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Icelandic craft teachers’ curriculum identity as reflected in life histories 1997

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ICELANDIC CRAFT TEACHERS' CURRICULUM IDENTITY AS REFLECTED IN LIFE HISTORIES by G U D R U N HELGADOTTIR B.Ed., The Icelandic University College of Education, 1982 M.A. , The University of British Columbia, 1989 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Curriculum Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A June 1997 © GuSrun Helgadottir, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall hot be allowed without my written permission. - Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date August J ' ^ DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This is a study of the curriculum identity of Icelandic craft teachers. The study is based on life history interviews with 42 teachers born between 1913 and 1960. The interviews traced a life long relationship with the subject they chose to teach. Particular attention was paid to how the teachers define their subject and how they identify with it. The information gathered was analyzed with reference to the development of crafts as school subjects in Iceland. The study describes in context the relationship that teachers have with their subjects and attempts to explain it in terms of gender and class. The curriculum identity of the teacher of these subjects is crucial as the subjects are not defined by external means such as a prescriptive formal curriculum or centralized assessment. Each teacher is therefore able to construct a personal curriculum. The curriculum identity of craft teachers is defined by gender and class. The Icelandic school system includes two craft subjects; textiles formerly know as girls' craft, and wood and metalwork, formerly known as boys' craft. In the late seventies the gender segregation was abolished by a policy of equal access to education. Still the subjects retain a gendered definition. This study details the strength of gendered traditions and the complex effects of gender equity policies. Class refers here to the hierarchy of academic and vocational, or intellectual/manual pursuits. Western school systems operate on a dichotomy between mind and matter, where association with matter and the manual is less prestigious. The life histories of craft teachers manifest the effects, as the teachers perceive themselves as a low status group within the school system. ii The composite life histories of this group of craft teachers outline the history of the school subjects in Iceland, a history that has not been documented. The main contribution of the study is to the definition of curriculum identity, the way in which teachers define themselves and are defined by the subjects they teach. The evidence given by these teachers suggests that teachers tend to see their curriculum identity as deeply rooted in their personal history, even in their family history. iii T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S A B S T R A C T ii T A B L E OF CONTENTS iv A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S vii CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Personal Background 1 Statement of the Problem 3 Significance of the Study 6 Overview of the thesis 10 CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL F R A M E W O R K 11 Curriculum as Text and/or as Community 12 A way to view the development of school subjects in their symbolic environment 15 Traditions of Art and Craft Curricula as Text 37 The Vocational Tradition 39 The Pedagogical Tradition 41 Human Environment: Curriculum as a Community 43 Class 44 Gender 47 Material Environment: Curriculum as a Site 57 Conclusion 58 CHAPTER 3: M E T H O D O L O G Y 61 Life Histories Elicited Through Interviews 62 The Relationship Between Interviewer and Participant 64 The Management of the Researcher's Subjectivity 71 My Relationship with Art and Craft 79 The Research Process and the Document 90 The Formulation of a Research Problem and Methodology 90 The Interviews 94 The Analysis and Writing 99 CHAPTER 4: THE C U R R I C U L U M IDENTITY OF WOOD A N D M E T A L W O R K 105 The Curriculum Community or Human Environment of Wood and Metalwork 106 Childhood and Youth 106 In School 107 The Decision to Become a Wood and Metalwork Teacher 110 Teacher Training in Wood and Metalwork 114 Adulthood: Being a Wood and Metalwork Teacher 122 Entering the Profession 122 Supporting a Family, Maintaining a Home 125 Working for Fulfillment 128 The Symbolic Environment 131 The Rationale for Teaching Wood and Metalwork 131 iv The Formal and Perceived Curricula 137 Relationship with the Curriculum in General 148 This Side of Art, the Other Side of Trades 153 Relationship With the Larger Curriculum Community 159 Working With Other Teachers 159 The Material Environment 163 Facilities and Resources 163 The Love of Material, The Joy of Processes 171 Summary 178 CHAPTER 5: THE C U R R I C U L U M IDENTITY OF TEXTILE TEACHERS 181 The Human Environment: The Curriculum Community of Textiles 182 Childhood and Youth 182 Textiles in School 185 Deciding to Become a Textile Teacher 195 Teacher Training in Textiles 200 Adulthood: Being a Textile Teacher 219 Entering the Profession 219 Working With Other Teachers 224 The Symbolic Environment 227 The Rationale for Textiles as a School Subject 227 The Formal and Perceived Curriculum 231 Projects: The Curriculum Content 240 The Relationship of Textiles and Other Curriculum Areas 245 The Material Environment 252 Facilities and Resources 252 The Joy of Processes, The Love of Materials 255 Textiles as Waged and Unwaged Work 259 Summary 265 CHAPTER 6: GENDER 271 Wood and Metalwork 272 Boys Among Men: The Childhood of Male Wood and Metalwork Teachers 272 Entering An Existing Order: Girls and Women in Wood and Metalwork 274 The Introduction of Wood- and Metalwork as a School Subject for Girls 276 Women as Wood and Metalwork Teachers 281 Boys' Toys? Equipment and Facilities in Wood and Metalwork 287 Textiles 294 The Order of Industriousness: Girls and Women in Textiles 294 At School 300 Women's Domestic Schools 303 Boys Among Women: Boyhood Experiences With Women's Crafts 309 At Home 309 At School 311 Mother's Machine: The Sacred Sewing Machine 314 Equal Access to Textiles 316 CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS 327 Human environment: 327 v This general trend has implications for the gender organization of the community. Craft teachers perceive childhood experience with the subject they later chose to teach as contributing to their curriculum identity. Their childhood experiences with the other craft subject are not presented as having such significance. Women are perceived to lack experience in wood and metalwork, which undermines the curricular identity of female wood and metalwork teachers and their membership in the curriculum community of 328 wood and metalwork. Male membership of the curriculum community of textiles is also problematic, which is evident in that no men are teachers of that subject 329 The community of craft teachers is identified with the working class, defined in this study as an association with manual labour. Most craft teachers come from families that belong to the working class and they retain working class identification, although as teachers they belong to a middle class occupation dominated by intellectual traditions. Craft teachers see their subjects as relating to the world of manual, physical work and providing an alternative in a school system which has a myopic focus on the academic tradition. While proud of this alternative, they are keenly aware that associating with the lower class impedes their efficacy in the school setting. The craft teachers perceive themselves as marginal in the hierarchy of school subjects, a hierarchy which places mind over matter. In this respect their outlook is similar to that reported by Berge (1992) for Swedish craft teachers 329 Symbolic environment: 334 REFERENCES 344 APPENDIX: PARTICIPANTS 364 vi A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S A whole crowd of people and several institutions have been implicated in the creation of a thesis that has been carried across three continents and two oceans. First and foremost I want to thank my family; Helgi, Johanna and Olafur Helgi for their good company, love and care over the years. I would especially like to thank my sister Ingibjorg Bjarnardottir and my parents in-law, Sigfus Thorarensen and Johanna Olafsdottir, for representing me to the funding agencies and letting me and my thesis into their homes and offices when we needed a place in Iceland. My mother, borunn Magnusdottir and my sisters Eyglo Bjarnardottir and B i l Bjarnardottir, have been a bedrock of support and I thank them for it. The participants in this study, who are listed in Appendix A, made this study possible. Sharing and interpreting their life histories has been both a privilege and a pleasure. Through this work and the ongoing dialogue with the community of craft teachers in Iceland a contribution is being made to the growth of curriculum studies in Icelandic craft education. A network of cherished friends and coworkers helped me in countless ways, Anna Dora GuSmundsdottir and Kristinn Kristinsson made sure I did my exercises and saved my children from the boredom of mum's thesis; Akosua Addo, Fiona Blaikie, Kirstie Lang and Pamela Tarlow-Calder made sure there was never a dull intellectual moment and Lara Lackey, Joanne McNeal, Lorrie Miller and Mia Johnson shared the complexities of motherhood and scholarship. It was my good fortune as a graduate student to find a community where constructive criticism and collegiality prevailed. Working with faculty, fellow students and staff has proved as invaluable a training for my present work as the coursework and research process itself. The research has been funded by the Icelandic Research Council; Hagbenkir Association of Authors of Educational Materials; The Icelandic Teachers' Association; The Center for Women's Studies at the University of Iceland; and a University Graduate Fellowship from the University of British Columbia. I greatly appreciate this support. Last but not least I want to thank my committee; Dr. Jane Gaskell, Dr. Jean Barman and Dr. Ron MacGregor for standing by me, even when I was elsewhere! vii 1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Personal Background The craft subjects are of personal interest as I trained as an elementary school teacher with wood and metalwork as my specialization. What attracted me to this school subject was that it is part of art education in a broad sense and it is concerned with making objects and images. In the formal curriculum for Icelandic elementary schools (ASalnamskra grunnskola: Mynd- og handmennt, 1977), it is defined as part of the integrated area of art and craft together with art and textiles. In practice however, the three subjects have remained distinct and their relationship uneasy (GuSrun Helgadottir 1995).1 M y first lesson in carpentry for prospective wood and metalwork teachers for Icelandic elementary schools contained some premonitions of what my relationship with my chosen field would be. The first task was to take the plane apart and sharpen its blade. My instructor ensured my accomplishment by demonstrating the steps involved and having me repeat them under his supervision. A l l went beautifully: I took the plane apart, set the blade to the grinding stone and sharpened it on two grades of sharpening stones lathered in kerosene. Then he said that to get the last roughness out of the edge I should flip it across my palm a couple of times. In the moment of reflection that followed his advice we gazed into the soft pink palm of my left hand. What fortunes we read there were never discussed. But in my mind this is where the shadow of a doubt that hung over my future as a wood and metalwork teacher became discernible. 1 In accordance with cultural convention Icelanders are referred to by first name first, both in text and reference lists. 2 I had questions that sounded like doubts to my colleagues. I asked what is the rationale for wood and metalwork in the curriculum? Why do we teach it? I was answered with a question: You think we shouldn't teach it? Although I never mastered the conventions of my chosen subject I did graduate, became active in the professional organization of art and craft teachers and president of the wood and metalwork teachers association. But there was always this doubt. Sometimes I doubted myself, sometimes I doubted my colleagues, sometimes I doubted the school subject wood and metalwork. The subject is compulsory for all students from age 9-14, but is it really serving all students? If it didn't fit me or vice versa, what about my students? In other words, this study grew out of a curricular identity crisis. There were times when I glimpsed "the problem" but I wanted a better look. That is what graduate school should be for, to take a hard look at the problems encountered in practice. My interest in the rationales for the school subjects art and crafts led to my masters thesis, which was based on a survey of Icelandic art and craft teachers' attitudes toward curriculum rationales (GuSnin Helgadottir, 1989). That study left more questions than answers so I enrolled in a Ph.D. programme to continue my research. Through the research for my masters thesis I became aware of the limitations of thinking of a school subject in terms of curriculum as in a course of study. I became interested in the community that makes up a school subject, particularly the historical dimension of school subjects and in interviewing as a methodology. This is a critical study: to paraphrase Apple (1993) slightly, I want to understand the sets of historically contingent circumstances and contradictory power relationships that create the conditions in which we live (p. 5). I am of the generation of women who wanted to enter fields of work and study that had been male dominated, and for whom it was possible, even 3 accessible. But it is one thing to enter, another thing to stay. That is where the concept of curriculum identity, the intricate pattern of identification with gender, class and curriculum that shapes the life of a teacher, is illuminating. Statement of the Problem The broad question that gave rise to this study is: How do the social structures of gender and class combine and interact with curriculum to develop the curriculum identity of Icelandic craft teachers? The literature on teachers and their work pays too little attention to the teacher's curriculum identity. Eggleston (1977) casually threw out this interesting concept, meaning the teacher's identification with the curriculum. Teachers are seen and see themselves as teachers of certain subjects, student populations or school levels. What you teach, where and to whom shapes your professional identity. The school subject is an important factor here, one that needs further investigation (Goodson, 1987; Goodson and Ball, 1984; Gray and MacGregor, 1991). My research aims at defining the curriculum identity of a group of subject matter specialists in crafts. This is an important contribution to curriculum studies, as the generic category 'teacher' glosses over important distinctions that exist within the profession. This inquiry has relevance for the community engaged in educational practice as it illustrates the development, composition and values of a subject community. This relevance does not suggest direct applicability to practice. The relationship between educational practice and curriculum theory is more complex than that. Just as the study of practice does not automatically yield theory, theory does not automatically inform practice. Each must be interpreted to the other and even with understanding may not come acceptance. The 4 incongruence between curriculum theory and educational practice are as important as the correspondences, for as Pinar & Grumet (1988) remind us, these add depth and significance to the question of what to do Monday morning. In my case as a female in a male dominated subject (wood and metalwork), which is a subset of a female dominated profession (teaching), gender was central to the doubts and questions that I initially experienced. The term gender signifies the social organization of the relationship between the sexes, the culturally and socially produced understanding of, and meaning attributed to, sexual differences. The study is not simply about the experience of the sexes in a certain profession but looks at these experiences in relation to each other. It is an attempt to address the theoretical question of how difference has been constructed through the particular historical form that this difference takes in craft education. Gender is certainly important in the analysis of how these subjects developed first overtly, and later covertly gendered. Where there is a distinction a hierarchy is generally implied. Gendered distinctions are subject to the inequitable power relations between the sexes, where men are dominant in the public sphere and women submissive. Sexism has a long history and the struggle for gender equality or equity a long history (Anna G. Jonasdottir, 1991; Elshstain, 1981; Engels, 1972; Kelly, 1977). In this thesis I use the term equality when referring to policies and practices premised on the notion of sameness between the sexes as the rationale for abolishing discrimination. Equity on the other hand refers to policies and practices which are based on the ideal of equality while honouring difference. 