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
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.
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 -
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.