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Article

Curriculum in a Third Space  

Hongyu Wang and Jo Flory

Curriculum in a third space has become an important theory in the field of curriculum studies in the postcolonial and postmodern context, in which new approaches to social and cultural differences in education have been developed. Curriculum and education in the early 21st century face the challenging tasks of responding in a time of uncertainty, complexity, paradoxes, and crisis: How do educators navigate the central relationship between the knower and the known while both are destabilized in a postmodern condition? What are curricular responses to the issue of identity, difference, and power relationships at schools in order to carve out alternative pathways beyond dualistic either/or thinking? How can differences and tensions be transformed into productive sites for curriculum and pedagogical creativity? The notion of the third space characterized by the alterity of psychical and social difference, the necessity for cultural translation, and the creativity of dynamic hybridity, addresses such critical questions. Curriculum in a third space embraces creative tensionality, decentering and estrangement, and making passages in the midst of hybridity. Translating between the planned curriculum and experienced curriculum mobilizes the highly contested site of identity, difference, and community into an ongoing process of attending to the language of the (maternal) other, building connections between the human subject and the academic subject, and nurturing a curriculum community that welcomes the stranger. As the notion of a third space is often formulated in intercultural, transnational, and global situations, internationalizing curriculum studies becomes a movement of differentiating and passaging within, between, and among the individual, the local, the national, and the global in a third space. Aligned with such a vision of curriculum, a pedagogy of a third space is also set in motion by hybrid resistance, openness to displacement, and fluid interdisciplinary collaboration. Pedagogies in specific subject areas open up third possibilities through building dynamic relationships between school knowledge and home experiences, transforming pedagogical relationships, and navigating blended classrooms of face-to-face and digital interactions.

Article

Practice Architectures  

Christine Edwards-Groves and Peter Grootenboer

The theory of practice architectures has been emerging in common parlance in qualitative research investigating the nature and conduct of education (and other) practices since it was first introduced in 2008. The theory was developed to capitalize on “the practice turn” in social life and organizational activity. Since its inception, the theory of practice architectures has become an influential and widely utilized theory, among the broad family of practice theories focused on the social, cultural, and material world. The theory has been taken up in many countries and in many fields—including education, health, agriculture, environmental science, and business—legitimizing it as a robust way to conceptualize the sociality, situatedness, and happeningness of practices associated with participating in the social world. As a basic premise, the theory of practice architectures attests that in everyday life- and system-worlds, practices are existentially dynamic, socially constituted, intersubjective activities that are always influenced by practice architectures. Practice architectures are the enabling and constraining conditions that influence what happens among interlocutors as they encounter one another in practices. Understanding practices means attending to ways the intricately interconnected and simultaneously produced sayings, doings, and relatings “hang together” in a project through individual (or subjective) and intersubjective achievements. It is in intersubjective spaces where • what people can say and think (sayings), in the semantic space shared among interlocutors, is made possible (or difficult or impossible) by the cultural–discursive arrangements found in or brought to a site—that is, by the content and form of shared (or not shared) language and specialist discourses used; • what people can do (doings), in the physical space-time shared with other embodied beings, is made possible (or not) by the material–economic arrangements—that is, by actions, activities, and work done amid the objects that exist in the site; and • how people can relate to others and the world (relatings), in the social space shared with other social–political beings, is made possible (or not) by the social–political arrangements—that is, by the relationships of power, agency, and solidarity. Establishing a deep sense of site is critical for understanding the nature and particularity of practices and practice architectures that shape how education is experienced (produced and reproduced) in the site. The site ontological schematic counters oversimplified or ambiguous perspectives by orienting to the complex linguistic, cultural, interactive, material, temporal, social, and relational constitution of practices as they happen in the local site. By establishing more nuanced site-based understandings, detailed descriptions, and critical explanations about the conditions that prefigure (although do not predetermine) the conduct of practices, transformations to those practices are possible. Consequently, the theory of practice architectures has been described as a transformative resource—because to change education, one must change the practice architectures that enable and constrain its practices. Broadly speaking, therefore, the theory of practice architectures is an integrated theoretical (way of considering), analytical (way of examining), linguistic (way of describing), and transformative (way of changing) resource or frame for studying practices.

Article

Elite Schools and 21st-Century Class-Making  

Jane Kenway and Diana Langmead

Whatever else it involves, elite schools’ core work is to help to make and remake class through education. Here, we provide an overview of their everyday practices of class-making and present ways of categorizing them: the spatialization of their social imaginations, their mobilization of feelings, and their class-based disavowals. These practices are well established in the local (national/state) context, and we devote the first part of the article to these. In the second part, we shift the angle of scrutiny and outline such schools’ class-making practices in the contemporary global context.

