Versions of Primary Education
Routledge – 1995 – 352 pages
Getting to the heart of primary education: six contrasting studies of teachers, teaching, learning and classroom discourse, all set in a historical frame. Contains extended lesson transcripts for re-analysis.
The five studies in this book span the tumultuous period from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. This was a time when the dominant educational ideas and practices of the previous two decades were being questioned and primary teachers were being catapulted from the Plowden era into the very different ethos of the National Curriculum.
The first four studies portray the ideas, practices and dilemmas of primary teaching at different points during this period. They also exemplify different approaches to classroom research, though all of them stay close to the interactions between teacher and child which are central to learning. They thus raise educational questions which are perennial and fundamental, rather than tied to policy or fashion. The final study uses a broader brush to provide a historical framework for understanding the particular blend of change and continuity which characterises English primary education as a whole.