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Lived Histories of Science Education in Modern Luxembourg: Interactions between Global Policies, National Curriculum and Local Practices

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Oral Presentation at ESERA2017 in Dublin, Ireland on August 23rd 2017, co-authored by Catherina Schreiber and myself.

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Lived Histories of Science Education in Modern Luxembourg: Interactions between Global Policies, National Curriculum and Local Practices

  1. 1. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Lived Histories of Science Education in Modern Luxembourg: Interactions between Global Policies, National Curriculum and Local Practices Robert A.P. REUTER1 & Catherina SCHREIBER2 1Université du Luxembourg 2Universität Wien 1 12th Conference of the ESERA: Research, practice and collaboration in science education
  2. 2. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Part of a larger research project: Science Education, Innovation and Policy in Modern Luxembourg (SciPol:Lux) - PI: Prof. Dr Christina Siry ■ Insights into the policy and curricular reform of science education in Luxembourg’s primary schools ■ Integrates research in educational sciences (ethnography of lived practices, interviews with key actors) with research in the history of education (document analysis) ■ Grounded on the premise that “science education” as a school discipline is the product of culturally shaped expectations ■ Examines the interface of international and national educational policy with local educational practice through the lens of primary school science education in Luxembourg (from 1920 through the present) Introduction 2
  3. 3. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Contemporary responses to “pressures” of change are best understood in a longer historical perspective that provides the important intellectual distance needed to make specific social and political contours of the time and place more apparent (Rudolph, 2001) ■ Looking back to (better) understand the present of science education and to (help) build a better future for science education Introduction 3
  4. 4. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Case study: the introduction of science education as a new subject into the Luxembourgish primary school (grades 1-6) curriculum in 1989 ■ Key example to study change(s) of educational processes and how these can be understood from their historical socio-cultural contexts ■ “Lived histories”: Interactions between Global Policies, National Curriculum and Local Practices Introduction 4
  5. 5. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Understand change in schooling through historical perspectives: ■ theory of a “grammar of schooling” (Tyack & Cuban, 1995): changes happen within a larger system of interdependencies ■ curricular negotiations as a “struggle” between interest groups (such as humanists, developmentalists or social meliorists) and different (political) agendas (Kliebard, 1986) ■ Shift away from the dominant teleological thinking of curricular development as a simple history of progress Introduction 5
  6. 6. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Analysis of historical documents ■ Curriculum ■ Teaching materials (official & unofficial), textbooks ■ Professional journals, newspaper articles ■ Working group reports ■ Formal and informal exchanges ■ Semi-structured interviews with (some) key actors & “eye witnesses” involved ■ in designing the new science education curriculum ■ in designing new learning materials ■ in implementing the new curriculum - in schools and in pre-service teacher training Methods 6
  7. 7. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Questions ■ based on interrogations arising from the historical analyses ■ lived experiences of schooling in Luxembourg ■ Qs: Personal involvement, myth of origins, needs for change, process, actions taken, reactions observed, retrospective evaluation of the curricular change Methods 7
  8. 8. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Findings from document analyses and statements voiced in the interviews are brought together in a nonlinear way and emerge from our multi-perspective research. ■ Underlying assumptions to the practice of science as a school discipline come to the forefront through our incorporation of diverse approaches to researching the historical development of "science education". ■ In connecting diverse layers, we present a holistic but multifaceted picture of how a science education curriculum has been born / evolved from its (national and international) ancestors. Methods 8
  9. 9. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Luxembourgish "science education" curriculum was conceived and implemented as a response to a variety of specific national educational needs ■ Covertly in line with international “scientization” policies (e.g. Drori & Meyer, 2009) ■ building on transnational ideas such as the “spiral curriculum” ■ building on the idea that it should be deployed using an “inquiry-oriented approach” to learning and teaching Results 9
  10. 10. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Tensions/Struggling forces/Grammar of Schooling in action: Curriculum goals are partially “Pedagogical Wishful Thinking” – Fact-Oriented Assessment ■ Co-existing trends / objectives: People involved in the process represent / impersonate different trends / perspectives / interest groups ■ “main teacher” is often not the one doing “science education” ■ What science is? Rational Thinking; Technology-supporting (“Brains as resources” creativity, knowledge society); Love of Nature; Protection/Conservation of Natural Environment and Human Society (Opposition to Nuclear Power); Political Education (be active, be engaged, act upon identified issues, moral values of the “ecological movement”); Systems Thinking Results 10
