Ruhi Tyson is senior lecturer in education at IPD as well as at the Waldorf University College. He also works as bookbinding teacher at the Kristofferschool in Bromma. He possesses both craft and academic education with a journeyman's certificate in bookbinding and a doctorate in education. The experiences derived from practical work and the workshop environment have been central to the development and focus of his academic studies. These have, in turn, contributed to developing perspectives on aesthetic and practical subject teaching.
His field of interest concerns issues of Bildung and practical wisdom, the Bildung-value of vocational education as well as the biographical impact of VET. It also includes an interest in the intersection of crafts, pedagogy and therapy and the pedagogical potential of the workshop as educational environment.
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
What is Excellence in Practice? Empirical Explorations of Vocational Bildung and Practical Wisdom through Case Narratives
2018. Ruhi Tyson. Vocations and Learning 11 (1), 19-44Article
The approach of vocational Bildung didactics has been developed to investigate practical knowledge in matters of education for Bildung and phronesis (practical wisdom). Case narratives of unusual richness or success are at the core of the approach, each case representing an articulation of someone’s practical knowledge. The concept of a practice as developed by MacIntyre is introduced here as a way of situating the practical knowledge of Bildung and phronesis gained from case narratives. A series of case studies are discussed to examine the practices that surfaced. The result is a differentiation of MacIntyre’s concept in two directions: one more specific called vocational practice and one more general called a cultural practice. This differentiation is then applied to the case studies and it is argued that it helps illuminate aspects of them that previously were difficult to comprehend within the framework of vocational Bildung didactics. The conclusion is that biographical cases where cultural and vocational practices intersect are uniquely positioned to afford knowledge of how such intersections have been achieved through education and what they have meant for the person initiated into such matrixes. This, in turn, contributes to the insight with which we are able to design vocational education and training curricula that support initiation into dynamic vocational practices with a focus on the goods and virtues possible to develop through them.
Educating for Vocational Excellence
2018. Ruhi Tyson. Handbook of Vocational Education and Training, 1-16Chapter
This chapter reviews current research into educating for vocational excellence. It distinguishes between two conceptualizations of excellence, the world skills and the neo-Aristotelian, and pursues research connected to the latter. The neo-Aristotelian approach to excellence characterizes it as a combination of practical wisdom and virtues, sometimes with further additions. The review identifies three major trends in this research: one focusing on establishing conceptual frameworks for cultivating vocational excellence, one focusing on the development of virtues in practice, and the final one developing out of a narrative approach to practical wisdom and excellence. It identifies possibilities for more systematic combinations of these different approaches. The lack of more systematic research in the field is also discussed, especially regarding comparative and evaluative inquiries, the exception being, perhaps, the field of narrative medicine. The conclusion is that the research field is comparatively young, most work being post 2000, but that there has been significant growth since then. The review lays a foundation for both future inquiry and practice development to proceed with greater self-awareness and understanding of the potentials inherent in the excellence aspect of vocational education and training.
The Rough Ground
2017. Ruhi Tyson (et al.).Thesis (Doc)
This compilation thesis, consisting of five articles, focuses on narrative explorations of vocational Bildung and wisdom in practice. It is an explicitly practical and empirical approach to what, for the most part, tends to be limited to philosophical discussions. This is motivated by the relative lack of systematic knowledge about how to enact wisdom in practice and afford vocational Bildung to those engaged in vocational education and training (VET). The absence of such knowledge makes it more difficult to develop VET practice and curricula and also leads to significant parts of the internal goods of practice to remain tacit, personal and local when they need to become articulated and shared. The aim of the five articles has been to explore how Bildung and practical wisdom can enrich our understanding of vocational practice and didactics on a theoretical, methodological and practical level. Conceptually the thesis draws extensively from narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly 1995, 2000), reflective practice (Schön 1983, 1987), Aristotelian philosophy regarding practical wisdom (Aristotle 2009, Nussbaum 1990), MacIntyre’s concept of a practice (2011) and the Bildung-tradition (Rittelmeyer 2012) to create a coherent framework for the inquiry termed vocational Bildung didactics (VBD). It is located in the phronetic social science paradigm articulated by Flyvbjerg (2001) where the main aim for research is to enrich practice rather than generate theory. The methodology for this kind of inquiry is the collection of narrative cases focusing on unusually rich/successful/wise cases of a practice, what Flyvbjerg (2001) terms extreme and paradigmatic cases. On a conceptual level the inquiry has resulted in the framework of VBD that provides the structure for engaging in this kind of research. It has also resulted in some further conceptualizations driven by the interpretation of cases, in particular a differentiation between vocational and cultural practices. On a methodological level it has resulted in a kind of double didactical method: the case narratives function as articulations of practical knowledge regarding vocational Bildung and practical wisdom but also as the didactical tools for teaching this. On a practical level the inquiry has resulted in suggestions for curriculum-development as well as ways in which the case narratives can be used to enrich the understanding of practitioners.
Bildning och praktisk klokhet
2019. Ruhi Tyson.Book
Vocational education in Waldorf-contexts
2019. Tyson Ruhi. RoSE 10 (1), 49-63Article
The Waldorf curriculum has seen various developments over the decades one being in the field of vocational education. Most of this has happened in Germany and Switzerland and although much of it has been discussed in writing little is available in English and there is an absence of a complete review where the various initiatives are compared. The main purpose of this article is to review the literature on the topic as well as the practice in the field and these two elements make up the two major portions of the article. The result of this is at least threefold. First, it provides an orientation on the topic making further research and the development of practice easier. Second, it provides a good example of the flexibility of the Waldorf curriculum and access to some of the most extensive work done in developing aspects of it further. Third, it expands on the already established understanding of what the practical (craft) subjects contribute in the Waldorf context, creating a deeper concept of practical Bildung and opening it to a non-German speaking audience.
Exploring Waldorf education as a practice through case narratives
2018. Tyson Ruhi. RoSE 8 (2), 51-64Article
The aim of this article is to provide a framework for empirical research into the practice of Waldorf education with a particular emphasis on its bildung-related aspects and to outline some of its potential contributions. conceptually it rests on a biographical and empirical case narrative approach to bildung in connection with MacIntyre’s concept of a practice. It represents a combination of the auto/biographical approach of narrative inquiry with research into enacted and experienced curricula through extreme and paradigmatic narrative cases. The two cases presented are auto/biographical and are used to clarify and explore the implications of the argument. The conclusion highlights a number of ways in which the collection and interpretation of this kind of cases can contribute: exploring “conceptual environments”, for practice development, in teacher education, making Waldorf education more accessible to “outsiders” and considering ways in which the tension between education for bildung and effective training can be reconciled.