A Collection of Working Papers
Editor: Zsuzsa N. T6th
Department of English for Teacher Education (DETE)
School of English and American Studies (SEAS)
Eotvos Lor&nd University (ELTE)
A Dash of Blood Orange: The Reception of Anthony Burgess
The circle, the square and the quadratura circuli
or the mandala inShakespeare's King Lear_______________________17
The Effect of Experience and Training
onYoung Teachers' Approach to Correcting Errors______________31
The Way the Dictionaries Were Bom __________________________ 41
New Approaches to American Studies:
Interactive Ways ofDeveloping Cultural Contacts______________ 49
Gendering the School Curriculum:
Approaches to Hungarian Educational Policies from a Gender Studies
Perspective ______________________________________________ 61
TeachingTheatre TextTranslation or the 4 T 's___________________73
Zsuzsa N. T6th and Andrea Erdei
Towards Objective Performance Assessment____________________83
Crisis in the writing of university and college theses
in Hungarianhigher education________________________________95
GENDERING THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM:
APPROACHES TO HUNGARIAN
EDUCATIONAL POLICIES FROM A
GENDER STUDIES PERSPECTIVE
In this paper, I seek to clarify the nature of the conflicts arising from the
simultaneous discourses concerning the need for a new and transparent man
agement system (allegedly value free and instrumental to progress) and the
discussion of equality and social justice within the context of the ongoing
reforms inHungarian public education. The significance of these issues lies in
the fact that these discourses claim to respond to the perceived needs emerg
ing in the wake of the social and cultural economic transformation in Hun
Additionally, I intend to identify a set of critical stances informed by femi
nist analysis of educational reforms and gender equality policies in an inter
national analytical -- mainly European —context.
For this purpose, I attempt to map the dynamics of changes in educational
policy development and to sample the discourses of educational research and
theory, in order to find out how it is possible to introduce the concepts and
practices of gender equality in educational policy making. I intend to focus on
the dynamics of internal and external factors of change and the differences in
approaches to the transformation process in education. By doing so, I hope to
be able to interrogate the overall direction of educational change with the
purpose of being able to identify the possible pitfalls for the inclusion of gen
der issues as one of the systemic characteristics of the educational system.
The rationale of this analysis is the recognition that in a fair and egalitarian
society in which all people are considered to have equal worth and equal
rights, a commitment to principles of educational equity is essential. Educa
tional policies cannot avoid expounding a set of values, a philosophy and ide
ology which construct the social world of students. Provisions for equity
should not be considered as forms of welfare provision. Principles of equity
should permeate all mainstream policies and practices, and not be considered
only as additions to educational planning (Weiner 1994).
Public education should respond to a diversity of needs and experiences,
respect distinctive cultural and racial identities and value contributions of all
ability groups. Understandings of gender construction should include
knowledge about the relationship of gender to other factors, including
socio-economic status, cultural background, rural/urban location, disability
and sexual orientation (Apple 2001; Weiler 1988).
Imperatives of Education Reform
The post-socialist era is considered to be a new historical chance for mod
ernisation, on the one hand, and for integration to the Euro-Atlantic world on
the other. Therefore, the modernisation of the educational system is a high
priority on the agenda of social and economic state policies, particularly
within the framework of the European Union accession process:
"The Government regards educational policy as an essential condi
tion to economic development. Hungary can only be successful in the
future if a competitive and highly qualified labour force with modem
knowledge and a capability of further improvement is present in the
economy. The Government believes that the task of ensuring participa
tion in education for everybody, raising the standard of training and
standardising education is on top of the list of priorities. Therefore, the
Government's educational policy is organised around three principles:
(1) Completing the development of a system of regulations, accredita
tion, quality improvement through developing infrastructural and
pedagogical conditions and the content of education; (2) Ensuring
equal opportunities terms for institutions with the help of financing
mechanisms, as well as providing equal opportunities for everyone
through education; (3) Strengthening the role of planning and provid
ing a firm professional grounding" (Strategy for the Development of
Hungarian Public Education, Ministry of Education, 1998).
Since educational reform proceeds in a rapidly changing social and eco
nomic environment, the systemic conditions of development are at the focus
of educational policies, rather that pedagogical development itself. This may
account for the fact that the activities of the development of educational poli
cies are often interpreted as not needing concomitant theorisation, rather the
'technical-instrumentalism' view of policy development prevails. According
to this view, 'mechanisms' must be put in place that ensure entrepreneurial
efficiency and effectiveness (Moore and Young 2001).
