c) How are ideas about literacy changed in their (re) contextualization from one location to another? In their interviews and in their presentations to teachers, consultants articulated the sources, the “reservoirs” of their practices. Research findings were shared with teachers on training events. Much of this related to studies of motivation, not to the literacy field; to brain science. There was little reference to research that assessed the impact of the practices and materials being promoted; though there was, in the events, and in the advertising publicity (including websites) much commendation from teachers and heads who had gained from the practices being promoted. There were many accounts of children the consultants and taught to read and write, and of schools they had taught in. There was much recounting of successes in schools they had worked with as consultants, most of them in very challenging circumstances. There was a great deal of empathy “I understand”; “I know what it is like to be faced with….”: “I have seen this situation many 11
times”. Many times when reading my data, I have asked the question “how has this changed, or is it changing, power relations between the consultant and the teacher; between teachers in the same school; between consultant and head?” Who is deciding here what the legitimate knowledge that underpins literacy teaching is, and forms is content?” Bernstein (1996, 2000) distinguishes between “everyday” thinkable knowledge and “specialist ” knowledge and the different encodings of those two types of knowledge. Here is one of the consultants in interview: I don’t think that teachers need to know where the knowledge and evidence comes from. They need to know what will bring success in their children’s reading and writing. University people like you (the researcher) need to explore where ideas come from, whose ideas and research this or that was….teachers need to know how to put things into practice And another one: I always like to give the sources of what I am saying. I read a lot of research and a lot of writers on writing and I need to digest the best research valuable so that teachers know why they are doing what they are doing I need to go on probing my data to see how those two consultants (might) appear to work in different ways and how that might appear to teachers on their courses. My next task is to look closely at the pedagogic discourse of the training events observed and recorded, as well as probing in depth the perceptions of consultants, teachers and heads. Discussion: Recent political and policy shifts could make it particularly timely and important to study and understand the ways in which assemblages may (or may not) do their work as “new policy communities that mix elements of business and philanthropy with public policy concerns and values” (Newman and Clarke, 2009: 94). A declared intention of recent political ambitions is that schools be given much more “freedom” to choose their policies and practices (DfE, 2010).
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