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Wahlström, N. (2019). “International standards” and the implications for educational equality in national school reforms. In: : . Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Congress,AERA, Toronto, April 5-9..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“International standards” and the implications for educational equality in national school reforms
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The evidence-based policy movement emerged from a desire to remove ideology from the policy process in order to increase the credibility of policy proposals; an approach that was also incorporated in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). The focus of this study is to explore international policy discourses and “international standards” underpinning school reforms, with the current school reform in Sweden used as an example. The purpose is (i) to examine what arguments and actors in the international education arena are relevant to the national reform priorities, and (ii) to explore how comparative research perspectives can contribute to unravel aspects of (in)equalities in national school reforms against a backdrop of international educational policy discourses.

Keywords
education policy, reform, international policy
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-87034 (URN)
Conference
American Educational Research Association Congress,AERA, Toronto, April 5-9.
Available from: 2019-07-30 Created: 2019-07-30 Last updated: 2019-07-30
Nordin, A. & Wahlström, N. (2019). Reform of 2015/2018 in Sweden: A gathering for school - national strategy for knowledge and equivalence. In: NERA 2019, Education in a Global World, 6-8 March, Uppsala, Sweden: Abstract book, 2019-03-06. Paper presented at NERA 2019, 6-8 March, 2019, Uppsala Sweden (pp. 813-814).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reform of 2015/2018 in Sweden: A gathering for school - national strategy for knowledge and equivalence
2019 (English)In: NERA 2019, Education in a Global World, 6-8 March, Uppsala, Sweden: Abstract book, 2019-03-06, 2019, p. 813-814Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-81206 (URN)
Conference
NERA 2019, 6-8 March, 2019, Uppsala Sweden
Projects
Policy Knowledge and Lesson Drawing in Nordic School Reform in an Era of International Comparison
Funder
The Research Council of Norway, 283 467
Available from: 2019-03-21 Created: 2019-03-21 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved
Nordin, A. & Wahlström, N. (2019). Reform of 2015/2018, the renewal entitled: A gathering for school - national strategy for knowledge and equivalence. In: Presented at CIES 2019: . Paper presented at CIES 2019 (Comparative and international education society), San Francisco April 14-18, 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reform of 2015/2018, the renewal entitled: A gathering for school - national strategy for knowledge and equivalence
2019 (English)In: Presented at CIES 2019, 2019Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-82236 (URN)
Conference
CIES 2019 (Comparative and international education society), San Francisco April 14-18, 2019
Available from: 2019-04-26 Created: 2019-04-26 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved
Nordin, A. & Wahlström, N. (2019). Transnational policy discourses on ‘teacher quality’: an educational connoisseurship and criticism approach. Policy Futures in Education, 17(3), 438-454
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transnational policy discourses on ‘teacher quality’: an educational connoisseurship and criticism approach
2019 (English)In: Policy Futures in Education, ISSN 1478-2103, E-ISSN 1478-2103, Vol. 17, no 3, p. 438-454Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, we analyse key policy documents on teacher quality produced by the OECD andthe EU during the period 2005 to 2017 using an educational connoisseurship and criticismapproach. The purpose of this article is to explore how Eisner’s concepts of educational connoisseurshipand educational criticism can be understood and used to analyse educational policy,especially how teacher quality is discursively constructed in transnational authoritative texts oneducation policy. Eisner’s three aspects of criticism, description, interpretation and evaluation canbe utilised in a differentiated critical approach to the analysis of transnational policy documentson education. While the critical descriptive discourse can be viewed as ‘identifying a simplerelationship’ between social development and educational needs, the interpretative critical discoursecan be regarded as ‘recognising the complexity’ of teachers’ tasks in changing societies andthe critical evaluative discourse as ‘recognising and problematising contradictory interests’ thataffect teachers’ work. We argue that the philosophical concepts of connoisseurship and criticismcontribute to policy research by demonstrating that a multifaceted concept of teacher quality isneeded to capture the complex nature of education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2019
Keywords
Education policy, Teacher quality, Elliot Eisner
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-79719 (URN)10.1177/1478210318819200 (DOI)000464276900009 ()2-s2.0-85060051055 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-01-22 Created: 2019-01-22 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Wahlström, N. (2018). A theoretical framework: from policy to curriculum and comparative classroom studies. In: Ninni Wahlström & Daniel Sundberg (Ed.), Transnational curriculum standards and classroom practices: The new meaning of teaching (pp. 31-47). London: Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A theoretical framework: from policy to curriculum and comparative classroom studies
