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Reading and Teaching Ivor Goodson

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Yvonne Downs

Ivor Goodson is an immense and vital contributor to the study of education and to educational research. His influence extends across continents, taking in theory and practice, and including topics as diverse as curriculum history and the history of school subjects; change management and reform; teachers’ lives and careers; professional and learning identities; narrative and educational policy and life politics. To all this he brings a coherence born of his convictions and his commitment to social justice. This book traces the contours of his morally inflected approach to scholarship, highlighting its contribution to a politics of transformation, all the while acknowledging and encapsulating the practical, passionate, principled humanity that continues to drive Goodson’s scholarship.
This book will be of interest to students and teachers of education, to teachers and educational researchers, as well as to those with a passion for the history and politics of education.
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Chapter 4. Stories of Action in Theories of Context

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Chapter 4

Stories of Action in Theories of Context

Only new alliances between theory and practice can remake the possibility for educational research to contribute to new visions and new structures of education.

(Goodson, 1999, p. 294)

The phrase stories of action in theories of context is attributable to Lawrence Stenhouse (1975). Stenhouse founded the Centre for Applied Research in Education (CARE) at the University of East Anglia in 1970 and according to Ivor “in both his writing and his action … (he) spoke as a public intellectual” (Goodson, 1999, p. 277). I found these words moving because in Ivor’s view, the term public intellectual is value-laden, implying a moral career. It is also a term that also owes much to Mills (1959) who called attention to the dynamic between the biographical, the social, and the historical and, in distinguishing between “private troubles” and “public issues,” provided a conceptual language for articulating the relationship between the structural and the personal. The public intellectual speaks this language in that space.

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