The Visualization of Education Policy: A Videological Analysis of Learning Journeys

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This chapter continues the analysis of the TSLN education policy documents. The visual education policy document analyzed in this chapter is an episode of a documentary entitled Learning Journeys that was broadcast on the national TV in Singapore. Briefly, Learning Journeys, which was produced in 2000, documented how schools in Singapore were carrying out the mandates of policy initiatives spelled out in the TSLN policy three years after it came into effect.

The attention to the visualization of education policy is an area of study yet to be developed and explored. As Sandra Taylor et al. (1997) have carefully traced the trajectories of research in policy analysis, there is no analytical work done related to the visual component in policy text that increasingly mediates the process of policy formation and dissemination. While a recent special issue in Journal of Education Policy: Education Policy and the Media (2004) assembled seven articles that investigate the nexus between the media and the politics of education policy-making, the analytic focus of these papers are, however, largely confined to printbased media. Situating this chapter in the larger argument of what Fairclough (2000b, p. 3) has called the “‘mediatization’ of politics and government” – where he argues that the media is instrumental in the production and dissemination of public policies – this chapter advances the scholarship of “media-ted education policy production” (Thomson, 2004, p. 252) by developing a visual methodology, what I call “videological analysis”, that deals with education policy texts that are mediated visually.

In my analysis, I am interested to find out how the work of politics or government is done in the visualization of education policy, particularly when the media in Singapore is state-controlled. My analysis specifically draws attention to the concept of “visual design”, which I argue works ideologically to constrain the semiotic meaning potential of visual texts to a preferred reading path, and that “design” textually contributes to a closed rather than an open, multiple or contradictory reading of the text.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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