03 SES 04 A, Can Educational Knowledge Be Powerful? Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 03 SES 06 A
Issues of the nature of educational knowledge, and its relation to educational practice and policy-making, are never far from the forefront of debate about education. Certain traditions of educational inquiry have found favour with educational leaders, policy-makers and practitioners at different times and in different national jurisdictions (Furlong and Whitty 2017). Governments in many European countries, Australia, the United States and elsewhere have increasingly thrown their weight behind the production of ‘evidence’ in forms that prioritise certain research approaches and conceptualisations of educational knowledge (Schriewer 2017; Biesta 2011). One consequence of this is that the shape of the production of educational knowledge may shift further away from the Foundation Disciplines, Bildung-centred Didaktik and Curriculum Theory, with these traditions deemed superfluous and increasingly marginalised in higher education, including in teacher education. A related contemporary development is that relationships between communities concerned with educational policy, practice and research are altering, with new dynamics producing novel configurations of educational knowledge production and recontextualisation (Furlong and Whitty 2017; Terhart 2017). This may generate increasing uncertainty about what constitutes valid or powerful educational knowledge and about the role of educational theorising in questions of educational practice. It could also significantly impact on the extent to which educational ideas are open to robust challenge and scrutiny, and for public understanding of education.
There are also longer term implications for the forms of professional knowledge considered appropriate for educational professionals, with consequences for curriculum-making, pedagogy and assessment and for teachers’ research literacy. The role of higher education in teacher education has been questioned, with craft and technical conceptions of teaching foregrounded in some national contexts. If educational theories that open up curriculum questions become moribund then policy-makers may increasingly see no alternative than ‘teacher-proof’ curricula, with closely stipulated lists of propositional knowledge accompanied by mandated teaching techniques.
Aiming to explore these questions in greater depth, this double symposium seeks to examine questions of the potential ‘powerfulness’ or ‘powerlessness’ of educational knowledge, drawing on the sociology of educational knowledge and on forms of inquiry that might be better identified as distinctly educational (i.e. forms of Curriculum Theory). The symposium also builds on a forthcoming special issue of The Curriculum Journal entitled ‘After the knowledge turn? Politics and pedagogy' (edited by Hoadley, Barrett, Morgan, Cuthbert), to which a number of the participants in this symposium contributed.
This first session concentrates on examining the challenges brought about by the diversity of approaches to educational inquiry that exist within fragmented fields of educational knowledge. The first paper (Shalem and Allais) examines the state of knowledge production in the discipline of education in South Africa, focusing on the interface between the disciplines of economics and education in relation to the question of educational inequality. The paper illustrates how certain traditions of enquiry are becoming marginalized in educational research, with implications both for the explanatory power of the discipline, and its policy emphasis. The second paper (Wheelahan) discusses the growth of micro-credentials as a manifestation of competency-based approaches to education. These exclude students from powerful knowledge through the use of a progressivist language of legitimation that has been co-opted by instrumental discourses. The third paper (Gamble) focuses on the development of opposing theoretical positions within the sociology of education, social realism and social constructivism, suggesting that theoretical elaboration towards a deeper and more nuanced understanding of education as practice and as social justice is being hindered. The final paper (Barrett and Hordern) looks critically at the struggle foundations disciplines often experience with coherence and integration, and begins to rethink foundations as a disciplinary field orientated towards professional preparation and educational practice.
Biesta, G.J.J. (2011). Disciplines and Theory in the Academic Study of Education: a comparative analysis of the Anglo-American and Continental construction of the field. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 19(2), 175-192. Furlong, J. & Whitty, G. (2017). Knowledge traditions in the study of education. In Knowledge and the study of education: an international exploration, eds. Whitty, G. & J. Furlong, 13-57. Didcot: Symposium. Schriewer, J. (2017). Between the philosophy of self-cultivation and empirical research: educational studies in Germany. In Knowledge and the study of education: an international exploration, eds. G.Whitty & J.Furlong, 75-99. Didcot: Symposium. Terhart, E. (2017). Interdisciplinary research on education and its disciplines: Processes of change and lines of conflict in unstable academic expert cultures: Germany as an example, European Educational Research Journal, 16 (6), 921-936.
Some networks have already started to plan their chairperson(s).
But at the moment chairpersons are only pencilled in, as we will still need to check for time conflicts between presentation and chairing duties. EERA office will work on this in due course and then officially let chairpersons know about their chairing duties.
Meanwhile, thank you for your patience.
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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