ppt - Teaching for a Better World

Look carefully at the picture below. In what different ways could this be interpreted?
An Introduction
David Hicks
Formerly Professor at
Bath Spa University
Some purposes of education
Knowledge ~ to pass on subject-based knowledge
Reproduction ~ to ensure continuity of societal norms
Workforce ~ to create a globally competitive workforce
Religious ~ to adhere to a particular religious tradition
Individual ~ to bring out the best in every person
Global ~ to understand local-global interdependence
Better world ~ to help change society for the better
The concept of ideology
‘Ideology is defined as a broad interlocked set of
ideas and beliefs about the world held by a group of
people that they demonstrate in both behaviour and
conversation to various audiences. These systems of
belief are usually seen as ‘the way things really are’
by the groups holding them, and they become the
taken-for-granted ways of making sense of the world.’
Meighan, R. & Harber, C. (2007) A Sociology of Educating, Continuum (p.212)
Some types of ideology
Government ~ e.g. democratic, one-party rule
Political ~ e.g. conservative, liberal, socialist
Religious ~ e.g. Christian, Islam, atheist
Economic ~ e.g. capitalist, neo-liberal, green
Educational ~ e.g. market driven, child-centred
Dominant ideologies
‘A softer form of legitimation is in the use of major
institutions, such as education, mass media, religion,
law and the economy, to put over a ‘consensus’,
‘common-sense’ or ‘sensible person’s’ point of view
as against the ‘lunatic fringe’ view, which turns out to
be almost any view inconvenient to the group with
the dominant ideology.’
Meighan, R. & Harber, C. (2007) A Sociology of Educating, Continuum (p.215)
Neo-liberal ideology
Human dignity and individual freedom are
seen as the central values of civilisation
Human nature is seen as being basically
competitive and thus how the world works
It is therefore rational for each person to
maximise their own personal benefits
Economic rationality, i.e. competition, will
bring appropriate material benefits to all
The state should accordingly be ‘weak’ and
not interfere with the free market process
Therefore what is ‘private’ is best and what is
‘public’ (i.e. state led) is to be avoided
Results in a market driven view of education
Impact on education
Conservatives in 80s (Thatcher) and Labour in
90s (Blair) wanted greater control of education
and privatisation within it.
Money spent on education a waste of time unless
it helps the country compete efficiently and
effectively in the global market place.
Stress on competition by results, e.g. SATs and
league tables; focus on ‘surface’ learning, i.e.
knowing how to pass exams.
Market metaphors: parents as consumers,
business model for education, competition brings
out best in individuals and schools.
Education based on a technocratic, managerial
and performance driven view of teaching and
Example: Academies & Free Schools
State education – government funds national school system through Local Authorities
Funding – this used to be disbursed to all schools via Local Authorities
Academies – New Labour idea to help improve failing schools via private funding
The Coalition – as many schools as possible should aim to become academies
Funding – goes directly to schools instead of via the Local Authority
Control – Head and governors, i.e. free from control by Local Authority
Staffing – Set teachers’ salaries and can hire non-qualified teachers
Curriculum – Set their own curriculum and buy in services as they choose
Free schools – by parents, teachers or faith groups, same freedom as academies
Purpose – greater freedom and choice for schools to follow their own preferences
Free-market - privatised view of education v. collegiality of state led initiatives
Opposition – comes from teachers’ unions and academics, low take-up by schools
‘Welfare state’ ideology
Stresses the importance of cooperation and responsibility for welfare
of others esp. the less fortunate. Argues that the state/ government
has a key role to play in promoting the welfare of all society. A quite
different view of society and thus education.
Education thus importantly seen as a service offered by professionals
(teachers) to the community – not as a commodity to be sold.
Education seen as having important role to play in exploring self and
society. In particular in questioning issues of inequality and injustice
in the local and global community.
Neoliberals are opposed to this progressive notion of education and
have thus strenuously opposed it so that from the 80s onwards the
neoliberal view of education has become predominant in the west.
Examples of two educational ideologies reflecting such values follow.
