The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Jacklin, Heather en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Christie, Pam en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Silbert, Patricia en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-10-30T10:48:52Z
dc.date.available 2015-10-30T10:48:52Z
dc.date.issued 2012 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Silbert, P. 2012. The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14572
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this study is to develop a systematic account of how the learner is imagined in current education policy discourse and to describe how key policy discourses are translated and interpreted in two case study schools. The thesis focuses on the analysis of discourse at three levels: policy, the school, and learner subjectivity. The study offers insight into how the learner has been imagined in key education policies, how this imaginary has infiltrated the discursive framework of the school, how schools are implicated in shaping learner subjectivities and the extent to which learners are able to draw on other discourses to resist interpolation. Using Foucauldian discourse analysis supplemented by aspects of Fairclough's critical discourse analysis, particular policy discourses regarding the imagined learner are examined. A description is presented of how these discourses are translated in two secondary schools in the Western Cape. Ways in which learners in their final year of schooling interpret these discourses and position themselves against dominant constructs are described. The policy texts that are analysed are the South African White Paper on Education and Training (DoE: 1995) and the Whole - school Evaluation Policy (DoE: 2001). The two schools in which the research was conducted were purposively selected for their differences in demographic profile and academic performance. The research found that the schools also differed with regard to how the policy discourses were taken up, how they shaped learner subjectivity and the extent to which learners were able to resist normative constructs. The study draws on Foucault's notion of governmentality to describe how policy shapes the internalisation of the values and culture of the school by the teachers and students as they actively engage in their own self - government. In both instances governmentality functions not only to control, discipline and normalise, but, simultaneously, to form subjects who are self - constituting in relation to available discourses. The thesis argues that dominant discourses within the school reflect those in the policies, even though there was no evidence to suggest direct movement from one discursive framework to another. The policy text analysis described the predominant purpose of education as relating to economic efficiency, quality and productivity, which was served by the efficiency, and productivity of the schooling system. At the level of policy, the imagined learner was framed as one who would take his/her place within that economic order. Within the school context discourses pertained largely to the development of young people for the world of work. However, this was differently translated in each school, suggesting that young people were prepared differently for the labour market through the assemblage of discourses that the school made available and desirable. This was illustrated through the themes of race and class, mimesis and emulation, and individualism versus collectivism. Developing an understanding of the imagined learner as projected through policy and practice can contribute to the de bate about the effects of market discourses in education with regard to the South African learning subject . More broadly, it can contribute to an understanding of how dominant discourses may be worked with and against in specific contexts of schooling. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Education en_ZA
dc.title The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice en_ZA
dc.type Doctoral Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department School of Education en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Silbert, P. (2012). <i>The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,School of Education. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14572 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Silbert, Patricia. <i>"The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,School of Education, 2012. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14572 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Silbert P. The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,School of Education, 2012 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14572 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Silbert, Patricia AB - The purpose of this study is to develop a systematic account of how the learner is imagined in current education policy discourse and to describe how key policy discourses are translated and interpreted in two case study schools. The thesis focuses on the analysis of discourse at three levels: policy, the school, and learner subjectivity. The study offers insight into how the learner has been imagined in key education policies, how this imaginary has infiltrated the discursive framework of the school, how schools are implicated in shaping learner subjectivities and the extent to which learners are able to draw on other discourses to resist interpolation. Using Foucauldian discourse analysis supplemented by aspects of Fairclough's critical discourse analysis, particular policy discourses regarding the imagined learner are examined. A description is presented of how these discourses are translated in two secondary schools in the Western Cape. Ways in which learners in their final year of schooling interpret these discourses and position themselves against dominant constructs are described. The policy texts that are analysed are the South African White Paper on Education and Training (DoE: 1995) and the Whole - school Evaluation Policy (DoE: 2001). The two schools in which the research was conducted were purposively selected for their differences in demographic profile and academic performance. The research found that the schools also differed with regard to how the policy discourses were taken up, how they shaped learner subjectivity and the extent to which learners were able to resist normative constructs. The study draws on Foucault's notion of governmentality to describe how policy shapes the internalisation of the values and culture of the school by the teachers and students as they actively engage in their own self - government. In both instances governmentality functions not only to control, discipline and normalise, but, simultaneously, to form subjects who are self - constituting in relation to available discourses. The thesis argues that dominant discourses within the school reflect those in the policies, even though there was no evidence to suggest direct movement from one discursive framework to another. The policy text analysis described the predominant purpose of education as relating to economic efficiency, quality and productivity, which was served by the efficiency, and productivity of the schooling system. At the level of policy, the imagined learner was framed as one who would take his/her place within that economic order. Within the school context discourses pertained largely to the development of young people for the world of work. However, this was differently translated in each school, suggesting that young people were prepared differently for the labour market through the assemblage of discourses that the school made available and desirable. This was illustrated through the themes of race and class, mimesis and emulation, and individualism versus collectivism. Developing an understanding of the imagined learner as projected through policy and practice can contribute to the de bate about the effects of market discourses in education with regard to the South African learning subject . More broadly, it can contribute to an understanding of how dominant discourses may be worked with and against in specific contexts of schooling. DA - 2012 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2012 T1 - The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice TI - The imagined learner in neoliberal times :constructions of the South African learning subject in education policy discourse and school practice UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14572 ER - en_ZA


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