Article

Twenty-First-Century Learning Spaces and Pedagogical Change  

Jill Colton

Twenty-first-century learning spaces are designed to enable students to develop the skills and dispositions required for uncertain and transformed futures. They are characterized by flexibility and openness, with architectural and technological features that allow for variable arrangements and digitally enhanced learning. Flexibility is achieved through the provision of features such as sliding doors, moveable furniture, open spaces, and smaller breakout rooms, which may be used by teachers and students in different ways. The flexibility and openness of these spaces are considered to enhance the collaborative, self-directed and inquiry- or project-based learning that are regarded as crucial for an education that prepares students for work and citizenship in the 21st century. The integration of networked digital tools and applications is a key aspect of 21st-century learning spaces and of the pedagogical changes that shape and are shaped by these spaces. Sociomaterial theoretical perspectives offer a way of interpreting and analyzing 21st-century learning spaces in relation to pedagogical change. The flexibility of these spaces is implicated in the flexibility of pedagogical approaches, and the opportunities for movement and varied arrangements in physical and digital spaces are correspondent with the self-managing, digitally literate learner. Links between learning spaces that are flexible, open, and digitally networked and the pedagogies enacted in those spaces have been the subject of empirical studies in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, Scandinavia, the United States, and New Zealand. These studies illustrate the importance of considering theoretical perspectives in research that investigates pedagogical change and learning space design.

Article

Social Geography, Space, and Place in Education  

Aspa Baroutsis, Barbara Comber, and Annette Woods

Society is constituted by both historical and spatial elements; however, education research, policy, and practice often subordinates the spatial in preference for the temporal. In what is often referred to as the “spatial turn,” more recently education researchers have acknowledged spatial concepts to facilitate understandings and inform debates about identity, belonging, social justice, differentiation, policy, race, mobility, globalization, and even digital and new communication modes, amongst many others. Social geographers understand place as more than a dot on a map, instead focusing on the sociocultural and sociomaterial aspects of spaces. Space and place are core elements of social geography. Schools are comprised of architectural, material, performative, relational, social, or discursive spaces, all of which are socially constructed. Schools and education contexts, as social spaces and places, produce and reproduce modes of social interactions and social practices while also mediating the relational and pedagogical practices that operate within. Pedagogical spaces are also about the exercise of power—a spatial governmentality to regulate behavior. Yet pedagogy can focus on place-based and place-conscious practices that highlight the connectedness between people and their non-human world. A focus on the sociospatial in education research is able to foreground inequalities, differences, and power relations that are able to speak to policies and practices. As such, in this field there is often a focus is on spatial justice, where inequalities based on location, mobility, poverty, or indigeneity are analyzed using spatial understandings of socioeconomic or political characteristics. This brings together connections between place and space in a powerful combination around justice, equity, and critical thinking.

Article

Professionalizing Teacher Education Accountability  

Diane Mayer

This article examines teacher education accountability and argues for new emphases in accreditation and beginning teacher certification designed to professionalize teacher education. A brief overview of the history of teacher education policy is presented as a background framing for exploring the current policy moment positioning teacher education as a problem that needs to be fixed. Government responses discussed are mainly those in the Anglophone areas of Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom. These involve tighter regulation while at the same time opening up a deregulated teacher education environment as well as an increasing focus on measuring the contribution that teacher preparation makes to student learning. The article suggest ways of professionalizing teacher education accountability which go beyond the “partnerships,” “classroom-ready,” and “value-added” mantras of current debates and policies and considers (1) teacher education in a new hybrid space, (2) authentic graduate assessments, and (3) rigorous research evidence as the cornerstones of a refreshed and more professionalised approach to teacher education accountability.

Article

Researching Relationships Between Rural Education, Space and Social Justice  

Hernan Cuervo

The relationship between rural schooling, space, and theories of justice is important to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals (e.g., students, teachers, principals) learning and teaching in rural places. To understand these challenges and opportunities, social justice needs to be comprehended at the level and setting where it is being enacted. This need for a contextualization of social justice, rather than universal and impartial notions of the concept, contributes to make visible the structures and relationships that constitute the space of rural schooling. This is important because the entrenched inequities experienced by rural school participants (e.g., students, staff, and the community) can only be fully addressed through a plural conceptualization and practice of social justice. This plurality needs to include a politics of distribution and a politics of recognition if it aims to make rural school spaces equitable and just. The work of Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth has been key to theorize the plural conceptualization of social justice in the intersection with space and rural education. Their scholarly work has been crucial because traditionally, a politics of distribution has tended to be the main social justice dimension applied in educational policies to redress perennial inequalities, such as shortage of staffing. This has produced a shortcoming and one-size-fits-all approach that can homogenize the diversity of rural spaces and schools. Against this dominance of distributive justice, a politics of recognition, through the work of Young, Fraser, and Honneth, is key to enhance the resignification and value of the rural space, knowledge, and schooling. To illustrate the need for a plural approach to social justice, two issues in rural education are particularly important: the constitution of the rural school curriculum and the perennial problem of recruiting and retaining school staff. While distribution of resources is important, at the core of both issues is a need for the social respect and cultural resignification of rural knowledge, experiences, and ways of life. This approach that takes recognition theory seriously into account, as well as distributive justice, helps to better understand how rural schooling can be socially just.