As a consequence, educational theorization in Hungary tends to be con
tent with the analysis of the principles of managerialism. Although these
principles are intended to be formulated in a value neutral way, this
approach has the potential to create tensions as is already evidenced by the
discussions of feminist pedagogy, which claim that value neutrality in fact
perpetuates the domination of patriarchal practices. Consequently the repro
duction of those binaries of public/private, which has profound conse
quences for women and girl students (Blackmore and Kenway 1997), contin
ues in an unreflected manner.
Western educationalists have already provided ample evidence for the
fact that educational policies "involving market 'solutions' may actually serve
to reproduce —not subvert -- traditional hierarchies of class, race and gender"
Consequently, one should be aware of the language of technology, for
example, in the following description of perspectives:
"The key areas to be improved are the educational information sys
tem, the monitoring of the effectiveness of policies and policy analysis
and research. In relationto the policy implementation capacity of these
systems the most striking obstacles are the relatively weak account
ability and transparency of the functioning of the management of edu
cation." (Strategy for the Development of Hungarian Public Education,
Ministry of Education, 1998.)
Issues such as equality, race, gender, class, and poverty are integrated
through variable means into contemporary educational research to a certain
degree, but this can be characterised as the "add and stir" method of inclusion.
In many cases, issues of inequalities are discussed as problems surfacing
residually, comfortably named as "so called post-modern issues" and consid
ered as manifestations of some passing intellectual fashion which unneces
sarily dilute the rigorousness and scientific nature of educational theory
(MiMly, I. 2000, B&rdossy 2000).
Those theorists who are engaged in the criticism of these partially
informed accounts caution against the potentially dangerous consequences
of not dealing with these "post-modern fads". However, they are often
marginalized and blamed for their losing sight of the scientific requirements
of educational research (Mih&ly, O. 2001, Buda 1997). As a result, the
emancipatory and social empowerment potentials in education are success-
hilly and safely insulated and cloaked in silence by the coupled discourses of
professional managerialism and the science based articulation of social
research and educational research (Kozma 2002).
Comparative Advantage of the Transition Situation
Peter Rad6 (2001) points out that "the transition process opened unique
opportunities that are based on the "comparative advantage" of newcomers
and the atmosphere of revolutionary changes". Reflection on and concep
tualisation of reform and change, however, is not new to educational theory
in the international context. Reform in education has been extensively theo
rised throughout the 1990s. Thomas S. Popkewitz (1991) argues that reform
does not necessarily "signify progress, in any absolute sense, but it does entail
a consideration of social and power relations." Therefore, the comparative
advantage of the transition process, for example in Hungary, can be inter
preted as having the opportunity to draw on the knowledge produced on the
subject. However, this opportunity may only be exploited if there is a chance
that the various forms of privilege and the reproduction of 'cultural capital'
can be included in the mainstream discourse on education.
It needs to be emphasised that for most disadvantaged groups, the new
arrangements resulting from the social and political changes seem to be
merely a more sophisticated way of reproducing traditional distinctions
between different types of educational opportunities and their accessibility
for different students. For example, Zolt&n B&thory (1992), a leading theorist
of educational reform tends to favour the special provision solution for "fast
track" students. His views advocate policies of segregation -- without consid
ering the detrimental effects of such policies, which, however, have been
thoroughly analysed already in Western educational reforms.
According to Michael W. Apple (2001), the growing importance of cul
tural capital infiltrates all institutions in such a way that there is a relative
movement away from the direct reproduction of power privileges (transmit
ted largely through economic property) to school-mediated forms of power
privileges. It is the result of a long chain of connections between differentially
accumulated economic, social, and cultural capital operating at the level of
Set against this controversial background in the Hungarian case, the
issues of gender inequality can hardly be discussed, since the raising of gen
der issues would automatically be identified as some sentimental social jus
tice vision, which cannot be catered for in education. However, it should be
argued that the comparative advantage is in place only if the lessons learned
by other transformation theorists are valued and integrated by the policy
makers into the present educational reform in Hungary.
