Envisioned, enacted & stated practices: ‘Creativity’/’innovation’ and the social-political ecosystem of teaching

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Ethnographic (and other) studies on teachers often rely on two kinds of material: observations of teaching practices in the classroom; and statements about teaching practices, extracted both from involved actors (e.g. teacher interviews) and from documents (e.g. educational policy documents or teaching manuals). Many scholars agree that there is a discrepancy between what is stated, or desired, prescribed, scripted, on the one hand; and what is enacted in the actual classroom situation on the other. While there may be more ad-hoc and pragmatic reasons for this divergence, most studies have been focusing on the sociocultural and political frames that shape teachers' understandings and enactments of teaching, and that cause the vast diversity of classroom practices around the world, despite a seemingly converging body of educational programs and ideas globally.

Drawing on fieldwork carried out in urban Chinese schools, this presentation will focus on 'child-centered learning' and 'creativity' as teaching aims that are both ubiquitously present in the Chinese context, such as in educational policies, curriculum guidelines or school documents, and conspicuously absent, as lamented by educational reformers and teachers alike. The examples of 'child-centered learning' and 'creativity' can illustrate, on one side, the dilemmas arising from the policy-practice divergence, and, on the other side, the challenges of comparing local implementations of 'creative' or 'child-centered' learning across different contexts.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences


  • education, creativity, innovation, child-centered learning, ethnography
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
EventTeachers matter. But where, when and why? - Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
Duration: 2017 May 172017 May 18


ConferenceTeachers matter. But where, when and why?
Internet address