23 SES 12 D, Curriculum Policies, Democracy and Social Justice
One of the educational policy challenges in Denmark is how to enable young people to achieve, at minimum, an upper secondary educational degree. The official goal has for many years been 95 pct. But this has proven very hard to reach. It is a great challenge to develop the system of secondary education in ways that overcome the present sharply divided system between general/academic and vocational schooling and give the system the capacity to include young people who at present drop out and do not get a degree (Rasmussen & Jensen 2014).
The young people who do not receive upper secondary education degree include a high proportion of youth with parents without upper secondary education, from low-income families and/or with some kind of immigrant background. Also, young people that were low achievers in primary education drop out of secondary education more often then high achievers. But it can be important to point out that low achievement is a result of complex socio cultural and economic structures and characteristics of students (cognitive and senso-motoric potential, social class, gender, etc.) and also from the characteristics of schooling (general/academic curriculum, routinized teaching etc.) (Rasmussen & Jensen 2014). One can argue that low achievement in basic school subjects is definitely a problem that should be confronted, but its impact should not be overrated. Instead there is a need to look at the characteristics of schools and how we can enable schools to overcome excluding tendencies and improve inclusion students from all backgrounds.
Alternative secondary programs and schools are established in many countries. But similar to other European countries, the Danish government focuses more on ‘the shortest path to employment,’ than on opening educational pathways for all young people. However, there is a growing need for alternative educational approaches that can include the young people that drop out of upper secondary educations - without narrowing their educational opportunities.
This research moves focus away from an individualized and individualizing view on students towards an investigation of how the organizational structures and properties of the school, and teachers’ perceptions of students result in different opportunities and challenges for different students. Our research is based on the view that learning is fundamentally linked to the social and cultural context. It is not just a cognitive process. The view is that knowledge is situated within the community of practice (Lave & Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998). We have an understanding of learning as taking place when participating in activities that allow for ‘learning by doing’ (Dewey 1938). And for learning by actively combining the known with the unknown in order to transform personal, lived experiences into educational competencies and knowledge (Bernstein 2000a). We view learning processes as classified and framed in relations of power and control (Bernstein 1977, 2000b). In connection with this we use the concept of inquiry based education. This concept allows us to move from the view of learning as a matter of what we know, to the view of learning as a matter of what we are able to do with the knowledge we have in different contexts. Through the inquiry-based approach to education, we will focus on its potential to increase intellectual engagement and foster deep understanding through different forms of a hands-on, minds-on and ‘research-based disposition’ towards teaching and learning (Wenger 1998, Darling-Hammond 2004, Hattie 2013, Stephenson 2013). With the inquiry based approach we strive to unfold how the complex, interconnected nature of knowledge construction, striving to provide opportunities for both teachers and students to collaboratively build, test and reflect on learning and the learning environment.
Bernstein, B. (1977) On the classification and framing of educational knowledge, in: B. Bernstein Class, Codes and Control. Vol. 3. Towards a Theory of Educational Transmissions (Routledge & Kegan Paul. London, Boston and Henley). Bernstein, B. (2000a) Pedagogising knowledge: Studies in Recontextualising, in: B. Bernstein Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity (Rowman & Littlefield publishers, inc. Boston). Bernstein, B. (2000b) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity (Rowman & Littlefield publishers, inc. Boston). Bernstein, B. (1990) Social class and pedagogic practice, in: B. Bernstein The Structuring of Pedagogic Discourse. Vol. IV. Class, codes and control (Routledge. London and New York). Chouliaraki, L. (2001) Pædagogikkens sociale logik – en introduktion til Basil Bernsteins uddannelsessociologi, in Chouliaraki, L. & M. Bayer (Eds.) Basil Bernstein. Pædagogik, diskurs og magt (Akademisk Forlag, Viborg). Dale, E. L. (1999) Kundskab, rationalitet og didaktik, in E. L. Dale (Eds.) Pædagogisk filosofi - en indføring (Århus: Klim). Darling-Hammond, L. (2004): “What Happens to a Dream Deferred? The Continuing Quest for Equal Educational Opportunity.” In James A. Banks (ed.), Handbook of Research on Geertz, C. (1973): The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books 2000 paperback. Multicultural Education, 2nd Edition, pp. 607-630. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass http://www.stanford.edu/~ldh/publications/LDH%20-What-happens.pdf Dewey, J. (1938) Experience & Education (West Lafayette, Ind.: Kappa Delta Pi). Davies, Bronwyn & Rom Harré (1990) Positioning: The Discursive Production of Selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 20(1), 43-63 Hattie, J. (2013): “What is the nature of evidence that makes a difference to learning?” In, Form@re. Open Journal per la formazione in rete. Nr. 2, Vol. 13, 2013, pp 6-21 Hiim, H. & E. Hippe (1997) Læring gennem oplevelse, forståelse og handling. En studiebog i didaktik Gyldendal, København Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning. Legitimate peripheral participation (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press). Meyer, H. (2005) Hvad er god undervisning? Gyldendal, København. Rasmussen, P. & Jensen U. H (2014): The Danish country report. NESET: Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training http://www.nesetweb.eu. (in process) Spradley, J. P. (1980) Participant observations (Thomson Learning, London). Stephenson, N (2012): Introduction to inquiry based learning. Galilao network. (date seen: 300114) http://www.teachinquiry.com/index/Introduction.html
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