Re-imagineering Learning: Art-making As An Emergent Community Of Practice
University of Warwick, United Kingdom
This paper argues for the structuring of school education through a ‘community of practice’ (Lave and Wenger 1991) model developed by makers, particularly artists, engineers and designers. It suggests a re-framing of formal schooling beyond ‘real-world’ projects engaging ‘progressive’ principles of making as learning (Dewey, 1934) is both timely and possible.
In a ‘community of practice’, ‘situated learning’ is acquired through practice and observation, getting the 'feel', rather than being directed. ‘The Imagineerium’, still an emergent model, manages tensions with more directive schooling structures through promoting practice-based learning. Primary aged pupils (9-10 year-olds) were imaginatively inducted as ‘Young Imagineers’ to design and develop creative, mechanically engineered performance artefacts, some of which were built for a public event. As apprentice-like, ‘legitimate peripheral participants’, situated in this emergent community of practising Imagineers, children absorbed knowledge and skills through social interaction and collaboration, becoming inducted into the ways of being, behaving and thinking of the ‘imagineer’. The practices and culture of the Imagineers led to ‘The Imagineerium’ being conceived of and enacted very differently from mainstream schooling. I draw upon interviews with teachers (n.4) and children (n.25) to argue for ‘The Imagineerium’ as a space which, literally and symbolically, structures children’s learning experiences differently.
Children reported a sense of agency through the community of practice and feeling trusted, inspired and supported. The effect appeared to be to empower them with a sense of confidence in their creativity and capabilities.
This paper reports, primarily, on the first-year data of a four-year ethnographic research project funded by ACE and PHF.
Dewey, J. (1934) 'Art as Education', Perigree
Lave, J. and Wenger., W. (1991) 'Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation'. CUP
Cultural Literacy in the English Curriculum: Amalgams of Cultural Conservatism and Enterprise Culture.
University of Aston - Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC), United Kingdom
The paper presents the findings of a review of the curriculum guidelines, regarding the provision of cultural literacy education, in secondary schools in England. It covers official documents issued by the Department for Education, applied to maintained schools at Key Stage 3 and 4. We use the term ‘cultural literacy’ to refer to the development of dispositions regarding cultural identity, cultural heritage and cultural participation/belonging. Our focus is on formal education processes, as part of our wider objective to examine how cultural literacy becomes institutionalised in secondary education. Our aim is to explore which aspects of cultural literacy are manifested in the curriculum documents and how. To this end, we selected subjects based on their relevance to the development of cultural literacy and carried out a documentary analysis, deploying thematic and content-based techniques. Our findings discuss the overall pedagogical approach, understandings of culture, European identity and aspects of cultural literacy, as these are constructed throughout the official documents. We point out and critically discuss processes of cultural restructuring, evident throughout the curriculum guidelines, as involving a paradoxical amalgamation of revived nationalism and cultural traditionalism, alongside elements of enterprise culture and free-market logics.
My Perfect Day In School
The Danish National Centre for Social Research, Denmark
- investigating students’ perception of their ideal timetable
Time has caught the attention of reformers of school systems over the past decade, prompting an academic debate on pros and cons of additional instructional time. However, how time is used most productively has received somewhat less attention. In the aftermath of a major reform of the Danish public school system in 2014, introducing more instructional hours, this paper investigates how students would construct an ideal timetable – if they were given the opportunity.
After interviewing 100 students between ages thirteen and fifteen about their views on their view on an ideal timetable, four analytical points turn out to be pivotal: First, students articulate the importance of scheduling a fun and “not so academic” afternoon. Students usually place subjects such as electives, visual arts and physical education at the end of their school day. Second, students prefer having more “demanding” subjects such as Danish, Maths or English from 9 am-12 noon. Third, students express the significance of having a “quiet morning” from 8 to 9 am, e.g. doing homework or reading. Finally, although the reform has provided longer school days, the students outline a timetable very similar to their present one in terms of the number of instructional hours.
Summing up the analytical point: This article show, by using students’ perceptions of their ideal timetable, that student motivation is not merely a matter of number of hours spent in school. Schools have the capacity to motivate students by organizing the school differently within the framework defined by the reform.