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Visible strategies in pedagogy and management : schools' responses to the quasi-market system

By Fujio Ohmori


ABSTRACT\ud In England, schools with self-management responsibility compete to be\ud chosen by parents, for whom information on exam/test results is available, and\ud student numbers as a result of parental choice decide the allocation of school\ud budgets. This quasi-market system, introduced by the Education Reform Act\ud 1988, has survived the changes of government and premiership. There has also\ud been a continuing controversy between the advocates and critics of the quasimarket.\ud Strangely, both the advocates and critics agree on a paradoxical view that the\ud traditional academic model with rigorous teaching prevails in the quasi-market\ud even though parental choice is complex and diverse. The schooling model is\ud influenced by parental choice only indirectly through the schools' strategies.\ud Based on Basil Bernstein's theory, this thesis proposes a hypothesis that school\ud managers in the quasi-market tend to introduce more visible strategies oriented\ud towards explicit rules in pedagogy and management, or towards 'conservative'\ud pedagogy and 'managerial' management, than invisible strategies oriented\ud towards implicit rules, or towards 'progressive' pedagogy and 'collegial'\ud management.\ud To examine the hypothesis, as a multiple-case study targeting six secondary\ud schools in a London borough, semi-structured interviews with headteachers were\ud carried out between 1994 and 1995, when the quasi-market system was 'purer'\ud than the current one that contains more interventionist mechanisms added by the\ud Labour government. The results of the study show that in five of the six schools,\ud the headteachers were adopting more visible strategies than invisible ones and\ud therefore, lend support to the hypothesis and its theoretical framework.\ud Thus the framework can be a solid basis for the systematic analyses of the\ud effects of the quasi-market forces on school strategies. In discussing the\ud implications of the findings for Labour's policies, research on quasi-markets, and\ud Bernstein's theory, reviews of recent literature demonstrate the sustained\ud relevance of this research to the education system at the time of writing the thesis

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:7441

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