Saturday, 25 October 2008

The effect of examination on pedagogical culture

This is from the same book just quoted, again so I can return the book. This one is from quite a nice article considering the old "scholarship" exams in Queensland.

I am concerned with the training effects of the examination on teacher and pupils where its rituals, its meticulous attention to detail and the pedagogical culture in which it operates, produce the 'docile' bodies that Foucault has described, as well as the resistant and excluded bodies which the regular school, on the authority of the examination, is able to legitimately discard. (138)

The technology of the examination was able to govern not only the primary school's curriculum, but it also produced a certain kind of teacher, one who coached, by various and often unethical means, "successful" scholarship candidates and secured good passes. This examination produced a mind-set which governed pupils' bodies in time and space, allowing for certain pedagogical practices whilst neglecting or disallowing others, and effectively dividing a student population along the lines of ability and curriculum. (147)

I think its place in a book about "Taught Bodies" is a stretch, at point, since "bodies" is the word the author seems to use for "people" and time and space really just describes existence. I have not quoted quite a nice paragraph about the physical (hot - Qld) conditions of exams in the 1950s but that part really is about bodies.

Daphne Meadmore, Testing Bodies of Knowledge in Clare O'Farrell et al, Taught Bodies, Peter Lang (New York) 2000.pp137-147

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