Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 253-266

First online:

Meaning and Learning in a World of Instability and Multiplicity

  • Gunther KressAffiliated withSchool of Culture, Language and Communication, Institute of Education, University of London Email author 

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Globalization impacts on education everywhere; it is impossible to consider issues of curriculum or pedagogy without bearing in mind the effects of globalization. Here I consider to what extent it is possible to imagine curricula and pedagogies which could function at a global level? I do so from an anglo-phone perspective, from within the UK (and similar societies) in the early part of the 21st century. The challenge is to develop means of analysis which allow distanced reflection on local issues and at the same time facilitate descriptions at a global level, relatively free of the ‘skew’ of the local. The article deals with four issues: dominant myths which still govern contemporary thinking about education; addressing the transitional generation, a generation which straddles the shifts produced by the fault-lines in present social and political transitions of arrangements of power and authority; the characteristics and effects of present and likely future environments of learning, distinct historically and geographically; and the urgent need to develop apt theories of learning, that is, theories of learning which are apt for these new givens. What unites all these is the commonality of the experience of learning in a world of instability and multiplicity of meaning.


Globalization Meaning and learning Global curriculum Global pedagogy