Archives par étiquette : education

Justification and Critique of Educational Reforms in Austria: How Teachers and Head Teachers (Re-)Frame New Governance

Doris Graß (2017)

Journal of Social Science Education, Volume 16, Number 4, p. 60-74.

Abstract. – The article explores how teachers and head teachers make sense of a new education governance. – It presents a pragmatic conventionalist approach to analysing actors’ judgements of educational reforms. – Results of a study, researching teachers and head teachers at three Austrian new middle schools, are discussed. – A repertoire of seven conventions was empirically reconstructed, following the work of Boltanski and Thévenot, however, arriving at a differing typology. – Results indicate a pervasion of the market-based convention; a dominance and subsequent economisation cannot be deducted.

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The Transformation of Civic and Citizenship Education: Challenges to Educational Governance, Agency and Research – An Introduction

Reinhold Hedtke, Claude Proeschel, Andrea Szukala (2017)

Journal of Social Science Education, Volume 16, Number 4, p. 2-15

Introduction. The current issue of the Journal of Social Science Education wants to start a conceptual debate about the impact of recent challenges for the making, regulating and the practical performing of civic education in differ-rent educational contexts and settings. As is well known, educational politics today comprise almost always multi-level settings from local to international or from micro to macro levels. This suggests, in the first place, to make use of a broad basic concept, the approach of educational governance. We want, however, to go beyond and ad-vocate a widening of empirical and theoretical perspec-tives on civic and citizenship education. Therefore, we propose neo-pragmatistic approaches from sociology for an elaborate and productive analysis of multi-level dynamics in civic education. By doing so, alternative the-oretical foci can be set on domains of critical trans-formative impact and significance, without, however, losing sight of the broader context of civic education in the political field. […]

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The potential of the “Économie des conventions” for socio-scientific educational research

Session at the SSRE 2017 conference in Fribourg

These days, from 26-28 of June 2017, at the University of Fribourg the annual congress of the Swiss Society for Research in Education took place. Numerous workshops and symposia dealt with educational aspects like early childhood education, competence measurement in schools, school-to-work transitions, education policy and professional identities of teachers. The overall topic was the aspect of time and learning. The congress attracted 400 researchers and practitioners from the German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, as well as some international researchers.

One of the workshops was dedicated to the potential of the „Économie des conventions“ and the phenomenon of Education. In this meeting, chaired by Prof. Philipp Gonon (University of Zurich) three presentations were held and discussed. One by Dr. Hauke Straehler-Pohl (Freie Universität Berlin), another by Prof. Regula Leemann (FHNW School of Education) and a third one by Prof. Esther Berner (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg).

Hauke highlighted the situation in a Berlin social focus area, where teachers are in a dilemma, between furthering immigrant children (coming mainly from Middle East Countries) and selecting them for further advancement in the educational system or bringing them closer to the world of work. These educational aims can be conflicting and the EC approach is very helpful to identify conflicts and consensus possibilities. Out of the axiom of common mankind, diversity and accountability to values, as it was developed in Boltanski/Thévenot (1999), there is a ground for legitimation and critique. The situational aspect of referring to different possible conventions is decisive for pedagogical orders, which can be stipulated or criticised. Analysing one interview (out of several ones which are the basis of his post-doc thesis) with a female teacher in Wedding-Berlin, Hauke referred to project-based, industrial and household-based conventions, which highlighted this back-and-forth approach between supporting and oppressing youngsters in their learning attitudes.

Regula was asking herself and the audience why in Switzerland, in contrast to Norway, training circles – networks of apprenticeship-providers who are organizing the apprenticeship in different training companies and who are in charge of the wages for apprentices – are such a minor model in the Swiss Vocational Education and Training system, although the law is encouraging such formats. With the EC-approach she states only a small reachability of such a format of training provision, due to the dominant orientation towards the market convention of small firms. Since the times of economic crisis in the 1990s, when the claim for the civic convention in order to surrender market failures (and a lack of apprenticeship opportunities) prevailed, the topical situation has changed and the conventions of the market and of networks have pushed aside the industrial and civic conventions.

