Call for articles for the international peer-reviewed journal “Recherches en Éducation” (Research in Education).
http://www.recherches-en-education.net/ (ISSN: 1954-3077)
Title: Myths About Finnish Education
Editor: Fred Dervin, University of Turku & University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Deadline for abstracts: 1st March 2011
Most education researchers worldwide are now aware of the fact that Finland, an EU member with about 6 million inhabitants, ranks first in many international studies. Admired, lauded but also envied for her remarkable performance, Finland attracts yearly many researchers, educators, politicians and journalists from abroad who visit the country in order to understand the reasons for such success and, if possible, to “import” Finnish methods. In fact, education has now become part of the “branding” of Finland, which Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb set up two years ago.
In December 2010 it was announced that Finland lost the top spot in the 2009 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) studies. China (Shanghai) and South Korea now top the charts. Yet Finland still holds a strong position amongst the 65 countries that took part in the studies.
Now might be a good time to assess this position. Like any Garden of Even several myths have been spreading around Finnish education. This journal issue aims to debunk and exam some of these myths.
As such it seems that some studies on Finnish education proposed by scholars, educators, politicians, journalists… are not always convincing. Sometimes they can be prone to biases, imprecise analyses and exaggerations. Having spent a week or two in Finland, some of them return home convinced that they have decoded the Finnish “miracle”, based on the few school visits that were organized for them. Besides Finnish educational institutions are often described in a homogeneous way, which tends to ignore geographical, social, economic, individual, etc. factors. Erroneous comparisons with other countries are also undertaken.
But what do we do with the important changes that Finland is witnessing today, provoked by global economic crises and the rise of neo-liberalism? Where do they appear in these visions? E.g. budget-cutting, increased competition in schools and between schools, the consequences of modular studies, reforms in higher education (“autonomy”), school violence (Jokela & Kauhajoki), “solid” multicultural policies…
The mythification of Finnish education constitutes the emphasis of this journal issue. The following questions are asked: what image(s) of the Finnish education system is/are constructed and conveyed? Are they embellished? Exaggerated? What myths seem to emerge from discourses on Finnish education and observations of schools? What imaginary do they correspond to? Who participates in the creation for such myths? Why? For whom? Do some actors profit from the creation of myths? Are these myths questioned? By whom, how and why?
Professional, political, media, daily but also academic discourses – inter- and intra-culturally – can be the focus of analysis. Any type of educational context in Finland (from primary education to further education) as well as any actor (parents, students-pupils, teachers, administrators…) can be tackled.
Please send a 300-word abstract to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 1st March 2011, in a .doc or. rtf document. Include your name, e-mail address, affiliation, the title of the article and a list of 5 keywords. Abstracts can be submitted in English or French. Education researchers, linguists, sociologists and anthropologists, amongst others, are invited to submit proposals.
* Feb 2011: call for articles
* 1st March 2011: deadline for abstracts
* 1st October 2011: manuscript for review (40 000 characters)
* Until 15 January 2012: review and resubmission of articles
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