I/MLEs and the uneven return of pastoral power

Emile Bojesen
Vol 37, Number 1, p.19
Informed by the work of the work of Michel Foucault, Ian Hunter, and Ansgar Allen, this paper argues that I/MLEs are not the creation of a ‘modern’ or ‘innovative’ learning environment but rather the reclamation of an educational technique that was pioneered en masse almost two centuries ago (and based on practices many centuries older than that), where established pastoral methods were key to shaping particularly formed educated subjects. Drawing on work produced by the OECD, as well as UK and NZ education policies and school building design guidance, this argument couches two claims, the first of which is that whether or not education systems and school buildings are conforming to I/MLE models, the ubiquity of ideologically narrow conceptions of the learning subject are enforced regardless, through subtle or unsubtle means. However, the second claim is that, despite their overarching and unsurprising ideological homogeneity with other more outcome oriented forms of schooling, I/MLEs have the potential to offer a much more substantial formative experience than other schooling systems due to their implicit recovery of the traditional pastoral aspect of education.