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What are schools for?

October 16th, 2009

Michael Young-1 If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that our first guest speaker in Act II (Tuesday 3rd November) will be Michael Young, and the title of his talk is: Schooling, curriculum, and social justice.

If you’re interested in brushing up on your sociology of education ahead of time, Michael has sent through a book chapter he has written entitled “What are schools for?”. This chapter gives an interesting overview of the main arguments and debates in the sociology of education since the 1970s.

Young, M. (2009). What are schools for? In: Knowledge, Values and Educational Policy (eds H.Daniels, H.Lauder and J.Porter. London: Routledge.

Conference: November 2009 , , , , ,

  1. Ruth Fearnley
    | #1

    “thumbs up” for fcottam’s comment :-)

    I also note that this article draws a dichotomy between contextual knowledge and theoretical knowledge (also read “powerful knowledge”) and indicates that teachers need power to achieve transmission of such knowledge, albeit scaffolded rather than by rote transmission (teachers have specialist knowledge and relationships are heirarchical). There also seems to be a devaluation of everyday knowledge (incl. cultural knowledge?) and seems to have the premise that children from “disadvantaged” homes need a paternalistic schooling to achieve emancipation by the acquisition of powerful knowledge.

    I’m having trouble reconciling this with a community of learners.

  2. fcottam
    | #2

    I am intrigued that this article indicates that we should still see schools as places primarily for the acquisition of knowledge. I feel that the NZC takes us beyond this. Of course students have to acquire knowledge, but there is so much more a school can do. Our vision of trying to produce young people who are confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners is a step towards preparing students for a constantly changing world and ensuring that the world of change is a world of positive development.

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