5 Gender cannot be viewed as a social structure separate from other social structures such as class. The concept of social class has been central to analyses of social relations. In this study the focus is on how the worker defines and is defined by the work. Social class is thus more an identity factor here than it is an economic factor (Scott, 1988). Class is an important structure for the way in which the subjects are construed economically and vocationally. This study addresses the relations of gender, class and curriculum identity as manifested in the life work of individuals. Gender and class are structures that are so integrated here that viewing one is impossible without including the other in the field of vision (Cockburn, 1983). The question of the development of crafts as school subjects is informed by an understanding of what constitutes a school subject and what shapes that constitution. These understandings will be articulated further in chapter II. Here it will suffice to say, school subject is understood both as text and as community. Text refers to written curricula, education acts and decrees, as well as articles and monographs: that is, the printed remains of educational discourse regarding the subjects. Community refers to individuals and groups who share a curriculum identity, those who were and are involved in the subject as students, teachers and promoters. In this study teachers were chosen as a focus for inquiry as they form a core of the school subject community. The study is based on life history material elicited through interviews with Icelandic teachers with a life long commitment to the subjects textiles, weaving and wood and metalwork. Curriculum as text, described above, forms the other main source of evidence in this study. This research poses curriculum studies as stories of people who embodied educational ideals, rather than a story of disembodied educational discourses. In answering the question 6 curricula and community are framed within fundamental social constructs such as gender and class. The inquiry shows how the curriculum identities of subject communities are gendered and classed, as well as the subjects as texts are gender and class based. Significance of the Study The quest for the general law blinds us to the complexity and often paradoxical nature of human action. The field of curriculum studies has suffered this blinding effect in that there is a strong tradition of sorting and classifying curricular phenomena by a variety of criteria (Eisner, 1984; Tyler, 1949). The field has variously been criticized for fleeing itself in search of external frames of reference (Schwab, 1969) and of insularity and lack of for instance, historical and philosophical consciousness (Giroux & Simon, 1989; Pinar, 1988). Reference to the humanities and social sciences in general has value in orienting groups of people to where they are and where they came from. Tosh (1984) claims that "One of the most valuable 'lessons' which history teaches, then, is the sense of what is durable and what is transient or contingent in our present condition" (p. 15). It may be argued that this value is not unique to history, but inherent in, for instance, anthropology. Over the last decade it has become increasingly evident that historical and anthropological methods are compatible in the quest for the durable and the transient in the field of education. Curriculum studies have moved from reliance on the written word to include the kinds of evidence gathered by sociologists and anthropologists, mainly the interview.The field of curriculum studies has long since recognized the inadequacy of conceiving of curriculum exclusively as text (Kliebard, 1992). The other dimensions of curriculum have been variously labeled as hidden, informal, experienced and lived — that is, there has been a realization on the part of curriculum scholars that curriculum as written, as enacted or implemented, and as experienced are all equally important but not equal manifestations of the acts of teaching and learning (Eisner, 1984; Goodlad et a l , 1979; Zais,1976). With a focus away from the school subject as planned curriculum to the subject as experienced curriculum, the inquiring gaze rests on the people rather than the texts that make up the subject. The subject changes form and becomes the community engaged with a body of knowledge, skills and attitudes, rather than that body in itself (Pinar, 1988; Pinar & Reynolds, 1992). The lack of historical consciousness in the field of education, particularly curriculum and instruction, is a perennial lament (Kliebard, 1992; Pinar, 1988; Smith, 1985). The problem is not that there is not enough historical research in education, but rather that educational history and the field of curriculum and instruction have had little perception of relevance for each other. Educational history has been dismissed as a "flight" from the field of curriculum inquiry, a retreat from the problem of articulating a theory of the practical (Schwab, 1969). The field of curriculum and instruction has been preoccupied with the practicalities of here and now. While generating theory, the two main trends of educational history, intellectual and social history, have not struck practitioners as relevant to contemporary issues. Neither approach is adequate to offer a narrative with explanatory power in practice. The study of curriculum as text, as documented ideas and discourses, is but a partial study of curriculum. Curriculum and instruction refers only to a limited extent to that which is planned, believed and hoped for. It refers to a great extent to that which people do, to that which happens when ideas are translated into human action. This translation takes place in communities of learning among students and teachers. This does not mean that curriculum 8 and instruction are entirely a social phenomenon. They do indeed have an ideological dimension, but are embedded in the social through practice. Apple (1993) describes the implications for researchers as a dual focus, on theoretical debates as well as "actual and potential political and educational practices and tendencies" (p. 5). A study of school subjects that is relevant to practice must have its focal point beyond the curriculum text which occupies the foreground of curriculum studies. Kliebard (1992) declares that the potency of curriculum history is its ability to identify the interest groups that influence curriculum in a society and how and in what circumstances their influence is manifested. The field of curriculum studies has been preoccupied with the course of study as intended or planned. This is particularly evident in the study of school subjects, which has hitherto been written as intellectual history of the printed educational discourse. Historians of art, design and/or craft education have relied nearly exclusively on written documentation, paying little attention to curricula as lived (Ashwin, 1981; Bennett, 1937; Bolin, 1985; Efland, 1990; Kern, 1985; MacDonald, 1970; Soucy, 1990). There are honourable exceptions, where analysis is based on imagery as well as text, and attempts are made to gain insight into the life world of those engaged with particular curricula or courses of study (Berge, 1990; Lind, Hasselberg & Kuhlhorn, 1992; Korzenik, 1985). A n inquiry into craft education as a community rather than a course of study is long overdue. Such an inquiry relies primarily on methods of oral history and ethnography - analysis of written documents becomes of secondary importance. The study of art, design and crafts school subjects is of particular significance for curriculum theory. What sets them collectively apart from other school subjects is their affiliation with 9 material culture. They are concerned with images and objects rather than text. Western education systems reflect a culture which accords text absolute primacy over other means of communication. Therefore the arts of language are central in the curriculum, whereas the arts of image and object are marginal. This marginality is keenly felt by art, design and craft teachers (Berge, 1990; Gray & MacGregor, 1991; GuSrun Helgadottir, 1989). The relationship that the communities of core subjects have with the curriculum and education system differs radically from that of the marginalized subject communities. It is useful to consider them as having a different standpoint. These marginal communities share with other marginal groups an absence from the grand narrative in which their existence is implied. Smith (1987) describes the implications for research from the standpoint of those who were absent ~ such as women in the grand narrative of sociology, as directing inquiry to "an 'embodied' subject located in a particular local historical setting" (p. 108). Further, the standpoint of those on the receiving end of the relations of ruling is potentially subversive in that it "indicates lines of stress and disjuncture" (Smith, 1987, p. 204) that are hidden from other standpoints by the foreshortening of those relations (Connell, 1989). This is particularly true of the craft subjects. They are marginal in the curriculum due to their close affiliation with manual labour of the lower classes and, in the case of textiles and weaving, to the work of women. Furthermore, this research suggests that the craft subjects are affiliated with the domestic or private sphere rather than the public sphere of society (GuSrun Helgadottir 1995b). 10 Overview of the thesis The first chapter is a general introduction to the research problem, which is articulated further in an overview of theoretical frameworks for interpretation and analysis in the second chapter. The second chapter outlines the use of the concepts curriculum, community and identity in the study. The third chapter explains the research methodology and describes the research. Qualitative research methods are discussed in general, specifically ethnography and life histories as well as oral history. The discussion is centered on the relationship between researcher and researched and the issue of validity or truthfulness of research. Chapters four and five are the main chapters based on the interview data and in them the curriculum communities of wood and metalwork and textiles respectively, are described. These chapters are based on the evidence given in the interviews of where the teachers see themselves in the larger context of Icelandic culture and society. The economic aspects of being a teacher are explored as well as the social status of the school subject versus other school subjects and society at large. The rationale for the subject is an important consideration in these chapters. Chapter six deals in more depth with the most significant social structure evident in the study, gender. Chapter seven concludes the thesis with a summary of main themes. 11 C H A P T E R 2: T H E O R E T I C A L F R A M E W O R K The work presented here may be identified with postmodernism as it offers an account and interpretation of the discourse or systems of meaning specific to a curriculum community, based on the premise that discourses are constructed, historically specific and political in nature (Harker, 1993). People as social beings and historical actors live in multiple discourses which circumscribe their identity and outlook (Newton, 1990). The interplay between agency and structure, between informal networks of individuals and formal and official structures of social life are at the heart of those discourses. Acker (1989) points out that research on teachers' careers has fallen into two camps; emphasis on individual agency or the structural approach favouring systems over individuals as the focus of inquiry. A synthesis of the two approaches from a feminist standpoint is attempted here (Scott, 1987). The teachers' life histories are accounts of their everyday worlds from which questions arise relating these to social phenomena, such as the curriculum, the school and the subject (Acker, 1989; Millman & Kanter, 1987; Theobald, 1991). In this chapter the use of key concepts such as curriculum, crafts, gender, class and curriculum identity is articulated. The contemporaneous relationships are viewed as they are manifested in the symbolic, material and human environment (Apple, 1993). Collectively those could be termed a curriculum Umwelt (Smith-Shank, 1995). The social structures of gender, and to a lesser extent class, shape the conception of the environment or Umwelt of the curriculum community of crafts. The development of the curriculum community over time is viewed as stages or rites of passage of the school subjects as institutional categories, 12 taking into account the conditions that are required at each stage (Goodson, 1987; Meyer & Rowan, 1983; Reid, 1984). Curriculum as Text and/or as Community From a structuralist point of view in educational sociology concerned with cultural capital, the curriculum is of immense interest. Eggleston (1977) claims that at the heart of the matter the curriculum is one of the instruments through which the prevailing features of the cultural system are carried "wherein its knowledge is transmitted and evaluated" (p. 6). In other words it is one of the features of the 'relations of ruling', a concept that involves power, organization, direction and regulation, but is more pervasively structured than other labels of the power discourse allow (Smith, 1987). These relations of ruling and cultural transmission are not disembodied, they are carried by historical actors, and hence "The fundamental conflicts are over the identity and legitimacy of the rival contenders for membership of the groups who define, evaluate and distribute knowledge and the power these confer" (Eggleston, 1977, p. 43). If there was such a thing as 'the curriculum' the aforesaid would be rather straightforward, but on the way from curriculum as an ideology or political agenda, to curriculum as implemented or lived, there is much scope for subversion. The term "curriculum" refers to an array of conceptions, which makes it necessary to differentiate between applications of the term. Various distinctions have been made to identify a logical sequence of curriculum steps from plan to implementation, the values underlying differing curriculum rationales, and the relationship of curriculum as ideology or theory to curriculum as experience or practice (Tyler, 1949; Eisner & Vallance, 1974; Schwab, 1969; Goodlad et al.,1979). 13 Connell (1989) attempts to account for the complexity of the issue by drawing on one hand on the sociology of education and on educational ethnography on the other, in arguing that "a curriculum ~ meaning by that the ideas (content), the method by which they are appropriated and put to use (form of learning), the social practices in which those ideas and methods are materialized, and, above all, those three things in combination - as necessarily intersecting with the processes that constitute social interests, embodying relations of social power. A curriculum as an ongoing social organization and distribution of knowledge helps to constitute social interests and arbitrate the relations among them" (p. 122-123). While the sociology of education has been applied to investigate the question of cultural capital in the context of large social structures such as gender and class, it should also inform the study of smaller structures such as a curriculum community. Reid (1984) identified four conditions that determine the cultural capital value of a curricular topic or subject. A subject is central i f it is regarded as a core or foundation subject and accorded time and resources as such. Mathematics and language arts would be examples of central subjects. Universal subjects are deemed important for all students and are mandatory, but they need not be central, such as physical education, art and music. Status relevance stems from association with occupations or fields of prestige. Subjects that are associated with, or lead to high status occupations and courses of study have a corresponding high status within the elementary curriculum. A subject has sequential significance if it is a prerequisite for further progress within the education system, for example a university requirement or a graduation requirement from elementary school. The more of these characteristics a subject has the higher its status is in the curricular hierarchy. 14 While there is a budding recognition of the multilayered nature of curricula, what is still missing from the literature is a focus on the development of a collective identity of the curriculum community and how the curriculum is embodied in the people that as a community are committed to the content that the curriculum represents. This community can be described as having a curriculum identity (Eggleston, 1977), for it identifies with the body of knowledge, values and skills inherent in that particular curricular phenomenon. The school subject is "the strongest bastion of identity throughout the school system" (Eggleston, 1977, p. 75). The perceived curriculum of the teacher is the link, the interface between curriculum as text and experienced forms of curriculum. "The final arbiter of what it is that gets taught, is the classroom teacher" (Berliner, 1984, p. 53). Gray and MacGregor (1987) posit from their research on art teachers, that to hire a teacher is to hire a curriculum, and that teaching is a highly idiosyncratic activity. In other words, teachers are individually oriented to curricula based on their personal philosophy and life history. The claim can be understood in two complementary ways. First as outlined above, it is the teacher's perceived curriculum that defines the subject. This is supported by the notion of teaching as idiosyncratic activity. Yet, while the curriculum as text may gather dust on the shelf, there is consensus; a tacit agreement among teachers of a subject about what is considered important to teach (Gray & MacGregor, 1987). Apple (1993) conceives of curriculum as a process, as lived, rather than a document or "thing". Process in his words does not equal a course of study or a syllabus, but goes beyond that to be "a symbolic, material and human environment that is ongoingly reconstructed" (p. 144). King (1986) states this more eloquently: "Curriculum is a situated event. ... to which all 15 the elements of the physical environment and the social context contribute" (p. 36-37). The social context or environment includes a historical dimension making it appropriate to place the curriculum community in question in terms of the contemporaneous as well as historical location (Goodson & Walker, 1988; Kliebard, 1992; Pinar, 1988; Pinar & Reynolds, 1992). A way to view the development of school subjects in their symbolic environment Educational policy as text is set in contexts outside the classroom where it is implemented. In western democracies curriculum, as other educational policies, are debated in the political sphere. These debates revolve not merely around the question "what knowledge is of most worth?" but "whose knowledge is of most worth?" (Apple, 1993). These questions combined raise the issue of access not only to knowledge acquisition but to knowledge construction and legitimation. The question of whose knowledge presumes that knowledge can be identified with individuals, groups and institutions, that there are stakeholders in curriculum (Connelly, Irvine & Enns 1980). The relative importance attached to school subjects is thus rooted in social traditions, historical, rather than contemporary conditions. To illustrate the historical development of the school subjects art and crafts I use a model based on the work of Goodson (1987), Reid (1984) and Meyer and Rowan (1983). The development of school subjects is seen as having four stages: I. Invention is when innovators introduce a topic or an issue into their curriculum. This is a local event, but can happen in several places simultaneously. Art and crafts in various forms were introduced into the emerging school systems of North America and Western Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While there was a certain exchange of ideas, 16 innovation also had local characteristics. In Prussia, drawing and handicrafts were introduced and these programs influenced Russian and French vocational education on one hand, and on the other, to some extent inspired the Nordic craft education. Sweden became a veritable craft education empire, exporting its conception of the subject all over the world. The industrial drawing program of the South Kensington institute in England was widely disseminated throughout the British Empire (Ashwin, 1981b; Chalmers, 1990; Efland, 1990; Lind 1992; Ryegard, 1982; Thorbjornsson, 1989). It is a matter of definition which reference to manual work or crafts in the context of education or upbringing should be counted as the onset of the phase of Invention (see chapter 2). The value of manual work in education was propounded as early as in the mid-1700's, but actual movement towards the establishment of public schools did not gain momentum until the late 1900's when towns started growing, albeit slowly. In 1890 only 12% of the population of Iceland lived in towns. This development falls within colonial times in Iceland, for the country was a colony of Denmark and did not gain sovereignty until 1944. Icelandic society was a farming society well into the twentieth century. Social organization was based on the farming household wherein a land-owning farmer was the master. The household consisted of the farmer's family and a number of male and female farmhands as well as paupers (Bragi Gu5mundsson & Gunnar Karlsson, 1986; Jon R. Hjalmarsson, 1996). The general education of children consisted of basic reading skills, the rudiments of Christianity and learning to work by participating in the household and farming tasks as their strength and maturity allowed (Tilskipun um husagann a Islandi, 1746; Bragi GuSmundsson & Gunnar Karlsson, 1986). The organization of wool production as a home craft rather than 17 industry meant that every hand on the farm was needed, hence children had their tasks as well as the adults. The oldest teachers interviewed for this study recollected wool production as it had been known for centuries (Svanhvit FriSriksdottir, b. 1916; Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Axel Johannesson, b. 1918). The rise of capitalism, industrialization and ensuing demographic changes created new pedagogical needs. Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth there was little provision of secondary education other than the Grammar School. This was the education for prospective colonial administrators. For them the road to university education in Copenhagen was open. Only a handful of exceptionally bright pupils from lower class background were fortunate to receive sponsorship to seek such education (Heimir I>orleifsson, 1972). The first attempts at public schooling were made with reference to and resources from Denmark, and sporadic attempts to establish schools were made from the mid-eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth century. These schools offered mainly what was considered the basic instruction: reading, writing and religion as well as some arithmetic (Bragi GuSmundsson & Gunnar Karlsson, 1986; Heimir f>orleifsson, 1972; Ly5ur Bjornsson, 1981). From the 1880's to the passing of the first Elementary Education Act in 1907, several bills on education were proposed to Albing and debated at length. Several educational establishments for children came and went, but actual diversification and increased access to education did not start until around 1870 (Bragi GuSmundsson & Gunnar Karlsson, 1986; Ingolfur A. Johannesson, 1983; LySur Bjornsson, 1981). The late nineteenth century was a time of political change as ideals of national and individual liberty gained currency. The status of women became a focus of attention and women's 18 education an agenda. In 1874 the Kvennaskolinn (The Ladies Academy) was founded in Reykjavik, and subsequently schools for young women opened around the country. There were two distinct policies in women's education here as elsewhere, and these policies were often manifested in the name of the school. On one hand, there were schools simply titled Kvennaskoli or 'Women's School'. Those were related to the Ladies Academies of Europe and America and were in effect the female equivalent of a Grammar School (RagnheiSur Jonsdottir, 1944). On the other hand, there were schools titled 'HusmaeSraskoli' literally 'School of Housewifery' hereafter referred to as Women's Domestic Schools. These schools were based on similar ideals as domestic education elsewhere in the Western world at the time, the notion that a progressive education in home economics as vocational education for women was imperative in the new society. (Gu5riin Helgadottir, 1991; ISnsaga Island, 1943; Gunnar Karlsson, 1988;). Some of the most influential Icelandic politicians related their ideas of public education to economic growth and sovereignty and argued for vocational education, and/or educational crafts (Jon SigurSsson, 1842; Jon borarinsson, 1891). In the late nineteenth century Icelandic tradesmen started to organize and work toward improvement of their training and education as well as supporting initiative in trades and manufacture. In 1873 the Tradesmen's Guild in Reykjavik started a Sunday school, where various subjects, mainly drawing, were taught (Gisli Jonsson, 1967). The first legislation on tradesmen's training, passed in 1893, was modelled after Danish law and an Icelandic law on the matter was not passed until 1927 (ISnsaga Islands, 1943). In accordance with the importance of farming there was a stronger movement to establish schools of agriculture, and three such schools were founded in the period 1880-1889 (Bragi GuSmundsson & Gunnar Karlsson, 1986). 19 The debates on the division of responsibility for education between home and school relate to the struggle over urbanization. The landowning farmers were the strongest opponents of public schools, which must be viewed in the context of their struggle to maintain control over the labour force for a very labour intensive farming operation. This control was threatened by new opportunities for landless people in the budding towns (Gisli Agust Gunnlaugsson 1988, Ingolfur A Johannesson 1983). It was the changed life style, the separation of work and home, and particularly the increased personal autonomy of the landless that preoccupied those who concerned themselves with public policy. There was a fear of urban vice, particularly the vice of idleness among the young, who did not have their place in production as did their rural counterparts. There was a particularly strong reluctance to establish schools in rural areas, where the homes were generally seen to be in a position to educate their young, especially in crafts. These debates resounded in the Albing throughout the closing decades of the nineteenth century (AlbingistiSindi 1887, 1895; Bjarni Danielsson, GuSrun Helgadottir, Skulina Kjartansdottir, 1982). The example of Prussian schools was often cited in the discussion of public education, so too were references to the Scandinavian countries, where manual education such as drawing and slojd 2) was often cited as a remarkable instance of practical education (Eirikur SigurSsson, 1928; Halldora Bjarnadottir, 1911; Jon I>6rarinsson, 1891; Olafur I>. Kristjansson, 1946; Steingrimur Arason, 1919). Specific skills such as drawing, drafting and woodworking, as well as general work habits of neatness, precision and diligence, were prized and had to be taught in school as the home lacked the means to educate for work in the new social order (A5alsteinn Sigur5sson, 1936; Ashwin 1981b; Jon SigurQsson, 1842;). Johansson (1989) 20 points out that the development of crafts, or more specifically slojd, as school subjects are a pivotal issue in regard to the transfer of responsibility from home to school. The arguments that Jon forarinsson (1891) presented for these subjects are worth repeating here as they are echoed in the interviews conducted for the study. Speaking of slojd in particular Jon argues that its significance as a school subject lies in its broad benefits to the development of the individual rather than in acquisition of specific skills. The latter is in his mind just a bonus to the overall effect of training pupil's perception, appreciation of precision, regular work habits, strengthening resolve, health and physical strength. Jon draws a distinction between school crafts — which he advocates - and home crafts. He relates the two in his second argument for school crafts; that they could save the public from the idleness and consumption that could ensue from the decline of home crafts (Jon Mrarinsson, 1891). These arguments are essentially the same as those put forward in the interviews a century later (Vigdis Palsdottir, b. 1924; GuSrun Asbjdrnsdottir, b. 1959; Elinbjort Jonsdottir, b. 1947). Those were the arguments of advocates for public education and for manual subjects, but a contemporaneous source complained that the public considered anything beyond basic instruction useless and directly harmful for girls (Ogmundur SigurSsson, 1888). Nevertheless, there were examples of schools where drawing and crafts, most often textile crafts for girls, were taught. The workschool ideology found its way to Iceland and one recorded attempt at offering such a program is the operation 1791-1812 of a pauper school. There children worked for their upkeep while receiving instruction in basic vocational skills, literacy and numeracy (Bjarni Danielsson, GuSrun Helgadottir, Skiilina Kjartansdottir, 1982). 21 After almost a decade of deliberation, Albing got serious about public education and commissioned GuQmundur Finnbogason to do a survey of educational provision for children in Iceland and to make recommendations for it. GuSmundur was highly educated, he held a Ph. D. in psychology from the University of Copenhagen, and later became one of the first professors of the University of Iceland. Gu5mundur published his report in 1905 and was subsequently asked to draft a bill on public education, which was put to Alping that same year. The bill was hotly debated, and finally in 1907 Albing passed an education act making educational provision for 10-14 year old children compulsory. Although advocates of the subjects, fought hard for their inclusion, Albing rejected such expensive frills as part of the formal curriculum. II. Promotion is the phase in which the innovators and other promoters of the topic seek acceptance for it as legitimate and later central in the curriculum. This is in a sense where the human environment develops a certain curriculum community, which seeks a place for the subject in the symbolic environment of formal curricula. In Iceland, Halldora Bjarnadottir's promotion of textiles as a school subject offers a view of how the promoter mobilized support for the subject through social movements of her time (GuSrun Helgadottir, 1991). The Swedish example of Otto Salomon and his promotion of craft education shows another strategy aimed at administrators and teachers, where the innovation was marketed as educational materials complete with a sequential curriculum, equipment and teacher manuals (Thorbjornsson, 1989, 1990). The 1907 education act stipulated that communities should establish permanent schools, but as a temporary measure, communities could employ itinerant teachers. The majority of Icelandic children in 1907 lived in rural areas where itinerant teaching prevailed as the communities were unable or unwilling to meet the cost of building a permanent school. Itinerant teachers rarely taught handicrafts and drawing, consequently such instruction was only available to a minority (Gu5mundur Finnbogason, 1905). Nevertheless, the 1908 time allotment recommendations proposed 2 hours a week for handicraft instruction, which was an important step in the process from promotion to legislation of the school subjects. Over the next couple of decades, until the oldest participants in this study started elementary school, the situation did not change substantially. Handicraft instruction was suggested as a school subject, but only offered in the few places where the facilities or the enthusiasm of the teacher allowed. The pragmatic arguments for crafts and/or drawing as a vocational component in educaton were not as persuasive in the resource based Icelandic economy as they were in industrialized societies of mainland Europe and North-America where skilled labour in design and manufacture was needed (Efland, 1990; Ashwin, 1981a). The promotion process of craft education was accelerated by a new voice in the educational discourse, that of an emerging profession of teachers who often were promoters of the pedagogic tradition. Around the turn of the century the first professionally trained elementary teachers begun to take their posts in the newly founded schools. Among them were some insistent and articulate spokespeople for drawing and handicraft, such as Halldora Bjarnadottir, Laufey Vilhjalmsdottir, Ogmundur SigurSsson and Eirikur SigurSsson. The promoters of craft education derived their ideas to a large extent from the workschool tradition of mainland Europe. Rosseau, Pestalozzi and Frobel were an inspiration to many Scandinavians, who in turn were a direct influence on Icelandic promoters of education. For example the Finnish scholar Uno Cygna?us is cited by Jon borarinsson (1891) and Cygnaeus 23 came in contact with the writings of Prussian and French educationists such as Pestalozzi, as a tutor in Petersburg (Lonnbeck, 1910). As their colleagues throughout the world, Icelandic teachers and school promoters followed the work of Otto Salomon, director of the Naas seminarium and author of numerous publications on educational handicrafts. Salomon, in turn, counts Cygnasus among his strongest influences (Thorbjornsson, 1990). The ties with Denmark were of course strong, as Iceland was a Danish colony and many Icelanders trained as teachers in Denmark or sought further education there, such as craft courses at the Askov seminarium or Handarbejdets Fremme textile teacher training school in Copenhagen (Olafur Kristj ansson, 1958). When education was made universal, the material resources to provide for all pupils were really not in place in Iceland. First of all, there were only enough school buildings to house about half of the pupil population in regular schools. The rest were provided for by itinerant teachers who would teach at several locations in turn. A regular school was defined as a school operating 5-6 months per annum, whereas an itinerant school was to provide each pupil with the minimum of 2 months instruction per annum (Log um fra^Sslu barna 59/1907). In most cases the itinerant school was housed on a local farm where there was some space available. Later it became common to have a school house even if the school was not regular. Given these conditions it was difficult to accommodate any instruction that required materials or equipment of any sort. The difference between the provision in regular and itinerant schools is evident in school records. In 1915-'16 craft instruction was offered to 41% of pupils in regular schools compared to 4% of pupils in itinerant schools (Hagskyrslur 34, 1923). 24 Itinerant schools operated well into the twentieth century and quite a few of the teachers interviewed in this study had attended such schools (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Svanhvit FriSriksdottir, b. 1916; Axel Johannesson, 1918; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919) and one, Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913), taught as an itinerant teacher in the early 1930's. Although official records show that drawing and craft was taught to a lesser extent in the itinerant schools, three of the teachers recall some instruction in the subject. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) and SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) recall decorative textile work such as embroidery but Svanhvit FriSriksdottir (b. 1916) knitting slippers. Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) remembers that it was very difficult to offer any craft instruction as an itinerant teacher. The crafts he had been introduced to in teacher training had limited application in the rural situation. Crafts were more likely to be on the curriculum of the larger schools in towns. In 1911 three schools, Reykjavik Elementary, Landakot Catholic School and Akureyri Elementary, showed craft objects made by pupils. A description of the exhibition suggests that textiles and wood and metalwork at Reykjavik and Akureyri elementary was inspired by curricula in the other Scandinavian countries such as the sequential slojd programme at Naas in Sweden or the Askov programme in Denmark. Landakot Catholic School displayed more in the way of fine embroidery or artistic crafts (SkolablaSiS 5, 1911). Vigdis Palsdottir (b. 1924) was a pupil at Landakot Catholic School in 1930. There textiles started early for girls, but drawing was reserved for the upper grades. The projects she made were not the standard projects introduced in the public school system III. Legislation is the inclusion of the topic in the symbolic environment of a formal or official curriculum, for example as a compulsory school subject at given grade levels. This 25 happened within the first 30 years of the Icelandic elementary school system, drawing was made compulsory in 1926 and the craft subjects in 1936 (Bjarni Danielsson, GuSnin Helgadottir & Skulina Kjartansdottir, 1982). With this stage comes the requisition of a place for the subject in the material environment of schools. Around 1930 a movement for secondary education was emerging. In the rural areas new schools, the Rural Secondary Schools were founded. These schools were to provide young people with a basic and vocational education preparing them for life and work in the rural community. Manual subjects such as wood and metalwork, textiles and weaving had an important place in the curriculum. