Knowledge and control : Re-positioning teachers as agents for change.

Year: 1996

Author: Evans, John, Davies, Brian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the last fifteen years state education in the United Kingdom has been subjected to fundamental changes, in large part driven by deregulation and the dismantling of principles that had underpinned the system for over forty years. At the centre of the reforms 'acting as a kind of policy glue that holds everything together' (Ball 1996) has been the National Curriculum. Drawing on the sociology of Bernstein (1996) and Ball (1996) this paper will illustrate how the making of the NCPE in England and Wales has been a vital ingredient in what Ball refers to as the 'politics of depoliticization' and the assertion of symbolic control (Bernstein, 1996) - ways of relating, thinking, and feeling, and forms of consciousness -, processes that have 'drawn the discursive resources that constitute school knowledge more tightly inside and to the state'. These processes have involved the suppression not only of opposing positions' but also of the interests of many teachers and the pupils they serve. The paper goes on to suggest that teachers and pupils will need to be re-positioned centrally, discursively and professionally as agents of and for change in partnership with parents if they are together to meet the challenges of a 'post modern age' and provide forms of PE that are diverse, inclusive and capable of enhancing the consciousness and opportunities of children and young people.