2018 (English)In: Transnational curriculum standards and classroom practices: The new meaning of teaching / [ed] Ninni Wahlström & Daniel Sundberg, London: Routledge, 2018, p. 31-47Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Drawing on Doyle’s (1992) comprehension of a curriculum as a coherent set of contexts and activities or ‘events’ sequenced over days or weeks to build students’ competencies toward desired goals, it follows that a major task of curriculum theory is to identify the frames that limit curriculum choices and to explore the pedagogic implications that follow. This approach to curriculum rejects the split between curriculum and pedagogy, in which the curriculum theory domain deals with questions of what knowledge is most valuable, while pedagogy was traditionally an affair for psychology. Curriculum exists not only as a document, but also as a set of enacted events resulting from context-specific interactions between teachers and students, understood as ‘curriculum events’. Thus, pedagogy is not viewed as a neutral form of teaching that lacks clear connections to the curriculum content and structure; rather, it is a combination of curriculum text and discursive practice in the classroom, involving the transformation of curriculum content into the subject of actual teaching. Pedagogy and curriculum are, in this sense, understood as two aspects of a social context centred on a teacher and a group of students. With reference to Alexander (2009, p. 927), ‘[p]edagogy is the observable act of teaching together with its attendant discourse of educational theories, values, evidence and justifications’ (italics in original).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2018
Keywords
comparative classroom research, classroom discourse, curriculum events
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-69144 (URN)978-1-138-08749-1 (ISBN)9781315110424 (ISBN)
Projects
Understanding curriculum reforms: A theory-oriented evaluation of the Swedish Curriculum reform Lgr 11
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-2218
Available from: 2017-12-10 Created: 2017-12-10 Last updated: 2018-03-06Bibliographically approved
Bergh, A. & Wahlström, N. (2018). Conflicting goals of educational action: a study of teacher agency from a transactional realism perspective. Curriculum Journal, 29(1), 134-149
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conflicting goals of educational action: a study of teacher agency from a transactional realism perspective
2018 (English)In: Curriculum Journal, ISSN 0958-5176, E-ISSN 1469-3704, Vol. 29, no 1, p. 134-149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on the different ways in which teachers relatetheir situational agency and professional assignment to the nationalcurriculum content and curriculum dilemmas. It builds theoreticallyon transactional realism and empirically on analyses of interviewswith teachers, exploring the nature of teacher agency during theenactment of a new Swedish curriculum reform. To uphold a dualperspective of teachers’ relation to the curriculum as bothcollectively and individually experienced and as both an ideal andrealistic–practical relation, we term the future as ‘projectiveexperiences’, the presence as ‘practical-evaluative experiences’ andthe past ‘iterational experiences’ in relation to agency. Especially,we are interested in the ‘what’ in the curriculum – what theteachers find intriguing, important or impossible and what affectshow they relate to the curriculum as part of the multidimensionalstructures influencing their agency. This approach reveals that thecrucial issue of teacher agency is related to the policy discourse onknowledge and equity as standards and the uniformity ofassessment and its pedagogical consequences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2018
Keywords
Curriculum; teacher agency; transactional realism; educational reform; Sweden
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-68965 (URN)10.1080/09585176.2017.1400449 (DOI)000432636600009 ()2-s2.0-85034733720 (Scopus ID)
Projects
This study is part of the research project ‘Theory-based evaluation of the curriculum Lgr 11’, which is financed by the Swedish Institute for the Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy
Available from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-23 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Wahlström, N. (2018). Creative Democracy? The Task Before Us in Times of Populism.. In: : . Paper presented at The American Educational Research Association Congress, New York, April, 13-17..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Creative Democracy? The Task Before Us in Times of Populism.
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Drawing on John Dewey’s essay “Creative Democracy: The Task Before Us” (1939), this paper addresses the meaning of democracy and education in a globalized world that is characterized by pluralism and interdependence on the one hand and populist nationalism on the other. Dewey thought that the greatest threats to democracy come from within the democratic countries themselves. The institutions and conditions that are fundamental to democracy can also be used by social forces to destroy it (Bernstein 2000). The purpose of the study is to problematize Dewey’s view of democracy in “Creative Democracy” (1939) through a comparative study on the meaning of citizenship education in curricula in the United States and Sweden in light of the present populist tendencies in these countries. More specifically, this paper poses the questions:

  • What emphasis of citizenship education emerges in curricula for fifteen year-old students in two countries sharing a self-image of being strong democracies, when analyzed from a democratic perspective as outlined in Dewey’s “Creative Democracy”?
  • What strengths and weaknesses in relation to populism and authoritarian regimes does Dewey’s conception of democracy offer?

