23 SES 13 A, The Encounter between Homogenization and Heterogeneity: Increased standardization in a diverse world? Part 2
Global education policies are widely aimed at raising standards, including notions of those considered particularly talented and the changing global talent pool (OECD, 2012; 2015). In Denmark, this has come about as an explicit policy of talent development throughout the educational system (Ministry of Education, 2011), recommending e.g. an enhancement of teachers’ competences in terms of ‘upward differentiation’ and that teachers work actively to ‘spot and develop students with special learning potentials’ or talents. An explicit focus on talent in the Danish public school system is a relatively new development. The term of talent has connotations to value – the term of a currency of high value – and excellence (Rasmussen & Lingard, 2018), which opens up for degrees of talent and a system of differentiation between the talented and non-talented. Streaming of pupils has hitherto mostly been concerned with what was termed as ‘sub-normal’ children at the time (Hamre & Ydesen, 2014), while catering for the talented seems to be closely affiliated with the Large-Scale International Assessments from the 2000s onwards and the rise of what has been termed as ‘the competition state’ (Cerny, 2010; Ball, 2009). Thus alongside such tendencies of standardization and homogenization, talent policies in education may be seen as attempts for diversity – to differentiate by appealing to students seen as outstanding and distinguished. From an education sociological perspective, differentiation in relation to ideas and concepts about talent inevitably raises questions as to the distribution of power within education – between the ‘talented’ and ‘non-talented’ – and to the terms of the very workings of the state itself (Bourdieu, 2014). This raises questions as to what terms of talent are applied when cultivating talent in education – in policy text and practice, when enacted at school level, and how does this agenda plays into other agendas of concurrent standardization and diversity? Using the Danish education system as a case positioned in the global education space, the paper will analyse the application and enactment of talent in education policies in a given situation of general education (Ball et al., 2012). Empirically, the paper draws on policy texts at EU, OECD, and national level, in particular a ministerial report from 2011, to information materials and ethnographic research on a talent programme at upper secondary school level in Denmark. It will also reflect upon the fruitfulness of combining analyses of policy documents with ethnographic research when addressing the dynamics of homogenization and heteroganization processes.
Ball, S. J. (2009). Privatising education, privatising education policy, privatising educational research: network governance and the “competition state.” Journal of Education Policy, 24(1), 83–99. Ball, S.J., Maguire, M. & Brown, A. (2012). How Schools do Policy. Policy enactments in secondary schools. London, New York: Routledge Bourdieu, P. (2014). On the state: lectures at the Collège de France, 1989 - 1992. (P. Champagne, R. Lenoir, F. Poupeau, & M.-C. Rivière, Eds., D. Fernbach, Trans.). Cambridge Malden, MA]: Polity. Cerny, P. G. (2010). The competition state today: from raison d’État to raison du monde. Policy Studies, 31:1, 5-21. Hamre, B., & Ydesen, C. (2014). The Ascent of Educational Psychology in Denmark in the Interwar Years. Nordic Journal of Educational History, 1(2), 87–111. OECD (2012), Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools, OECD. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264130852-en OECD (2015). Education Indicators in Focus. April 2015, https://www.oecd.org/education/EDIF%2031%20(2015)--ENG--Final.pdf Ministry of Education (2011). Talentudvikling. Evaluering og strategi. Talentrapport [Talent Development. Evaluation and Strategy]. Arbejdsgruppen til talentudvikling i uddannelsessystemet/Ministry of Education in Denmark. April 2011. Rasmussen, A. & Lingard, B. (2018). Excellence in Education Policies; Catering to the Needs of Gifted and Talented or those of self-interest? Europeen Educational Research Journal. DOI: 10.1177/1474904118771466
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