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Constructing a school-free pedagogy: decontextualization of Finnish state educational discourse

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The focus of this paper is on the pedagogy constructed in Finnish 'state educational discourse', i.e. in national curricula, governmental committee reports, legislative and administrative texts on elementary and later comprehensive school, and on teacher training. Since the late 1960s, four essential changes in the way of using language about teaching, learning and schooling have been identified. These are characterized as individualization, 'disciplinization', goal-rationalization, and decontextualization. It is decontextualization that makes the other three possible and credible. By sweeping under the carpet the institutional limitations of obligatory mass schooling it is possible to make it seem omnipotent: advanced, fulfilling its tasks, and thus deserving continuous public faith. At the same time, however, Finnish state educational discourse seems to have created a particular 'school-free pedagogy': a kind of abstract and universalistic, nonhistorical and decontextualized concept of pedagogy, answering the question of how the teacher should teach and how the pupil should learn in school - as if it were not school.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1998

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