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918), Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) and Jakobina Gu5mundsd6ttir (b. 1925) all received their secondary education in such schools. In all cases the craft subjects were represented in the curriculum, but it depended on the facilities and instructors exactly what craft was offered. In 1933 a committee was struck by Albing to revise the existing elementary education act. Among the recommendations contained in an elementary education bill presented as a result of the committee's work was to include crafts among the compulsory subjects. The main argument put forward was that crafts were commonly taught in the regular schools and, as the intention was to make all schools regular, the subjects might as well be made compulsory (Alpingisti5indi A , 1934, p. 540). The education act of 1936 made schooling compulsory for 7-14 year olds, thereby clearly signalling the end of the era where education at home supervised by the clergy and itinerant schools were acceptable provisions for elementary education. It further stipulated that crafts be compulsory subjects. The act does not specifically mention textiles and wood and metalwork, nor does it suggest gender segregation 26 in crafts. It simply states that at the completion of compulsory schooling a child should have received some instruction in handicrafts (Log urn barnafrasSslu, 1936). The implementation of the act was further specified in curriculum documents where the crafts were defined in terms modelled after the slojd tradition of school crafts then common in other Nordic countries. A sequential curriculum in textiles for girls and woodwork for boys was put forward. However this seems not to have been the intention of the working committee struck by parliament in 1920 to prepare a new education act (Gu5mundur Finnbogason and Sigur5ur P. Sivertsen, 1921). Some of the most influential promoters of the subjects such as Otto Salomon, the author of the Naas slojd curriculum well known world wide at the time, and Icelandic advocates such as Halldora Bjarnadottir and Jon borarinsson argued for the value of the subjects for both sexes. But responses to the questionnaire that GuSmundur Finnbogason and SigurSur P. Sivertsen (1921) based their report on suggest that the traditional view was that education should be gender specific, particularly in practical or manual subjects such as crafts. Despite the fact that crafts had been made compulsory, it was in many cases impossible to offer instruction in these subjects. The situation in itinerant schools did not improve rapidly from the state it was in when the curriculum committee of 1933 penned this description: "The teacher has to shift from one place to the next with books and equipment -- or rather with next to nothing in the way of books and equipment, lacking in all respects" (AlpingistiSindi A 1934, p. 544-545). Over a decade later a principal wrote to lament the fact that craft education is still in a sorry state. He maintained that this was not due to lack of interest by 27 teachers but simply because "most schools do not have the facilities to do justice to the subject" (Stefan SigurSsson, 1945, p. 59). Published papers on the subject of craft education in the 1920's and 1930's introduce the concept of creativity into the educational discourse. The earlier argument of training the hand and mind in a broad sense is focussed more narrowly; developmental significance in training hand and eye coordination ~ which also becomes a stable reference in advocacy. The older rationales of self sufficiency and practicality remain, and the connection with economic and cultural sovereignty is also used, but such arguments are also dismissed more often than not by the advocates of personal expression and originality in children. This latest group speaks of letting the child enjoy its creativity and of allowing for spontaneous expression (Eirikur SigurSsson, 1928; A3alsteinn Sigmundsson, 1936). In the late 1930's and early 1940's, Lu5vig Gu5mundsson started writing on practical subjects. His views are important to this story, for he was to have a lasting influence on art and craft education, not the least as the founder of the first teacher education programs for specialists in the subjects. His ideas were perhaps most clearly expounded in his 1942 publication 'Teach the children to work'. There he discussed the pedagogy of Pestalozzi and the development of a work ethic as the core of education. Lu5vig claimed that the work ethic consisted of objectivity, love of truth, the acceptance of responsibility and love of one's fellow. He further argued that crafts were uniquely suited to inculcate in children a work ethic for the product and the process of craft clearly signal to the child the value of their work. There was increased demand for instruction in crafts and in drawing both to fulfil the demands of the elementary curriculum and to meet the needs of the growing domestic schools and secondary level programs including crafts, such as the rural secondary schools. The result was a shortage of suitably trained teachers. The demand for trained craft teachers increased even more over the next decade. First with a new legislation on rural secondary schools in 1940, which stipulated at least 12 hours of instruction in practical subjects per week. Young men should be prepared for construction work and craft production as part of the farming operation, and young women prepared for all common household chores in a rural home (Helgi Eliasson, 1945). The domestic schools offered a program which consisted two thirds of textile crafts, which called for a great number of teachers as well. In 1939 LuSvig Gu5mundsson, formerly principal of the IsafjorSur secondary school, announced the foundation of the College of Crafts. In the announcement of his new school LuSvig GuSmundsson stated three goals. First, it was to provide prospective and serving teachers with the opportunity for a solid education to specialize in various branches of craft education. Second, it was to offer the public with the opportunity to study various crafts. Third, it was to provide instruction in practical subjects for unemployed youth. LuSvig had recruited Kurt Zier from Germany to be the head teacher of this new school. Kurt Zier, as the head teacher and later principal of the school, also had enormous influence on the development of art and craft education in Iceland. The first courses offered at the College of Crafts were a course for prospective wood and metalwork specialists, a course in wood and metalwork for farmers, and a course for unemployed youth (Bjorn Th. Bjornsson, 1979). In the early years, the students worked side by side in the workshop without much distinction 2 9 between those who were farmers and those who were prospective teachers (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918). The school was Lu5vfg's private enterprize for the first three years. After it was made an independent institution and a department of art was added. The school had applied for government funding and had been awarded some funds from Albing, but the financial situation of the school for the first years was quite difficult, calling not only for dedication, but a healthy dose of optimism from everyone involved (Porir Sigur5sson, b. 1927). Kurt Zier, who was trained and experienced as a graphic artist, was the main instructor of drawing and also gave lessons on art and craft pedagogy, a subject which Lu5vig Gu5mundsson also lectured on (Bjdrn Th. Bjornsson, 1979). In addition to the wood and metalwork teacher training and the art department, which trained those who wanted to be artists and art teachers side by side, the school always had a substantial number of courses for the public. Several of the teachers interviewed attended drawing courses there in the early years of the school (Vigdis Palsdottir, b. 1924; Egill Strange, b. 1927; I>6runn Arnadottir, b. 1929). The need for a comprehensive revision of the education system was keenly felt in the tremendous social and economic upheaval of the war years. During the war, with occupation by the Allied Forces, Iceland was virtually thrown into industrialization on a previously unknown scale. The war and immediate post-war period saw considerable economic growth, and the need to sustain this with an education system for an industrialized nation was recognized (Ingolfur A . Johannesson, 1983). Several educational options had developed. However, there was little coordination between schools and the distinction between levels of education and the resulting qualifications and their relative merit remained rather unclear 30 (Gunnar M . Magmiss, 1946). In 1941 Albing appointed several educationists to review the education system and make recommendations. This committee presented seven bills to Albing in 1945, which were eventually passed as law in 1946. These were acts on the Organization of the School System and Educational Provision, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Teacher Education, A Model School and on Domestic Schools. With this body of legislation the school system was divided into four levels: Elementary Education for children up to the age of 13; Secondary Education for pupils aged 13-16; Grammar and Training Schools; and University. Compulsory education was for children 7 to 14 years of age. The elementary level was defined as having two levels, primary and intermediate. Crafts were compulsory at both levels but drawing only at intermediate level. The teacher pupil ratio at elementary level was 40:1, except in crafts and swimming where it was half of that in other classes. Despite this legislation the problem of itinerant schools was still in evidence. The committee report contains the familiar refrains about the problems of providing anything but the bare essentials as instruction in schools that had no permanent facilities or staff: "The belongings of the school are subject to damage and disrepair due to constant shifting and often it is not even possible to apply existing teaching aids given the facilities" (Albingisti5indi A , 1945, 138). Crafts, drawing and singing were singled out as subjects in which instruction was often impossible, both due to the facilities and to the teachers' lack of preparation. Itinerant specialists were suggested as an option (AlpingistiSindi A , 1945, 153). The secondary level of education spanned four years. The first two of which were compulsory and at the end of which pupils sat the Youth Certificate or Completion Exam. A 31 three year program leading to the National Middle School Exam qualified pupils for entrance to grammar schools and training schools. A four year program led to Secondary School Certificate, which qualified for entrance to some training schools and a number of government sector jobs. These programs were offered through a variety of schools, and the so called Youth School encompassed the first two years of secondary school. Middle School offered the three year program as well, and a complete secondary school would offer the four year program as well. The four year program included two options; the academic and the vocational department (Log um skolakerfi, 1946). IV. Mythologization is the process of entrenching the subject in a central position in the curriculum, promoting it to such an extent that its importance is taken for granted (Goodson, 1987). Reid (1984) argues that this process takes place through interaction between the promoters and publics ~ that is consumers of the curricular topic. In order for a curricular invention to survive in the long run it needs to have significance for an external public. Meyer and Rowan (1983) suggest that this significance lies in the value that the subject has on the social identity market. Conversely, it may be argued that some subjects become entrenched in a marginal position in the curriculum. Their lack of importance becomes taken for granted. There is a pervasive sense among art, craft and design teachers in the western world that their subjects do not enjoy central status in the curriculum. For instance the early legislation of the subjects in Iceland has not led to central status. The vocational departments and their fate is of particular importance in this story. While the academic department of the secondary school was a direct continuation of an existing tradition the vocational departments were not. The three year option leading to the National Exam was a sort of a fast track toward grammar school and university, while the secondary school certificate from an academic option led to some job qualifications and entrance to some training schools. The nature of the vocational departments was outlined in the legislation: "In a vocational department up to half of the instruction time should be devoted to practical subjects. Practical subjects include different kinds of crafts, cooking, household chores, drawing, handwriting, typewriting, sports and more... The rest of the instruction time shall be devoted to academic subjects" (Gunnar M . Magnuss, 1946, p. 83). The curriculum committee stated that the intent is to provide a more varied secondary education in response to the needs and abilities of each student. At the same time the comment was made that the vocational option should in no respect be considered inferior or less prestigious than the academic. The committee voiced the hope that it would lead to a wider variety of qualifications (Albingisti5indi A , 1945). However, in order for this to happen, the legislation on training schools would have had to take the vocational secondary school certificate more into account. In the long run the training schools preferred their entrants to possess either the academic secondary school certificate or matriculation exam from grammar school, the Teachers' College being a case in point. Members of Alping questioned not only the feasibility of a secondary level segregated into academic and vocational departments, they questioned the social and cultural implications of such a policy. Reservations were immediately voiced about whether the legislation would serve to enhance the status of practical knowledge in a society that had sorely neglected practical subjects and placed far more prestige on academic studies. It was warned that the separation into academic and vocational options would in practice mean a hierarchy where the vocational option would be devalued as the public would deem the academic option more 33 prestigious and advantageous for their children. The critics argued that it would be counterproductive to separate education for the hand and the mind at such an early stage and pointed to the rural school legislation of 1939, where practical subjects were made compulsory for every student, as a more feasible option to enhance practical knowledge in Icelandic society. The proposed division of the secondary level into academic and practical subjects would in their words "devalue and tarnish the reputation of the productive labour" (Albingisti5indi A , 1945, 297). The dire predictions and warnings about the fate of vocational departments in a two tiered secondary system that were issued by critics of the 1946 legislation came true. The development of vocational departments at senior secondary schools never became a priority, either with the schools or the public. Adding a vocational department entailed considerable cost for a school and did nothing to enhance its prestige. The public wasn't exactly clamouring for vocational education either. Many of the teachers interviewed recall that the public perception, and even that of teachers and principals, was that the vocational option was for the less able student (SigurQur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Vigdis Palsdottir, b. 1924; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Sigrun Gu5mundsd6ttir, b. 1948; Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953; Gu5run Asbjornsdottir, b. 1959). The only institution solely devoted to vocational education; the Vocational Secondary School in Reykjavik, was founded in 1951. It was in part based on the model of comprehensive secondary schools in North-America. The program consisted of a core of academic subjects compulsory for all pupils and then a specialization consisting of a core of courses as well as several elective courses. The academic core comprised about half of the total curriculum and 34 students could select one of five specializations or departments. These were two textile departments; one devoted to weaving, sewing and embroidery, the other more focussed on dress and garment making and machine stitching. There was an industrial department with a wood work and a metal work option, there was a department of home economics and one of fisheries. Courses in home economics were included in all departments but the industrial. Drawing or drafting and design was taught in the textile and industrial departments. A n elective course in art was also available. Outside Reykjavik there was little done to develop the vocational secondary school option. Magnus Jonsson, quoted in Bjarni Danielsson et. al. (1982), blamed this on complete lack of facilities for the instruction as well as a shortage of qualified teachers. Many school boards were also reluctant to assume the costs associated with a vocational department, which is understandable considering that in many cases it was a struggle to provide classrooms for the entire compulsory school population. There were of course exceptions. Schools where the vocational option was held in regard was allocated resources, particularly at the rural secondary schools where practical subjects had been important from the outset. Magnus Jonsson mentioned in particular the Laugar Rural Secondary School for its facilities and offering of programmes (Bjarni Danielsson et al, 1982). Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) was a pupil there in 1934-36 and already then the school had a well developed and supported program in wood work. The struggle to develop the vocational secondary option was compounded by the halfhearted implementation policy adopted by Albing and the Ministry of Education. Not only were the qualifications resulting from Secondary School Certificate from a vocational department 35 unclear, but an official curriculum for vocational studies was never published. Teachers therefore had high autonomy in developing their programs, and yet nothing official to refer to in their efforts to establish the programs (Bjarni Danielsson et al., 1982; Hjordis borleifsdottir, b. 1932). Through negotiation and cooperation with the College of Trades, the School of Mechanics and the Technical College the Vocational School in Reykjavik tried to establish itself and ensure that their pupils earned qualifications for further study. For instance, completing the wood work department program at the school gave the graduate transfer credits toward the journeyman's training at the College of Trades, reducing the time that the training took (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b.1919; Magnus Jonsson quoted in Bjarni Danielsson et al. 1982). The social class association of the craft subjects is of significance in understanding their marginal position in the curriculum. They represent aspects of material culture — the design and making of objects and images is their subject matter. There they are akin to art and this relation is often acknowledged in formal curricula by grouping them together in formal curricula. Despite the relation there are important differences in the socially constructed understanding of these subjects. In terms of social class, the crafts are associated with manual labour of the lower classes, rather than intellectual labour more readily associated with high class status. Art is associated with Fine Art, its disciplinary origins traced to the conception of art and artists of the Renaissance period in Western Europe. Crafts on the other hand are associated with the Minor Arts and industry (Lucie-Smith, 1981; Pye, 1964; 1968). Collectively crafts are not a gendered phenomenon, but as with other aspects in the world of work there is a tradition of gendered division of labour. The invention and promotion of crafts as school subjects did not challenge the age old tradition in Icelandic society, where 36 men worked outside and women inside the home, a literal distinction in the farming environment (Sigri5ur Duna Kristmundsdottir, 1989). Interestingly Jon Mrarinsson (1891) did issue one such challenge though, compared to the arguments for equal access to education put forward in the 1960's. Jon believed that the pedagogical benefits of woodwork as a school subject accrued to girls as well as boys, i f not more so. "In regards to the objection that woodwork is not women's work, the slojd is an excellent tool to uproot the stupid notion that women should not know but a few things in life. When men and women stand side by side at school doing the same things, then the distinction between men's and women's work will be obliterated. Then women will really start to have faith that they are not specifically created for knitting and sewing, but in reality are capable of much more" (Jon I>6rarinsson, 1891, p. 18). Such ideals were central to the drive for gender equality in education, particularly the demand for equal access to education which was prominent in Iceland during the 1970's. During this period women sought fields of work and study that were male-dominated and out of traditional feminine pursuits (Gu5run Helgadottir, 1995b). The concomitant devaluation of traditional women's work is an instance