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The costs to students and teachers of trying to raise achievement through performative discourses.

posted on 2015-03-05, 15:08 authored by Hugh Busher, Hilary Cremin
From Introduction] Discourses of performativity are constructed within educational sites, such as schools, shape the perspectives of participants such as teachers and school students, and gatekeepers to sites, such as head teachers and senior staff, as well as researchers who are taking part in ethnographic studies. Many national governments, often for claimed economic reasons, construct and police schooling and teachers’ work using performative models of ‘technobureaucratic managerialism’ (Apple, 2000). In England, central government prescribe for state schools curriculum content, pedagogical approaches, student assessment and the assessment of teachers, all enforced through a punitive school inspection regime (Troman et al., 2007). Discourses of student voice (Flutter and Rudduck, 2004) and a recognition of the contribution students’ perspectives make to constructing successful schools (DfES, 2008) resonate with wider notions of choice and discipline in education to emphasise students’ needs as individual learners, parents’ vested interest in their children’s education, and to try to reduce student disengagement with schooling. These discourses influence how participants manage, resist, or perhaps act ambiguously to cope with them while struggling to assert their own values and interests and those of the people with or for whom they (claim to) work. These discourses also shape how researchers in educational settings, whose work is also shaped by these discourses, may design and carry out ethnographic studies on particular sites. This has implications for researchers’ relationships with other participants in a study, as well as for their own careers.



Busher, HC;Cremin, H, The costs to students and teachers of trying to raise achievement through performative discourses., ed. Jeffrey, B ;Troman, G; 'Performativity in UK Education: ethnographic cases of its effects, agency and reconstructions', E & E Publishing, 2012, pp. 1-21 (21)

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Jeffrey, B.;Troman, G.



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