Simmons, Robin (2017) The historical experience of liberal studies for vocational learners in further education. British Journal of Educational Studies. ISSN 0007-1005

This paper revisits the liberal studies movement – an important if under-researched episode in the history of education. It examines the lived experience of a set of former vocational students, the great majority of whom eventually went on to teach in further and higher vocational education. All participants had undertaken a course of liberal studies alongside a programme of work-related learning at an English college of further education at some point between the mid-1960s and the late-1980s. The paper presents two key findings: first, whilst participants’ experiences were varied and uneven, most seemed quite agnostic about liberal studies in their youth; second, the great majority of those who took part in the research were substantially more positive about their learning in retrospect.

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