of what hooks (1984) describes as sexism among women. This was a blow to the traditional arts and crafts that women pursued and the hiddenstream became even more hidden (Chicago, 1980; Collins & Sandell, 1984). The possibility of combining feminism and traditional women's work was not conceivable at that point, not until a new generation of feminism sought to restore women's traditions 2 Slojd or sloyd, as the term has been spelled in English, is the collective noun for the school subjects textiles and wood and metalwork as they are known in the Scandinavian school systems. Otto Salomon is credited with choosing the term, which stems from Old Norse and means craft. It includes the same ambiguity as the English term, referring both to skill and alluding to sorcery. Incidentally, the collective noun in Icelandic is not root related to slojd. The Icelandic term is handavinna, which literally translates as manual work. 37 (Ahopelto, 1988; Gu5run Helgadottir, 1995b; Parker, 1986; SigriSur Duna Kristmundsdottir, 1989). In crafts people tend to honour tradition by following conventions rather than breaking them. The emergence of a "grey zone" of art created by using crafts materials and techniques, elevated craft to art status after the fact. Crafts such as quilts hung on gallery walls, or created on fine art premises, has not challenged the distinction between art and craft (Becker, 1982). Feminist art historians and art educators suggest that there is a mainstream art which is professional or belonging to the productive sphere, and a hiddenstream art which is domestic or of the reproductive sphere. There is an overlap between the categories of craft and hiddenstream as well as art and mainstream art. Women are over represented among hiddenstream artists but under represented among mainstream artists, which suggests a gendered relationship to work (Ahopelto, 1988; Chicago 1980; Collins & Sandell 1984; Parker 1986; Parker & Pollock; 1987). A distinction can also be made in the craftworld between objects that are made for sale and objects for personal use. The craftsperson who works out of a studio producing objects for sale has a different orientation to work than the craftsperson who makes objects on the dining room table or the kitchen floor. The school subjects art, textiles, weaving and wood and metalwork bear the imprint of these distinctions as well as the commonality. It is important to keep both in mind, but here the focus will remain on the craft subjects. Traditions of Art and Craft Curricula as Text Apple's (1993) symbolic environment does loosely parallel curriculum as text. Curriculum as text encompasses the ideal curricula of educational discourse and the official or formal 38 curricula. The formal curricula result from the political process of curriculum development and adoption as educational policy. Formal curriculum has a physical manifestation as a document ~ there is a "thing" called the curriculum. The printed remnants of educational discourses are evidence of the public claims made by stakeholders. A favoured method of sorting and classifying art education curricula is to analyze the rationales or goals of ideal and formal curricula (Day, 1972; Efland, 1979; 1990; Eisner, 1979; Gibson-Garvey, 1985; Hamblen, 1984; Hobbs, 1984; Kern, 1985; Lanier, 1977; Thelen, 1971). Another method, preferred by researchers interested in social and historical aspects of curriculum, is to trace ideal and formal curricula to social structures such as gender, ethnicity and class (Amburgy, 1990; Berge, 1992; Chalmers, 1990; Efland, 1985; Freedman, 1987; Freedman & Popkewitz, 1988; Korzenik, 1985; Lemerise & Sherman, 1990; Stankiewicz, 1982; Zimmerman, 1991). The symbolic environment of craft education was imported to Iceland in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Therefore the traditions that developed in neighbouring countries are of importance here, particularly the traditions in the Nordic countries. Analysis of art and craft education rationales as they appear in the written remnants of educational discourses suggests two main traditions in this field; the vocational and the pedagogical. Of those the the vocational has been researched and named by art educators with reference to industrial drawing and industrial education (Soucy & Stankiewicz, 1990; MacDonald, 1970). The pedagogical tradition has not been as thoroughly explored by English speaking art and craft researchers, but enjoyed more attention on mainland Europe (Ashwin, 1981a; Johansson, 1989; Petterson & Asen, 1989; Ryegard, 1982; Thorbjornsson, 1990; Trotzig, 1989). 3 9 The Vocational Tradition The Protestant work ethic was the morality propounded by 19th century school promoters. Honest labour was a virtue and source of spiritual fulfillment. In the industries where labour was increasingly divorced from intellect, it was soon apparent to many that this morality of work was at odds with the alienating experience of work (Kliebard, 1992). The perception of social crisis increased the emphasis on morality, its decline and resurrection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries parallels important social changes in Western Europe and North America. The late 19th century and early 20th century was an era of demographic mobility, women's growing presence in the public sphere, urbanization and immigration/emigration. These factors profoundly shook the social fabric of stratified by class, ethnicity and gender (Curtis, 1988; Efland, 1990; Florin, 1988; Guanin Helgadottir, 1991; Katz, 1976; Prentice, 1989). Public education systems for the labouring classes were founded as an avenue of improvement. By the early 20th century the public school system in most western societies had been established. Lower class children were in school and the time was ripe for reflection on what they should be schooled in and how. One approach was to infuse their education with some aesthetic and ethical values of liberal education. This was premised on the hope of transfer, that society could be improved through improving the individual. Economic values were as bound up in education as moral values. These surfaced in the form of vocational education (Drost, 1977; Jon Sigurdsson, 1842). The shift to mass production for market in a workshop or factory led to a redefinition of the work of artists and crafts people. Mass production meant a breakdown of the artisan role. 40 Whereas the artisan conceived and carried out a project, the new relations of production separated concept and execution. On one hand there were work components carried out by unskilled labour, and on the other, a design component carried out by skilled workers. Design referred both to the conceptual work of planning a product and to the enhancement of products by ornament. This latter design component provided a new context for ancient arts such as embroidery and carving (Efland, 1985; Korzenik, 1985; Lucie-Smith, 1981). Specific art and craft skills such as drawing, drafting and woodworking, as well as general work habits of neatness, precision and diligence, were identified as beneficial if not necessary for the industrial worker. Neither conventional training of artists nor the training of journeymen in the crafts and trades provided this kind of education. The demand for workers in this field called for a new kind of education in art and crafts. Under these conditions art and craft/design training became popular in the late 19th century (Ashwin, 1981a, Chalmers, 1990; Freedman, 1987; Korzenik, 1985; Petterson & Asen, 1989). While the vocation of artist and the trades were for the most part male prerogatives, women gained vocational opportunities in the design component of industry. Middle class women who needed waged work welcomed these opportunities. Design had connotations of accomplishments rather than of industrial work and was therefore socially acceptable for women of this class. In this new art education the aesthetic tradition of art and craft education merged with the vocational (Anscombe, 1984; Ashwin, 1981b; Bennett,1937; Callen, 1979; Freedman, 1987; Korzenik, 1985; Petterson & Asen, 1989; Zimmerman, 1991). Industrialization was slow in Iceland, which did not become an industrial society until the mid 20th century. The need for a skilled workforce for manufacturing industries didn't exist 41 until late in the 20th century, and even at that point the manufacturing industries were but a fraction of the labour force. The educational needs of the emerging industrial societies of the late 19th century were therefore not present in Iceland, although the educational rhetoric concomitant with those needs was evoked (GuSmundur Finnbogason, 1903; Ingolfur A . Johannesson, 1983; Jon SigurSsson, 1842; Jon borarinsson, 1891; Magnus GuSmundsson, 1988; Sumarliai Isleifsson, 1987). The Pedagogical Tradition A different tradition arose as the pedagogues concerned with mass education faced the task of devising not only curricula but instructional methods for large groups of lower class children. Until the mid 20th century the Nordic school tradition of art and craft [sloyd/slojd] education owed most to early conceptions of mass schooling. In the pedagogical tradition, drawing and crafts, had little to do with art and craft as practiced in society. Rather they were conceived as contributing to the overall development of children as citizens by instilling in them the love, respect and aptitude for work (Ryegard, 1982; Salomon, 1891; Thorbjornsson, 1989). Curricula were planned as systems of projects by which these goals would be attained. The systems were designed according to the logic of the task and were sequential and suitable for mass instruction by teachers less than proficient in the craft. The tradition can be traced back to the pedagogical ideals of men such as Pestalozzi, Froebel and Cygneaeus. A basic premise was that children know nothing and need to be taught and drilled to achieve skill and the proper attitude (Ashwin, 1981a; 1981b; Lonnbeck, 1910; Thorbjornsson, 1990). Arts and crafts thus underwent a certain transformation from common or community knowledge to school knowledge. The pedagogues transformed commonly held knowledge 42 into a body of knowledge that was legitimate and manageable in the school context. The management and transfer of school knowledge became the prerogative of the teachers and school administrators, a new and growing segment of the middle class. In the Icelandic case school knowledge was further more "foreign" in that it was imported by educators who studied abroad (Gu5run Helgad6ttir,1991; LyQur Bjornsson, 1981; Ingolfur A . Johannesson, 1983, 1991; I>orsteinn Gunnarsson, 1990). The invention of public schooling, the invention of art and crafts as school subjects, the second birth moment of education, signals the ascendancy and triumph of the pedagogical tradition. The invention, promotion and later legislation of art and crafts is however strongly affected by the earlier traditions with their class and gender connotations. Although the early proponents of the pedagogical tradition did not necessarily condone and, in some instances, criticized traditional gendered divisions of work, by and large such divisions were honoured (Ashwin, 1981b; Barter, 1902; Berge, 1992; Jon J?6rarinsson, 1891; Petterson & Asen, 1989; Ryegard, 1982). Few of those who trace art and craft education history and trends have paid attention to the effects of institutional factors of schooling in shaping the school subjects (Ashwin 1981a, Berge 1992, GuSrun Helgadottir, 1991; Petterson & Asen 1989, Ryegard 1982). The ascendancy of the pedagogical tradition is part and parcel of the professionalization of teaching and of the legitimation of school as opposed to common knowledge. A school subject is a manifestation of such school knowledge, not only as a symbolic environment of ideas, but also as a human and material environment. 43 H u m a n Environment: Curr iculum as a Community The political process of curriculum development and adoption ranges from statement of educational ideals to the negotiations and compromises of the various stakeholders in the curriculum. This process is of constant import in education and the lives of those who engage in it (Apple, 1993; Connelly, Irvine & Enns, 1980). "The means and ends involved in educational policy and practice are the results of struggles by powerful groups and social movements to make their knowledge legitimate, to defend or increase their patterns of social mobility, and to increase their power in the larger social arena" (Apple, 1993, p. 10). While some stakeholders have more clout than others and the groups that are dominant economically and culturally can be seen to wield a wide influence, it would be simplistic to assume that they have absolute power to impose their will on education. As stated before, curricula, as other educational policies in Western democracies, are arrived at through consensus based on compromises and political accords. Dominant groups are, however, in a position to weight the compromises in their favour. This is as true for a decentralized education system such as the U.S.A. or Canada as it is of a centralized education system, such as Iceland. The whole society are stakeholders in curriculum, but only a few claim their stake by officially entering educational discourse. In the Icelandic case this group is comprised of politicians and political activists and educationists as well as professional journalists (Apple, 1990,1993; Ingolfur A. Johannesson, 1991; borsteinn Gunnarsson, 1990). In the discussion above, little attention has been paid to the role of teachers in shaping the curriculum. Their staked claim may not be as large as that of powerful social groups, but it is vital as their livelihood depends on it (GuSrun Helgadottir, 1996). Consequently, teachers 44 and other school personnel such as administrators devote much energy to advocacy efforts aiming at shaping the curriculum (Irwin, 1988; 1993; Boyer 1995). Professional organizations, such as organizations formed around school subjects as a formal part of the curriculum community, are a force in this process. While these organizations may not have much political clout, they are a motivated, informed and active force on the interface between formal curricula and lived curricula, and are well placed to wield their influence. In the previous section it was established that art and crafts as school subjects can be traced to different traditions. In the vocational tradition, which predates schools as we know them, artists and craftsmen had apprentices. Folk art and crafts were passed on through the work in which children participated from an early age. A rival emerged in the pedagogical tradition. These traditions have important implications for the community or human environment of the subjects. In the earlier traditions, practicing artists or craftspersons also taught their art or craft. The pedagogical tradition explicitly rejected the legitimacy of artists or crafts people as teachers. At the core of this tradition is the belief that only the practitioner of education, a teacher, is qualified to teach the school subjects. However, the older tradition lives on in the definition of the curriculum community and identity. Class The term class is not used here in the specific sense used for social stratification studies, but rather in reference to the basic dichotomy of mind vs matter, which charactherizes Western cultures. Mind, or intellectual and spiritual pursuits are accorded higher status, more respect, than matter, or manual and physical work. Crafts are strongly identified with manual labour and the physical properties of matter and the skills inherent in handling matter. Manual 4 5 labour has since ancient times been the lot of lower classes, whereas intellectual and spirtiual pursuits have been the domain of upper classes. As discussed in the sections on the vocational and pedagogical traditions the craft subjects came into the formal curricula in western school systems as part of the education of the masses; that is the lower classes (Ashwin, 1981a; 1981b; Chalmers, 1990; Efland, 1990; Ryegard, 1982). In the history of mass schooling a strong tension is evident between the will of the ruling classes, as evideced in educational policies such as formal curricula and the will of the masses, to whom these policies were to apply. The 'masses' did not necessarily subject themselves to the ideal of social adaptation through education, but adapted educational options to individual and family strategies, often in the hope of using education to social and economic advantage (Barman, 1988; Callen, 1979; Korzenik, 1985). Manual subjects such as crafts were therefore not unquestionably accepted as a desirable education for children of the classes that earned their living through manual labour. In the case of craft teachers, the "master craftsperson" is both a strong ideal and a reality. Berge (1992) found in her research on Swedish craft teachers in training that wood and metalwork teachers often entered teacher training programs after working in the trades. Reasons for the shift were often identified as a desire to work with people rather than objects, and, in some cases, health hazards or disabilities incurred on the shop floor that were not seen as disabling in the classroom context.These conditions indicate a potential tension between the vocational tradition on one hand and the pedagogical on the other. The former —pre- dating the social upheaval of the late 19th century — shapes the subject communities into conformity with traditional gender and class affiliations. The pedagogical tradition shifted the subjects from their traditional societal context into the institutional context of schooling. 