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ERIC Number: EJ1122066
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1682-3206
Teacher Change in a Changing Moral Order: Learning from Durkheim
Slonimsky, Lynne
Education as Change, v20 n2 p27-43 2016
This paper explores a curriculum paradox that may arise for teachers in post-authoritarian regimes if a radically new curriculum, designed to prepare learners for democratic citizenship, requires them to be autonomous professionals. If teachers were originally schooled and trained under the old regime to follow the orders inscribed in syllabi and textbooks authorised by the regime, then they were probably not educated for autonomous thought and practices. If so, they are caught in a double bind: either they continue to do what they have always done but then may not be able to fulfil the aims and ideals of the new curriculum, or they can wait for more detailed orders and directives that tell them exactly what to teach and how to teach. In the latter case, a dependency on external authority is maintained. The current response to this problem in South Africa is to develop programmes to strengthen teachers' content and pedagogic content knowledge and to provide highly specified curricula for teachers to follow. Deepening teachers' knowledge is one important step towards addressing the paradox, but there is a danger that teachers who are not yet sufficiently autonomous may simply treat the content and form of such programmes as yet another set of orders to be obeyed. Just over a hundred years before apartheid ended, France was in the process of transition from despotism to democracy, and was in the process of introducing radical changes to the curriculum and the school system. Durkheim's education theory courses were explicitly designed to help teachers think about the underlying social logic of the new policies, about the significance of the changes for them, and to think about the challenges of change. Aspects of Durkheim's lectures are explored to reframe our understanding of, and our response to, the curriculum paradox with which many South African teachers are faced.
Education as Change. The Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 524, Auckland Park, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa. Tel: +27-11-5591148; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A