27 SES 03 C, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
The main purpose of our research is to understand the meaning of schools and their anchorage in a regional environment. We are in search of different stakeholder’s views on what they consider as an important benefit of schooling. This is done in order to contest prevailing criteria for success in education (like national standards) and to test the hypothesis that there are alternative regionally induced Verstehenshorizonte (Gadamer) of “holding school”.
Current education policy is mainly characterized by the idea of the provision of academic school knowledge which is rendered by national standards of education. The policy of school and teacher accountability is hereby used as a tool to ensure that school programs and teachers’ didactical choices are designed to provide (to the students) testable knowledge and skills. But if research is just examining what students have learned, in terms of competence or qualifications, one has not described all effects of education. A fundamentally heterogeneous student population will probably benefit quite differently of the public good schooling.
The research project applies the concept of the education landscape (Werler 2011b). This is done so since life-, work-, and professional opportunities as well as historic regional disparities are challenged by globalization effects and result in the regionalization of education (Popkewitz 2000). Since the co-production of public services is the focus of regional development, one can conclude that a regional education landscape is mainly determined by the coordination and cooperation between different actors (schools & teachers, students, parents). This means that a regional education landscape assembles heterogeneous rationales into a network-like structure, which determines benefitting from education and the educational experience of the individual (e.g. teachers, students, parents).
That means that a school’s regional placement, its architecture, students (parents) economy, socio-geographic conditions, the local school management/ organization and the curriculum are to be seen in the light of heterogeneity. Since these factors will vary from place to place, the composition of any school class is unique. These factors will have an influence on the process of schooling but they are only partially “designable” by a school.
This means that heterogeneity is present as culturally developed content and represented by the curriculum and by the curriculum as it is practiced by the school/ teacher. Beyond that, teachers will also respond to pupils’ heterogeneity as they start teaching in order to establish a powerful learning environment. Heterogeneity is present in teacher’s didactical choices and students’ diverse responses to them. Initial indicators of whether pupils experience offers to learn as meaningful will be found in the pupils’ experience of the clarity and structure of the offer to learn.
In order to find and answer on the proposed question our research design focuses on what has to be learned(a school’s culture, program, content), where has it to be taught and learned(socio-geographic placement, local environment, management) and who is teaching and learning(principal’s, teachers’ and students’ views on schooling) and the relation between these factors (Werler 2011a).
Popkewitz, T. S. 2000. Globalization/Regionalization, Knowledge, and the Educational Practices: Some Notes on Comparative Strategies for Educational Research, in Popkewitz, T. (ed.), Educational Knowledge: changing relationships between the state, civil society, and the educational community, pp. 3-27. Albany: State University of New York Press. Werler, Tobias 2011a. Et didaktisk rammeverk for skolen i Skandinavia. (A Didaktik Framework for Schooling in Scandinavia), in Midtsundstad, J; Werler, T. (eds.), Didaktikk i Norden. (Didactics in the North), pp. 185-209 Kristiansand: Portal forlag. Werler, Tobias 2011b. Benefitting from the public good in a heterogeneous landscape. in: Werler, T. (ed.), Heterogeneity. General Didactics Meets the Stranger, pp. 155 – 172. Münster: Waxmann.
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