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The Impact of Performativity on Prospective Teachers Learning Strategies and Professional Development
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
2014 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In recent years a flood of interrelated reform-ideas with the main intention to reorient educational systems has been spread across the globe (Ball, 2003). These reform ideas are according to Ball (2003) embedded in three interrelated policy technologies or discoursers; the market, managerialism and performativity (p215), that has become an important part in aligning the educational system organisation with systems that traditionally belongs to the private sector. In this process the educational system and teacher education have become a political battleground geared to ideological transformations of society (Apple, 2001, 2009) which has had many consequences not at least for teaching and learning in education institutions. The Swedish school system and teacher education has, as in many other countries, undergone major political and policy-related changes in the last decades. In Sweden this has meant that knowledge of facts in subjects and knowledge about how to make these facts relevant to learn and reproduce by pupils was given a key position and an increased demand on examinations and tests in these subjects (Bender, 2013; SOU 2008:109, 2008). In this chapter the Swedish Teacher education will be taken as a critical case and the focus will be on the performative discourse in terms of tests and evaluations. The aim with this paper is to make visible how the on-going process of education within teacher education and its performative demands affect student teachers learning strategies and professional development. The intention is to analyse, make visible and try to understand how the examination tasks control what counts as legitimate knowledge for student teachers for their future work as teachers in compulsory school. The following questions will be given special attention: What meanings and understanding are generated through these examinations? How do the students handle examinations tasks? What consequences might this have on student teacher professional knowledge development? The foundation for the paper is a ethnographical meta-analysis of two studies (Eriksson, 2009; Player-Koro, 2012) within teacher education carried out between 2004-2009. The reanalysis involving comparisons across our projects in an attempt to identify and synthesise key elements from these investigations (Beach, Eriksson, & Player-Koro, 2013). These key elements are then used as ‘data’ together with extracts aimed at illustrate arguments and question emerging claims. In the present case it is mainly extracts of and summaries from educational arrangements and educational effects but also extracts of and summaries from official policy that figure in data. Most material is from observations of natural occurring conversations in or close to actual class/lecture-room contexts. The reanalysis was characterised as an interactive process between researchers, the data and theory (Jeffrey & Troman, 2004). In this process Bernstein´s (2003) concept of the pedagogic device has been used. The pedagogical device refers to a concept and set of rules, distributive rules, recontextualizing rules and evaluative rules, describing how the regulation of consciousness takes place through communication in a pedagogical practice. The pedagogic device refers in this sense to the process where knowledge is transformed into pedagogic communication through the embedding of two discourses, the instructional discourse within the regulative discourse that together forms the pedagogic discourse that constitute the rules by or through which pedagogical subjects (in this case student teachers) are created. The whole purpose and meaning of the device is, according to Bernstein, condensed in the continuous evaluation going on in pedagogical practices. This means that examinations structure the form and content and the social interactions within the pedagogical practice. Bernstein´s (2003, p 156) distinction between two fundamental forms of knowledge discourses; vertical and horizontal discourse that reflects a dichotomy between scientific- and common-sense knowledge was also important for the analysis. Method In both studies (Eriksson, 2009; Player-Koro, 2012) it was found that a performative discourse has had major consequences for student teachers strategies and development of their professional knowledge base. The performative practice seemed to move the professional knowledge base toward weak structures (weak grammar, poor insulation, indistinct concepts, local regulation), a knowledge form that is described by Bernstein (2003) as horizontal discourse. In both studies the main data was produced through detailed situated investigations based on long-term study of practices within different kinds of teacher education contexts. Eriksson´s fieldwork lasted for 1,5 year in 2004-2005 and the participants consisted of prospective teachers aimed for teaching of younger children (school year 1-6) and teacher educators. Player-Koro´s fieldwork covered over four years of investigation, 2007-2010. The participants involved were prospective mathematics teachers for older children (school year 4-9) and their teacher educators. Participant observations from different teaching situations together with interviews with students involved in these educational settings formed the main body of data. The fieldwork was grounded within the interaction between students and teachers as well as between students, as for example, in the lecture hall, seminar room, mentoring group meetings and study groups. Expected Outcomes The most significant finding from this reanalysis that will be problematized in the paper is that student teachers learning strategies are heavily shaped by their examination tasks. The problematic thing with this is that these performative priorities seem to prevent student teachers from developing a deeper understanding of both their professional knowledge and their subject knowledge. This means that they, through examinations, are prevented from the access to a vertical discourse that could provide them with mechanisms for generating new knowledge beyond specific and isolated contexts and content (a horizontal discourse). Students was through examinations often steered toward the development of a horizontal knowledge structure which is problematic for them in their future work as teachers because of the fact that a horizontal form of knowledge is less assured and less ‘powerful’ than a vertical knowledge structure. A lack of access to a vertical discourse could amongst other things, lead to a professional teaching staff that can be easily manoeuvred into new boundary areas and also easily marketed. References Apple, Michael W. (2001). Markets, Standards, Teaching, and Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(3), 182-196. doi: 10.1177/0022487101052003002 Apple, Michael W. (2009). Can critical education interrupt the right? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 30(3), 239 - 251. Ball, Stephen J. (2003). The teacher's soul and the terrors of perfomativity. In S. J. Ball (Ed.), Education Policy and Social Class The selected work of Stephen J. Ball. Abingdon: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Beach, Dennis, Eriksson, Anita, & Player-Koro, Catarina. (2013). Forthcoming. Bender, German. (2013). TCO granskar: Lärarledd tid och kvalitet i den högre utbildningen. (TCO Review: Teacher-led time and quality in Higher Education). TCO granskar: Avdelningen f�r samh�llspolitik och analys, TCO. Bernstein, Basil (2003). Class, codes ans control. Vol. 4, The structuring of peddagogic discourse. London: Routledge. Eriksson, Anita. (2009). Om teori och praktik i l�rarutbildning : en etnografisk och diskursanalytisk studie [About Theory and Practice in Teacher Education. An Ethnographic and Discourse Analytical Study]. G�teborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. Jeffrey, Bob , & Troman, Geoff. (2004). Time for ethnography. Brittish Educational Research Journal, 30(4), 535-548. Player-Koro, Catarina. (2012). Reproducing traditional discourses of teaching and learning mathematics [Elektronisk resurs] : studies of mathematics and ICT in teaching and teacher education. G�teborg: Department of applied IT, University of Gothenburg ; Chalmers university of technology. SOU 2008:109 En hållbar lärarutbildning : betänkande [Sustainable teacher education]. (978-91-38-23102-9). Stockholm: Fritze Retrieved from http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/11/67/37/b4b3b355.pdf

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7361Local ID: 2320/14752OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-7361DiVA: diva2:888075
Conference
Paper presented at ECER, Porto, 2-5 September 2014.
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-01-22Bibliographically approved

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