1st Edition

Classroom Change in Developing Countries From Progressive Cage to Formalistic Frame

By Gerard Guthrie Copyright 2018
    268 Pages
    by Routledge

    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    Progressive Education, derived mainly from Anglo-American culture, has been the primary frame of reference for student-centered classroom change in developing countries for over 50 years. Yet in many developing countries, strong evidence shows that progressivism has not replaced teacher-centered formalistic classroom practice. Classroom Change in Developing Countries: From Progressive Cage to Formalistic Frame presents a robust case for why formalism should be the primary frame of reference for upgrading classroom teaching in developing countries. Theoretically rich yet grounded in practice, the book draws on case studies from Africa, China and Papua New Guinea to show how culturally intuitive formalistic teaching styles can induce positive classroom change.

    Synthesising research and evaluation literature on classroom change in developing countries, Guthrie examines some of the methodological flaws in the literature. The book considers the progressive cage, and looks at Confucian influences on teaching in China, progressive reform failures in both Sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea, as well as offering a critical take on some failings in comparative education. It examines the formalistic frame, addresses methodological issues in culturally grounded research and offers a model of teaching styles for basic classroom research. The book concludes by returning the focus back to teachers and considers the so-called teacher resistance to change.

    The book will be an essential purchase for academics and research students engaged in the fields of classroom teaching, teacher education and curriculum and will also be of interest to academics, aid officials, and decision-makers in developing countries.



    Chapter 1. Soft Power and the Culture Wars


    Chapter 2. Typology of Progressive Reform Findings

    Chapter 3. Theoretical and Methodological Limitations

    Chapter 4. Formalistic Tradition in China

    Chapter 5. The Formalistic Paradigm in Africa

    Chapter 6. Culture and Schooling in Papua New Guinea

    Chapter 7. The Failure of Progressive Paradigm Reversal


    Chapter 8. Theory of Formalism

    Chapter 9. Culturally Grounded Methodology

    Chapter 10. Teaching Styles Model

    Chapter 11. Teacher Constructs and Classroom Change


    Dr Gerard Guthrie is an educationalist with 45 years of experience who has specialised in teaching styles in developing countries.

    In his latest volume, Dr. Guthrie makes a fierce and persuasive argument for a paradigm shift in how researchers and policy makers consider educational reform in developing countries. He challenges us to recognize the failings of the progressive education agenda and to move instead toward a formalistic framework that is responsive to and respectful of the educational practices in many emerging economies. Far from wanting to maintain the status quo however, Dr. Guthrie urges a paradigm shift so that future efforts toward educational improvement might be more impactful and lead directly to positive results for students. His book is a must read for anyone who is committed to strengthening teaching and learning and building educational equity and excellence in developing countries.

    Heather Lattimer, EdD, Professor of Education, University of San Diego

    This book presents a compelling argument for why ‘formalism’ should be the primary conceptual underpinning informing curriculum work in schools in developing country contexts. A core strength of the book is a careful illustration, based on strong evidence, that a progressivist centred curriculum approach favoured by many countries over the last 40 years, has not replaced teacher-centred formalistic classroom practice. In this light, the author presents a convincing argument for reconsidering the role of such curricular approaches in developing contexts. This is a well-argued and convincing text which should be compulsory reading for students, academics, and education policy and planners in developing and other country contexts.

    Aslam Fataar, Distinguished Professor, Department of Education Policy Studies, Stellenbosch University

    Classroom Change is not a gentle breath of fresh air. It is a gale of compelling evidence and insights developed from the extensive literature on classroom change in developing countries. Written in clear, bold, and assertive p