Ruhi Tyson

Ruhi Tyson


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Works at Department of Education
Visiting address Frescativägen 54
Postal address Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

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
  • 2018. Ruhi Tyson. Vocations and Learning 11 (1), 19-44

    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.

  • Thesis (Doc) The Rough Ground
    2017. Ruhi Tyson (et al.).

    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.

  • 2016. Ruhi Tyson. Journal of Vocational Education and Training 68 (3), 359-377

    In the research on education, the field roughly covered by the concept of Bildung has seen a wide-ranging discussion philosophically but less has been said and done from an empirical and vocational perspective. Bildung includes matters such as: formation of character, ethical and aesthetic knowledge/capability, capacity for wise deliberation and reflection as well as the development of personal autonomy. The focus here is on how narratives about teaching and curricula, both enacted and experienced, can be used to articulate significant aspects of Bildung-related practical knowledge. The empirical basis for this draws on a variety of narrative sources. By presenting, comparing and discussing narratives, it will be argued that there is a number of Bildung-related educational matters, not least in vocational education and training, where a narrative articulation can contribute. These can be differentiated in at least five groups: enriching knowledge of vocational tasks; conceptual development and critical reflection; advancement of practice; development of ‘practice fields’ and the articulation of patterns of vocational Bildung affordances. In distinguishing these different ways in which vocational Bildung as a form of practical knowledge can be enriched through narrative studies, the article contributes to our capacity for doing systematic research in the subject area.

  • 2016. Ruhi Tyson. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training 3 (3), 230-249

    A classic philosopher in the Bildung-tradition, Humboldt, argued that general Bildung was the opposite of specialist training (vocational education). This has been a matter of contention and the aim here is to revisit the issue through an empirical case study. In the vocational education biography of craft master Wolfgang B. he speaks about aspects of his education that have much in common with Humboldt‘s ideal of general Bildung but transposed into the context of vocational education and training (VET). The concept of vocationalism (Beruflichkeit) provides context to the present argument which is that the contrast Humboldt made is relevant but not in the sense of there being two categories of education (general and vocational) but rather two expressions of pedagogy: one expansive and one exclusive. Furthermore, there are two versions of general or expansive Bildung present in the case. The conclusions are that empirical studies of vocational Bildung expand on the concept of Bildung, increase our understanding of how VET contains affordances of Bildung and of the curriculum-patterns related to this.

  • 2015. Ruhi Tyson.

    This study looks at issues of Bildung and vocational education from a biographical perspective. These issues are conceptualized in terms of Bildung in action, developed in relation to Schön’s concept reflection in action; Bildung through making as a way of thinking about processes of Bildung connected to crafts; and Bildung in vocational contexts, ie. contexts of vocational education and work. The concepts are enriched through an extensive auto/biographical case study of master craftsman Wolfgang B.’s educational biography focusing on stories of Bildung where processes and actions are described as well as the curricular structure of his training. Some of these stories and aspects of the case have then been analyzed in two articles, one dealing with questions of aesthetic Bildung in vocational education using Schiller as conceptual lens and one dealing with educating for vocational excellence using Aristotle’s concepts techne and phronesis to understand the narratives analyzed. The results are an increased and differentiated understanding of Bildung in vocational contexts, especially as related to the coexistence of skill training with education for Bildung and the unique perspectives that auto/biographical studies of retired or semi-retired craftspeople bring to the field of research connecting biography, Bildung in action and vocational education.

Show all publications by Ruhi Tyson at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 29, 2018

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