Countering student 'instrumentalism' through creative mediation

Jeffrey, Bob (2003). Countering student 'instrumentalism' through creative mediation. British Educational Research Journal, 29(4) pp. 489–503.



One of the most significant features of the educational reforms introduced since 1989 has been the emphasis on raising achievement levels. One of the dangers of this emphasis is that teachers and learners become instrumental in their approach to teaching and learning. Research on the creative mediation of policy shows that primary teachers appropriate reforms and adapt them to ensure a high level of learner involvement in learning. This pilot study of three Year 5 and 6 classes focuses on the creative teaching strategies used to maintain learner involvement in the wake of all the reforms of the 1990s. In particular, the study uses learner perspectives as a major part of the data set. The tentative conclusions are that the clarification of learning objectives with the learners and the reconstruction of appropriate creative learning contexts has had an effect in countering learner instrumentalism. These approaches were effective in developing learners' awareness of the learning process and enabled them to articulate perspectives concerning those processes. However, the study did not find much evidence of teachers incorporating these learner perspectives into their curriculum and pedagogic programmes.

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