ERG SES H 01, Curriculum and Education
Over the last three decades, at the centre of reforms taking place in many national educational systems there were changes in literacy curricula and practices (Moss, 2009). Since the emergence of “literacisation” of education in the 1990s, literacy has become both a problem and a solution for many social and economic issues. In the 2000s, a “new literacisation” became evident in large-scale international assessments, and particularly in the OECD’s PISA, whereby OECD has been promoting a global curricular and cultural “isomorphism” (Selar & Lingard, 2014). This is within an endeavor to modernise national educational systems by upgrading literacy skills of human capital. Αlthough these policy agendas also attempt to support equity and social cohesion (European Commission, 2006; Field et al., 2007), their conceptualisations and their recontextualisations in national contexts raise issues of social justice (Lingard et al., 2014).
In the Greek national context, the current Greek language curriculum, introduced in the Greek compulsory education in 2003, is based on principles of interdisciplinarity and cross-curricularity, according to which boundaries between disciplines and school subjects should be fluid and penetrable (Koustourakis, 2007). The curriculum reform also draws on multiliteracy pedagogy, which conceives of literacy as a social practice, situated in local social and cultural contexts. This pedagogy is considered appropriate given the multilingual and multicultural nature of contemporary societies (Street, 2003). In 2011, in the context of an ambitious reform aiming to “modernise” Greek Education (Sifakakis et al., 2016), a supplementary curriculum gave an emphasis on the development of students’ communication skills, appropriate to the contemporary globalised world. Recently, in a different political context, new official guidelines appear to give Greek language teachers more autonomy in the selection of content and the pacing of teaching and learning.
This proposal presents the general framework of an ongoing research study on language literacy practices in Greek Lower Secondary Education (student age 12-15). The main research questions are as follows:
1. How are language literacy practices enacted in specific school contexts?
2. To what extent do specific school contexts affect language literacy practices?, and
3. Which effects do language literacy practices have on students’ relationship with knowledge, especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds, diverse ethnic groups and other vulnerable categories?
The research takes as a starting point some critical scholars’ arguments that policies are enacted in specific school contexts through complex and multilayered processes of interpretation and recontextualisation (Ball et al., 2012). From their point of view, “context” is a multidimensional analytic device for theorising the specific, dynamic conditions and factors that shape policy enactements. Based on this work, I endeavour to conceptualise further the notion of context, by utilising Bernstein’s theory, which helps to link processes of macro and micro structuring of knowledge in school contexts in very productive ways.
Bernstein’s theory of pedagogic device describes a set of rules through which knowledge from diverse academic fields is selected and re-organised, in order to be transmitted and acquired in official educational institutions. In these processes principles of power and control relations regulate the selection, organisation, distribution and evaluation of school knowledge, with serious social implications for specific student groups (Bernstein, 2000). This theoretical work can direct research as well as contribute to the broader debate about which forms of knowledge and which teaching and learning practices might empower vulnerable students, in and through schooling, in the interest of social justice (Moore, 2013).
Furthermore, I am to utilise Foucault’s (1991) notion of governmentality, in order to examine how teachers and students govern themselves and construct their subjectivities through “technologies of the self” (Foucault, 1988), in the knowledge regime literacy curriculum and practices constitute.
Ball, S. J. (1993). What is policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 13(2), 10-17. Ball, S. J, Maguire, M., & Braun, A. (2012). How Schools Do Policy: Policy Enactments in Secondary Schools. New York: Routledge. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity. Theory, research, critique (Rev.ed.) New York: Rowman & Littlefield. European Commission (2006). Efficiency and equity in european education and training systems. COM (2006) 481 final. Field, S., Kuczera M., & Pont, B. (2007). No More Failures: Ten Steps to Equity in Education. Paris: ΟΕCD. Foucault, M., (1988). Technologies of the self. A seminar with Michel Foucault. L. Martin, H. Gutman, & P. Hutton (Eds). London: Tavistock. Foucault, M., (1991). Governmentality. In: G. Burchell, C. Gordon, & P. Miller (Eds). The Foucault effect. Studies in governmentality (pp. 87–104). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Koustourakis, G. (2007). The new educational policy for the reform of the curriculum and the change of school knowledge in the case of Greek compulsory education. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 17(1-2), 131-146. Lingard, B., Sellar, S., & Savage, G. C. (2014). Re-articulating social justice as equity in schooling policy: The effects of testing and data infrastructures. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35(5), 710-730. Moore, R. (2013). Basil Bernstein. The thinker and the field. London: Routledge. Moss, G. (2002). Literacy and pedagogy in flux: constructing the object of study from a Bernsteinian perspective. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 23(4), 549-558. Moss, G. (2009). The politics of literacy in the context of large‐scale education reform. Research Papers in Education, 24(2), 155-174. Sellar, S., & Lingard, B. (2014). New literacisation, curricular isomorphism and the OECD's PISA. In M. Hamilton, B. Maddox, & C. Addey (Eds). Literacy as Numbers: Researching the Politics and Practices of International Literacy Assessment (pp. 17-31). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sifakakis P., Tsatsaroni, A., Sarakinioti, A., & Kourou, M. (2016). Governance and Knowledge Transformations in Educational Administration: Greek Responses to Global Policies. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 48(1), 35-67. Singh, P. (2001). Speaking about cultural difference and school disadvantage. An interview study of Samoan paraprofessionals in designated disadvantaged secondary schools in Australia. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 22(3), 317-337. Street, B. (2003). What’s “new” in New Literacy Studies? Critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 5(2), 77-91.
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