How do innovative students fit into evidence-based education? 1-11

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    This paper discusses pedagogical contradictions introduced on account of a conflict between the ‘global innovation discourse’ and the development of an ‘evidence discourse’ within the education policy that frames our understanding of “innovative students” in the Nordic countries. Two dominating and contradictory global education discourses have made a growing impact on education politics. The innovation discourse, which stresses the importance of generating ideas , creativity, innovation and, in general, the ability to make or bring something new into existence, in the form of solutions to problems that use new artistic objects or forms, and/or new methods and devices. This discourse influences education’s political agenda, which aims at creating an entrepreneurial mindset and/or stressing the importance of creativity. On the other hand, the evidence discourse stresses the importance of basic skills, competences and learning outcomes, all based on the assumption that assessing and testing student learning will improve learning, and furthermore, this is done without questioning whether the subject knowledge or competence to be developed are in fact possible to test or evaluate. This discourse is linked to evidence-based policy and practice, which is regarded as the new epistemological basis for educational policy. Both educational discourses imply a growing political interest in pedagogy. In order to teach students from kindergarten through to PhD level how to innovate, new collaborations and partnerships between private and public actors as well as huge funding needs to be introduced, which implies a process of student formation. Parallel to these initiatives, the evidence discourse creates a growing interest in “what works”, something stimulated by an ongoing PISA comparison, which places the Nordic countries (except Finland) below the expected score. The assumption is that the Nordic countries must continue to be innovative and creative in order to be competitive while, at the same time, striving to improve their PISA tests score. This is underpinned by educational practices that expect students to achieve pre-defined ends. Narrow frameworks for acting, and the formation of pre-defined expectations and goals, reduce the ability to choose, define and set personal goals, and to operate in relation to the unexpected. The latter is an important aptitude when it comes to the development of innovative and creative skills, and requires critical reflection, collaboration and imagination. Striving for innovative behavior therefore appears to contradict the need for the very disciplined behavior that education policy requires of students when meeting pre-defined goals and acquiring subject knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2014
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe Joint Australian Australian Association for Research in Education and New Zealand Association for Research in Education Conference - Brisbane, Australia
    Duration: 30 Nov 20144 Dec 2014


    ConferenceThe Joint Australian Australian Association for Research in Education and New Zealand Association for Research in Education Conference


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