Scotland and pedagogy : moving from the Anglophone towards the continental?

Adams, Paul (2022) Scotland and pedagogy : moving from the Anglophone towards the continental? Nordic Studies in Education, 42 (1). 105–121. ISSN 1891-5949 (

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Across the Anglophone world, throughout the late 20 th and early 21 st century, learning and teaching became the go-to descriptions for teacher and learner activity. Notably, this term posited individualistic views that ‘education is an individual right’ realised through technically proficient teacher-action that engenders favourable positioning in a post-industrial, efficient world. More recently, pedagogy seems to have remerged as a flavoursome term. However, its use is still dominated by the doctrines of the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) realised through education science assumptions and approaches. In turn, across much of the Anglophone world, pedagogy is mostly described as ‘the methods and practices of teaching’ often associated with delivery-type teaching and learning judged by quantitative uplift on test scores. Pedagogy, it seems, is still subservient to individualism reified by forms of technically legitimate teaching competence. In many respects, Scotland is no different: policy frames and explanations (Adams, 2016) often legitimise through technocratic and positivist Discourses (Gee, 2012). Matters such as the recent incorporation of the UNHRC into Scottish law offer hope though, for they offer ‘rupture’. The OECD might prevail over system-wide evaluation and conversations about ‘curriculum’ dominate, but ever-increasing calls to shift ‘schooling’ from ‘learning and teaching’ to ‘education, more broadly conceived’ seem to have widened discourse (Gee, 2012) and acknowledged the inherently political. While this has not magically moved pedagogy on, it is clear is that pedagogy as ‘being in and acting on the world, with and for others is finding a Scottish voice.


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