TMA 1 Part I: How Compelling Do you Find Ball’s Argument? Stephen Ball’s article ‘A new research agenda for educational research and policy’ (2011) examines a number of shifting trends in education. Ball divides this research into three main categories: leadership, values and interest, and ownership…
In terms of the catalyst for the educational change, Ball indicates that the primary contributing factor is the new types of education sponsors and providers. In considering the text, one recognizes that while Ball provides a varying amount of supporting information, the article lacks grounded empirical support for many of its contentions. Additionally, there is the recognition that the researcher does not directly involve themselves in the research. Because of these aforementioned elements, there is the potential that Ball’s insights are ideologically motivated. Still, there are also a number supporting elements. Fletcher-Campbell & Brill (2008; Action 1.9) indicated that it is important to consider the changing nature of education in socio-historical contexts. The recent global recession, as well as the emergence of for-profit instructional institutions, have concomitantly presented necessity and motivation for the shifting structures Ball refers to. A further recognition is presented by Edwards, Sebba & Rickinson (2007; Action 1.4) who indicate the importance of a multiplicity of perspectives to expand the range of interpretations. Ball’s insights then operate within these frames of reference. As one considers the particular arguments of the text, it becomes clear that they include a variety of notable points. Ball begins in discussing leadership. One of the important distinctions in this section is his consideration of new leadership frameworks. Ball (2011, p. 50) states, “there is the rhetoric and sensibilities of business into state schooling and the production of various forms of ‘entrepreneurial headship.’’’ Ball seems to be indicating that the shifting sponsorship and control of schools has resulted in a new form of leadership influenced by entrepreneurial values. One recognizes that the very language Ball implements in this section, namely ‘entrepreneurialism’ of educational environments, is a mode of considering the subject from multi-disciplinary perspectives. This is an approach supported by Mary James (Action 1.5) in encouraging learning across professional communities. On a larger conceptual scale, one considers the linkage between the workplace and the educational environment. A thematic current throughout the article is that Ball is increasingly referring to the hybridization of the work and school environment. There is the recognition that a similar dichotomy is explored in Action 1.6. While Ball’s argument continues to be rooted in the context of the classroom, there is a clear parallel to Action 1.6’s expanded contextual investigation to the workplace. In both instances, there is an increasing exploration of learning as intrinsically linked with working. Even while Ball may be ideologically opposed to the intrusion business on education, it appears that this is an inevitable new direction in education reform. Ball’s own contention that the ownership of these institutions have increasingly refrained from sharing process information, while outwardly a detriment to progress, in actuality it may hold significant potential for educational research. Edwards, Sebba & Rickinson (2007; Action 1.4) indicate that a multitude of stakeholders is actually beneficial for refining ideas. While the lack of proprietary sharing may be a slight drawback, the diversity of stakeholders is ...
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