”Students can have a really powerful role…”
Understanding Curriculum Transformation Within the Framework of Canon Critique and Critical Pedagogy
Educational practice needs to continuously update the curriculum in line with both current theoretical
frameworks developed within academia and the lived reality of the coming generation. This
article takes the student perspective on this issue, investigating a case from secondary music education
in England. In 2015, Jessy McCabe initiated a successful campaign for the inclusion of women
composers on the A-level syllabus, in order to create a more gender-balanced curriculum. Drawing
on a qualitative interview with Jessy McCabe, I elaborate on the significance of the campaign
within the framework of canon critique and critical pedagogy. The case shows that balancing the
curriculum needs no longer to be a “future position” as Lucy Green suggested in 1997. The qualitative
data underscore the importance of the teacher as a role model and the effectiveness of the
student as co-investigator within the process of curriculum transformation. In both cases, a gender
perspective can be an appropriate and significant tool to achieving a more balanced curriculum.
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