Doing curriculum reform: what allows expert practitioners to mediate policy enactment in Japan?

Date

2023-11-22

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

DOI

Volume Title

Publisher

World Education Research Association

Type

Presentation

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This presentation considers the role of professional (educational/pedagogic) knowledge in the enactment of policy during neoliberal times. Education policymaking in Japan, like elsewhere, is changing. Over the past twenty years, the central government has displaced the Ministry of Education as the driver of education policy, including most recently in curriculum policy. However, in Japanese curriculum reform, professional knowledge continues to inform how policy is understood and enacted on the ground, alongside the imperative for performative enactment. My recent research, based on two years’ fieldwork in and around eight schools, questionnaire survey data, textbook databases and elite interviews, shows that expert practitioners can leverage this knowledge to mediate how curriculum policy is enacted in compulsory education. This presentation re-examines these findings from a comparative perspective to consider the particular structural mechanisms in the policymaking process and education system of Japan that facilitate the operation of professional knowledge in policy enactment, and how they are changing. It further comments on the extent to which the Japanese data questions the universality of well-established theory of ‘policy work’ (e.g. Stephen Ball and colleagues, 2012) grounded in data collected in the Anglo-American contexts.

Description

Keywords

Expert practitioners, education system, school organisation, Japanese Education

Citation

Bamkin, S. (2023) Doing curriculum reform: what allows expert practitioners to mediate policy enactment in Japan? World Education Research Association Annual Conference. 22nd Nov.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice