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Selected Works

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

Towards a Social Constructionist Perspective

But what was the 'it' the teachers were doing and how and where was it socially constructed. Likewise “the end product of the project was determined in the field, in contract with the school, not on the drawing board... in the end it was what worked that survived”.

Both these quotes celebrate the autonomy of the school and of practice.  But both of them are likely to lead to our missing the point.  For only what is prepared on the drawing board goes in to the school and therefore has a chance to be interpreted and to survive.  Of course if this is so for the notoriously unloved curriculum project it is even more the case for the traditional (and less scrutinized and contested) school subject.  With the latter clear parameters to practice are socially constructed at the pre-active level.  Practice in short is socially constructed at the pre-active and interactive level:  it is a combination of both and our curriculum study should acknowledge this combination.

And if the questions of the form and scale of 'parameters' remain elusive and it is above all for this reason that we need to link our work on social construction at the pre-active and interactive levels.  At one level this will mean urging a closer connection between studies of school process and practice as currently constituted and studies of social construction at the pre-active level.  A culminating stage in developing a social constructionist perspective would be to develop studies which themselves integrate studies of social construction at both pre-active and interactive levels.  We shall need to explore and develop integrative foci for social constructionist study and in this respect exploring the relational level would provide a strategy for strengthening and bringing together studies of action and of context in meaningful ways. Above all social constructionist perspectives would improve our understanding of the politics of curriculum and in doing so would provide valuable 'cognitive maps' for teachers seeking to understand and locate the parameters to their practice.

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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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