“School textbooks and curricula. A ‘paradigm shift’ in the politics of school knowledge in Greek primary education (1997-2007).”
Giorgos Flouris – Giorgos Pasias
The purpose of this article is to probe into the changes that took place in the politics of school knowledge, especially as concerns the school textbooks of the Greek primary education during the 1997-2007 period. Most specifically, it is asserted that curriculum reform and textbook design and development establish a case for a paradigm shift when compared with those of the former period 1982-1996. The article comprisex three parts.
Part one refers to the basic theoretical approaches regarding the context of current politics for school knowledge including the relationship between school textbooks and curricula. Emphasis is placed in the delineation of curricular issues such as centralist knowledge, symbolic and social control, cultural reproduction, ethnocentrism in education, etc.
Part two concerns itself with a historical comparative approach between the two periods regarding the politics of school knowledge in order to establish the case for the paradigm shift. More specifically this section includes : a) an investigation of the history of politics of school knowledge in Greece during the 1982-1996. Specific studies are presented to document the shift at the political as well as the curricular level, including school textbooks, b) a comparison of the main features of both reform periods in order to build up a case for a paradigm shift.
Part three explicates in great detail the discourse of policy talk and practice of the recent reform period regarding school textbooks. To this end, the structural elements of the new curriculum reform and its effect on the content of school textbooks are delineated and the specifications for textbook development are compared with those of the former period. Furthermore, in order to document the paradigm shift, some of the structural features of modern Greek language as a school subject, at a primary level, are put forward.
Finally, the article critiques the reform of the politics of school knowledge in Greece and questions the degree to which the aforementioned paradigm shift would be implemented in practice in view of the weaknesses, the dysfunctions and the power-knowledge relations in Greece which seem to impede the materialization and success of the present educational reform.