Luciano Benadusi

The Many Interpretations of the Concept of Competences: A Crazed or Well- Matched Mayonnaise?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Competences; Competence; Education; Polysemies; Policy; Practice.

The terms competences-competence are moved from the 'common sense' sphere to a range of scientific and professional fields, particularly those inherent to work, education and training. This dissemination process has made them strongly polysemic, an element of strength but even of weakness. Sometimes, their polysemy has been dissolved trough dichotomous interpretations that contrast one meaning to its opposite, so excessively reducing the polysemy's complexity. Up to now, both such uses have hindered the translation of 'competences approach' into educational politics and practices. For the purpose of organizing and clarifying this too chaotic and disorienting polysemy, without replacing it by too reductive contrasting, this paper identifies six axes of tension/polarisation between the different meanings of these terms. And, through some examples, highlights the relative educational implications. Finally, always with reference to education, a seventh axis which impinges on all the others is identified.

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