‘What are you working on’…Rob Creasy

*Over the Summer, academic staff in Social Sciences will be posting updates on what they’re working on in terms of their research: up first, subject director Dr. Rob Creasy*

I have just submitted a book to Palgrave Macmillan which we hope will be published by Xmas. This means that you can put this on your Xmas list for Santa. The book is to be titled “The Taming of Education: contemporary approaches to teaching and learning” and draws upon Sociology, Social Policy and Education Studies to argue that over recent decades the way in which we provide education has changed in ways that make it not fit for purpose. It draws upon the work of Rittel & Webber (1973) in using the concept of wicked problems to argue that education has increasingly been seen as a process and where that process has become tame. This is not a good thing. It is the basis of the third level module The taming of education! Basically it doesn’t matter if you see education in an idealistic way as contributing to your self-development or a utilitarian way, as only having value in how it can get you a job, education that is tamed is impoverished. Think about how at 6th form you were expected to learn a script and focus on a right answer. This is tame. Think about how some students are solely focused on content and getting the right things in, this is tame. Education needs to be able to promote creativity and originality but it often doesn’t do this because of a focus on targets and passing. The thing is that education is not a process in the way that a manufacturing process is and you aren’t buying a degree. There is uncertainty to education but uncertainty reflects the concept of wickedity and many people don’t like the idea of this.

As a process the book draws upon work that I did for my doctorate but develops this and widens it so it’s about 25% doctoral thesis and 75% new material. It’s taken me about a year to write and has provided a few headaches along the way. It’s my first book so has been a new challenge for me but very rewarding. In fact I am now thinking of pitching to write a textbook aimed at students on courses related to the wider Children’s workforce as this reflects work that I did between 2009 – 2015 so it will be a matter of organising class notes. The plan is to do this as a joint book with my wife so that will ease the workload. Whatever happens, I will expect to be busy over the next year writing a paper or two for a journal and looking to get started on the textbook. Ideas for papers are always welcomed.