Analysis of Gender Equity in Educational Policy
There is a striking paradox and consequently growing tension between
the previously described theoretical position (of favouring selectivity and
segregation) and the proclaimed policy intentions of strengthening social
cohesion. For example, Peter Rad6 (2001:14) insists on emphasising that:
"Education is one of the most important public sectors that are able
to strengthen the cohesion of a society. In the circumstances of the tran
sition process this function of education is more important than ever
before. It cannot be achieved without deliberate policies aiming at
reducing the number of losers of the thorough changes in the region. [.
..] The socio-economic status, the place of residence, the family back
ground, the individual abilities or the affiliation to different minorities
imposes a greater and more visible impact on the life chances of the
Due to the increasing social differences and inequalities during the transi
tion period, the selective characteristic of the educational system became
more and more perceivable. It is openly admitted that the equalising of all the
possible disadvantages is "neither a realistic objective nor a genuine educa
tional policy issue". As a result, in many cases selection does depend on afflu
ence, geographical location or ethnicity. The conclusions concerning future
perspectives do not seem to be informed by the literature of socialjustice and
practices of dealing with diversity and plurality. But instead the technical
imperative, i.e. the need for quality insurance and a system of assessment are
perceived as sufficientto tackle the ever-growing tension in education caused
by inequalities. There is a pronounced emphasis on structural changes and
structural provision rather than turning towards functional methodological
programmes or best practices in the international context (B&rdossy 2000).
These directions in policy development do not raise the issues of inclu
sion, quite the contrary, they concentrate on the idea of special provision and
education management tools, rather than speculating on the functions of the
"hidden curriculum" and on the nature of ongoing interactions of education
with the diversity of social and cultural settings in which the actual schools
In conclusion, gender is very rarely specified as a relevant aspect of the
equity discourse. The realisation of how gender functions as a means of social
regulation is profoundly absent from the Hungarian educational policy doc
uments. Although this absence is at least noted in the "Report on Public Edu
cation in Hungary":
"On the whole, it can be said that (1) the issue of social and regional
inequality has received marked attention throughout the decade, (2)
the issue of the education of minorities in general, and that of Gypsies
in particular, has been given more attention since the middle of the 90s,
but it is not fully integrated into the whole of education policy, (3) the
education of special needs students is invariably one of the peripheral
issues of education policy, and (4) the issue of the equality of the gen
ders has not appeared on the agenda of policy makers" (Report on Pub
lic Education in Hungary, 2000).
How Can Educational Policy be Informed on Gender Equity?
The Educational Theory Discourse
Having recognised this profound absence of the understanding of gender,
it may be useful to search for existing conceptual tools which can accommo
date, to a certain degree, the concept of gender, with the purpose of introduc
ing the knowledge produced by feminist theories and gender theories, partic
ularly by feminist pedagogy.
One of the biggest obstacles appears to be the fact that inquiry and dis
course in education theory remain fixed in a non-political environment with
out the articulation of values and beliefs. The "ideology of neutrality" has
become internalised in the consciousness of most researchers. The links
between the political agendas and research are blurred by the legitimizing
function of social and educational research.
Another problem is represented by the unreflected normative male bias,
when insisting on the reproduction of some hegemonic value systems and
belief systems, usually identified as universal humanistic discourses. There
fore, experience based knowledge or diversity of viewpoints cannot be articu
lated in this traditional frame of reference. For example, G&bor Hal&sz (1997),
stresses the normative role when he discusses the functions of education:
"When analysing the sub-systems in society it is typical to identify
four functions: reproduction, adaptation, goal-orientation and integra
tive functions: The sub-system of education serves all these four func
tions. It participates in the social reproduction, and it has a greater and
greater role in the enhancement of adaptation, cooperation. Education
also serves as a mediator - although in a limited way - in the justifica
tion of political objectives. - therefore, it has an ever growing function
in securing social integration according to the accepted norms and
In the educational theory discourse on the significance of education as
transmitter of normative values —which is mainly characterised by the hege
mony of dominant modernist discourses -- there are only a few authors who
venture to raise the issues of plurality, pluralism, and diversity. Generally,
education is informed by the unreflected acceptance of the normative dis
courses on power management and technical efficiency. It is accepted as a
professionally sound pedagogical approach to foster "socialisation, domesti
cation, cultivation, personal development of the young" through a variety of
teacher dominated techniques. In this setting, it is the teacher who transmits
knowledge and shapes/produces the student's personality. There is an
underlying pedagogical norm and set of ethics, which determine the stan
dards of good and bad in teaching and learning, and forecasting success or
failure accordingly. Pluralism in education does not fit well with this "tradi
tional normative" stance, since it tends to question the prescriptive legitimacy
of pedagogies and theories on education. Educational theorisation on plural
ism has arrived relatively late in the arena of Hungarian educational dis
courses. It is fair to say that educational theory has not even faced the issues of
diversity. The "paradox" of plurality of values is simply acknowledged to
exist but has not been tackled in any form of analysis. Ott6 Mih&ly (2001)
remarks that attempts "to cure the symptoms" have been made, but the core
of the problem has not been dealt with:
"University courses have become more colourful in the wake of the
inclusion of avariety of educational paradigms, they are discussed one
by one, and then the tutor selects one which is deemed to be followed
and used, withoutproviding anyjustification for his/her preference or
in depth analysis. The notions of interdisciplinary and post-modern
theories are not mentioned, perhaps in the hope that they will prove to
be ephemeral fads, and when they are over, the professors can con
tinue, undisturbed, advocating the unitary, normative pedagogy
based on the traditions of Enlightenment values."
