At the beginning of this book, I said that I wanted to focus on pedagogy: to show examples of ineffective and culturist practice as well as of effective and anti-culturist practice, in the hope that this would help teachers develop their own anti-culturist strategies for working with multicultured students. I also identified the school curriculum itself, along with its attendant bureaucracy, as a major obstacle to teachers developing their practice in this way. Through first legitimizing, privileging and itemizing a very narrow, culturally determined range of skills and areas of knowledge (Usher and Edwards 1994), and then assessing students’ acquisition of these through essentially quantitative, summative testing procedures, this obstruction works on teachers’ practice in two ways. First, it impels teachers to devote inordinate amounts of their time and energy to the development of these particular skills and areas of knowledge-usually at the expense of (and often to the exclusion of) other, non-legitimized skills and areas of knowledge. Second, it constrains teachers to teach in certain related ways-for example, to adopt more ‘transmissive’
modes of pedagogy or (collectively) to introduce setting and streaming. As teachers in English schools repeatedly complain, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain progressive teaching methods within the constraints of a still fundamentally ‘traditional’ (and more maximally detailed than ever before) National Curriculum.