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An exploration of a teaching school programme in Malaysia: towards democratic education

Morad, Sabariah Binti (2015) An exploration of a teaching school programme in Malaysia: towards democratic education. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The thesis is an exploration of the Teaching School programme in Malaysia. The programme was conceived by the policies of the Government of Malaysia, implemented by the Ministry of Education and realized by the teacher training institutions in Malaysia. It is a school programme that is explored in terms of Dewey’s conception of education. In political terms it aspires to be the ‘showcase’ for the teacher training institutions of Malaysia. In addition, for other Malaysia primary schools it is to be a point of reference in their attempts to modernise and increase the quality of primary schools in Malaysia, as a foundation for making the country more globally competitive. In the exploration to be better informed of the teaching school programme under study, the stance of the study is qualitative. It mainly used interviews, observation and the study of policy documents as a means of data collection. The thesis draws upon Schostak and Schostak’s (2008) “Architectures of the Social” framework in researching the range of alternative visions and rationales to analyse and evaluate the differences between the Teaching School on paper and in practice. In sum, by using the “Architectures of the Social” framework the thesis explores the relationships between the Conceptual Domain, the Practical Domain and the Material Domain to provide significant insights into the implementation of education innovations. The key insights focus on the development of the democratic potential of the teaching school as a ‘social architecture’ for schools as a basis for the democratic development of society. It challenges the current practices of schools and argues for a real change towards a more democratic development to create better primary schools in Malaysia. The key to developing schools is the involvement of the ’voices’ of the people in ways that involves a clear alignment between the policy vision at the level of the Conceptual Domain, the interpretation of policy in practice in Practical Domain together with appropriate resources in the Material Domain required to fulfill the potential of the teaching school programme in Malaysia. However, it is argued, the visions are not sufficiently understood, nor are the practical mechanisms and resources for its implementation fully appropriate. Furthermore, the democratic potential of the vision has not been realized. This thesis argues that a way forward is to explore the democratic legacies of Dewey and other progressive educators in the context of contemporary democratic theory drawing upon such theorists as Rancière.

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