23 SES 05 A, Curriculum Policy Reforms and Their Implications (Part 1)
Paper Session to be continued in 23 SES 06 A
In educational research, educational policy is often discussed in terms of events, time and space connected to international and national arenas (e.g. Lawn & Grek 2012, Meyer & Benavot 2013, Rizvi & Lingard 2010). In this paper, the contextualization of policy is instead the local arena. The paper examines local responses of transnational/national policy at a classroom level. The study can be viewed as a response to two of the questions posed at the website of NW 23: “How do we conceptualise and understand the procedures and constraints of policy making at the local level?” and “How is policy received, perceived and used by different social actors?” [e.g. the teachers]. The paper is part of the project ‘Understanding curriculum reforms: a theory-oriented evaluation of the Swedish curriculum reform Lgr 11’, financed by the Swedish Research Council. The purpose of the paper is to explore how education policy, both enabled and constrained by transnational policy flows as well as national policy built up by social, cultural and historical traditions, is enacted through curriculum on the classroom level, in terms of ‘curriculum events’ (Doyle 1992). More specifically, the aim is to explore how policy rationality embedded in the structure and content of curriculum transforms into a specific rationality of classroom teaching. The research questions are: How can classroom discourse be understood as part of a wider context of education policy codified through curriculum? What different rationalities, linked to education policy as enacted in curriculum, may underlie certain patterns of teaching repertoires?
The understanding of a ‘knowledge-based economy’ has provided an important base and inspiration as a policy model for education, not the least for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as an important international actor for the Western countries (Meyer & Benavot 2013, Peters 2010, Rizvi & Lingard 2010). Peters (2010) argues that concepts such as ‘knowledge-based economy’ and ‘knowledge society’ are ‘complex and openly contested policy descriptions’ functioning as a broad framework for local contextualisation and adaptation to already existing associated concepts through their ‘descriptive and analytical force’ (Peters 2010, p. 68-69).Globalisation has led to a changing role of the state, from a governmental agenda-setting to discursive 'soft' governance where policy is increasingly formed by the state in cooperation with international actors, such as the OECD and the EU. (Rizvi and Lingard 2010, Wahlström 2014). Thus, educational policy discourses on governance can be viewed as complex structures for handling, understanding and reformulating global, national and local policy interests. As Sassen (2013) points out, it is more productive for researchers to understand the global from already well-known areas, as for example in this case education policies curriculum content, knowledge forms and knowledge tests. This ‘inside-nations-globalisation’ is expressed through soft governance of accountability, standards- based curriculum and international efforts of raising knowledge achievment in school, often summarised as a Western ‘neoliberal policy’ (Phillips 2004, Takayama 2009). The study builds on curriculum theory (Deng & Luke 2008, Sundberg & Wahlström 2012) focusing at the classroom level. The study is centered on form and content of classroom discourse, but not primarily from a linguistic or socio-cultural perspective. Instead the focus is on transfer, transformation and rejection of education policy at the classroom level, with teachers and students as the central social actors. The research builds on classic studies of lives in classrooms (Bellack et al. 1966; Hansen 2001; Jackson 1968/1990) but this time against a backdrop of the a wider scenario of transnational policy borrowing and lending and international interdependence, manifested by for example cooperation in OECD, EU and international knowledge measurements and its expressions at the local level (Steiner-Khamsi & Waldow 2012).
Alexander, Robin J. (2001). Border crossings: towards a comparative pedagogy. Comparative Education37(4), 507-523. Alexander, Robin (2008). Essays on pedagogy. London: Routledge. Bellack, Aeno et al. (1966). The language of the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press. Deng, Zongyi & Luke, Allan (2008). Subject matter. Defining and theorizing school subjects. I F. Michael Connelly et al.: The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction,p. 66-87. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. Doyle, Walter (1992). Curriculum and Pedagogy. In Philip W. Jackson: Handbook of research on curriculum, pp. 486-516. New York: Macmillan. Hansen, David T. (2001). Exploring the moral heart of teaching. New York: Teachers College Press. Jackson, P. W. (1968/1990). Life in classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press. Klette, K. et al (2005): Categories for Video Analysis of Classroom Activities with a Focus on the Teacher. Oslo: University of Oslo. Lawn, Martin and Grek, Sotiria (2012). Europeanizing education: Governing a new policy space. Oxford: Symposium Books. Meyer, Heinz.-Dieter & Benavot, Aaron (2013). PISA and the globalization of education governance: some puzzles and problems. In Hans-Dieter Meyer & Aaron Benavot (Eds.): PISA, Power and Policy: The Emergence of Global Educational Governance, pp. 9-26. Oxford: Symposium Books. Peters, Michael (2010). Three forms of the knowledge economy: learning, creativity and openness. British Journal of Educational Studies 58(1), 67-88. Phillips, David (2004). Toward a theory of policy attraction in education. In: Gita Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.): The global politics of educational borrowing and lending,pp. 54-67. New York: Teachers College Press. Rizvi, Fazal & Lingard, Bob (2010). Globalizing Education Policy. New York: Routledge. Sassen, Saskia (2013). When the global arises from inside the national. In Terri Seddon & John S. Levin (Eds.): Educators, Professionalism and Politics. Global Transitions, National Spaces and Professional Projects, 27-41. World Yearbook of Education 2013. New York: Routledge. Sundberg, Daniel & Wahlström, Ninni (2012): Standards-based curricula in a denationalized conception of education: the case of Sweden. European Educational Research Journal 11 (3), s 342-356. Takayama, Keita. 2009. “Is Japanes Education the ‘Exception’?: Examining the Situated Articulation of Neo-Liberalism through the Analysis of Policy Keywords.” Asia Pacific Journal of Education 29 (2): 125-142. Wahlström, Ninni (2014): The changing role of the state in a denationalized educational policy context. In Andreas Nordin & Daniel Sundberg (Eds.): Transnational Policy Flows in European Education: the Making and Governing of knowledge in the Education Policy Field, pp.159-182. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, vol 42, no 1. Oxford: Symposium Books.
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