46 Thereby it became possible, although not generally accepted as plausible, to see the subjects out of the traditional gender and class context. Berge (1992) utilizes an expanded notion of class that reveals more about gender than conventional definitions. Her notion incorporates the changes in educational and vocational status that individuals experience over their working lives. In terms of parents' education and occupation Berge (1992) found that Swedish textile teachers have a higher social class background than wood and metalwork teachers. Further, women frequently changed their class affiliation through further education or a new line of waged work.The higher class background of textile teachers reported by Berge (1992) matches the findings of Florin (1988) and Rinne (1988) that historically female teachers in Scandinavia tended to come from higher class background than male teachers. Berge (1992) also found that wood and metalwork teachers often had a working class or farming family and/or personal background. Their formal teacher training often represented the highest level of education in their family. Rinne (1988) found that the difference in class background between male and female teachers in Finland has decreased since 1968. A survey of Icelandic teachers indicates that they come from a lower middle class background, the number of tradesmen being notable among parents (Mrolfur E>6rlindsson, 1988). Possessing and appreciating fine art was a privilege, and an education in this privilege an accomplishment. Making fine or artistic crafts such as embroidery or tapestry were traditional female accomplishments of the upper classes. The formal education of upper class women in western societies often included extensive training in fine arts and crafts. In contrast there were strict regulations regarding textiles as a school subject for lower class 47 girls; for instance, in British and Swedish curricula. These were to safeguard against "fancy work" or artistic pursuits in textiles that were considered above the station of a lower class female (Berge, 1992; Parker, 1986). The male upper class generally did not engage in artistic or craft pursuits, they were patrons of the arts and the crafts (Ashwin, 1981; Parker, 1986; Theobald, 1984; 1988; Zimmerman, 1991). There is a tradition of approval of upper class women's interest in and pursuit of art and craft within the private sphere, as recreation or as domestic work. Theobald (1988) describes this as the accomplishment tradition in the 19th century U K . and its colonies. Class can thus be a less tangible concept than indicated by formal status, as in the class connotations of certain occupations or pursuits. Gender In western cultures the notion of separate but complementary spheres of male and female activity is a powerful ideology with roots in the ancient Greek philosophy of the oikos and the polis, the private and the public. The public sphere was reserved for men and the private sphere was women's domain. Gender ideology accords different attributes to the genders. Women are attributed qualities such as gentleness, softness, weakness, virtue and morality and roughness, strength and aggression is attributed to men. These distinctions are significant for this study as they overlay the roles construed for workers dependent on the perceived nature of their work. Skill is a sociopolitical construct or an ideological category which is imposed upon work by virtue of the worker's status and gender (Anscombe, 1984; Callen, 1979; Cockbum, 1983; 1985; Elshtain, 1981; Grumet, 1988; Gu6ny Gu5bj6rnsd6ttir, 1990; Maynard, 1989; Rosenberg, 1982). 48 Cockburn's (1985) research on the gendering of jobs and people indicates that the choice of materials to work with and the relationship with tools and equipment/machinery is strongly gendered. Hard materials, physical force and control of machinery is associated with manliness. Soft materials, physical weakness and operation ~ as opposed to control — of machines is associated with femininity (Cockburn, 1985; Maynard, 1989). In this study the perceived relationship of technological competence and male gender is of particular importance for the concept of craftsmanship. It is revealing that the concept is masculine in itself; there is no corresponding 'craftswomanship' to describe the skill and competence of craft as a vocation (Chicago, 1980; Cockburn, 1985). The manhood associated with craftsmanship relates to a preindustrial male gender role which is now an exalted idea of craftsmanship where the worker is autonomous, skilled and respected (Lucie-Smith, 1981; Maynard, 1989; Pye, 1968). The all male job or profession becomes culturally suffused with masculinity: "Masculinity is bound up with the labour process, the notion of skill, and the experience of work" (Maynard, 1989, p. 159). Power associated with workmanship in the use of tools and machinery is repeatedly brought up in the writings of women who have entered male dominated trades and crafts. They commonly report that the technical know-how is preserved as a male domain and that men actively prevent women from acquiring it by strategies ranging from witholding knowledge to overt hostility and intimidation. The women reported doubts about ever becoming fully accepted members of their crafts or trades, and a constant need to prove themselves when facing their colleagues' reluctance to accept women's competence and professional authority (Cockburn, 1983, 1985; Kvinder i "mandejobs", 1987; Elinor et al, 1987; Schroedel, 1985). 49 There is a sharp contrast between these accounts and the accounts that women involved in traditional female crafts give of their involvement. They generally exude confidence in the skills and competence of the craft worker; the theme of solidarity, of belonging to a network of craft workers, is prevalent. Skills and knowledge are passed on freely by female kin or by friends and the apprentice's acquisition of these skills is rarely questioned. It is assumed that the girl will become proficient (Elinor et al 1987; Chicago, 1980). While it may seem obvious that sexism is a major problem for women in male dominated fields, it has effects in female dominated fields as well, although they may not seem as evident (Collins, 1995). The manifestation of sexism in relations between women is of great importance in studying a female dominated profession such as teaching. It has been suggested that sexism among women is expressed by suspicion, competion and an unduly defensive stance. Part and parcel of this distrust and devaluation is the tendency among women who embrace feminist values to feel contemptous and superior of those women who do not (hooks, 1984). This notion is useful in exploring two themes in this study. On one hand there were rigorous demands and strict regulation that evolved within the textile curriculum community; on the other the erosion of that community when second wave feminism took the stage with a concomitant rejection of past movements such as the maternal feminism (SigriSur Duna Kristmundsdottir, 1989). Although the male/female division of labour may be similar through most of Europe it is questionable whether the form that it took in the Greco-Roman tradition should be taken to apply to all European societies and social groups.Regional, ethnic and social class factors that have important effects on the relations of gender and work. A gendered distinction prevailed in the crafts. Women tended to work in what might be termed the 'soft' crafts such as textiles, 50 whereas men worked with hard materials such as wood and metals. In the textile production in the Icelandic farming household, where all available hands were needed, the work was broken down into gendered components. Men, for instance shaved sheepskins, carded wool and knitted but they did not spin or sew (Magnus Gu5mundsson, 1988; Elsa Guojonsson, 1986; Halldora Bjarnadottir, 1966). The notion of separate spheres has been useful to highlight differences in male and female experience. It has elucidated how historical and sociological inquiry has been misguided when based on the assumption that men and women experience the same social reality. Feminist researchers have shown how male and female experience of the same physical and temporal location differs radically, to the point where it must be questioned whether these constitute the same reality (Kelly, 1977; Millman & Kanter, 1987). The dichotomy of separate spheres is however limited as an explanatory framework. It has been argued that to view women's history as synonymous with the history of private life, as confined to home and family is to deny women's contributions to the public sphere, their participation in public life (Smith, 1987). Studies of productive work or waged labour tend to neglect the reproductive work that is inevitably carried out by or for the worker in order to sustain herself/himself. Among others, Scott (1988) warns that attempts to borrow paradigms from distinct theoretical frameworks such as Marxism may limit our understanding of work in that it offers a clear view only of the productive sphere. The attention has moved from the existence of the two spheres to the interplay between them (Kelly, 1984; Lewis, 1986; Scott, 1987). This interplay is manifest in work, which should be defined as the locus of interaction between the public/private (Morgan & Taylorson, 1983). The concept of work should be used to inquire about the social relation between men and 51 women and the social organization of gender. Studies such as Cockbum (1985) and Pollert (1983), which clarify how workers' perception and experience of gender as constructed in the family is represented in the workplace, offer important insights. These studies offer the basis for a critique of a conventional approach to the disproportionate representation of the sexes in various vocations. In the conventional approach the choices made by individuals rather than the context in which those choices are made are seen as problematic. Women's tendency to opt for traditional women's work is seen as a problem indicative of false consciousness. By focussing on the context as the location of the problem it is possible to conceive of traditional choices as rational and feasible from women's point of view. At this point it is important to reflect on the historical development of choices in relation to work as rational responses to certain situations. The dual responsibility of family and waged work which women assume constitutes not only a workload, but also a certain orientation to, or understanding of, work. Concepts that have been formed to name the work men do, such as career, labour and leisure, cannot be unqualified descriptors of women's work (Lackey 1995). In a case study of two women scholars, Prentice (1989) portrayed the dynamic relationship between pursuit of a profession and loyalty to family responsibilities. Neither aspect of their life work seems to have terminated the other, they co-existed albeit in tension. Applying the labels of career and domestic work to analyze the work of these women would be reductive and obscure their achievements and the ways in which they were achieved and understood (Elgquist-Saltzman, 1985; Smith, 1987). 52 The conventional interpretation of women's career choices negates the rationality and legitimacy of individual choices (Acker, 1992; Anna G. Jonasdottir, 1988; Gaskell, 1987; Prentice, 1989). Kathleen Gerson (1985) named her study of women's work "Hard Choices: How Women decide about Work, Career and Motherhood". In many ways this title reflects a paradox inherent in women's work. In the first instance the concept 'work' is placed alongside as equal to two fields of work; career and motherhood. The career is work in the public sphere and motherhood is work in the private sphere: women do not decide about work — the decision is how to balance the workload in both spheres. By posing the problem this way it becomes a question of hard choices. For the concept of choice is not as relevant as that of obligation and compromise. Women do not choose a path as much as negotiate a passage through life where motherhood, marriage, job or career are not options to choose from but obligations to fulfil (Acker, 1989; Elguist-Saltzman, 1985; Gaskell, 1987; Lackey, 1995; Nias & Aspinwall, 1992; Smith, 1987). Elgquist-Saltzman (1985) suggests on the basis of her research on women's life histories that different rationales or ways of thinking apply in paid and unpaid work, or public and private sphere work. Decisions about education, career and the foundation of a family result from a complex interaction of social relations of daughter, mother and wife in a certain family of a certain socio-economic status in a particular environment (Berge, 1992; Elgquist-Saltzman, 1985; Gu5run Helgadottir, 1991; Prentice, 1988; Weiner, 1994). It may certainly be argued that compromise is the way of life for most people, regardless of gender. However, the acceptance of compromise is gender related, for women it is expected and an acceptable way for their gendered role conforms to the interdependence of the oikos. For men it is less so for 53 their gendered role conforms to notions of exerting authority and sovereignty as the acceptable way of the polis. In exploring female teachers ideas of career and conception of their own career Nias & Aspinwall (1992) found that the women were ambivalent about promotion. Rising in the ranks was not part of the plan. If that had happened, the women offered explanation or justification. On the basis of their interviews with women teachers, they concluded that: "By mid-career considerable number have redefined the term, to mean the extension of personal interest, learning and development, rather than vertical mobility" (p. 1). Fitting personal goals to career goals was not in the picture, but threading a career path through personal goals was common. Gender is an important part of the construction of the human environment that the craft curriculum communities are. Teaching, particularly of young students, is a female dominated vocation. The role of the school teacher, as most professions, was a public role originally conceived for men and thus shaped by the experience and interests of men. Grumet (1988) suggests that female teachers seek to repress their sexuality in order to conform to the role of teacher. If it is true for teaching in general that women suffer the effects of sexism, the problem is compounded in teaching subjects that are particularly male defined. These problems have a history as long as the history of schooling itself, and hence have historically contingent manifestations. In the 19th and early 20th centuries the entrance of women into teacher training and teaching was reluctantly accepted in many countries. The effort that went into enforcing segregation of the sexes by restricting the behaviour of females suggests that female sexuality posed a grave 54 problem for many educational authorities of the early public school systems (Prentice, 1988). It was perceived as a threat to the moral integrity of the school. In many western societies, women teachers were obliged to be celibate, to repress their sexuality. Active female sexuality was considered incompatible with the teacher's role and marriage bans and other strict regulations concerning relations with men, were widely adopted (Oram, 1989). In the face of this perceived threat, female teachers and students were subjected to strict control by male authorities such as headmasters, school boards and school inspectors. Exertion of this control was integral to the work of teachers and their superiors, women taught under men's supervision (Curtis, 1988; Houston & Prentice, 1988; Prentice, 1988; Theobald, 1989). While women's entrance into public school teaching was accepted as a necessary evil in many cases, there were school promoters who welcomed women into the profession. This seems to have been the case in Iceland, where women taught and served in administrative roles in public schools early on (Olafur P. Kristjansson, 1958). In the 19th century, the notion of the sexes as complimentary was prevalent and some of the attributes of the female were considered of particular benefit in teaching. The rhetoric of female aptness for teaching was based on the premise that the virtuous woman is morally superior to man, naturally fond of children, gentle and good. Thus the woman was seen as able to govern children by affect and moral suasion. The feminization of teaching may have been facilitated less by ideals than by pragmatic reasons. Women were supposedly submissive to authority and entitled to, as well as accepting, of lower salaries than men (Preston, 1989).The match between rhetoric and reality was, however, less than perfect. Biographical evidence from early women teachers reflect the 55 need and desire for an independent lifestyle, and the need to support oneself and family as well as a desire for learning (Gu5run Helgadottir, 1991; Preston, 1989; Theobald; 1988). The combination of earning power and the official policies enforcing celibacy rendered female teachers relatively independent of men. It was soon noted by male colleagues that the spinster teacher, who had only herself to support, was economically and socially better off than a teacher's wife. This fuelled further hostility by male teachers toward their female colleagues and a perceived conflict of interest over wages, benefits and job security (Florin, 1988; Oram, 1989). This stance was not as prevalent in Iceland, where for one thing the marriage ban was not strictly enforced. The family wage concept dependent on one man was not compatible with a family economy where all members contribute to some extent, as was the norm for lower and lower middle classes. Only the upper class could conceivably sustain families based on the income generated by the male head of the household. According to the Directory of Teachers, a large proportion of male teachers have always had another occupation which contributed to their upkeep (Olafur b. Kristjansson, 1958; 1965 Olafur b. Kristjansson og Sigrun HarSardottir, 1985; 1987; 1988). In 1960-61 male teachers were 54.5% of elementary school teachers in Iceland. Five years later the proportions reversed so that 52.8% of elementary school teachers were female. In 1986 only about 20% of the graduates from the University College of Education were male, and at that point the student body was 88% female (Arndis Bjornsdottir, 1987). The feminization of wood- and metalwork teaching is a different issue. A trend is evident in teacher training where the number of women has been rising since 1980. From 1974, when the first cohort with a B.Ed, degree graduated, until 1980, no women graduated from the wood and metalwork program. From 1980 to 1986, 24 women and 37 men have graduated 56 from the wood and metalwork program while 159 women went through the textile program (Amdis Bjornsdottir, 1987). The feminization of teaching is a concern in Iceland where two main arguments are cited as negative effects. One is the absence of male role models for boys in the primary and elementary school sector (Hafsteinn Karlsson, 1995). The other is the perceived relationship between the proportion of women in the profession and the declining salaries. Low salaries are often counted as the main reason why so few men choose to train as teachers, and the family wage concept is evoked here ~ that the male head of a household is expected to provide the main income (Arndis Bjornsdottir, 1987; Hafsteinn Karlsson, 1995). Teaching as an extension of women's productive and reproductive labour in the home and gendered behaviour such as 'learned helplessness' and deference to male authority cloud the female teacher's vision of herself as a decision maker, change agent and authority figure — attributes more readily envisioned in the school master (Grumet, 1988; May, 1989). A third argument, which has not been touted publicly to the same extent, is that the many part-time female teachers are not as committed professionally as the full-time teacher. This relates to the status loss of professions and jobs that change from male to female dominance, whereby the job loses the association with manly power and authority (Maynard, 1989). The status loss relates strongly to the difficulty women have in assuming authority based on skill, particularly in male dominated fields (Cockburn, 1983; 1985). Gender is thus a social relation which shapes the curriculum community and its identity in several ways. First, it has a decisive influence upon the conception of work, both in regard to what counts as work and to the authority of the worker. Second, occupations and tasks are 57 traditionally gender specific so that one craft subject is defined as male dominated, and the other one female dominated. Third, the relations of ruling are such that male dominated fields are more prestigious, putting a traditionally feminine pursuit