A number of educational and social theorists have already presented com
pelling arguments that illustrate the reproduction of social, economic, politi
cal, and cultural inequalities through the organization and structure of the
schooling process (Giroux 2001; Amot 1997; Apple 2001; Luke 2000). Educa
tors from diverse cultural and ideological backgrounds have pointed to the
political and ideological nature of schooling and the ways in which schools
reproduce the status quo through hegemonic practices. There is an opportu
nity to draw on this scholarship for educational theory in Hungary in order
not to repeat the patterns of "blaming educational inequalities on those who
are discriminated against" type of rhetoric. It can be identified as the theorists'
task to develop a framework that takes issues of power, democracy, and
inequality seriously, as well as educational structures and practice, in the pro
cess of reforming public education. It would be useful to debate the conven
tional approach informed by "scientific paradigms" to those types of prob
lems which are otherwise reluctantly acknowledged as being the "business"
of science (Waters 1998). A paradigm of educational research which includes
ethics, political feasibility and a set of practical alternatives could become
instrumental to change. In this context, feminist pedagogy and praxis could
well be accommodated in this newly formed paradigm.
The Legal Discourse
The legal discourse concerning equity in education is based on the prohi
bition and monitoring of all kinds of educational discrimination; assuring
internationally accepted rights of children and minorities. The principle of
non-discrimination is limited to the demand for equal treatment, without ref
erence to specific circumstances. It is not self-evident, however, that formal
equal treatment, under uniform conditions, is sufficient to guarantee full and
effective equality in practice (Stromquist 1996).
In this context, the UnitedNations Convention on the Rights ofChildren (1989)
is often mentioned as one of the compelling guidelines, although, the Conven
tion on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1981)
which has provided governments with a framework for enacting legislation
to promote equality between women and men is not mentioned or cited in
any of the documents dealing with equality and equity in public education.
It is notof assistance - it even leads to the weakening of any legal argument
- that there is no national equal opportunity legislation in effect at present in
Hungary. As a result, one should be satisfied with referring to constitutional
rights and the vaguely implementable concepts of human rights. A prelimi
nary draft of a national equality law is in circulation for evaluation, which,
however, still emphasises the "tradition" of anti-discrimnation legislation
rather than affirmative policies.
The lack of a feminist construct in current Hungarian society is oftenjusti
fied with the 'there is no need' argument: feminism is not needed, because of
the negative experience of the communist 'solution to the woman question'.
The socialist-communist system discredited emancipation and the 'woman
question' when, through the implementation of bureaucratic measures, they
forced women into 'equality' against their own will (Thun 2001).
Jirina Siklova (1996) comments on all the women's issues raised by West
European feminisms, such as employment of women, domestic violence
against women, and sexist representation of women in the media, and con
cludes that they are often portrayed in Central Eastern Europe as the luxury
of western women. Women's facing the glass ceiling in their careers is por
trayed as the result of individual psychological problems. Discussions of the
social construction of the role of motherhood are relegated to the realm of
"Thus, feminist issues are interpreted as psychological or philo
sophical issues, while feminism is portrayed as an extremist ideology.
As we are at present wary of any ideologies, it is unsurprising that fem
inism is not attracting followers." (Siklova 1996: 94)
In summary, feminist activism, which would have the potential of putting
pressure on policy changes, and which has been in the western experience a
forceful tool for change, is struggling to gainvoice in Hungary at the moment.
