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In between self-knowledge and school demands.: Policy enacted in the Swedish middle year classroom.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7691-2490
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies.
2012 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In a recent series of articles Braun et al highlights the importance of studying the ways that policy is enacted by teachers in their everyday work attending the material and discursive contingencies that forms, frames and limits practical responses to policy (Braun, Ball, & Maguire, 2011) . Using these articles as point of departure we go one step further in empirically exploring how policy is interpreted and made in to being in the classroom interaction between teacher, students and artifactual texts being used.

In the performative society that has  developed in the new education economy (Lauder, Brown, Dillabough, & Halsey, 2006)  it is not so much in the structures of the formal organization but in the constant flows of performativities that power is produced where, as Stephen Ball puts it (S. J. Ball, 2006), “[I]t is the database, the appraisal meeting, the annual reviews, report writing and promotion applications, inspections, peer reviews that are to the fore” (p. 693). Policy work in schools thus comes to be a much broader concept not only referring to policy as top-down steering from governmental decisions and organizational structures but as something that is achieved and made on all levels by the actors in the school system. Different kinds of texts and documents made on all levels and by various actors thereby become part of the regulatory techniques in the performative society. In a Swedish context one example is how new text genres and literacy practices are created (Andreasson & Asplund Carlsson, 2009)  when schools have to find ways to organize and document increased demands of assessments and control over student outcomes through national standards and tests as well as written assessments and individual developmental plans for each student. These student centred texts has in various studies been seen as self-regulatory technologies from a governmentality perspective (Andreasson, 2007; Bartholdsson, 2007; Granath, 2008).

This paper aims at showing how policy is enacted in the everyday classroom interaction and how the student’s identity and position in relation to ideals of “the good student” is negotiated and fabricated within new kinds of literacy practices in the classroom context. We focus the interaction in a Grade 5 classroom where students are asked to fill in a “self-evaluation form” as a preparation for a forthcoming discussion on progress between teacher, student and parents aiming at producing an individual developmental plan. Drawing on the theoretical concepts of fabrications and performativity (S. Ball, 2006; S. J. Ball, 2003) we see this practice as an enactment of policy where both teacher and students are seen as actors and subjects made into being in interaction with the self-evaluation form as a textual artifact.  In doing this we also draw on critical views of literacy within the field of the new literacy studies (Barton, 2007; Brandt & Clinton, 2002; Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996; Gee, 2008)  where literacies are seen as social practices made in interaction in different domains in people’s lives, such as for example the school context.

Method (200 words)

The empirical data used comes from a larger video ethnographic study of literacy practices in the Middle years, which in Sweden means students that are 10 to 12 years old. In this analysis we focus a lesson during 30 minutes when the teacher first instructs the whole class and then moves to different students to help them fill out the form “self-evalutation”. Two video cameras have been used to document the interaction between teacher and students in the classroom from a classroom- and a teacher perspective, where we make a detailed micro-level analysis of a series of interactions with one of the students during the class. In the analysis we use conversation analysis (CA) as an analytic tool to make visible the joint interaction of the participants, teacher and students in an institutional setting (Have, 1999; Heritage, 1997; Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974; Schegloff, 1992; Schegloff, 1996)  where  participants use verbal talk and other semiotic resources to simultaneously both make use of and continuously shape material and contextual resources through their interactional work (Duranti & Goodwin, 1992; Goodwin, 2000) .

Expected outcomes (200 words)

The result of the analysis shows how the “self-evaluation” form that seemingly addresses the student’s self-knowledge to be made explicit in order for school to be able to give support meets interpretations of preferred answers to the different boxes in the form that results in a negotiation between different ways of construction the student’s social identity. This makes visible how the “self-evaluation” as a policy document not only can be seen as means for self-regulation from a governmentality perspective, but how the students identity rather can be seen as a fabrication where the teacher and student negotiate different conceptions of the ideal student in relation to the students self-knowledge and school demands both socially and in relation to curricular knowledge. It is an empirically grounded contribution that hopes to enrich and deepen the understanding about how policies are interpretated and made into being by the local actors in schools. It also highlights how students from early years in school are made participants in new literacy practices related to neoliberal changes in the societal work order at large, which also can be seen as a learning practice even though it is not made explicit in the curriculum.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-27466OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-27466DiVA, id: diva2:624430
Conference
ECER conference 2012; ” The Need for Educational Research to Champion Freedom, Education and Development for All”, Cádiz 18-21 september
Available from: 2013-05-31 Created: 2013-05-31 Last updated: 2015-02-02Bibliographically approved

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