Learner-centred education
Based on the work of Carl Rogers and
Abraham Maslow, pioneers in developing the
field of humanistic psychology in mid-C20th
Stresses importance of helping each and every
learner develop their full potential in life,
whatever that may be
Fundamental belief in innate ‘goodness’ of
human beings and the possibility of achieving
Focuses on positive sense of self-worth and
developing a wide range of interpersonal skills
These include: self-reflection, active listening,
emotional literacy, clear communication and
conflict resolution skills
Each individual is thus better able to contribute
to the well-being of society
Impact on students/schools
Self-esteem ~ pupils that are happier and more confident in
Behaviour ~ lower levels of bad and inappropriate behaviour in the
classroom and playground
Learning ~ more competent, interested and capable learners
Attendance ~ more regular and higher levels of attendance
Standards ~ raised levels of achievement across all areas of the
School ethos ~ a happier, more supportive and efficient educational
Pride ~ a school in which all pupils, teachers and parents can
contribute and be heard
Example: responding to bullying
Bullying generally has the following features: i)
it is repetitive and persistent; ii) it is
intentionally hurtful; iii) it involves an imbalance
in power, leaving someone feeling helpless to
stop it; iv) it causes feelings of distress, fear,
loneliness and lack of confidence.
Teachers respond in four main ways: i)
dismissive: making light of the incident and
thereby condoning the behaviour; ii) punitive:
punishment without any explanation of why
bullying is wrong; iii) corrective: saying it’s
wrong and filling in the forms; iv) restorative
and transformative: enabling offenders to take
active responsibility for their actions.
‘Global citizenship’ education
It is impossible to make sense of life in our
own communities unless we understand the
wider context of local-global interdependence
How does the wider world affect life in your
own community? How is your community
related to the rest of the world?
Importance of exploring issues to do with
inequality, human rights, sustainable futures
In particular climate change, energy issues,
resource depletion and ecological damage
Informed citizens need to understand these
issues and how to prepared for a future that
will be very different from today
This long-standing tradition is based on the
belief that education has a crucial role to play
in the improvement of society
Impact on students/schools
Local community ~ greater interest in, awareness of and
participation in issues relating to the school and community
Global community ~ greater interest in, awareness of and
participation in issues relating to the international community
Links and learning ~ more direct involvement with other schools
and communities around the world
Knowledge and understanding ~ confidence in understanding issues
in the news and how they relate to everyday life
Responsible citizenship ~ willingness to play a part in helping to
resolve issues in the local-global community
School ethos ~ a school and community which knows its worth and
that it is helping to create a better society
Example: Education for sustainability
All global issues transcend subject boundaries but all subject
areas can contribute in different ways to their resolution
The overarching local-global problem today is that of
unsustainability, i.e. human lifestyle choices which cause
damage to both people and the biosphere
Your future will be very different from today as a result of the
impacts of climate change, peak oil and resource depletion on
the local and global community
Government Chief Scientist warned of ‘perfect storm’ of
problems by 2030: food shortages, water scarcity, insufficient
energy resources leading to public unrest, cross-border
conflicts and mass migration
Learning to think critically and creatively about the future and
how to shift from a high to low carbon future is the most vital
issue facing society and educators today
Changing self, changing society
Robin Richardson reminds us of the importance of these two latter
traditions, one focusing on self and the other on society ~
‘Both traditions are concerned with wholeness and holistic thinking, but
neither, arguably, is complete without the other. There cannot be
wholeness in individuals independently of strenuous attempts to heal
rifts and contradictions in wider society and in the education system.
Conversely, political struggle to create wholeness in society – that is,
equality and justice in dealings and relationships between social classes,
between countries, between ethnic groups, between women and men –
is doomed to no more than partial success and hollow victories, at best,
if it is not accompanied by, and if it does not in its turn strengthen and
sustain, the search for wholeness and integration in individuals.’
Richardson, R. (1991) Daring to be a Teacher, Trentham Books
Where do you stand?
 All human action is underpinned by conscious or unconscious beliefs
about human nature and how the world works
 Such beliefs are shared by large groups of people and dominant
ideologies become seen as simply ‘normal’ or just ‘obvious’
 This applies to society generally as well as specific areas of society
such as economics or education
 Two competing ideologies and their influence on schools introduced,
with examples of their differing focus and impact
 Is the main purpose of education to create i) willing consumers; ii)
well-balanced individuals; iii) a more sustainable future; iii) other?
 How has this session affected your view of education? How may it
affect your future professional studies? Where do you stand?
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