Introduction and overview

Introduction: Transnational and international perspectives in curriculum studies, schooling, and higher education

Background and rationale for this volume

Recent years have seen ever-increasing attention to international and transnational aspects of school and higher education curricula, and the research approaches and perspectives through which they are studied (e.g., Gough, 2007, 2009, 2014, Gough and Sellers, 2016; Lee, 2010; Ropo and Autio, 2009). The emergence of this trend is related to intensifying globalisation, which results in different types of cross-border movements of people, resources, ideas and images (An, 2009).

However, before we attempt to situate the localities of this book in the broader landscape of curriculum studies internationally, and to assist readers in recognising where we are situated and why we are collaborating in editing this volume, John Chi-Kin Lee, as initiator of this project, would like to introduce Noel Gough, a scholar and friend with whom he began a paper-based (i.e. pre-email) correspondence at least 20 years ago, when John was working on his PhD thesis on environmental education in Hong Kong primary’ schools, and sought Noel’s publications and advice. John and Noel have shared interests in environmental education and curriculum studies, but differ in their geopolitical locations and philosophical positions on curriculum theorising and research methodologies. Noel is a science and environmental educator based in Australia and is a critical and poststructuralist curriculum scholar influenced especially by' Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical concepts and positions. To illustrate Noel’s idiosyncratic positioning, John draws attention to a statement that often prefaces Noel’s conference papers: “Quote at the risk of knowing that I change my mind frequently” (see, e.g., Gough, 2007). Noel is critical of “methodological borrowing” (such as social researchers borrowing the idea of “triangulation” from navigation and surveying to justify “mixed methods” research designs (see Gough, 2012)) and is also suspicious of adapting medical scientific models of “evidence-based” research in conducting educational inquiry' (Gough, 2012; see also Gough, Bazzul and Kayumova, 2015).

John Lee, based in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is influenced by William Schubert’s (1986) scholarship, as he acknowledges in his Chinese language book (Lee and Wong, 1996), Curriculum: Paradigms, perspectives and design, which draws inspiration from Schubert’s (1986) Curriculum: Perspective, paradigm and possibility, and also pays tribute to Ralph Tyler (1949),

Joseph Schwab (1969) and Paulo Freire (1972). Schubert (2010 p. 51) sees John’s publications as belonging with the practical/deliberative movements in the literature of curriculum inquiry, together with other Chinese scholars such as Ding Gang and Ye Lan of East China Normal University, and Chen Xiangming of Peking University. John’s research publications reflect his use of both quantitative and qualitative methods and he is particularly concerned with the multiple contexts and perspectives of any curriculum and teaching issue that constitutes an object of educational inquiry. His interest in comparative perspectives of education has led to a number of his works on Asian schooling and education among other themes (Kennedy and Lee, 2008, 2018; Lee and Kennedy, 2017; Lee and Caldwell, 2011; Lee and Day, 2016).

This book exemplifies transnational education inquiry’ insofar as it is co-edited by two scholars who represent different locations, philosophical positions and paradigms, and varied experiences in their journeys as curriculum scholars, but who nevertheless share an interest in the implications of transnational education for curriculum inquiry and the contemporary’ world. Likewise, the book’s chapters are contributed by scholars based in Australia, Brazil, China (including Hong Kong), Japan, Kazakhstan, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam, many of whom have extensive international/transnational research and work experiences.

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