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Philippe Vitale, "Seeing beyond the local context : the understandings of slavery and the slave trade of students in Reunion Island schools"

par Sylvie Chiousse - publié le , mis à jour le

Philippe Vitale, "Seeing beyond the local context : the understandings of slavery and the slave trade of students in Reunion Island schools"
International Studies in Sociology of Education, 2013.

Abstract
In the new millennium model of low definition curriculum, teachers have professional latitude to deliver prescribed disciplinary content through a range of pedagogical and assessment orientations. The rhetoric is that with carefully crafted practice, the goal of high quality/high equity learning outcomes can be achieved for all students. This paper is focused on the experiences of teachers and students from one large multicultural, multilingual, low socio-economic status community from Reunion Island, a remote French department in the Indian Ocean. In their history and geography lessons, the topic of study is a contentious one and closely connected to the students’ personal histories, that of slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Using an analytical lens that combines the sociological work of Bernstein and Maton, and utilises ranking questionnaires, this study examines the complexity and tensions inherent in teachers’ choices and the implications for students’ short- and long-term learning outcomes.

Keywords
Reunion Island, history and geography curriculum, minority group students, contextualised knowledge, semantic gravity