ERIC Number: EJ1087414
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Elite Rationalities and Curricular Form: "Meritorious" Class Reproduction in the Elite Thinking Curriculum in Singapore
Lim, Leonel; Apple, Michael W.
Curriculum Inquiry, v45 n5 p472-490 2015
While much of the critical scholarship around elite schooling has focused on the students who attend elite institutions, their social class locations, privileged habituses and cultural capital, this paper foregrounds curricular form itself as a central mechanism in the (re)production of elites. Using Basil Bernstein's conceptual framework of pedagogic codes, this paper depicts how one of the most high-status forms of school knowledge--critical thinking--is taught in both an elite as well as a mainstream secondary school in Singapore. It argues that even as, or more accurately, precisely because the Singapore Ministry of Education emphasizes the teaching of critical thinking in all schools and to all students, how such knowledge is presented and performed in the school curriculum becomes crucial in differentiating elites from mainstream students. Findings suggest that whereas the pedagogic codes in the mainstream school remain oriented towards an instrumental rationality and the fulfillment of external and profane market exigencies, in the elite school they invoke a rationality that is inward-looking, personalized and that encourages the development of narcissistic, sacred identities. This paper concludes by considering how curricular form itself functions as a non-neutral mechanism for the transmission of educational knowledge, and the ways in which, in Singapore's highly stratified society where meritocracy functions as a key principle of governance, the elite identities that accrue from such a curricular form further entrench the political legitimacy of a "meritorious" class.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Advantaged, Social Class, Secondary School Curriculum, Critical Thinking, Social Stratification, Secondary School Teachers, Interviews, Observation, Secondary School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore