23 SES 01 D, Marketisation in Education
In recent years, in many jurisdictions around the globe, there has been a shift towards the formalisation of teaching as a profession. This has been accompanied by the creation of regulatory bodies to oversee the standards of teaching and a proliferation of policy that is influenced by global flows of ideas (Rizvi and Lingard, 2010). This paper takes this global context and examines two policy responses to the need for schools to be inclusive of diversity and the responsibilities teachers have to this issue. The first case is from the Australian context in which teachers in the state of Victoria have been mandated to complete professional development in the area of special needs education (VITPol, 2016). In analysing this case we pay close attention to how responsibility and care are positioned by the policy imperative and the potential unintended consequences that may arise.
While the first policy case emerges from outside of Europe, it has significant connections to the European context and policy priorities that are worthy of attention. Europe, like Australia, has experienced an increase in immigration in recent decades, alongside an increasingly complex and diverse teacher and student population. This has prompted a recent policy titled, ‘Preparing Teachers for Diversity: the Role of Initial Teacher Education’ (2017). The report states, following research by Conway and colleagues, that ‘Promoting the inclusion of pupils with a minority and/or migrant background, diverse abilities, special needs, disadvantages and gender identities represents one of the key challenges that current and future teachers should be prepared for’ (European Union, 2017, 43). Thus the struggle for education and schools to include students who are marginalised is a strong policy concern, but also points to the politics of inclusion. This in turn prompts educational researchers to examine how inclusion is being imagined in policy discourses and what inclusion might look like in the context of neoliberal logics of reponsibilisation and audit. This policy will be our second case study.
Our paper will consider the ways in which, and the extent to which, the globalization of education policy affects different local policy contexts in similar ways. Our broad research questions, therefore, are: what is the policy intending to achieve and what might be some unintended or submerged effects of this new policy imperative? And, what implications do these policy tensions have for inclusion of marginalised students or students considered to have ‘diverse’ needs?
Our theoretical framework for this paper is twofold. The first aspect of the framework supports the study design and methodological approach and draws on poststructuralist and postmodern understandings of power, knowledge and truth (see further detail on this aspect in the following section). The second element of our theoretical framework provides conceptual grounding for the complex dynamics that emerge through the policy discourses under investigation and supports our analytical work. This element of the framework develops an understanding of the tensions teachers must navigate through their obligations to the dynamics of responsibilisation (Rose, 2007) and their commitment to the ethics of care (Noddings, 2005) that is central to their work. Perspectives from both Rose (1999, 2007) and Noddings (2005, 2013, 2015) are brought together to guide the examination of the neoliberal logics of accountability (and consequently, responsibilisation) and the relational requirement for accountability (the care for the other) that emerge out of the recent policy mandates under investigation.
Our critical policy analysis is informed by post-structuralist understandings of power, knowledge and truth (e.g. Ball 2015; Bansel 2015; Peterson 2015; Saltmarsh 2015; Bacchi 2009). We are guided in our examination of the policy, therefore, by questions such as: what problem is the policy responding to? What is it not saying and what are the unintended and submerged political effects of the policy imperative? How are teachers positioned by the policy discourse? We work broadly with the approach for policy analysis designed by Carol Bacchi (2009), which asks: What is the problem represented to be? Of particular interest to Bacchi is the thinking that informs governing practices (Bacchi 2009, xiii), as this enables researchers to ‘consider how resistance and challenge occur’ (Bacchi 2009, 45) at the same time as understanding how governing practices are being used to shape teachers and teaching. To guide the analysis of this approach Bacchi suggests the following questions be applied: What is the ‘problem’ (e.g. of ‘problem gamblers’, ‘drug use/abuse’, domestic violence, global warming, health inequalities, terrorism, etc) represented to be in a specific policy? What presuppositions or assumptions underlie this representation of the ‘problem’? How has this representation of the ‘problem’ come about? What is left unproblematic in this problem representation? Where are the silences? Can the ‘problem’ be thought about differently? What effects are produced by this representation of the ‘problem’? How/where has this representation of the ‘problem’ been produced, disseminated and defended? How could it be questioned, disrupted and replaced? (Bacchi 2009, 48) These questions are used to probe the policy for its intentions, the power relationships that animate the policy imperatives and the possible political effects of the requirements mandated in the policy. These methods allow educational researchers to unsettle taken-for-granted assumptions that can become embedded in policy logics and in doing so open up spaces for thinking and doing differently.
Our aim in this paper is to contribute to the global debates about teacher education and regulation and similarly to Lingard, Sellar and Savage (2014, 711), we seek ‘to open up a set of issues, rather than to provide a definitive account’. Our first case study from an Australian context raises questions and issues regarding inclusion and exclusion that have relevance to the European context. For example, the ‘Preparing Teachers for Diversity’ report reflects some of the same kind of policy imperatives in relation to an intention to develop ‘teacher competences’ (2017, 102) - in this instance, in relation to “diversity” - through technologies of control and measurement as evidenced by the report’s claim that ‘quality assurance can constitute a key tool to better promote the inclusion of diversity’ within initial teacher education (2017, 103). We expect to raise questions in regards to the nature of the connection of local education policies to the neoliberal tendencies of globalization (Rizvi and Lingard, 2010). By carefully attending to specific examples such as the ones we explore in this paper, we might gain greater insight into how seemingly positive and well-intentioned policy requirements can be influenced by broader, less tangible, political dynamics. We hope that this may serve as a reminder that the teaching profession exists within a set of social, cultural and political dynamics that can at times undermine the care teachers place on educative relations in classrooms and paradoxically work to deprofessionalise teachers at the same time they are being asked to prove professionalism.We believe these debates are vital to contribute to in order to support both teachers and educational researchers in attending to complex questions of inclusion and exclusion in schools.
Bacchi, C. L. (2009). Analysing policy: what’s the problem represented to be? (1st ed). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W: Pearson Education. Ball, S. J. (2015). Education, governance and the tyranny of numbers. Journal of Education Policy, 30(3), 299–301. Bansel, P. (2015). The subject of policy. Critical Studies in Education, 56(1), 5–20. European Union (2017). Preparing Teachers for Diversity: the Role of Initial Teacher Education, Final Report. Brussels: European Commission. 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. Noddings, N. 2005. The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education. New York: Teachers College Press. Noddings, N. 2013. Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics & Moral Education (2nd ed, updated). Berkeley: University of California Press. Noddings, N. 2015. Philosophy of Education. 4th ed. New York: Westview Press. Petersen, E. B. (2015). What crisis of representation? Challenging the realism of post-structuralist policy research in education. Critical Studies in Education, 56(1), 147–160. Rizvi, F., and B. Lingard. 2010. Globalizing Education Policy. Abingdon: Routledge. Rose, N. S. 1999. Powers of Freedom: Reframing Political Thought. Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York: Cambridge University Press. Rose, N. S. 2007. Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Saltmarsh, S. (2015). Michel de Certeau, everyday life and policy cultures: the case of parent engagement in education policy. Critical Studies in Education, 56(1), 38–54. VITPol (2016). Special Needs Plan, Melbourne: Victorian Institute of Teaching, http://www.vit.vic.edu.au/registered-teacher/special-needs-plan (accessed 12.04.16)
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