Finland on the current educational and curriculum world map? - Tero Autio


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Finland on the current educational and curriculum world map? - Tero Autio

  1. 1. Finland on the current educational and curriculum world map? Tero Autio, PhD Professor of Curriculum Theory Tallinn University
  2. 2. Curriculum (OPS)? • Basically in the service of survival and evolution: J.F. Herbart’s(1776-1841) Recapitulation Thesis (ontogenesis/phylogenesis); we all come to the world through curriculum. School is arguably a most successful single institution in human history • Summary of the best achievements of human history juxtaposed with future prospects (evaluated for the present by those in power) • Curriculum is organizational AND intellectual centerpiece of education at all stages
  3. 3. Koulutus- ja curriculumpolitiikan globaali nykytrendi (esim Hargreaves 2010) “No meaning without a frame” BIGGER The introduction of market competition League tables of performance btw the schools Return to traditional models of curriculum and schooling Intrusive systems of surveillance by external inspection
  4. 4. TIGHTER • The emphasis on outcomes took place already before the rise of neoliberalism: Coleman Report 1966 • The shift in reforms from inputs to outputs, from resource investment to learning outcomes; Coleman insisted: “there was equal educational opportunity only if students from differing groups scored roughly the same scores” • Closely related to test- and evidence-based education reforms
  5. 5. HARDER • Systemic replacement of experience by evidence … hard data have pushed aside teachers’ intuition and professional judgment • “Data driven instruction and improvement has become de rigueur elements of Anglo-American approaches to educational reform” • It can divert teachers’ attention and energy on to short-term tasks in easily measurable indicators of achievement, away from long term engagement of teaching, learning, and study;
  6. 6. FLATTER • A logical conclusion of the de-intellectualization of teachers’ work and back-to-basic kind of curriculum structured by intensive testing industry and intellectually flat evidence-based research – strongly advocated by the (unholy) alliance of neoliberal and neoconservative education policies • “The test-score metrics by which educational performance is measured are not appropriate to knowledge society goals or many valuable educational goals more widely.” (Hargreaves et al) • At its best, evidence-based research can inform but NOT prescribe educational practice
  7. 7. President Obama’s education policy: Through Race to the Top • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and workplace and to compete in the global economy • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction: “tietojohtaminen” • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals where they needed most; and • Turning around our lowest-achieving schools • 1,35 billion dollars 2011 • (Taubman 2009; Teaching by Numbers)
  8. 8. Historical and intellectual framework behind these trends • Demographics in the 19th century America • Instead of the European “conformity of will” (the nation-state, politics) as a framework for education, Americans had to choose social engineering by “science” (psychology): ”prediction of behavior”; psychology as a political construct • In terms of curriculum theory: “half-Herbart” (1776- 1841): displacement of moral and political discourse in education in favor of “objective science”; methodical expert power, method fetishism at the cost of content: method is theory; educational “silences”
  9. 9. The disappearance of the subject – and subject matter – in the historical succession of Anglo-American education: • The historical and theoretical shift in education and curriculum theory, practice and policy in Anglophone world: from the black box of behaviorism: S-O-R; from “learning” to “learning outcomes” >> assessment- driven, “autistic” evidence-based education policy without bigger visions of the interrelationships between education, society and the individual; (oppimiskäsitys!!, mieluiten “syvä”) • “Teaching by Numbers” (Taubman 2009);
  10. 10. Globalization and the standardization of subjectivity go hand in hand • The economy as the major political and educational authority; economy as the political construct • The marriage btw economy and education: “Bottom line” in business; “test scores” in education; standardization and accountability; “quality and excellence” • Those agendas “reflect the incapacity to conceive individuality in any other terms than subordination to the personality ideal of the market” (Autio, in Pinar 2012); individualization in collectivist terms, ideally a consumer or an entrepreneur (Thatcher) • A business corporate and production life as the generic model for an ideal public institution, the school as no exception; the shrinkage of the public sector – and the demise of the notion of public good and public education?
  11. 11. Globalization and standardization… • Colin Powell (2001): “A major challenge for the millenium is to install freely elected democracies all over the world, under one standard for the world which is the free market system … practiced correctly”. The big political picture infusing such maxims is a vision of the world united by standardized, normative, even coercive notions of One Subjectivity, One History, One Humankind, One Politics – and, consequently, One Curriculum (Autio 2009) • Fukuyama (1992), The End of History and the Last Man: “Free market capitalism of the West and its lifestyle may signal the end point of humanity's sociocultural evolution and become the final form of human government”.
