Just a Buzzword? The use of Concepts and Ideas in Educational Governance
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionStenersen, C. R., & Prøitz, T. S. (2020). Just a Buzzword? The use of Concepts and Ideas in Educational Governance. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2020.1788153
In this article, a study of combined discursive emphasis on the concepts “culture for learning” and “learning outcomes” in recent education policy messages is presented. These concepts have been individually examined but seldom as parallel or converging policy messages. Inspired by discursive institutionalism, we address the policy framing of a 14-year period of intense education reform with Norway as an example. Findings indicate that the key concept of the reform culture-for-learning policy idea functioned as a buzzword for a shorter time, gaining public acceptance of the new reform, while the more concrete learning outcomes policy idea rooted. Both ideas were presented as solutions to perceived problems in schools due to unsatisfactory PISA results and the emerging globalization of educational policies. This study highlights the roles of concepts and ideas in educational governance and how these roles can be factors in reform success or failure. It is beneficial if the new policy is in a chain of equivalence with other concepts.