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Research Intelligence

Spring 2020

Decolonising the curriculum: Transnational perspectives 
Research Intelligence issue 142

From the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at the universities of Cape Town and (subsequently Oxford) to the Why is My Curriculum White? debate at University College London, decolonising the curriculum is a hot topic in education.

This issue of Research Intelligence features a special section on the decolonising the curriculum movement. That movement is, the editors argue, engaged in an epistemological struggle: ‘it has fostered support and action for change in schools, colleges and universities, but has also met with resistance to the challenges it poses’.

As the contributors to this issue demonstrate, a decolonised curriculum would ensure that black and minority ethnic learners can see their experiences reflected in the curriculum, and are supported to understand who they are. By recognising that current curricula largely reflect dominant social groups, educationalists can combat narrow, monocultural views of the world in which ‘others’ exist only on the margins and ensure that the views and voices of marginalised groups are heard, acknowledged and appreciated. . At root the issue is one of seeing and appreciating the world – past, present and future – more fully, to the benefit of all members of society.

This special section showcases the ways in which today’s educators and academics are detecting and exposing the competing ideological and political motives behind curriculum design. While a number of articles focus on the national curriculum in England – and on history in particular – the collection also draws on a diverse array of fascinating perspectives, on issues including monocultural nationalism and the colonial habitus, from Nigeria, Thailand, Russia and Canada as well as the UK.

Elsewhere in this issue:

  • BERA president Dominic Wyse discusses the Association’s potential role in a new Office for Education Research
  • Lorna Shires and Mat Hunter present their award-winning research on task design as a lens through which teachers can examine the curriculum
  • Enda Donlon, president of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland, reviews a decade of far-reaching change in initial teacher education
  • the Early Career Researcher Network looks ahead to their symposia series on theories, concepts and reflexivity in educational research
  • the Research Methodology in Education special interest group looks back on some innovative recent workshops
  • the British Curriculum Forum outlines a forthcoming report from the hugely successful event, ‘A Research Approach to Curriculum Development.