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Theory and practice of integrating education/management

There is a difference between integrative and integrating theories. Integrative theories often try to be comprehensive overviews of earlier theories. There is no explicit built-in idea of continual improvement of these theories. In an integrating theory, there is an underpinning idea, according to which all human knowledge is partial and tentative, and so it ought to be continually tested and those parts which have passed continual theoretical and empirical testing, can to integrated in thinking, feeling and action, if it is meaningful and useful. Some people think that this is eclecticism. However from the point of view that the universe/the world, including human world, is a system, and our theories are at best partially truthful presentations of some aspects of it, then there is nothing wrong in trying to continually integrate as truthful parts of theories as possible, which are not contradictory. It means only that we are trying to create continually better and better descriptive, causal and normative theories of the world we live in.
I define tentatively education as efforts to promote valuable learning, learning which we are able to justify the most valuable in the particular context. When we are acting according to ideas of 'integrating education', we continually integrate our theory and practice, our thinking, feeling and acting. From 1998 I have co-operated with Professor Patrick Dillon, PhD (Professor of Telematics, University of Exeter, UK), and from 2000 with Professor Paula Kyrö (University of Jyväskylä) , who share my interest in integrating theory building (Åhlberg & Dillon 2003, Dillon, Åhlberg & Kyrö 2000). Later on my cooperation with Dr John Robinson has emerged (Åhlberg & Robinson 2003, Åhlberg, Turja & Robinson 2003).

Philosophical underpinnings of my theory of integrating educating include ontological, epistemological and axiological grounds (e.g. Åhlberg 1993; 1997 and 1998a - 1998c). My philosophical position may be called a pragmatic version of critical scientific realism, similar to what Professors Niiniluoto (1999)and Bunge (1998) have presented. However, I do not dogmatically accept all they have presented, only those ideas, which have found truthful and useful, and consequently which I then try to promote in my integrating theory of Education.

I have developed three new quality tools (Improved Concept Mapping, Improved Vee Heuristics and ARRA or Analysis of Reasoning, Rhetorics and Argumentation ) to promote theory and practice of integrating education/management.


Åhlberg, M. 1993. Concept maps, Vee diagrams and Rhetorical Argumentation (RA) Analysis: Three educational theory-based tools to facilitate meaningful learning. Paper presented at The Third International Seminar on Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics. August 1- 5, 1993. Cornell University. Published digitally in the Proceedings of the Seminar, http://www.mlrg.org/proc3abstracts.html (Read 26 2. 2003.)

Åhlberg, M. 1997. Jatkuva laadunparantaminen korkealaatuisena oppimisena. [Continual Quality Improvement as High Quality Learning]. University of Joensuu. Research Reports of the Faculty of Education N:o 68.

Åhlberg, M. 1998a. Kestävän kehityksen pedagogiikka ja yleisdidaktiikka. University of Joensuu. Bulletins of the Faculty of Education. N:o 71.

Åhlberg, M. 1998b. Ecopedagogy and ecodidactics: Education for Sustainable Development, Good Environment and Good Life. University of Joensuu. Bulletins of the Faculty of Education. N:o 69.

Åhlberg, M. 1998c. Education for sustainability, good environment and good life. In Åhlberg, M. & Leal Filho, W. (Eds.) 1998. Environmental education for sustainability: good environment, good life. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 25 - 43.

Åhlberg, M. & Dillon, P. 1999. Materials for Constructivistic Environmental Education, mainly to be used in pre-service and in-service teacher education: An integrating approach to environmental learning. In De Paz, M. & Pilo, M. (Eds.) 1999. European Project for Environmental Education. A Curriculum for European Schools. Genoa: University of Genoa, Italy, 3 - 33. [Published also digitally:
(Read 10. 3. 2003).

Åhlberg, M. & Dillon, P. 2003 Integrating education: For quality of life and a good environment (manuscript).

Åhlberg, M. & Robinson, J. 2003. An exploration of Education for Sustainability in the field practice schools of pre-service education students using tools for reflective practice. Submitted for publication.

Åhlberg, M., Turja, L. & Robinson, J. 2003. Educational research and development to promote sustainable development in the city of Helsinki: Helping the accessible Helsinki Programme 2001 - 2011 to achieve its goals. Accepted to be published in International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development Vol. 2, N:o 2.

Bunge, M. 1998. Philosophy of science. Revised edition. Volumes 1 and 2. London: Transaction Publishers.

Dillon, P., Åhlberg, M & Kyrö, P. 2000. Integrating education in a digital world. A paper presented in the EERA conference in Edinburgh University. September 23 - 25, 2000. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Niiniluoto, I. 1999. Critical scientific realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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