Esther used the EC-approach for a historical account of written apprenticeship contracts that have replaced oral contracts in the period from 1874-1930 in Switzerland. Her theoretical framing was also a critique of functional and system-theoretical approaches. The concept of an apprentice is in her view the result of negotiations: is she or he more a learner, or a person, who has to be protected as minor (not an adult person), or is she or he a worker. In Swiss history this question was debated around the legislation of industry, trade and civic regulation, which was also based on quality claims, referring to the respective conventions. The result of this long-standing debate was really a far-reaching compromise, which defined an apprentice as a person, who has to be protected in his or her learning aspirations and thus needs a written contract.

All these shortly presented arguments were developed further in the discussion, which found a resonance in the audience who partly was first time confronted and challenged with the EC-approach.

The workshop activists warming up with a Fondue Fribourgeoise on the eve of the conference

Understanding discrimination in hiring apprentices: how training companies use ethnicity to avoid organisational trouble

Christian Imdorf (2017)

Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(3), 405-423. 

Abstract. Children of immigrants from non-EU countries face particular problems to access apprenticeship training in German-speaking countries. In this context this article asks how recruiters in small and medium sized companies (SME) make sense of national and ethnic origin when hiring new apprentices. The author proposes Boltanski and Thévenot’s theory of justification in order to conceptualise ethnic discrimination in hiring. Accordingly, the social body of a company consists of multiple interweaved (industrial, domestic, market) ‘worlds’ of social coordination and justification. In order to avoid organisational trouble and to guarantee the further existence of the company, these worlds claim different principle of personnel assessment, some of them penalising applicants of specific ethnic origin. Empirically, the article refers to apprentice recruitment in Switzerland and Germany. It illustrates that employers in SME expect trouble in the domestic and in the market world of the company when hiring school leavers they perceive as foreigners. Hence, discriminatory categories such as ethnicity are used as symbolic and organisational resources for trouble avoidance in hiring apprentices.

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Appel à articles/Call for papers “Pluralist Thinking in Economic and Socioeconomic Education” JSSE

The Journal of Social Science Education will publish a special issue in September 2018 on the theme of “Pluralist Thinking in Economic and Socioeconomic Education”. The issue will edited by Reinhold Hedtke, Bielefeld University, Germany.

For more than ten years, pluralism in economics and in the education of economists has been a hot issue. Contemporary criticism of conventional economics education has started around the turn of the millennium with student initiatives for pluralist economics like the post-autistic economics movement – with a stronghold in France (autisme-économie) – and gained momentum after the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Students turned against the perceived one-sidedness of syllabi, textbooks and exams of their universities and against economists and economics’ lack of contact with reality. In consequence, economic plurality and pluralism in economic(s) education was put onto the public agenda, initiated controversies and triggered changes in policies of higher education.
Recent student movements, however, are not the first and only stage for the debate on pluralism in economics and economic plurality. On the contrary, methodological, paradigmatic and theoretical pluralism in economic research has triggered a controversial scholarly debate. It involves key questions of teaching economics and business studies in the right way, at universities as well as at schools. Moreover, since citizens and voters, pupils and students are confronted with contentious issues concerning economic policies and their pluralist scientific rationales.
However, we do not know much about the impact of these debates on curricula, schools, textbooks, classroom practices and teacher training. Undergraduates, in principle, may be fortunate to find a more pluralist place for studying – as far as there are heterodox professors left – and overcome economics’ orthodoxy by changing the university or, at least, the department. Others may join ongoing protest movements for pluralist economics or educate themselves via pluralist platforms and webs of knowledge. In contrast, pupils and students of secondary and vocational schools as well as trainee teachers normally do not have these options. As a rule, they have to come to terms with the established curricula, content, textbooks and exams.
Against this backdrop, the thematic issue of the JSSE addresses phenomena, findings, problems and educational approaches of economic plurality and pluralism in economic research at different levels and in different contexts of the educational system. The issue will focus on teaching and learning in schools, on teacher education at universities and teacher training colleges and on social representations of economic plurality held by young people.
The thematic issue calls for deeper analyses of the underlying justifications and assumptions, guiding educational conventions and ideologies, corresponding policies, practices and vested interests. It welcomes papers of different formats, such as theoretical and conceptual or empirical papers, policy and curriculum analyses, comparative analyses, process tracing and discourse analyses as well as actor-centred empirical school and classroom research. We also look for qualitative research like ethnography of classroom practice, case studies of pluralist lessons or studies of pluralist teaching cultures.