The meaning of populism can be ambiguous. In this paper, populism is primarily characterized by two main features. Firstly, it relies on the wisdom of “ordinary” people, who are thought of as a homogenous whole consisting of “good” people with “decent” values. Populist parties are usually a form of democracy based directly on the voice of the majority without built-in protection for minorities. Secondly, populists prefer leadership exercised by an authoritarian charismatic individual who is believed to express the opinions of ordinary people and to govern based on what is best for this group (Inglehart & Norris 2016). Those who do not adhere to this basic philosophy of populism are excluded from the “ordinary” and in contrast, are categorized as “elite.”  

Theoretical framework

In the written address, Creative Democracy: The Task Before Us” (1939), John Dewey formulated democracy not only as a way of life, but as a “personal way of individual life” (p. 226). Dewey’s idea of a personally-lived democracy has two main characteristics: democracy is first and foremost a moral ideal, rather than an institutional fact, and democracy is about pluralism (Dewey 1939/1991).  According to Richard Bernstein (2000, 2010), Dewey was a “rooted cosmopolitan,” which is a term also used by Appiah (2005, p. 222) when he argues that a “tenable cosmopolitanism” needs to take seriously not only the value of human lives, but also the value of particular human lives in communities contributing to forming those lives. Cosmopolitanism, Appiah argues, grows from the county, the town, or the street rather than from the state. According to Westbrook (2006), Appiah’s book on cosmopolitanism has a close affinity to Dewey’s pragmatism, although Appiah does not himself make use of that label. According to both Dewey (1925/2008) and Appiah (2007), communication, or rather “conversation,” is the bridge between differences, cultural as well as other differences, not to come to some sort of consensus on ethical values but simply to make contact with each other, or to “get used to one another” (Appiah 2007, p. 168). Dewey (1939/1991) argues that in a democratic personal way of life, cooperation across differences is inherent “because of the belief that the expression of difference is not only a right of the other persons but is a means of enriching one’s own life-experience” (p. 228).

In his 1916 essay “Nationalizing Education”, Dewey formulates the two counterparts inherited in the concepts of “nation” and “nationalism.” The desired side of nationalism, according to Dewey, is that nations have the ability to offer broader communities beyond a family or village. The aspect of nationalism to be avoided is a type of nationalism where “skillful politicians” know how to “play cleverly upon patriotism, and upon ignorance of other peoples” to spread a feeling of hostility to those outside their own nation (Dewey 1916/1980, p. 202). Therefore, the spirit of a nationalized education must, according to Dewey, be the promotion of the national idea which is the idea of democracy, and the idea of democracy is an idea of “amity and good will to all humanity (including those beyond our border) and equal opportunity for all within” (Dewey 1916/1980, p. 209). Dewey urges teachers to remember that it is they who need to be the mediators of this democratic idea.

So what does the word “creative” add to our understanding of democracy? Bernstein (2000) distinguishes two elements intertwined in the term “creative democracy.” Firstly, it denotes a sense of situated creativity; an individual who is educated in a way that promotes an experimental and imaginative approach to handling social situations intelligently.  Secondly, it is concerned with the need for democracy to recreate itself. The world changes, the social circles grow larger, and creative democracy has to do with how to cope with new times of risk and uncertainty without lapsing into democracy as static procedures or self-righteous insulation. Bernstein (2000) concludes that democracy cannot be a fixed ideal; that is why it is always the task before us.

From these theoretical assumptions, it becomes clear that the concept of democracy, including its creative version, must always be understood as an attitude with intrinsic potentials for both desirable and undesirable implications. In this paper, I argue that Dewey’s “Creative Democracy” (1939) needs to be read together with “Nationalizing Education” (1916) to clarify the democratic responsibility of the public school. Otherwise, the idea of creative democracy risks lapsing into ideals that underestimate the threats to democracy.  

Mode of inquiry

The mode of inquiry in this paper is based on two qualitative research methodologies: conceptual research and document studies. In the first part of the paper, Dewey’s concept of democracy is analyzed against a backdrop of current political phenomena such as populism and nationalism in order to examine the validity of Dewey’s ideas today, about a hundred years after he wrote his texts. From this reading, in the second part of the paper, three key concepts are derived that guide the analysis of citizenship education in curricula from two countries, the United States and Sweden. Two concepts, “situated creativity” and “the need for democracy to recreate itself” are drawn from Dewey’s (1916/1980) “Creative Democracy” and one concept, “cultural pluralism,” from “Nationalizing Education” (Dewey 1916/1980); the latter is interpreted in line with  Bernstein’s (2015) understanding of “where cultural differences are appreciated, respected and cultivated” (Bernstein 2015, p. 355).

Both as countries and as democracies, Sweden and the US are very different, but both countries identify themselves as stable democracies, and both countries have encountered an unexpectedly strong wave of populism during the last few years. In the US in particular, the Republican Party has developed populist tendencies. In Sweden, the “Swedish Democrats,” with its roots in Nazism, has gained increased support and is now counted as Sweden’s second largest party according to the most recent opinion polls. From the US, the state of California has been selected for comparison with Sweden. California and Sweden are about the same geographical size, but California has about four times as many inhabitants. Both can be viewed as progressive in their view of areas like culture, music, and climate change, and both have recently signed letters of cooperation focusing on climate change. The comparison is made between curricula for students who are 15 years of age when they start the school year. This means grade 9 in Sweden and grade 10 in California. In Sweden, grade 9 is the last year of the compulsory school; in the US, grade 10 represents the second year in high school. The comparative study is conducted in the subjects of history and social science (civics).

Keywords
comparative research, pragmatism, educational philosophy, curriculum theory
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77077 (URN)
Conference
The American Educational Research Association Congress, New York, April, 13-17.
Note

Ej belagd 20190212

Available from: 2018-08-08 Created: 2018-08-08 Last updated: 2019-02-12Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Wahlström, N. (2018). Den evidensbaserade skolan: en introduktion. In: Daniel Alvunger & Ninni Wahlström (Ed.), Den evidensbaserade skolan: Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik (pp. 9-30). Natur och kultur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Den evidensbaserade skolan: en introduktion
2018 (Swedish)In: Den evidensbaserade skolan: Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik / [ed] Daniel Alvunger & Ninni Wahlström, Natur och kultur, 2018, p. 9-30Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Natur och kultur, 2018
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-79263 (URN)9789127817616 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-12-18 Created: 2018-12-18 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Wahlström, N. (Eds.). (2018). Den evidensbaserade skolan: svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik. Natur och kultur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Den evidensbaserade skolan: svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik
2018 (Swedish)Collection (editor) (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Natur och kultur, 2018. p. 231
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71730 (URN)9789127817616 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-03-21 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved
Wahlström, N. & Sundberg, D. (2018). Discursive institutionalism: towards a framework for analysing the relation between policy and curriculum. Journal of education policy, 33(1), 163-183
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discursive institutionalism: towards a framework for analysing the relation between policy and curriculum
2018 (English)In: Journal of education policy, ISSN 0268-0939, E-ISSN 1464-5106, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 163-183Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Discourse approaches in education policy analysis have gained prominence in the last decade. However, though the literature on policy discourses is growing, different conceptions of the ‘discursive’ dimension and its potential for empirical analysis related to the field of curriculum policy have not yet been fully researched. To address this gap in education policy research, this article explores the framework of discursive institutionalism. Using background and foreground ideas and coordinative and communicative discourses on three analytically distinct levels, this article proposes and discusses a framework for empirically analysing, explaining and understanding education reforms on the transnational and local levels. The introduced conceptual framework represents an integration of discursive institutionalism (DI) and curriculum theory (CT) to provide a more multifaceted set of concepts to explore the lending and borrowing of transnational education policies and their application at both national and local levels. These concepts have been applied as analytical tools in a research study on the most recent curriculum reform in Sweden, and they may serve as an example of how different ideas, discourses and levels can be distinguished in research studies to maintain the complexity of education reforms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2018
Keywords
curriculum theory; policy studies; discursive institutionalism; comparative studies
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-66026 (URN)10.1080/02680939.2017.1344879 (DOI)000428727400009 ()2-s2.0-85021671178 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Understanding Curriculum Reforms (VR)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

The article is a full open access article

Available from: 2017-07-01 Created: 2017-07-01 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-5554-6041

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