23 SES 06 C, Testing, Assssment, Policy
Parallel Paper Session
The main purpose of the project is - through the work with systematic documentation of quality - to study the teacher profession in the current Swedish preschool. Questions deal with how teachers handle the demands on visibility, how they perform and what aspects of the teacher profession will be exposed and what parts will be silenced. Documentation in itself is nothing new in the preschool teacher profession, but in the context of the requirements for visibility resulting from both increased government control (Folke-Fichtelius, 2008) and marketization, these data will present new dimensions with far-reaching implications for the teacher profession in preschool.
Theoretically the project is based on ideas on educational policy, meaning that policy is not ‘done’ to people, but pose problems to the subjects that must be solved in context (Ball, 2006). The visible preschool, constantly open to transparency, control and competition takes shape in the local context where teachers act to deal with the problems they face (Löfdahl & Perez Prieto, 2009a, 2009b). In this context, we regard performativity as a governance model where judgements, comparisons and demands on visibility are used as incentives to control and change. Furthermore, the project relies on theories of institutional narratives whose specific contribution is to understand the impact of local context on how activities and actors are performed (Löfgren, 2012). Locally produced texts are regarded as institutional narratives (Somers & Gibson, 1994, Linde 2009), designed for public inspection – from above and from outside – in which the teacher focuses on what the preschool is and should be, relates it to local and national steering documents, emphasises comparative advantages on the local (quasi-)market and carries out his or her own projects. We use the concept of institutional narratives to interpret not only the texts but also the discussions about the function of the texts as descriptions of the practice as well as normative and powerful tools in the formation of the pedagogical practice.
Ball, S. J. (2006). Education Policy and Social class. The selected works of Stephen J Ball. London: Routledge. Folke-Fichtelius, M. (2008). Förskolans formande: statlig reglering 1944-2008[ The shaping of Preschool state regulation 1944-2008]. Uppsala: Uppsala Studies in Education. Linde, C. (2009). Working the Past. Narrative and Institutional memory. Oxford: Oxford university press. Löfdahl, A., & Pérez Prieto, H. (2009a). Between Control and Resistance: Planning and Evaluation texts in the Swedish Pre-school. Journal of Education Policy 24(4), 393-408 Löfdahl, A., & Pérez Prieto, H. (2009b). Institutional Narratives within the Performative Preschool:‘If we write that we’re no good, that’s not good publicity!’ Early Years. Vol. 29, No. 3, 261–270. Löfgren, H. (2012) Det sitter inte i väggarna. Yrkesidentiteter i lärares berättelser om skola och arbete. (diss.)Karlstad: Karlstad University studies Somers, M. R., and G. Gibson. 1994. Reclaiming the Epistemological 'Other': Narrative and Social Constitution of Identity. In Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, ed. C. Calhoun, 37-99. Oxford: Blackwell.
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