 We are reluctant to impose a rigid framework but we would be especially interested in knowing how authors respond to one or more of the following questions:

  •      What are the epistemological, philosophical, psychological or sociological foundations of pluralist thinking about economy, economic life and economic policies and how do they relate to economic and socioeconomic education and to social science education?
  •     What are key empirical findings of pluralist teaching and learning in economic and socioeconomic education at schools, universities and teacher training colleges?
  •     How do students cope with the challenge of pluralist economic thinking in the classroom? What impact does pluralist education have?
  •     What do we know about plural economic thinking of young people and plurality in their representations of the economy? How do they cope with plurality and diversity in their every-day life? What are the approaches to mundane economic plurality socio/economic education should prefer?
  •     The social sciences provide an abundant diversity of approaches to the economy and of economic ideas, but learning time is limited. Which approaches and ideas should be selected for secondary or higher education and why?
  •     How can teachers and teacher educators realise pluralist teaching and learning in every-day teaching?
  •     What are the main normative contexts and patterns of legitimisation for economic pluralism or monism of teaching and learning?
  •     What is the relationship of pronounced pluralism in the economic/socioeconomic curriculum and in teacher education to vested interests and socio/economic policies? How is teaching about scientific controversies in schools and universities related to public dispute on the economy and economic policy?

The issue will contain:

  •     An editorial in which key themes are highlighted and articles are briefly summarised;
  •     4-6 articles of between 6-9000 words;
  •     2-4 book reviews (each approximately 4-800 words long) on issues of pluralist economic teaching and learning in schools.

The focus of the special issue will be socio/economic education and subject-matter research related to the social science domain and its core disciplines economics, economic sociology and business studies. The editors will also welcome theoretical and empirical material that allows for consideration of issues using insights from a range of other academic disciplines and areas (e.g. économie des conventions/sociology of conventions, sociology of education, sociology of knowledge; economic psychology; economic anthropology etc.).

The following schedule will be used:

  • First submission by authors to editors: 20 December 2017
  • Response to authors by editors: 30 January 2018
  • Final submission from authors: 15 May 2018
  • Final reviewing and papers ready for layout: 31 July 2018
  • Publication: 15 September 2018

Conventionalist plenary session at the congress of the Swiss Society for Research in Education (SSRE) 2017

Plenary session “Das Potenzial der ‘Économie des Conventions’ für eine sozialwissenschaftlich orientierte Bildungsforschung“ (The potential of the économie des conventions for social science-oriented educational research)
The plenary will take place at the congress of the Swiss Society for Research in Education (SSRE) in Fribourg (Switzerland), Tuesday 27th of June 2017 (8.30-10.00)

Chair(s): Regula Julia Leemann (Pädagogische Hochschule Nordwestschweiz)
Discussant(s): Philipp Gonon (Universität Zürich)/Christian Imdorf (Universität Bern)

– Stephan Dahmen (Universität Bielefeld, Fakultät für Erziehungswissenschaften)
Übergänge als Bewährungsproben – Zur konventionsbasierten Regulierung von Übergängen in Organisationen des Übergangssystems
– Berner Esther (Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg, Departement Erziehungswissenschaften)
Der „Lehrling“: Qualifizierung einer Kategorie im schweizerischen Rechtsdiskurs (1870-1930)
– Hauke Straehler-Pohl (Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Erziehungswissenschaft und Psychologie)
Scheiternde Rechtfertigungsordnungen der schulischen Selektion an einer Hauptschule im “Berliner sozialen Brennpunkt”

For more details see: