23 SES 11 A, The Encounter between Homogenization and Heterogeneity: Increased standardization in a diverse world? Part 1
For some time now, the European Commission, in cooperation with the OECD, has been promoting basic skills and key competences to help national governments in their efforts to avoid the risk of students’ educational exclusion, and to ensure their preparation for employment and their full participation in society (e.g. Ananiadou & Claro, 2009; European Council, 2018). These policies, which prioritise the needs of the economy in neoliberal times, are in tension with policies that focus on schools’ capacities to develop their own policies and teachers’ abilities to initiate pedagogical practices which can help students, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to be integrated into the school environment, acquiring knowledge relevant to them, and developing individually, socially and politically as citizens (Eurydice, 2007). Despite the emphasis of the latter on context specificity, both sets of policies are part of the international school reform discourse and they tend to standardise the “solutions” to current educational problems. This paper raises the question of how these two different policies are played out in specific national and local contexts, how the discourse is articulated at that level and with what implications for students and teachers. From our perspective, the standartised solutions that have been promoted embed two potentially contradictory discourses: one focusing on the instrumental (skills, knowledge), and the other on the regulative dimension (schools’ and teachers’ autonomy, schools’ independence from the tutelage of the state) (Bernstein, 1990; 2000). In their recontextualisations these discourses create conditions for differentiations between and within schools and are likely to exacerbate inequalities. The paper draws on empirical research on “language literacy” policy enactments which involves four lower secondary schools located in disadvantaged areas of the Greek Capital. Using interview and ethnographic observation data, the research explores teachers’ recontextualisations and the regulative discourses informing their practices. The research findings indicate that a core element of the regulative discourse informing the practice of teachers participating in the study is “therapeutics” (Chriss, 1999; Bernstein, 2000), induced by a pedagogic concern for disadvantaged students in urban school/social settings. Addressing the question of the proposed symposium of how standardised (organisational or knowledge-related) policies are translated into educational semantics and (pedagogical) contexts, we shall elaborate on the notion of context as an analytical category, in order to think through the relation between discourse and pedagogic practice, and practice and forms of legitimation, thereby contributing to related theoretical literature (e.g. Ball et al., 2012).
Ananiadou, K., & Claro, M. (2009) 21st Century Skills and Competences for New Millennium Learners in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 41. Paris: OECD Publishing. Chriss, J.J. (Ed) (1999) Counseling and the therapeutic state. New York: Aldine De Gruyter. European Council (2018) Council Reccomendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning (2018/C 189/01). Eurydice (2007) School Autonomy in Europe. Policies and Measures. Brussels. Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., & Braun, A. (2012) How Schools Do Policy: Policy Enactments in Secondary Schools. New York: Routledge. Bernstein, B. (1990) Class, Codes and Control, vol. 4: The structuring of Pedagogic discourse. London: Routledge. Bernstein, B. (2000) Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity. Theory, research, critique (Rev.ed.) New York: Rowman & Littlefield
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