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The Quest for Modern Vocational Education – Georg Kerschensteiner between Dewey, Weber and Simmel

Gonon, Philipp

The Quest for Modern Vocational Education – Georg Kerschensteiner between Dewey, Weber and Simmel

Series: Studies in Vocational and Continuing Education - Volume 9

Year of Publication: 2009

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. 278 pp.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0026-1 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.400 kg, 0.882 lbs

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Book synopsis

Vocational education that includes both in-company training and schooling is a highly successful educational model – in fact, it has come to be considered the most effective kind of youth education to date. The development of this so-called Dual System is often attributed to Georg Kerschensteiner (1854-1932).
In this book Kerschensteiner’s work is presented in the context of modernization processes in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, when the urgent need was felt to balance general education and vocational needs. The corresponding discourse was influenced by modern thinkers like Dewey, Weber and Simmel.
This book thus offers new insights into the reform of vocational education and into educational thinking more in general.


Contents: The Pedagogue Georg Kerschensteiner: A Brief Biography – The German Concept of Bildung and School Reform in the 19th Century – Joy in Work - Germany’s Educational Debates in the Industrial Age – Georg Kerschensteiner’s Concept of the ‘Arbeitsschule’ - A Plea for Work as a Foundation for Education – Kerschensteiner as the ‘Pestalozzi of Our Time’ - A Pedagogical Hero and His Tragedy – School Reform and Pragmatism: John Dewey’s Ambiguous Impact on Modernisation in Germany – Education as Self-guidance - Max Weber’s Alternative to Liberal Education – Georg Simmel’s Discourse of Life and Form as a Blueprint for Georg Kerschensteiner’s Theory of Education – Apprenticeship, Vocational Education and the Rise of the Dual System – Efficiency and Vocationalism as Structuring Principles of Vocation-oriented Education in the USA – The Development of Vocational Pedagogy in Germany.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Philipp Gonon is a Swiss educationalist with his main research focus on vocational education. He studied Pedagogy at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and at the Technical University of Berlin. From 1999 until 2004, Gonon was appointed as Full Professor at the Chair of Vocational Education at the University of Trier (Germany). Since 2004, he has been holding the Chair of VET and Teacher Training at the University of Zurich. Gonon’s main research areas are the German educationalist Georg Kerschensteiner, the relationship of school and occupation, and European educational reforms.


«[This book's] interest extends far beyond VET and workplace learning to wider educational thinking. It offers new insights to educational theorists and comparative scholars, from primary to higher education.» (Karen Evans, Journal of Vocational Education and Training 4, 2012/64)


Studies in Vocational and Continuing Education. Vol. 9
Edited by Philipp Gonon and Anja Heikkinen