Why Do I Need To Know This?

Year: 1999

Author: Bradbury, Helen, Paris, Jill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

We are involved in teaching a 100 level education course to first year teacher trainees. The course requires students to examine and develop a reasoned, critical analysis of the contexts of education in Aotearoa/New Zealand through the knowledge of theory, philosophy, ideology, policy, and practice of education.

One of the greatest challenges for teachers in the course is to raise students' awareness of politics and policy making. The student cohort is diverse in terms of age, experience and educational background. Older students with greater life experience appear to grasp the political and policy material with some eagerness whilst the school leavers often look bemused (and bored!).

Is it possible to make educational policy and politics more relevant and comprehensible to the latter group or are we asking the impossible?

This paper explores responses from students and a range of strategies implemented to meet the challenge. Input from people attending the paper will be welcome.