such as textiles at a disadvantage. Material Environment: Curr iculum as a Site The physical environment in which learning and teaching takes place is part of the perceived, operational and experienced curriculum. In the case of craft teachers, this is of double importance. First, it is due to the focus on the material world that is implicit in the symbolic environment of their subjects. They are about objects and images, and these in turn have a physical, material manifestation. Second, the physical space and material resource allocation and maintenance within the institution school reflects the place and relative importance attached to school subjects (Gray & MacGregor, 1987; GuSrun Helgadottir, 1989; May, 1989). For those whose work is limited to language the physical production of their text is immaterial and invisible. For those whose work involves the physical manipulation of matter, the manipulation of thought into a physical manifestation as object is visible. For the art/craft/design practitioner text is not merely the product of an author. It is produced in a certain typescript, on paper of a certain weight and grade, laid out in particular proportions and printed with inks of particular substance ~ all of which are repositories of meaning as much as the written words. Similarly the physical environment in which the text is spoken or enacted is a repository of meaning. The architecture of school buildings is a lasting statement of educational policy, i f 58 not of educational philosophy. What facilities the building has represents a curriculum cast in concrete matter. The presence or absence, style and location of designated spaces for instruction in particular subjects, is a reflection of their status or stage of their development. Conclusion In the preceding discussion it was noted that art, design and/or craft education had vocational relevance in the late 19th and early 20th century manufacturing industries. As Korzenik (1985) illustrates with a family history, art education was linked to hopes and dreams for careers and prosperity in the field of design. Many authors have discussed the pervasive dream of educational and vocational opportunities through art education, especially for women (Efland, 1985; Zimmerman, 1991). These dreams related to the intellectual labour in the field, the design rather than execution of design and grappling with concepts rather than material. The craft subjects focus on the material world. They are concerned with the making and understanding of objects, the execution of design rather than the intellectual labour of designing. Furthermore, the crafts are distinguished from trade and manufacture by their ties to domestic production and reproduction. As school subjects they relate to manual work and intellectual work closely tied to industrial and domestic production, to the labouring lower and middle classes, rather than the leisured upper classes. The development of industrial capitalism has been such that direct involvement in manufacturing has not been the road to prestige and power. Consequently these subjects have a rather low value on the social identity market, because for most people they do not contribute to a rise in social status. In Reid's (1984) terms, they do not have status relevance. 59 While it is recognized that there are multiple modes of knowing or multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1993; Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberg & Tarule, 1986) western education systems operate on a narrow conception of knowledge. This conception favours the written word as the legitimate repository of knowledge and marginalizes images and objects as carriers of meaning. This is reflected in the centrality of reading and writing in the curriculum. The supremacy of text has become hegemonic to the extent that it is conceivable that reality is construed in and controlled by text (Theobald, 1991; Smith, 1987). This understanding is possible only from a standpoint which foreshortens the material relations of mind to matter, of thought to the object text. The saliency of material meaning is central to the work of artists and craftspeople. It is also recognized in our society by the business world vying for consumers, by political actors seeking to sway public opinion, and by individuals expressing their image. The western world is a designed, image saturated world. Considering this, it is curious how marginal the material arts are in the curriculum at this point. This might best be explained by the fact that present actors are constrained by the institutional and ideological traditions they have inherited (Apple, 1990; Popkewitz, 1987). Goodson (1984) suggests that "Academism may be the cultural consequence of previous domination rather than a guarantee of future domination" (p. 195). This suggests that there is a curriculum identity that is not idiosyncratic but collectively construed. While the entire society has a stake in the curriculum, there is in all cases a core community devoted to the various curricular topics or phenomena. This core, or curriculum community, encompasses those directly involved in the study, teaching and promotion of the 60 phenomenon, such as a school subject (Irwin 1993; Boyer 1995). A community does not spring into existence, it develops. Therefore it is necessary to place conceptual frameworks in historical context as well. This thesis is delimited to the development of three school subjects in a particular location of time and space. Drawing upon the aforementioned distinctions I view curriculum on the one hand as text and on the other as community. It is more appropriate to narrow the concept of identification with knowledge to the curriculum identity assumed by the subject community (Eggleston, 1977). This is a study of school subjects as a curriculum community; a human environment of interacting individuals, groups and institutions, engaged with a body of knowledge and skills stated in curriculum as text that could be termed a symbolic environment, in a material environment of physical space, materials and resources (Apple, 1993; King, 1986). Furthermore, this study takes into account the development of that community and its identity over time (Goodson, 1984, 1987; Kliebard, 1992; Meyer & Rowan, 1983; Reid, 1984). 61 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY This study draws on various fields of research for its methodology and framework for interpretation. On the one hand it is an ethnography of a group of teachers, wherein their life histories are used to create a composite view of the identity of the group. On the other hand, it is a curriculum study. Those teachers represent the curriculum community of certain school subjects and therefore their life histories reflect the development of the school subjects. Ethnographic and historical method, specifically oral history, overlap here. This study has an historical dimension in that chronology and historical context — the development of the school subjects and the individuals over time ~ is a feature of the work. The claim that historical method is 'simply participant observation with data fragments, a kind of less adequate ethnography' seems valid in this context (Smith, 1984). Ethnography is however not without its limitations either, and one persistent criticism is that it is ahistorical (Giroux, Penna & Pinar, 1981; Goodson & Walker, 1988). Using life histories has been hailed as an avenue where the benefits of both ethnographic and historical method might be used, whereby triangulation may be achieved (Goodson & Walker, 1988; Smith, 1984). A n important dimension of this study is the analysis of the interviews as text, reflection on the gendered and classed meaning of what was and wasn't said, as well as how it was said. This latter dimension refers to the transformation of a social exchange, the interview, into atext to be analyzed. In short, these dimensions might be referred to as the text, or accounts of the teacher's life. And the subtext is an analysis and interpretation that is based on, but goes beyond, that account. In this chapter I describe the research process and reflect on that experience. The opening section is a discussion of methodological and ethical issues in qualitative research drawing on ethnography, written and history and oral history. In the second section I try to account for my background and how this research came about - what context my questions grew out of. The third section is a seemingly straight forward account of the process leading up to this text, from the early proposal stages through to the analysis and writing. The purpose of the latter two sections is disclosure: they represent my attempt at making my tracks in the text visible enough for the readers to take their bearings. • Life Histories Elicited Through Interviews There is a substantial and growing body of research on teachers' careers, where various research methods have been employed (see for example Acker 1989; 1992; Ball & Goodson, 1985; Berge, 1992; Elgquist-Saltzman, Gray & MacGregor, 1991;1985; Sikes, Measor & Woods, 1985, borolfur borlindsson, 1988). Whereas the term career implies an emphasis on relationships with employers, fellow workers and workplace hierarchies, this study deals with the personal relationship that an individual has to the work she/he does. I want to know what it meant to be a craft teacher, what it meant to work in wood, textiles or metal, and what it meant to pass on to others the knowledge and skills associated with this work. In other words, I wanted to understand the curriculum identity of craft teachers in order to understand their work, their subject and the curriculum better. I chose a qualitative method of inquiry. The study is based on oral evidence as is most often the case with lifehistories of'ordinary people' (Hay, 1986; Lummis, 1988; Reimer, 1984). This does not only result from the scarcity of written record but from a particular interest in how people interpret the events of their professional life and how they explain themselves (Bertaux, 1981; Bourdieu, 1996; Chanfrault-Duchet, 1991; Faraday & Plummer, 1979; Kohli, 1981; Nias & Aspinwall, 1992). In-depth or long interviews were used to elicit the life history (McCracken, 1988; Bertaux-Wiame, 1981). The life histories or narratives from the interviews were subsequently connected with secondary and primary printed sources on contemporary social and educational history of Iceland. In this respect the study draws on the methodology of oral history. Hodysh & Mcintosh have defined oral history as the description and explanation of the recent past by life histories or recollections told by participants. The term oral history refers both to the means of collecting data and to the body of knowledge existing only in the memories of individuals. Oral evidence and documentary sources supplement each other in oral history. This study has some of the characteristics of an oral history project, but ultimately it is a contribution to curriculum studies and as such not meant to be 'a history'. As outlined in chapter 2 the interest here is in the collective identity that a community develops and the manifestation of that identity in the life stories of individuals. Using the life history approach is an attempt at seeing the whole issueby locating the individual first in his/her relationship with the craft subject as part of an overall life experience; and second to place the individual and community in a larger socio-historical framework (Faraday & Plummer, 1979). There are two methodological issues that receive most attention in this study: the relationship between interviewer and participant; and the management of the researcher's subjectivity. 64 The transformation of the interview to text is compounded in this case by the fact that the interviews took place in one language, but are interpreted in another. We spoke Icelandic and the transcripts are in Icelandic, but I analyzed and wrote this text in English. This does not set the work apart in any way. The process of translation and interpretation is inherent in research whether the language of 'data' or 'evidence' is statistics, written documentation or the spoken word. As for the interview, common sense and experience suggest that language is always rendered problematic in the search for meaning in and around the actual words used. The process of translation should be more obvious in this case, but in reality it is not. It becomes a given as the english speaking reader does not have access to the original text. Therefore the negotiation of meaning has to an unusually large extent taken place a priori. I have translated the comments and quotes and asked the participants to verify what they said. But the reader has to rely heavily on common sense to assess how truthful the translation is. This is always the case with research, only here it is more obvious. The Relationship Between Interviewer and Participant Bourdieu (1996) argues for the necessity of acknowledging the nature of research as a social interaction, with respect and attention to the infinitely subtle strategies that social agents deploy in the ordinary conduct of their existence: "If the research interview relationship is different from most of the exchanges of ordinary existence due to its objective of pure knowledge, it is, in all cases, asocial relation" (Bourdieu, 1996, p. 18). In order to pursue knowledge through the interview the researcher must monitor the effects of "that kind of always slightly arbitrary intrusion which is inherent in this special 65 kind of social exchange" (Bourdieu, 1996, p. 18). It is essential to be aware of the convergence and divergence between oneself as interviewer and the respondent. Understanding the interests, motives and presentation of both parties, is a vital part of the research process (Ball, 1990; Warren, 1988). Bourdieu (1996) goes as far as to claim the interview as a spiritual exercise, where the interviewer welcomes the respondent into a unique relationship, based on unconditional intellectual love that is a readiness to meet and be devoted to the respondent as she is. 3 The interview is a unique situation in which the respondent is offered the opportunity to explain herself, to construct the world from her point of view, to fully delineate her vantage point within the world and become comprehensible and justified. For themselves most importantly: "It is a rare experience, outside some forms of analysis, for adults to spend a considerable amount of uninterrupted time talking about themselves to an interested other" (Nias & Aspinwall, 1992). This is where the interview becomes an event in which the respondent experiences the joy of expression which can lead to expressive intensity in the interview. But the unconditional love of the interviewer must not be blind, the interviewer is always watching. In ethnographic and sociological research a respondent's self-consciousness and ensuing self-censure is inherent in the construction of meaning which takes place when the participant takes up the offer to explain herself (Bourdieu, 1996). Contradictions, selective memory, and modification are parts of this construction process, and are 3 As the interviewer and the majority of participants in this study are female, 'she' will be used in contexts where 'he' or 'she' might apply. 66 therefore as important as the events that gave rise to the meaning. As Hay (1986) put it: "... people live by what they believe to have happened rather than what actually happened" (p. 5). This is not to say that life history is just the participant's subjective account of her life. The life history should be conceived as having two aspects -- the evaluative and the referential (Kohli, 1981). Evaluative refers to the subjective restructuring of self image by the participant. Referential refers to the researcher's association of the life story with the historical events and conditions evidenced in sources other than the participant's account. Thompson (1978) argues that in this respect oral history does not significantly differ from other forms of history. Evidence should be evaluated for its internal consistency, correspondence with other sources and possible bias and its sources. On the other hand, Faraday & Plummer (1979) argue that part of the conditions mentioned above represent a major misunderstanding prevalent in the social sciences. The quest for generalizability imposes order and rationality upon experiences and worlds that are in reality ambiguous, problematic and chaotic. "Researchers seek for consistency in subjects' responses when subjects' lives are often inconsistent" (p. 777). Rapport has been considered an essential factor in the successful collection of interview data. What this means, beyond the researcher's and participant's mutual consent to the interview, is debatable (Warren, 1988). Bourdieu (1996) argues that there is a social violence inherent in an interview situation where there is substantial difference between the cultural capital of the participant and interviewer. Hence the interviewer must either be of the same background as the participant, or be able to assure her of the ability and will to empathize. Similar concerns have been raised regarding the effect of race, gender 6 7 and ethnicity in the research situation. The argument is that research conducted by people in a privileged position of a less privileged group is inherently violent (Scanlon, 1993). While I would not go as far as to categorically deny the value of such research, I believe that a researcher has a more solid foundation of knowledge and attitudes to build on when researching her own culture. It would be an oversimplification, though, to take these considerations to mean that interviews are only successful i f the relationship is harmonious (Borland, 1991). However, as Bourdieu (1996) suggests, it is less threatening to discuss sensitive issues with a person of the same background than with someone who is perceived to be of a different social standing. Questions that would be agressive coming from the outside are merely honest coming from the inside. There are instances where tension between researcher and participant bring forward information that would be submerged in a harmonious relationship ~ especially when the two share a background — and it is entirely possible that vital information would be so taken for granted that it never surfaces in the account. A perceived difference of opinion may lead the participant to elaborate or justify an issue that might have gone without saying if the researcher was assumed to be in agreement (Bourdieu, 1996; Hay, 1986; Warren, 1988). Various researchers have discussed the effects of relative social standing in terms of gender, age and race, between researcher/interviewer and participant. These discussions range from concluding that the interviewer should be a chameleon, a lure, a mirror, a saviour or just plain herself -- whatever that means. None of these positions is generalizable. The role of the interviewer and the relationship between participant and 68 interviewer depends on the nature of the research project (Ball, 1990). The researcher and participant are individuals, each with attributes, attitudes and personal histories that will affect the interview. The degree to which they can establish rapport will vary, and