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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Elliott, J.G. (2014). Lessons from abroad: Whatever happened to pedagogy? Comparative Education 50(1): 27-44.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper considers attempts to import pedagogic practices from other educational systems. In so doing, it focuses upon policymakers’ attempts to: (a) import interactive whole class teaching approaches to the UK (and, to a lesser extent, the US); and (b) export learner-centred pedagogies, largely derived from Anglo-American theorising and practice, to industrialised and developing countries that often vary greatly in educational performance. The paper explains why such initiatives have largely proven ineffective, yet notes that while UK policymakers have largely moved away from pedagogic concerns to issues of teacher quality and expectation, learner-centred approaches continue to be proffered as a solution to the educational problems of many traditional societies. Finally, the paper concludes by emphasising student academic motivation and engagement, rather than specific pedagogic practices, as key to the differential performance of industrialised countries in international comparisons.