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Selected Works

Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson

Coming to Curriculum

He likewise captured my lifestyle.  I seem to remember the poor devil had to sleep several times on a mattress in a room he later described in his report to the Ford Foundation (so much for life 'in the field'):

Ivor shares the flat with two (?) other teachers.  His room is fairly chaotic.  An enormous hi-fi system (much admired by his pupils who are often found using it).  A collector's collection of rock records (no jazz) of which 10 or 11 LP's seemed in more or less constant use.  Magazines piled up around the room, the most used of which was Let it Rock which contained several of Ivor's articles.  Books on local industrial history (Ivor was a joint author of one), on Russia and a scattering of sociology (Bernstein's Class, Codes and Control, Nell Keddie).  Most of the floor space was taken up by an old mattress, the rest by socks, a tennis racquet, gym shoes (once white?), a big trunk, assorted letters (one applying for the post of 'geography teacher').  On the fading wallpaper a Beatles poster and a school report made out in Ivor's name and signed by a pupil ('Could do better if he tried harder') (Walker 1973).

But how do personal lifestyle and pedagogy interact?  What of the person carries over into the teacher role?  Here the theme of indivisibility emerges.

Often teachers do feel the contradictions between themselves as teachers and themselves as persons.  Hence the teacher who is friendly in the playground or in the corridor but freezes in the classroom, or the teacher who allows a relaxed atmosphere in some parts of the lessons but who knows when to be serious.  We detect nothing of this in Ivor and nor do those who know him better than we do.  He seems the same in almost any situation (Walker 1973).

In a series of notes and letters written in 1973, I tried to spell out why I favoured such a pedagogy and what was missing in this and other ethnographic accounts.

I think you have to spell out much more about youth culture.  It looks just like a red-herring that you just drop in.

Surely the important point is that for my whole generation (and yours!) youth culture was the way into a whole radical alternative lifestyle.  It genuinely acted to break down class and other stereotypes.

Now given that this is so.  Given that I subscribe to that lifestyle.  It should follow that if teachers who have experienced youth culture carry that over into their teaching then normal stereotypes might dissolve.

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  • Date of publication: 15/09/2005
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £27.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-35220-8
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