Article

Landscapes of Teacher Education in South African History  

Linda Chisholm

The landscape of history of education has become transformed by approaches that up-end traditional assumptions of the vertical unidirectionality of power, policy, and discourse. These have been displaced by notions of relational comparison and crisscrossing entanglements that draw on Lefebvrian ideas of space and time. These ideas help to provide a sense of how the landscape of education can be understood as both a material and symbolic space, as apprehended, perceived, and lived space, in which social relations are constituted and constitutive of everyday realities. The history of South African education, and specifically its teacher education colleges, exemplifies how landscape can be defined and understood as such spaces. Its history can first be apprehended through different conceptual and historiographical approaches, taken over time, for understanding it. Second, the emergence of specific types of institutions, within colonial political, economic, and social frameworks that defined their physical location and unequal structure in terms of racially segregated and often gender-differentiated spaces, assists in an understanding of these as colonial remnants. The historical landscape of education remains as restructured and reconfigured spaces, in which institutions live on as much in social relations as in memory and in actual, but highly altered physical conditions. As lived spaces, third, historical landscapes of education also embodied learning spatial imaginaries, deeply ambivalent memories of formal and hidden curricula, of formative and shaping years, and as such become landscapes of memory and identity.

Article

Diaspora Curriculum  

Ming Fang He

Diaspora curriculum draws upon a wide array of theoretical traditions of diasporas such as conceptions of diasporas; the breadth, diversity, and complexity of diasporas; diaspora consciousness; diasporic space and the in-betweenness of diasporas; exile and diaspora epistemology; exile pedagogy; exile curriculum; decolonizing diasporas; diasporic imaginaries and diasporic futurism; Afrofuturism; and Indigenous futurism. The diaspora curriculum, with its epistemological similarity to exile pedagogy and exile curriculum, is interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and counterdisciplinary. Diaspora curriculum is international, transnational, and counternational. Diaspora curriculum, with its interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and counterdisciplinarity, thrives with diverse paradigms, perspectives, and possibilities, and demands multiple understandings toward commonplaces (teachers, learners, subject matters, and milieu) in diverse contexts. The breadth, diversity, and complexity of diaspora curriculum and its practical relevance are central to a wide array of educational thoughts reflected in contested theories, practices, and contexts. In addition to its breadth, diversity, and complexity, another illuminating aspect of diaspora curriculum is evolving diasporic imaginaries, where we can keep our hopes and dreams alive in hard times when white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and settler colonialism are bolstered by hatred of differences. Such diasporic imaginaries invent diasporic futurities and cultivate radical possibilities and revolutionary imagination. Such diasporic futurities exhilarate diasporic consciousness that educates hope, evokes different histories and different futures, and invigorates radical love. Such diasporic consciousness enables people to find the strength, faith, and humility to join in common struggles and build solidarity across differences to fight against all forms of oppression. Such diasporic futurities inspire optimism over despair, love over hatred, and possibilities over impossibilities. Such diasporic futurities invigorate diasporic space for imagined communities where curriculum workers work with other educational workers such as researchers, educators, teachers, administrators, parents, students, community workers, and policy makers to heal the soul of humanity and planet with shared interests, principles, and visions for desirable collective futures in an increasingly complicated, diversified, uncertain, and fragile world.

Article

Theories of Complex Systems and Educational Change at Multiple Scales  

Wolff-Michael Roth

Theories of complex systems originated in the natural sciences, where it became necessary to move away from describing systems in simple cause–effect models to using descriptions that take into account nonlinearity, emergence, path dependence, the interrelation of continuous (quantitative) and discontinuous (qualitative) transitions, and the interrelation of phenomena at multiple scales. Although some educators have begun to explore the usefulness of complex systems theories for describing educational phenomena at the different levels of scale, the vast majority of educational research continues to be dominated by simple and simplistic (quantitative and qualitative) models. After definition and discussion of different conceptions of systems, this article presents constraint satisfaction networks, chaos theory, and catastrophe theory, as dynamic models for social processes in education. The different models are introduced with easily accessible phenomena from the natural sciences. The models not only are sources of analogies and metaphors for articulating a variety of phenomena in educational systems, including learning and development, conceptual change, decision making, categorization, and curriculum implication, but also can be used for studying real educational systems. Readers find how these models can be used to think about and predict the behavior of systems at scales as small as student–teacher talk to school systems as a whole. The concepts are used to show why educational systems tend to be stable even when policymakers intend change and why some classroom contexts do not provide the conditions for student development despite well-meaning efforts of dedicated teachers.