Guide Critical Approaches to Education Policy Analysis: Moving Beyond Tradition

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Third, we need to learn to enlarge our referents for reality and knowledge, acknowledging the gifts and limitations of every knowledge system and moving beyond polarised antagonisms towards agonistic solidarities Andreotti, a, Fourth, we must engage with more complex social analyses acknowledging that if we understand the problems and the reasons behind them in simplistic ways, we may do more harm than good. In relation to the latter, it is also important for the field that these analyses are accessible and available to different discursive communities e.

Therefore, work that translates and synthetises discussions in different fields e. The downside of translations and syntheses is that they simplify complex discussions and can create seemly fixed distinctions that are always more complex and fluid than their representations.

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Nevertheless, if used as a starting point for discussion that is also open to critique , they are necessary tools in the creation of a tradition of responsible, non-exclusive, critical intellectual engagement in the field see also Evans, Ingram, McDonald and Webber, ; Khoo, , Marshall, ; Richardson, It is in this spirit that, in the second part of this article, I offer a new conceptual cartography which represents a revision of the popular distinction between soft and critical approaches to global citizenship education Andreotti, As an intellectual exercise, mapping discourses helps people clarify their own positions by making evident the ambivalence of signification the fact that words mean different things in different contexts , and by promoting the productive identification of inherent assumptions, patterns, trends, differences, similarities, paradoxes, and contradictions between and within different worldviews.

Mapping exercises can also help people to explore the problem spaces that generated the questions they are seeking answers for in order to check if they are still relevant or if questions have already changed Scott, Therefore, it is important to remember that maps are useful as long as they are not taken to be the territory that they represent and are used critically as a starting point of discussion. This narrative can be seen at work in educational and development initiatives concerned with the creation of human capital for national economic growth in knowledge societies.

The rationale for education is presented as a business case, as an individual responsibility of lifelong learning and adaptation to ever-changing economic contexts.

Critical pedagogy

Engagements with other cultures are defined in relation to national interests, such as the protection of national labour markets, the expansion of consumer markets, and the perceived threat of unwanted immigration, creating a need for controlled and market oriented internationalisation based on nationally defined objectives. From this perspective, education serves as enculturation into a national culture defined by its political or intellectual representatives, as well as an international culture perceived as an encounter between nationally defined groups of individuals primarily concerned with a combination of individual, national and humanitarian interests.


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What human progress looks like is decided by national representatives in supranational governance institutions like the United Nations, through a process of international consensus on key universal aims to be delivered by nation states, generally focusing on human rights, substantial freedoms or human capabilities. From this perspective, education should disseminate the international consensus on universal human progress defined in terms of access to education, healthcare, democracy and economic development.

In this sense, obstacles to human progress become the focus of government agreed targets such as the Millennium Development Goals , campaigns like Education for All , and other charitable and humanitarian interventions which generally define help as the moral responsibility of those who are ahead in terms of international development. From this perspective, education is a means to prepare world leaders to bring order and progress for all generally through education itself.

Therefore, different perspectives and critical engagement are welcome within pre-defined frameworks i.

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These perspectives are based on a critique of both technicist instrumentalist and liberal humanist root-narratives highlighting injustices and inequalities created or maintained by their ideals and means of implementation. A critical narrative still drawing on humanism focuses its critique on the primacy of economic growth imperatives in nation state agendas, as well as the erosion of autonomy and accountability of governments to their own populations due to lobbying and increasingly closer relationships with corporations.

Post-critical narratives claim that the consensus on human progress, based on modern development, is manufactured by elites and imposed around the world as a form of imperialism that eliminates other conceptualisations and possibilities of progress and development, therefore, they challenge the idea of social engineering.

Education, from critical and postcritical perspectives, is concerned with the transformation of society and the creation of a new social order more inclusive of or led by those who have been silenced or exploited by the current dominant system - it involves an emphasis on critical social analyses of unequal power relations, distributions of labour and wealth emphasised in critical narratives and the politics of representation and knowledge production emphasised in post-critical narratives.

Education, therefore, from this perspective, is about the creation of a critical mass of people who could see and imagine beyond the limitations and oppression of the current system in order to bring a different reality into being.

Martin Carnoy: Using regional differences in federal countries for educational policy analysis

Engagement with difference involves listening to and empowering those who have been marginalised and insisting on the need for spaces of dissent where other alternatives can emerge. Several educational initiatives inspired by anti-colonial, feminist and anti-oppressive movements since the s also enact critical humanist ideals. Through education in contemporary metropolitan and industrialised societies people are exposed to different degrees to the three configurations of thinking described so far.

The common theme of social change as social engineering in the three configurations is also not a coincidence. All these narratives can be traced to common roots in the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, the Reformation, European colonialism and resistance to colonialism, and, particularly, the European Enlightenment.

Critical Approaches to Education Policy Analysis | SpringerLink

However, since these cultural, social and economic transitions have framed our ideas of what is good, ideal and normal, it is important to acknowledge our constitutive blindness Santos, to other forms of seeing, knowing and being in the world that do not fit what we can recognise through the frames of references we have become used to.

For people over-socialised in the first three options i. Thus, it may be more useful to present them as absences rather than categories. Even though their principles for global education may seem self-evident and understandable, a deeper experiential cognitive-relational engagement with the metaphoric ontologies of that region would be necessary to unlock contingent meanings that are not obvious in what we can represent in writing see Andreotti, Ahenakew and Cooper , I use this here to illustrate the limited nature of our interpretations that always rely on inherited concepts and the complexity and difficulty of translating and representing these worldviews outside of their contexts e.

I started this article with an overview of the ways I have used critical literacy in global citizenship and development education, particularly in the context of teacher education. I offered examples of how critical literacy may trigger new questions and directions in relation to global and development education in terms of how we can move beyond repeated problematic patterns of thinking and engagements and how we can start to approach increasing complexity, uncertainty, plurality and inequality in contemporary societies.


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I emphasised the importance of intellectual depth, of multiple and complex social analyses and of making these analyses accessible to different communities in order to build a strong foundation for the field. In Stock. Seller Inventory x Language: English. Brand new Book. Seller Inventory APC Publisher: Springer , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This volume informs the growing number of educational policy scholars on the use of critical theoretical frameworks in their analyses. Buy New Learn more about this copy.

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New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1. Seller Rating:. New Quantity Available: 1. Majestic Books London, ,, United Kingdom. Published by Springer Nature, Germany The award is given to people and programs across campus who provide transformative experiences for undergraduate students. To honor and encourage the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who consistently serve as effective mentors of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, The Graduate School established a Distinguished Mentor Award.

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follow url You are here: Home News. Judith Perez-Torres, ELP alumnus, publish book chapter, The title of their chapter is "I see myself in them: Understanding racialized educational experiences of students of color through critical race service-learning" in the book "Culturally Engaging Service-Learning with Diverse Communities".