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About the SeriesThe SAGE Key Concepts series provides students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension.Key Concepts in Education provides students with over 100 essential themes, topics and expressions that Education students are likely to encounter, both during their courses and beyond in professional practice. Co-authored to draw on experiences of working within academia, local authorities and the classroom, the entries provide:a definition of the concepta description of the historical and practical contextan explanation of how the concept is appliedan evaluation of the concepthelpful references and suggested further readingThis book will be essential reading for students of Education, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers. About the AuthorsFred Inglis is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sheffield. Lesley Aers is a senior member of a local authority school improvement service and an Ofsted inspector. Both authors are former schoolteachers.  


For a word which comes into the conversation with such an assured air, ‘competence’ has unnervingly varied meanings. It begins by being close to ‘compete’ in the late sixteenth century, and indicated then rivalry in dignity or relative social position. Proceeding with shreds of this meaning on its way, it advanced to take in a man's (in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, invariably a man's) sufficiency of income, estate and (though the phrase doesn't arrive until the twentieth century) ‘standard of living’. In this sense, a competence placed a man in more or less comfortable circumstances, he was himself a ‘competencer’.

Through the eighteenth century, however, a new sense began to dominate over the old, which nonetheless maintains its presence today, if a bit archaically. ...

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