I attended a lecture by Michael Young on Friday afternoon as part of SQA's series of research seminars. Michael is a professor at the University of London and has recently written a book about the role of knowledge in schools.
The theme of Michael's lecture was knowledge, and its importance in today's world. He stressed the importance of conceptual knowledge over "context based knowledge". Conceptual knowledge, he said, was "generalisable"; context based knowledge was "particular" to a specific set of circumstances. He used the term "powerful knowledge" to describe conceptual knowledge that "emancipates" and permits the learner to "think the unthinkable". Michael contrasted conceptual knowledge with dogma. He said: "If you only have skills then you are just another machine".
I enjoyed his talk. It was challenging and thought provoking. It has made me think about the role of knowledge in vocational qualifications.
SQA's research seminars are for SQA staff, and invited guests, to keep staff up-to-date with the latest thinking on education, learning and assessment.