Curriculum Making in Post-16 Education: The Social Conditions of Studentship

Curriculum Making in Post-16 Education: The Social Conditions of Studentship

Curriculum Making in Post-16 Education: The Social Conditions of Studentship

Curriculum Making in Post-16 Education: The Social Conditions of Studentship

Synopsis

Drawing on solid research in post-16 education, Bloomer makes explicit the nature of flaws in policy and provides an account of how teachers and students construct their roles. He puts forward a case for a radical reappraisal of post-16 education.

Excerpt

Developments in British post-16 education in the mid- to late 1990s have been dominated by a New Right agenda and its search for the teacher- and student-proof curriculum, for political accountability and for uniformity of ‘outcome’. This book, drawing from the findings of recent research, highlights inadequacies in that thinking and proposes a very different approach to curriculum reform. It celebrates agency, professionalism and diversity in educational practice and acknowledges the essential contributions of teachers and students to the making of knowledge, learning opportunities and curricula.

THE PROBLEM AND THE APPROACH

My attention, throughout this book, is tightly focused upon students’ and teachers’ experiences of learning and teaching. It might seem strange that I should want to draw attention to students and teachers following the widespread reforms of curricula and administrative arrangements for post-16 education in the late 1980s and 1990s. After all, one could reasonably expect that their experiences had already received exhaustive examination and evaluation prior to and during this period of reform. The deplorable fact is that they have not; students’ and teachers’ experiences have been largely ignored in the processes of policy making.

Of course, I do not deny that some notions of ‘student’ and ‘teacher’ have figured in the much publicised reforms of recent years. But I do question what notions these are, how informed they are, and what value they hold for any critical evaluation of post-16 education or for the development of policy. In the chapters that follow, I shall examine the concepts of ‘student’ and ‘teacher’ which have informed recent policy making and illustrate the ways in which these have served to promote and sustain an impoverished concept of education. I shall argue that the structurally deterministic theories in which such concepts are firmly located, and which treat students and teachers as objects in some grand technocratic design, are not only blinded to key purposes of education but devalue educative processes themselves.

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