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Selected Works

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

Towards a Social Constructionist Perspective

Above all then Schwab wishes us to move away from the theoretic and embrace the practical. In terms of subject matter he juxtaposes the two options in this way:  the theoretic is always something taken to be universal or pervasive and is investigated as if it were constant from instance to instance and impervious to changing circumstance.  The practical on the other hand is always something taken as concrete and particular and treated as infinitely susceptible to circumstance, and therefore highly liable to unexpected change:  'this students, in that school, on the South side of Columbus, with Principal Jones during the present mayoralty of Ed Tweed and in view of the probability of his re-election.'

Schwab's diagnosis should be read alongside Veblen's and Clifford and Guthries' strictures about the relationships between University Schools of Education and state schooling. Veblen said the difference between the modern university and the lower schools is broad and simple; not so much a difference of degree as of kind (Veblen 1962, p.15).

This distinctiveness of purpose and mission

unavoidably leads them to court a spacious appearance of scholarship and so to invest their technological discipline with a degree of pedantry and sophistication whereby it is hoped to give these schools and their work some scientific and scholarly prestige (Veblen 1962, p. 23).

The resonance of Veblen's strictures has been confirmed in Clifford and Guthrie's recent work:

Our thesis is that schools of education, particularly those located on the campuses of prestigious research universities, have become ensnared improvidently in the academic and political cultures of their institutions and have neglected their professional allegiances. They are like marginal men, aliens in their own worlds.  They have seldom succeeded in satisfying the scholarly norms of their campus letters and science colleagues, and they are simultaneously estranged from their practicing professional peers.  The more forcefully they have rowed toward the shores of scholarly research, the more distant they have become from the public schools they are duty bound to serve.  Conversely, systematic efforts at addressing the applied problems of public schools have placed schools of education at risk on their own campuses (Clifford and Guthrie).
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  • Date of publication: 15/09/2005
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
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  • 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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