Björck, V., Johansson, K.
Problematising the theory–practice terminology: a discourse analysis of students’ statements on Work-integrated Learning
(2019) Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43 (10), pp. 1363-1375.
This study uses a Foucault-inspired discourse analysis to examine two ideas about learning which reinforce the terminology whereby theory means campus-based training and practice means work placements. The purpose is to problematise this theory–practice terminology and provide scope for a non-dualistic alternative. The ideas examined are the idea of theory vs. practice as the point of departure for learning and the idea of theory and practice as harmonious points of departure for learning. These ideas were voiced by interviewed students who discussed the usual design of Work-integrated Learning (WIL) whereby students go to university to learn ‘theory’ and into working life to learn ‘practice’. The analysis shows how the ideas are formed by different ranking orders between theory and practice which are mutually exclusive, while also working together to reinforce the theory–practice terminology. The discussion on how a non-dualistic terminology can emerge highlights how the usual WIL design forms a dualistic setting where the theory–practice terminology thrives and how designing WIL at a third place between university and working life can provide scope for the terminology we seek. © 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Foucault-inspired discourse analysis; ranking orders; Theory–practice terminology; third place; work-integrated learning