, and argue that the former fits the professional model and the latter the academic model. I will explore the implications for lecturers in the different fields and consider the implications for training the trainers. While this paper does not attempt to provide answers to this dilemma, it hopes to provide some explanation for the roots of this divergence.
Keywords Academic ; professional; music education; Bernstein's competence ; performance models.
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2011
Date 2011
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