Therefore, it is unlikely that it could become the initiator of policy changes.
Concluding Cautionary Notes
There is a growing amount of literature which interrogates and critiques
the involvement of feminist academics as educators in the policy initiatives
targeting the promotion of "gender equity" in education. Chandra Mohanty
(1990) points out that equity is "aterm of concealment". It functions to confirm
traditional rules and relations by declaring the right of non-dominant per
sons to "assume the position" of dominance and to do the same things as "the
normatively sanctioned subject of human rights".
Mary Bryson, and Suzanne de Castell (1993) also emphasise the 'aggres
sively dominant' normalising character of gender equity prerogatives when
they argue that:
"This compulsory submission of all children to extensive and intru
sive state "standards" is the process whereby the state constitutes the
subjects to which it then accords the rights that it then goes on to repre
sent. This is what "equity" in education seems to have meant for minor
ity students: the right to try but inevitably to fail to become white,
male, and middle class. And this is what institutional "gender equity"
policies seem to signify most often for girls and women: an impossibly
contradictory injunction, onthe one hand, to enact a series of character
istics designated as "gender-appropriate" in educational feminism's
project (for example, to legitimate "women's ways") and, on the other
hand, to embrace and participate ever more "equally" in the set of rules,
roles, and relations established and maintained by a predominantly
This recent critique of gender equality policies may be considered in two
ways in the analysis of educational policies in the present process of develop
ment in Hungary (and perhaps in the other post-socialist countries as well):
On the one hand, it may underscore the importance of the local analysis of the
"comparative advantage" position of the transitional situation. On the other
hand, it cautions us to recognize both the advantages, but also the dangers of
over-regulation or rigid implementation of state policies concerning gender
equity and equal opportunity provisions. This critical account urges theoris
ing in a more detailed way and acting more in terms of local initiatives to fos
ter genuine recognition of plurality and diversity.
Apple, Michael W. 2001. Comparing Neo-liberal Projects and Inequality in
Education. Comparative Education Vol. 37. No. 4.409-423.
Apple, Michael W. 2001. The Rhetoric and Reality of Standards-Based School
Reform. Educational Policy Vol. 15. No. 4.601-610.
Amot, Madeleine. 1997. 'Gendered Citizenry': New Feminist Perspectives on
Education and Citizenship. British Educational Research Journal Vol. 23.
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Bryson, Mary, and de Castell, Suzanne. 1993. En/Gendering Equity: On
Some Paradoxical Consequences of Institutionalized Programs of
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Buda, Mariann. 1997. A nevelesi rendszerek elemzesenek sziiksegesseger6l.
Uj Pedagogiai Szemle. No. 11.
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TEACHING THEATRE TEXT
TRANSLATION OR THE 4 T'S1.
The title of my paper is Teaching Theatre Text Translation (TTTT for short
in the following), and it is trying to describe a suitable method for teaching
TTT. It is also an attempt to prove its teachability to those sceptical theatre
makers -- directors, dramaturges, actors -- whom I have interviewed, and
who believe that you can teach certain tricks, but good playtexts can be writ
ten and/or translated only by 'insiders' and initiates.
I would like to join the group of people who hold that a combination of
affinity, insight, and practice can produce the skills and competence which
make for good texts. In order to prove my point, first I would like to examine
the mistakes of translator-trainees who, not being aware of the ways theatre
texts function, do not 'read' and 'see' and 'listen to' the subtextual clues
which are of vital importance for theatre makers (Janis 1995).
Second, I would like to exemplify how via close examination of the text,
students' awareness can be raised about the features specific to theatre texts,
and how a combination of read-through practice (known to theatre makers)
and drama techniques (originally designed for foreign language classrooms)
can bring translator trainees closer to an understanding of the text signals.
The reason why I think this combined technique can help is that I have
learned from my own twenty four-year teaching practice that students do not
learn from recipes/rules or prescriptions, but from experience and experienc
ing — in other words, they learn 'by doing it1. Through this sort of classroom
practice they can acquire the necessary competence and become autonomous
1. Students' difficulties with Theatre Texts
The idea of organising a special reading-acting workshop for transla
tor-trainees occurred to me while I was correcting trainees' works and writing
The term theatre text is used for scripts written for the stage.