23 SES 06 D, Classroom Practice
Parallel Paper Session
The importance of studying the ways that policy is enacted by teachers in their everyday work attending the material and discursive contingencies that forms, frames and limits practical responses to policy has recently been highlighted by Annette Braun et al in a series of articles (Braun, Ball, & Maguire, 2011). In line with these articles we go one step further in empirically exploring how policy is interpreted and made into being in the classroom interaction between teacher, students and artifactual texts.
In the performative society that has developed in the new education economy (Lauder, Brown, Dillabough, & Halsey, 2006) it is not so much in the structures of the formal organization but in the constant flows of performativities that power is produced where, as Stephen Ball puts it (2006), “[I]t is the database, the appraisal meeting, the annual reviews, report writing and promotion applications, inspections, peer reviews that are to the fore” (p. 693). Policy work in schools thus comes to be a much broader concept not only referring to policy as top-down steering from governmental decisions and organizational structures but as something that is achieved and made on all levels by the actors in the school system. Different kinds of texts and documents made by various actors thereby become part of the regulatory techniques in the performative society. In a Swedish context one example is how new text genres and literacy practices are created when schools have to find ways to organize and document increased demands of assessments and control over student outcomes through national standards and tests as well as written assessments and individual developmental plans for each student. These student centred texts has in various Swedish studies been seen as self-regulatory technologies from a governmentality perspective (c.f. Andreasson, 2007).
This paper aims at showing how policy is enacted in the everyday classroom interaction and how the student’s identity and position in relation to ideals of “the good student” is negotiated and fabricated within new kinds of literacy practices in the classroom context. We focus the interaction in a Grade 5 classroom where students are asked to fill in a “self-evaluation form” as a preparation for a forthcoming discussion on progress between teacher, student and parents aiming at producing an individual developmental plan. Drawing on the theoretical concepts of fabrications and performativity (S. Ball, 2006; S. J. Ball, 2003) we see this practice as an enactment of policy where both teacher and students are actors and subjects made into being in interaction with the self-evaluation form as a textual artifact. In doing this we also draw on critical views of literacy within the field of the new literacy studies (Barton, 2007; Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996) where literacies are seen as social practices made in different domains in people’s lives, such as for example the school context.
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