23 SES 11 A, The Encounter between Homogenization and Heterogeneity: Increased standardization in a diverse world? Part 1
The great impact global networks of educational policy ideas have, emphasising competence-based education policies, may lead to increased standardization of national education policies, curriculum, and practice (Schriewer 2003; Steiner-Khamsi 2014, Hilt et. al 2018; Landri 2018). This is however not a straightforward process, as global homogenization-processes are accompanied by processes of heterogenisation (Winter 2012; Stâheli 2003). National adaption and utilization of global policy ideas are always selective and reflects context specific reasons for receptiveness (Steiner-Khamsi 2014; Lingard 2000; Appadurai 1996). This paper investigates the co-existence of processes of homogenization and heterogenisation in the Norwegian context by performing a semantical analysis of the Norwegian curriculum document White Paper 28 (2015-2016) Subjects – In-depth learning – Understanding. A renewal of the Knowledge Promotion Reform (WP28). The document is important, as it paves the way for the new curriculum reform in Norway: Education2020. In this paper, WP28 will be analysed in light of policy documents from OECD and KeyCoNet, to provide a global and European context, and to identify possible tensions and dilemmas between different levels. In addition to this empirical contribution, the paper will contribute methodologically, by showing the fruitfulness of Niklas Luhmann’s (2006; 2013) systems theory in researching processes of homogenization and heterogenisation in and across national context. The paper will show that WP28 introduces several new semantical forms in the Norwegian curriculum, such as “curriculum-overload”, “core-elements”, “in-depth learning”, and “self-regulation”, in clear alignment with those promoted by networks such as OECD and KeyCoNET. Still, the White Paper is selective in terms of which forms are being introduced or left out, and the semantical meanings of these forms are clearly modified. Competency-based and “cognitivist” notions, such as learning to learn, coexist, and are being balanced with traditional, normative conceptions such as Bildung. When comparing WP28 to a preceding Norwegian document, NOU 2015:8, initiating 21st Century skills to the Norwegian curriculum, WP28 rather tends to balance different semantical positions. The paper shed light on these findings by discussing Luhmann’s (2000) claim that curriculum-documents tend to be semantically heterogeneous, rather than homogeneous, in order to make them endorsable for relevant actors and stakeholders.
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