  11. 11. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Objectives 11
  12. 12. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Compensate a “knowledge deficit in children”, lack of experiences of their natural environment (plants, animals, village, etc.) ■ “An engem Plan d'Etude vun 1922, do huet ee ganz kloër gesin, datt d'Kanner déi Saachen wossten, waat d'Natur an d'Déieren betrëfft, well se domadden obgewues sin. Daat as et ob eemol emmer manner gin. Do waren Defiziter, an daat war ee ganz gudd Argument, fir daat an der Schoul mat de Kanner obzeschaffen. Daat war een vun den Haaptzieler.” ■ Start biology education earlier than 7th class, like in France ■ “Et as awer och ganz kloër, datt d'Biologie net réicht ob enger 7e ugeet. Vu klengem un, muss daat obgebaut gin. D'Ausland huet di d'Beispill gin. Den Eveil as et ënner irgend enger Form a Frankräich emmer gin.” ■ Educate children about “protection of nature” ■ Education children about “a way of thinking”, about an attitude towards the environment Objectives 12
  13. 13. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Structural contexts ■ 1979: introduction of curricular reform commissions. Context: New (socialist- led) government, secondary school reforms (Lycée Technique, Tronc Commun) ■ Also: long struggle for competency between the ministry and the teacher unions ■ need for a curricular reform due to increased migration ■ The need for science ■ e.g. Love for the homeland: tradition of “milieu local” ■ Environmental protection ■ Economic needs ■ International pressures Reaction to national educational needs I 13
  14. 14. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Prevention of social problems (Smeyers & Depaepe) - through the encounter with the national nature ■ Merges with environmental protection Reaction to national educational needs II 14
  15. 15. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Economic needs - individual and national 15
  16. 16. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Need for environmental protection 16
  17. 17. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Spiral Curriculum - six progressing fields of experience 17
  18. 18. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Spiral Curriculum 18
  19. 19. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Series lectures and seminars between 1982 and 1989: mainly German models Spiral Curriculum and German Sachunterricht: Involvement of experts 19
  20. 20. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ intuition through observation (in tradition of “Anschauungsunterricht”) ■ direct encounter with the environment ■ focus on action (“Handlungsorientierung”) ■ Integration (“Fächerübergreifend”, Inter-, Trans-, Postdisciplinary) ■ Social learning ■ problem oriented learning - problem solving skills ■ learning about learning (Knowing how - method knowledge) National traditions merged with international reform projects 20
  21. 21. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Not only fact knowledge, but also about methods - and values International influences: Evaluation 21
  22. 22. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland Social Learning - Political Dimensions 22
  23. 23. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ Examples: civic instruction, traffic education, consumer education and sex education Social Learning - Political Dimensions 23
  24. 24. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ different institutional instances involved ■ beyond primary education ■ political representatives, unions, ministerial institutions, parents associations, teacher education and subject experts Perspectives represented 24
  25. 25. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ (Basic) scientific (facts) knowledge ■ Understanding the world as a system of interconnected and interdependent things ■ Competencies oriented towards action in real-life ■ Values ■ Natural, social and technical environments What is science? 25
  26. 26. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ The analysed educational reform clearly is a relevant example to understand culturally and historically embedded perspectives of what “science” is, and how this shapes ideals of “science education” as a discipline in school, within a given context and the associated struggling forces. ■ Grammar of Schooling in action: policies vs. practices ■ Tensions between different interest groups / agendas ■ Different definitions of what science is Discussion & Conclusions 26
  27. 27. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland ■ The present “lived history” study will be completed by other studies (foreseen in the SciPol:Lux research project) revealing lived “science education” practices in classrooms. ■ Ethnographic observations will allow to further study how global policies, national curriculum and local practices interact, in (often) non-linear ways and what other dynamics impact local practices in science education. Discussion & Conclusions 27
  28. 28. REUTER & SCHREIBER - ESERA 2017 - 23-08-2017 - Dublin, Irland THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION! QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? 28

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