Home > Conference: November 2009 > Michael Young’s keynote (Liveblog!)

Michael Young’s keynote (Liveblog!)

November 3rd, 2009

Michael Young introduces himself and offers himself as an example of a living “shift in thinking” – saying that his own thinking about knowledge has changed over time.

He talks about how his understanding of the relationship between schooling and social justice, particularly in relation to the curriculum, has changed a lot. Since the 1970s he has written about curriculum. Why did he start to change his own thinking?

1) from criticisms of his early work

2) by reading others’ ideas

3) by getting involved in trying to influence policy

4) through becoming a parent.

He mentions some of the big dilemmas he has seen in education in many countries – for example – how can we have both equity and excellence?Encountering these issues in other countries, he sees that they have a universal character of education tension…

Michael talks about some of the critiques of his 1970s book about Curriculum [he reads out some examples of critiques of the "Trotskyist" political implications of his books, for example, and by contrast,  how he was recently accused of being a "right-wing elitist"]. The emotional content of these reactions against his ideas interests him and he believes signals something important.

He tells three stories of phases of his life.

The first was himself as a young chemistry teacher. “I took the whole curriculum knowledge thing for granted. Chemistry for me, English for someone else, Mathematics for someone else”.

Second, as a young teacher educator. Now saw curriculum as an issue of power, whose knowledge? A political struggle. Wanted to see a “fairer” curriculum – though he didn’t know what this would look like.

Third, starting about a decade ago, he started to think that neither of his first two ways of thinking was quite right. He talks about some of his current views about knowledge, curriculum, learning.

The remainder of Michael’s talk are an exposition of these changes in his thinking over time, particularly about knowledge and curriculum,  illustrated by stories form his experience and career.

This liveblogger, unfortunately, is not quite fast enough to capture all of these ideas as they unfolded in Michael’s talk – here’s hoping that theShifting Thinking media team will grab him for a short video interview after the talk so we can share with the world some of the main points covered in this talk!

Blogreaders, what are some of the main ideas, messages, conclusions, questions, and challenges raised for you by Michael’s talk?

Conference: November 2009 , ,

  1. Ruth Fearnley
    | #1

    Ah, the trouble of trying to portray gentle sarcasm in this forum (how do we do italics?).

    I don’t agree with a school behind walls as the be all an end all. Now without sarcasm – schools, please remould your idenitities.

  2. | #2

    Things that could be learned in a mall:
    - Globalisation, Social justice, sustainability: where do these products come from? Who made them, and under what conditions? Who designed them? How are they being marketed to us? What was the impact of their production on the environment?
    - Cosmopolitanism: who are all these other people around me? How and why are their lives, backgrounds, histories, languages, cultures, and beliefs different to mine? What does it mean to be a cosmopolitan citizen in a globalised world?

  3. | #3

    I don’t know, I like the image of schools as a marketplace of ideas, with real people interacting, moving, having public and private conversations, trading knowledge, building knowledge, and pausing to grab a bite from the food court before launching into the next wave of energetic idea exchange, trade, and knowledge-building action :)

  4. Ruth Fearnley
    | #4

    Why Not Shopping Malls?

    One of the questions asked of Michael about experiential knowledge vs. powerful knowledege elicited the response (not word for word) that if there is not going to be the transmission of powerful knowledge, then why have schools and not shopping malls (with knowledge as a consumer product).

    Schools, cling hard to your identity or you may end up a mall…

  5. | #5

    More live tweets:

    @RobynjBaker Given we need to be somewhat selective in thinking about curriculum what constitutes the most important powerful knowledge now?

    @junofish @shiftingthinkng good point about who decides on what is powerful learning?

    @StephaniePride @shiftingthinkng Michael Young blurred the distinction between curriculum & “cannon” the hegemony of cannon can delimit powerful knowledge

  6. | #6

    The Q and A after Michael’s talk was quite lively – sorry I wasn’t quick enough to type them all!

    Some livetweets:

    @NIckiDow dollar power equals powerful knowledge?

    @muzza299 The truth is the biggest lie of all… (X-files)

  7. Dale
    | #7

    How does one know what constitutes ‘powerful knowledge’? For example, teenage novels are one thing compared to those who are winning Booker Prizes and Pulitzer Prizes.

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