Originally published in 1990. This book is concerned with the logic of the relationship between educational theory and practice. It is a fundamental examination of three ideas:
Vocationalism - the idea that the central purpose of education is to prepare people for work.
Managerialism - the idea that this preparation can be managed by those not intimately concerned with the practice of teaching.
Consumerism - the idea that education should be led by the demands of the ‘market’.
Halliday argues that promoters of these ideas share a mistaken belief in the value of pursuing a supposed ideal of objective precision in education. He traces the theoretical origins of this ideal and its practical consequences. In particular, he argues that educational development is likely to remain ossified within a particular theoretical framework, unless competing developments are allowed to flourish alongside one another. He concludes by outlining the ways in which this competition might be managed.