Today we continue our exploration of Teach for All. Two weeks ago, we explored Teach for All counter-narratives. Now we look at empirical research evidence across contexts where Teach for All operates.

Large-scale assessments such as PISA have profoundly changed the processes of educational policy making. Countries that do well on PISA are turned into reference societies by other countries trying to emulate educational success.

My guest today is Florian Waldow, a professor of comparative and international education at Humboldt University in Berlin.

One of Florian’s main research interests is the study of educational “borrowing and lending”, particularly the ways in which countries point to experiences from abroad as a way to legitimate policy agendas and how educational “reference societies” are constructed.

In today’s show, Florian talks about how the German media has interpreted the PISA success of countries in Scandinavia and Asia. His research shows that reference societies can both be positive and negative — pointing towards education reforms Germany should enact and those it should not.

The research discussed in this podcast was published in 2016 in the journal Zeitschrift für Pädagogik.

Full Citation: Waldow, F. (2016). Das Ausland als Gegenargument: Fünf Thesen zur Bedeutung nationaler Stereotype und negativer Referenzgesellschaften. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 62(3), 403-421.

Photo credit: Eric Lichtscheidt

On today’s show, I speak with Susan Robertson about regionalism. Susan’s newest co-edited volume is entitled, Global Regionalisms and Higher Education: Projects, Processes, Politics. The volume looks at and theorizes regional bodies around the world, specifically looking at the work of regional bodies on higher education. In our conversation, Susan explained the history of regions, their connection to particular political agendas of liberalization, and their work in higher education.

Susan Robertson is a professor of sociology of education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol. She is also co-editor of the journal Globalization, Societies, and Education.

Educational transfer or policy borrowing is one of the major topics in comparative education. When I spoke with Rattana Lao in episode 7 of FreshEd, we discussed the ways in which a culture of borrowing has emerged in Thailand’s educational quality assurance system.

On today’s show, I continue the conversation on educational transfer and policy borrowing with Jason Beech, a professor in the School of Education at the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires.  Jason critiques the very terms of educational transfer, suggesting the language we use is limited. Why, he asks, is it that the focus is always on policy and not other aspects of education? And has the very notion of globalization lost its cutting edge in terms of theory and method?

Instead of using grand narratives of domination or resistance, Jason uses relational notions of space, which I have talked about on other shows with Marianne Larsen and Jane Kenway. New spatial thinking provides Jason a language to think through new theoretical approaches to educational transfer. In an article co-written in 2015 and published in the journal Globalization, Societies, and Education, Jason uses the case of the one laptop per child scheme in Argentina and actor-network theory to show how material and non-material actors create educational space and new vocabularies for educational transfer.

On today’s show we continue our conversation on PISA. Last week Bob Lingard walked us through the history of the OECDs work in education and compared the main PISA test with the new service called “PISA for Schools.”

Today, Keita Takayama provides a critical reading of the so-called “PISA debate.” This debate started in May 2014 when a group of scholars published an open letter in the Guardian newspaper to Andreas Schleicher, the head of OECD’s education and skills division, criticizing PISA. Two subsequent response letters (here and here) were published in the Washington Post responding to the open letter and critiquing PISA in ways left out of the original letter.

Keita Takayama, a professor at the University of New England in Australia, takes us through the arguments in these various letters. By looking at who wrote the letters, Prof. Takayama scratches the surface of the arguments to locate hidden agendas. In the end, he sees the so-called “PISA debate” as provincial.

Citation: Takayama, Keita, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 19, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/keitatakayama/

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