Recent educational reforms and curriculum change in England and Brazil : an interpretation
This study is about recent educational reforms in England and in Brazil. The general argument is that the symbolic universe of schools normally offers resistance to proposals for curriculum change. Following the Introduction, Chapter Two sets out the theoretical basis for this study: Habermas' theory of democratic society. The Chapter also singles out three core categories in Habermas' works: knowledge, power and communication. Chapter Three identifies in the literature, educational and pedagogical traditions in England and Brazil that shape the patterns of flow of knowledge, power and communication in schools in both countries. Chapter Four points out the differences in the style of elaboration of the 1988 English National Curriculum and the 1987 Brazilian proposal for curriculum change (Minas Gerais). The Chapter also analysis the concepts of knowledge, power and communication built into the curricula. Chapter Five constructs ideal typical models of communicative schools and informative schools as a methodological step to conduct the investigation in the practice of the schools and to provide a comparative basis for the study. The models are constructed taking into consideration three categories: knowledge, power and communication. Chapter Six covers the investigation carried out in four primary schools in England (Reading) and Brazil (Minas Gerais). Seven categories emerged from the analysis of data collected during the empirical investigation of the symbolic universe of the schools: decisionmaking, curriculum matters (curriculum planning and practice), beliefs (teaching/learning process), values (schooling), elaboration of norms (school functioning), teaching styles and leadership styles. In the Conclusion, the major outcomes of this study, based on the evidence in the previous Chapters are brought together. A better understanding of the characteristics, peculiarities and contradictions of the symbolic universe of schools is provided. Recommendations for a review of some important issues in the context of Brazilian education are presented.