  12. 12. “Curriculum and Bildung/Didaktik are very different intellectual systems” (Westbury) The image of the teacher in the Anglo-American context • Teacher’s role as the intellectually passive “agent of the system” (Westbury 2000) in the Anglo- American curriculum tradition • Teacher-proof curricula; ”existing teachers are a (if not the) major brake on the innovation, change and reform that the schools always seem to require” (Westbury 2000) • Curriculum-as-manual; a very limited space for professional autonomy, freedom and judgment • Teaching essentially means teaching to the test The image of the teacher in the Bildung/Didaktik tradition • Curriculum is an organizational and intellectual centerpiece of education • “An autonomous professional teacher … has complete freedom within the framework of the Lehrplan (curriculum) to develop her or his own approaches to teaching” (Westbury 2000). • This relationship btw the curriculum and the teacher; teacher as the curriculum maker is traditionally internalized and respected especially in the Scandinavian countries, Singapore and Canada • Curriculum: Subjectivity is threaded through subject matter • High trust in highly educated teachers
  13. 13. Post-Standardization Era • The recognition of the detrimental effects of business simulation with unintentional inefficiency by the introduction of standardization, privatization and accountability measures (production line images) in education in the USA and other parts of the world since the collapse of the Soviet Union (Ravitch; Lather; Hargreaves, etc.) Curriculum theory level • The critique of educational psychology and learning theories since the end of 1970’s: “learning theories don’t make sense” • Return to the critical reappraisal of Bildung/ Didaktik in education and curriculum theories, policies and reforms, teacher education curricula, etc. CHINA!! Education and curriculum policy
  14. 14. Basic paradigms Curriculum (Tyler Rationale) • Learning objectives • Learning experiences • Organization of learning experiences • Evaluation Bildung/Didaktik (Herbart 1802/Klafki 1991) • Moral, ethical and political dimension of the curriculum; theory of good and sustainable society etc. • Cognitive dimension • Aesthetic dimension • Practical dimension
  15. 15. Bildung in reconsideration? • Diversity and difference as a structural characteristics of politics and education; ambivalent dynamics of diversity and difference instead of essentializing identity • Subjectivity and its new belongings • Chantal Mouffe: “In order to deepen our democracy, we have to break with rationalism, individualism and universalism. Only on that condition will it be possible to provide a framework for the articulation of the different democratic struggles – around gender, race, class, sexuality, environment and others • Acknowledging the existence of the political in its complexity: the dimension of the “we”, the construction of the friend’s side, as well as the dimension of “them”, the constitutive aspect of antagonism
  16. 16. “When China rules the world” (Jacques 2011) • Curriculum theory/studies at the center of educational sciences; curriculum as intellectual and organizational center of education • The recognized inadequacy of Anglophone educational psychology and learning theories as well as Soviet (I.I. Kairov) pedagogy on current education and curriculum reform agendas in China • Efforts to re-relate curriculum and teaching to Chinese wisdom traditions beyond Communism and Capitalism: Buddhism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam spiced by latest Western intellectual advancements (post-structural curriculum and subjectivity theories, etc.; subjectivity and its belonging in the context of globalization?) • “No Freedom; No Curriculum” (Zhang Hua 2013)
  17. 17. China… • China is adopting for its ongoing “liberalization and democratization movement in education” (Zhang 2013) – for assumedly superpower political reasons too – a kind of Chinese version of Bildung/Didaktik tradition
  18. 18. References • Autio, T. 2013. The Internationalization of Curriculum Research. Chapter One in the International Handbook of Curriculum Research. NY: Routledge • Autio, T. 2012. The Finnish Case of Schooling and Curriculum: Between and Beyond the German Didaktik and the Anglo- American Curriculum. Japanese Journal of Curriculum Studies, 2012, 3 • Autio, T. 2009. From Gnosticism to Globalization: Rationality, Transatlantic Curriculum Discourse and the Problem of Instrumentalism. In: New Curriculum History. Sense Publ. • Hargreaves, A. et al 2011. Second International Handbook of Educational Change. Springer • Pinar, W. (Ed.) (in print). Curriculum Studies in China: Intellectual Histories, Present Circumstances. NY: Palgrave Macmillan
  19. 19. References • Pinar, W. 2012. The Character of Curriculum Studies: Bildung, Currere, and the Recurring Question of the Subject. Palgrave Macmillan • Pinar, W. 2011. What is Curriculum Theory? 2nd rev. ed. Routledge • Pinar, W. et al. 1995. Understanding Curriculum. NY: Routledge • Westbury, I. et al. 2000. Teaching as a Reflective Practice: The German Didaktik Tradition. NY: Routledge • Sahlberg, P. 2011. Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? NY: Teachers College Press.
  20. 20. References Yuting, C. (in print). From Follower to Creator: School as Reform Subject. In William F. Pinar (ed.), Curriculum Studies in China: Intellectual Histories, Present Circumstances. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Zhang, H. (in print). Curriculum Studies and Curriculum Reform in China: 1922–2012. In William F. Pinar (ed.), Curriculum Studies in China: Intellectual Histories, Present Circumstances. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.