17 SES 17, Paper Session
Recalling reactions to the launch of Sputnik in the early 1960s in the Western World – especially in Western Germany and the USA – a crisis in education was bemoaned since the Russians seemed to be able to educate a larger number of capable persons within their school system to reach high scientific achievements. As a reaction in Western Germany and the United States famous spokespersons led a public debate on how to improve their respective national education systems so as to catch up to the Russians and not fall behind internationally. Georg Picht (1964) in Germany and Hyman G. Rickover (1959) in the USA called for reforms. Their unifying idea was to improve the national school systems by sorting and selecting pupils in a new and different way. A larger and more competitive elite was to be built within a few years since both national security and economic prosperity were at risk. Both spokespersons made use of the narrative of crisis in education to include new parts of society in higher education, but also to rigorously exclude pupils not meeting the newly set standards. It is of interest to see how those crisis narratives were constructed to become so successful. Picht became a political advisor while reforming the German school system in the late 1960s, and Rickover´s ideas can be found in the famous report, “A Nation at Risk”, which was published in 1983. My presentation examines how narratives of crisis in education during the 1960s were constructed by famous spokespersons in Western Germany and in the US. Arguments for including and excluding pupils due to Picht´s and Rickover´s suggested reforms are compared to show similarities and differences.
My methodology follows the work of Hayden White (1994a, 1994b) and Norman Fairclough (2003, 2006), enabling me to show similarities in the writings of Rickover and Picht and especially the role played by such writings in constructing inclusion and exclusion. They also help to systematize the solutions suggested to alleviate the proclaimed crises in Europe and the United States. Hayden White, in his analysis of historical works, showed that narrative archetypes – romance, comedy, tragedy, satire, – can be used to interpret comments or descriptions of chosen sources. He emphasized the “poetic element” of his sources and so do I. As Norman Fairclough (2006) presents his critical discourse analysis (CDA) as a particular way of conceptualizing and researching language, I follow his presupposition that language is a facet of social life closely interconnected with other facets of social life (politics, culture, economy, etc.). This facet is a significant aspect in my research on language usage, and so I concur with Fairclough´s statement that discourses are internalized in practice. Rickover´s and Picht´s books have been selected as sources due to their widespread success, their sales figures and described influence in contemporary and later works. The textual analysis of these sources employs White´s narrative categories and Fairclough´s instruments of CDA.
My presentation shows how schooling and the sorting of pupils according to set standards are dependent on narratives of crisis at certain times in history. These narratives recommend specific solutions predominantly by famous spokespersons. During the 1960s, scientific achievement was defined as major goal and therefore inclusion and exclusion were oriented thereto. While Picht favored a reorganization of teacher education to qualify teachers for adequate sorting practices, Rickover argued for standardized testing and new curricula. From a wider perspective, these tendencies also could be studied today and my approach of analyzing language usage could thus be of use here.
Fairclough, Norman (2003): Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. London, New York: Routledge Fairclough, Norman (2006): Language and Globalization. London, New York: Routledge Picht, Georg (1964): Die deutsche Bildungskatastrophe. München: dtv Rickover, Hyman G. (1959): Education and Freedom. New York: Dutton White, Hayden (1994a): Metahistory. Die historische Einbildungskraft im 19. Jahrhundert in Europa. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer White, Hayden (1994b): Der historische Text als literarisches Kunstwerk. In: Christoph, Conrad; Martina, Kessel (Hg.): Geschichte schreiben in der Postmoderne. Beiträge zur aktuellen Diskussion. Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam; 123-157
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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