Discourses in Education

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Discourses in Education
Institutes of education (i.e. public schools) exhibit many political, social, cultural and historical discourses that impact and furthermore shape what is practiced in schools and the way in which it is delivered. These discourses will often be implemented in educational contexts through synchronisation with the socio-cultural theory, moreover influencing and impacting upon the teachers, students and the schools themselves. In order for an understanding of education to be achieved, it is imperative that the discourses impacting education are understood, as well as the discourses exhibited from the education system.

In all forms of education and the learning process a variety of underlying discourses can be found and analysed in order to determine the origin, effectiveness, target pupil(s) and implication intended by it, and how these in turn have shaped educational ideas. According to Churchill [et al] (2011:39), up to around 200 years ago school was seen to be far less important and unnecessary, with most schools being accommodated in multi-purpose buildings with only a handful of children in attendance. This is recognised as a historical discourse in education. Bekerman (2006:24) states that the teaching of sensitive issues (sexual behaviour, drug abuse etc.), whether formal or informal, is realised to be a political discourse that has affected modern education. Lock and Strong (2010:229-234) also elude to a social discourse which has shaped education in the form of respect; respect for one’s self and respect for others taught in schools. These discourses are but a fragment of the many that shape the education system. When aligned with Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory, the way in which they impact upon the education system becomes apparent.

Vygotsky states in his socio-cultural theory that the learning process is not simply developmental but also governed by social and cultural interactions (Churchill [et al], 2011:83). Wearmouth...
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