ERG SES D 14, Sociology and Education
In the last few years, major political and economic changes have swept through Europe. Many European countries are facing severe economic crisis and every day are being driven into deeper and deeper recession. Greece is one of the above countries that is facing a serious economic crisis, a crisis of values, and an identity crisis that have generated growing complexity of the society, uncertainty in Greek people and unpredictability for the future.
The current social and economic situation apart from the huge difficulties and severe problems has also made apparent new tendencies and possibilities in society. We may suceed in becoming aware of the new tendencies and possibilities that the current situation offers us, Ιf we manage to sidestep the negative implications, and try to find room for imagining another way of thinking.
I believe that this crisis is one of a kind opportunity to redefine our life goals. We live at a crucial time and we need to replace the ethos of surviving that we have adopted within the last years with the possibility of imagining a decent life and the promises of a real democracy. To survive crises, financial or otherwise, requires new stories to emerge (Bussey, 2012), and I am of the opinion that the education system is well placed to offer such stories.
The above ideas and an approach built on hope underpin my study. Hope, as Halpin (2003) suggests, has a creative role in encouraging the development of imaginative solutions to difficulties that give the impression that are uncontrollable and it can be a vital resource and a theoretical tool for education. Philosophy of hope is a promising theoretical approach that has the potential to become a productive conceptual tool (te Riele, 2010) for exploring a politics of possibility (Giroux 2003) in education.
I believe that in troubled times it is very important to stand back in order to get some purchase on the bigger picture. That is why my study begins by looking at how educational issues are currently experienced, concentrating on understanding what’s happening now and on attempting to identify some broad ways ahead. The premise for my study is not to ignore the negative implications of the economic crisis in Greece, but to take the analysis of these only as a starting point, rather than as the end.
The purpose of my research project is to learn more about how teachers experience and practical response to the recent political and economical changes in Greece and to the new challenges that stem from them. My intention in undertaking this study is to explore how we can build on the strengths of the present education system in order to create a system to suit the current major societal changes and face the challenging circumstances. Thus, my research questions that follow focus on Greek teachers’ voices:
- Which are the negative and the positive implications of the socio-economic crisis for education?
- What social and political problems are behind the current crisis according to the teachers?
- Has the Greek education system a part to play in the reconstruction of society and political life in post-crisis Greece? If yes, which would be the most important features of it?
- Are there any strengths in the present education system that we can build on in order to create a system to suit the current major societal changes and face the challenging circumstances?
BERA - British Educational Research Association (2011). Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. Bussey, M. (2012). ‘When no crisis is the real crisis! The endless Vertigo of Capitalist Education’. In Cole, D. R. (Ed.), Surviving Economic crisis through education, New York: Peter Lag. Halpin, D. (2003). Hope and education. The role of the utopian imagination. London: Routledge Falmer. Gillborn, D. (2010). ‘The colour of numbers: surveys, statistics and deficit-thinking about race and class’. Journal of Education Policy. 25 (2), 253-276. Giroux, H. (2004). The terror of neoliberalism: Authoritarianism and the eclipse of democracy. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers. Leedy, P. D.(1997). Practical research: planning and design (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications. Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research. Oxford: Blackwell. Scott, D. (1996). ‘Methods and Data in Educational Research’. Ιn Scott, D. & Usher, R. (Εd.), Understanding Educational Research, London: Routledge. te Rielle, K. (2010). ‘Philosophy of hope: concepts and applications for working with marginalized youth’. Journal of Youth Studies, 13 (1), 35-46.
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