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Toolkits, Translation Devices and Conceptual Accounts

Essays on Basil Bernstein’s Sociology of Knowledge


Edited By Parlo Singh, Alan R. Sadovnik and Susan F. Semel

For over four decades, Basil Bernstein researched ‘the internal organisation and educational context of the school’ specifically, and educational systems generally. In particular, he was interested in the powerful forms of knowledge transmitted through schooling systems; who gained access to these forms of knowledge; how they did so; and with what consequences. His research began by examining the differences between language and communication patterns in the institutions of the home/family and of the school, and extended to examining the structuring of pedagogic discourse from the level of the state to the classroom.
This collection brings together chapters by researchers from South Africa, Portugal, the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia, to build on the theoretical concepts developed by Bernstein to explore issues of access and acquisition to school knowledge. In addition, contributors explore the strengths and limitations of Bernstein’s work for understanding the structuring of educational institutions, as well as the potential of the theory for assisting educators to make a difference in the lives of students.


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Chapter 13: School Development and Leadership in Norwegian Demonstration Schools 217


INTRODUCTION Norwegian 15-year-olds score average or lower than average on knowledge tests when they are compared with students from other European countries (The Program for International Student Assessment [PISA], 2004).The Norwegian stu- dents describe more discipline problems and more waste of time in school than stu- dents in any other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country. However, when Norwegian students are invited to evaluate their well-being, self-confidence and safety in school, they score nearly the high- est in the world (Mullis, 2007). In 2002 National tests were introduced in both lower and upper secondary schools. The results of the tests were made public. At the same time, the Ministry of Education and Research started a pilot project by appointing 22 demonstration schools for 2002–2004. The schools, on both primary and secondary levels, were selected because they had positive learning environments for their students, excel- lent teaching of Norwegian, Mathematics or English and/or the architecture of the buildings was especially suitable for using various teaching methods. Some parents had the opportunity to compare schools and select the best school for their children. Each demonstration school was allocated NOK 1 million. For two years, the schools were going to present their effective practices to visitors, act as role mod- els for other schools, and share their experience with other schools. Since 2002 new C H A P T E R T H I R T E E N RITA RIKSAASEN School Development and Leadership in Norwegian Demonstration Schools...

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