Investigating Educational Policy Through Ethnography

ISBN: 978-0-76231-018-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-210-8

ISSN: 1529-210X

Publication date: 22 April 2003


The present chapter is about social and cultural reproduction in education. However, it is not just concerned to illustrate again how classroom events reflect the inertia of dominant State ideologies. Rather, with a focus on classroom work and student and teacher talk, I will try to uncover some of the ways in which reproduction can be disrupted and disturbed as a basis for radical pedagogy (see also e.g. Giroux, 1983; Taylor, 2000). This commitment is in line with Troyna’s (1994) view of critical social research as research that doesn’t just describe what is going on, but also tries in some way to suggest what can be done to change things. In this way the chapter can hopefully offer something toward the rethinking of education practices. One hundred and twenty hours of participant observation and 20 hours of structured observation in mathematics lessons in three schools have been drawn on. Eighty and 10 of these (respectively) were in one school. In addition 30 conversational interviews with students and 10 with maths teachers have been made. All of these activities were part of a broader ethnographic study that involved half-time fieldwork in these schools from August 1997 to March 1999.


Beach, D. (2003), "THE POLITICS, POLICY AND IDEOLOGY OF SCHOOL MATHEMATICS", walford, G. (Ed.) Investigating Educational Policy Through Ethnography (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-15.

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