23 SES 11C, Policy Scholarship (Singh 2)
Symposium continued from 23 SES 10 C
This paper sets out to explore the space between theory and empirical data by on the one hand considering Bernstein’s formulation of languages of description; and on the other linking research practice in ethnography to a re-description of the construction and use of literacy attainment data in PISA. In the process the paper will consider how re-descriptions become possible, under what terms. By re-reading Bernstein through the practice of ethnography, this paper treats Bernstein’s theory as an exercise in category-making, and category-mapping, trained on the salient boundaries established within social practice at particular moments in time and space (Bernstein 1996; 2000). I will argue that such boundaries in practice create dislocations as well as coherence and it is the tension points between categories that lead to change. The paper will demonstrate this approach by considering how an ethnography of children’s reading in primary school classrooms in England (Author) has led to an alternative explanation for gender differences in literacy attainment and indeed boys’ interests in reading that make school, not home, central to the argument. The paper will consider how far PISA data can be used to interrogate the relationship between gender and literacy attainment on these terms, by re-framing the central questions posed of the dataset. By taking this example as the telling case, the paper will reconsider the central role that the formulation of languages of description played in Bernstein’s own work. This systematically tracked and re-mapped the shifting boundaries in pedagogic discourse that function at different scales to create new places from which to speak and act, their positionalities and identities. By focusing on the tension points and dislocations that surround the making of PISA data and the re-orientation of knowledge-making communities in education of which they have become part, the paper will raise some new questions about how we can decide in a rapidly changing knowledge landscape where to focus our attention to bring out the distinctions which matter most. The paper draws on a sequence of research projects funded by the ESRC and which included multi-site classroom-based ethnographies of primary school practice, (1995-2003); a study of literacy policymaking in England in a range of government agencies, (1997- 2004), and a Mid-Career Fellowship exploring the construction and use of quantitative data in the English education system in three contrasting historical periods, the 1860s, 1950s and 2000s (2011- 13).
Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Theory, Research, Critique. London, New York: Taylor Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Theory, Research, Critique. Revised Edition. (2nd ed.). Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.and Francis.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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