may also change over the course of their collaboration. This should not be dismissed as a liability but seen as information in itself. Peshkin (1984) for instance, adds depth to a study of his by tracing how he adapted to the research environment and took on its colouring, thereby camouflaging what he normally perceived to be his identity. In ethnographic research this is perceived as a dilemma, whereas some survey research openly depends on choosing interviewers who will fit the research agenda (Bourdieu, 1996; Ball, 1990). Lummis (1987) states that the interviewer should not volunteer her own opinions, experiences or values or in any way impose these upon the participant. This statement poses some practical difficulties in the actual interview situation. Bourdieu (1996) explains the interview as a social situation of give and take where the participant seeks the subjectivity of the researcher and seeks to know her as well as to be known by her. This is a natural process in establishing an equitable relation. By refusing to reveal herself or to reciprocate in the interview by keeping a distance, the researcher may be seen as negating the equal partnership that the participant could expect, especially if their social standing is close (Ball, 1990, Borland, 1991). It would simply be inconsiderate and disrespectful to hide behind the mask of'interviewer'. And in some cases, particularly with sensitive issues, the participant will not engage with those unless the interviewer has 69 indicated a positive or non-judgmental position and/or experience with the issue as well (Faraday & Plummer, 1979). The assumption that the interview can be free of the interviewer's opinions, values and experiences is a pipe dream, as the participant will form an opinion and make educated guesses about the interviewer's outlook anyway. Those conjectures will inevitably shape the interview, but the effects will be harder to trace if they are not acknowledged. Bourdieu (1996) suggests that rapport should be modelled on everyday interaction, for it can't be acted but must result from a true and naturally expressed interest in the respondent and his story. The respondent struggles against objectification, and the interviewer must temper the tendency to reduce the respondent through the defence mechanism of creating distance of shutting down her emotion and empathy. The participants in this study came from a very small population. This situation is in sharp contrast with sociological and life historical research conducted on large populations. In such cases participants can be assured of their anonymity. In this study it is possible to identify an individual based on the year of graduation from teacher education, specialization and gender, and further life historical information contained in the text. It was therefore obvious from the outset that anonymity could not be a condition of participation in this study. Participants therefore speak in their own name rather than as anonymous member of a conglomerate of voices. While this approach is necessary because of the size of the population of Iceland (260.000) and the even smaller size of the population of Icelandic art and craft teachers, it is favoured for a more fundamental reason. 70 The method of inquiry is biographical, wherein the individual not only retains his or her identity, but this identity becomes the focus of inquiry, resulting in what Kohli (1981) terms structured self-images. While the participant is the active partner in constructing the self-image presented, that construction is to a degree controlled by the structure provided by me, as the researcher. Structure in the interview situation can range from completely scripted interviews or surveys where the interviewer is completely in control, to a free dialogue on a topic (Bourdieu, 1996; Jones, 1985). The problem with the survey approach is inherent in the participant's role as a respondent. Because the researcher has defined and tightly controls the parameters of the discussion, it is limited by his/her grasp of the topic rather than by the respondent's insights. Absence of structure is a problem for the opposite reason, for if the researcher does not provide any structure, the interview may not yield the information that is sought. Or, the useful information may be submerged in a flood of information that is of limited interest to the researcher. Structure in the interview can also aid recall (Thompson, 1981; McCracken, 1988; Hay, 1986). Although I, as researcher and author, assume the right and responsibility for the final document, the participants are partners in the venture. Their names as well as mine are at stake in telling the story. Consequently, both I as researcher and the participants strictly observe social conventions, especially in any reference to a third party. That is, care is taken to present the relevant issues and opinions with due respect toward individuals, associations or institutions. It is my hope that the work succeeds in bringing out issues that are difficult for the curriculum community or crafts, without undue offense. 71 The Management of the Researcher's Subjectivity "The positivist dream of an epistemological state of perfect innocence has the consequence of masking the fact that the crucial difference is not between a science that effects a construction and one which does not, but between a science which does so without knowing it and one which, being aware of this, attempts to discover and master as completely as possible the nature of its inevitable acts of construction and the equally inevitable effects which they produce" (Bourdieu, 1996, p. 18). The social interaction of researcher and participant is but one aspect of the research. It is the aspect where each can keep the other's subjectivity somewhat in check. For most of the research process, however, the researcher must be self-monitoring. The subjectivity of the researcher is an unavoidable aspect of research whether it is rendering the past as history or the present as sociology. We cannot know the past except as filtered through the memory, selection, preservation and interpretations of people with their particular subjectivities. The basis of a researcher's distinctive contribution is her subjectivity. The joining of personal qualities and data collected is in each case a unique configuration (Ball, 1990; Peshkin, 1988). This has a familiar ring to art educators for similar statements have been made about the artist. A history carries the mark of the historian, a sociology the mark of the sociologist, just as distinctively as the painting the painter's brush stroke or the sweater the knitters stitch, loose or tense, coarse or fine. While revered in the world of art and crafts, subjectivity has been reviled in the world of research where it has traditionally been posed as the negative opposite to objectivity, or as bias and contamination distorting the true account. Even authors who argue for the 72 acknowledgement of subjectivity have found it hard to break with this negative understanding. In a paper on doing life histories Faraday & Plummer (1979) listed as the fourth major methodological issue: "The personal problems — effectively ignored questions which recognize that the researcher is not merely an automaton processing data but a human being who absorbs the very research process into her or his daily experience" (p. 775). Chalmers (1994) quotes a nineteenth century historian who claims that a real historian must divest himself (sic) of subjectivity, or as he put it, individual sympathies and antipathies. The objectivity revered in this position is an illusion. Subjectivity is not like a garment that can be cast off to facilitate unadulterated experience, it is the skin we live in. Researchers should direct their energies away from the futile attempt to rid themselves of their sympathies and antipathies. On the contrary, these must be acknowledged to the reader as the sense we make of the world, and as such, central to the construction of the histories we write; Much of the discourse on this position comes from the field of anthropology and ethnography: "By monitoring myself, I can create an illuminating, empowering, personal statement that attunes me to where self and subject are intertwined. I do not thereby exorcise my subjectivity. I do, rather, enable myself to manage it" (Peshkin, 1988, 20). The preceding quote is from a paper appropriately titled: "In search of subjectivity — one's own". This position should not be taken to the extreme of legitimating bias. Just as an awareness of the weight of our responsibilities in other aspects of our lives does not legitimate the rejection of those responsibilities, we must strive to manage our subjectivity rather than simply reject it (Bourdieu, 1996). 73 At the INSEA convention research conference in Montreal in August 1993, Suzanne Lemerise and Leah Sherman made a joint presentation on their biographical research. At one point during the presentation, Lemerise referred to Sherman by the name of the person whose biography Sherman was writing. It was a happy accident, for identifying with our subjects is at the heart of historical writing. The response of the audience was that of pleasant recognition, as if the slip had brought forward some significant but seldom acknowledged aspect of the crafting of history. However, this identification can be dangerous. Bourdieu (1996) points out that while familiarity and social closeness are desirable between interviewer and participant in research there is the inherent danger that "the induced and accompanied self-analysis" (p. 24) of the participant turns into a narcissist exercise by the interviewer. Although my readings in methodology and my research experience alerted me to the issue of identification on a theoretical level, the unparalleled power of the novel moved me to appreciate it. In the novel Possession by A.S.Byatt, the boundaries between the lives of historical figures and their biographers become increasingly blurred as the events and emotions of the biographers lives mirror those of their historical subjects ~ or is it the other way around? In this passage Roland, who has been researching the life and work of Randolph Henry Ash, articulates this ambiguous identification: Over his desk the little print of the photograph of Randolph Ash's death mask was ambiguous. You could read it either way; as though you were looking into a hollow mould, as though the planes of the cheeks and forehead, the blank eyes and the broad brow were sculpted and looking out. You were inside — behind those closed eyes like an actor, masked: you were outside, looking at closure, i f not finality (Byatt, 1990, p. 513). The metaphor of the subject's death mask is particularly apt. If the researcher looks at the subject from the outside, the mask is merely an object for contemplation. Turning the mask around, one is tempted to try it on, to look through it rather than at it. The mask becomes a tool to enact and envision from the subject's point of view. The idea of identification with the subject is a necessity rather than romance. In my research using oral history methods, the participants are my peers, and their history is also mine in a literal sense. This has led me to be acutely aware of the dangers not just of going native but of being native — of being so immersed in the situation as to be unable to render it as research. Or, to draw upon Byatt's metaphor, to have my vision restricted by the view from inside the mask. Korzenik (1990) warns us that we shouldn't be surprised to find that the histories we write reflect our contemporary concerns as much as the period they are concerned with. Upon reflection I realize that I draw out themes that echo my own concerns. What captured my attention in doing a biography was my subject's ability to generate in others the ability and enthusiasm to organize around a common cause — laudable qualities in the eyes of someone interested and active in professional organizations. As a seasoned advocate, but immature historian, I romanticized her role as an advocate of her chosen school subject, textiles. But it is inexplicable from my habitual vantage point why she wanted gardening to be a school subject as well (GuQrun Helgadottir, 1991, 1995). In the biography I remain out of the picture, where as in this study I put myself in the frame. Here gender 75 becomes a major concern, for my experience as a female trained as a wood and metalwork teacher suggests this. Another researcher might not have made gender as central to his/her study, but it could never have been overlooked. To detect my bias I had to engage in some introspection to locate what Peshkin (1988) calls the hot and cool spots; that is where self and subject are joined. The hot spots would be in this case the topics and actions in the life histories that I identified with, and the cold spots those experiences that I had difficulty engaging with. To make an honest attempt at recovering the significance of each emphasis I have to conjure up some subjectivity outside of myself and to use my imagination to enter into a role play of sorts, posing as someone else in relation to my subject. From my habitual vantage point it was impossible to see beyond the negative image I had of Womens' Domestic Schools in order to perceive the contribution these schools had made to the life and career of many of the women that I interviewed. I was only successful when I allowed myself to be caught up in the flow of memories and become a little smitten by the nostalgia in their accounts. In my use of oral history the management of subjectivity is immediate, for my subjects are alive and interested in how I enter them into history. The participants in my oral history project can accept or refuse my offer of participation and they have a certain amount of power over what I can use of the interview material generated. These are the terms of my agreement with them, which takes the form of a signed statement approved by the ethical review committee of my university. But such a formal statement is but a shadow of their pervasive influence, which is felt at every stage of the research. In 76 formulating my research I felt aware of what would be possible, feasible and difficult for me to ask my peers. These possibilities centered on not only the topics of discussion, but also on myself and my relationship with the people I planned to interview. The curriculum community of crafts in the Icelandic school system has virtually no written historical record, and its origins are still in living memory. Hence, the most suitable research method to gain perspective on the curriculum identity it carries must draw on oral history and ethnography. While the dead subjects of conventional history have had their say through their choices about the tracks they left in collections, archives etc., they are regrettably relegated to a passive role as the historian reconstructs their lives. The living subjects of oral histories and ethnographies are actively engaged with the researcher in shaping the reconstruction of their lives. It requires an exploration of one's subjectivity to figure out not only who the researcher thinks she is in relation to the subject, but also who she is to them. That latter point is uniquely impressed upon oral historians and ethnographers. For the living subject is a person who brings a certain agenda to the social event of the interview. In my case I was known to all of the people I interviewed either personally or by hearsay. There was more at stake in the interviews than a give and take of information, as they were about the construction of the identity of the curriculum community. My subjects used the interviews to their own ends: First to examine my current relationship with the field; and second, to participate in what they see as the relevant research project. Last, but perhaps most important, the interviews offered a chance for them to reflect on their life's work. The curriculum community has certain expectations. What they want is a voice in the academic world. What I want is to speak in my own voice, for I neither can nor should, speak for the community of art and craft teachers. My account will echo their voices, but it must also go beyond what they actually said. It is my responsibility to speak of what I feel they left unsaid as well as to interpret their actual words. Ultimately it is the researcher who tells the story, but for a complete reading of the story, the reader must be able to distinguish my voice from those of my subjects. Managed subjectivity means a self-consciousness on behalf of the researcher, thereby allowing for a more balanced account. The researcher who neglects the management of subjectivity may have the jarring experience of Peshkin (1988) who stumbled on his subjectivity: "I had indeed discovered my subjectivity at work, caught red-handed with my values at the very end of my pen" (p. 18). Compared to the prospect of your subjectivity wandering off into posterity in print, this is not all that bad. Consider Korzenik's (1990) emotional language when she speaks of missed opportunities in her 1985 history of the Cross family. She talks of having to discipline herself to subjectively wonder, to bring her own experiences to light as possible inspirations for understanding. Korzenik (1990) concludes that she should have wondered more, and in my opinion, suppressed her subjectivity less, in order to identify the gaps and discontinuities in this history. Wondering and imagining is what allows us to write an analysis rather than description. It is, however, a deceptive device. For filling in the gaps and discontinuities with the transitions and linkages that we perceive, we become most vulnerable to mismanaging our subjectivity. Korzenik (1990) provides an apt analogy when she compares this to 78 restoration of artifacts. The amendments that seem perfectly legitimate today look conspicuous tomorrow, if not outright eyesores. In her case, she returned to the Cross family history and found that she had perpetuated the bias against women inherent in her sources, biases her own female experience could have challenged. Part of the respect due to our subjects is being clear about the context — about theirs and ours and how we are implicated in the story. The responsibility of the researcher is to recognize one's own subjectivity in the research process. McCracken (1988) suggests that in order to clarify one's own cultural assumptions the researcher must manufacture distance, look at herself from the outside by reviewing the cultural categories pertinent to the research: That is, conduct an inventory of personal assumptions and practices in these categories. Warren (1988) concludes her text Gender Issues in Field Research with this remark: "It is not 'any researcher' who produces a particular ethnography, it is you" (p. 65). Although this study is not an ethnography, but rather a collection of life histories, this remark is applicable here. I have written and thought about my life history with crafts in preparing for this study, and while I am convinced of the necessity to account for myself, I take seriously Bourdieu's (1996) caution against the narcissist indulgence that sometimes passes for disclosure in qualitative research. Reading Weiner's (1995) introductory chapter of personal history and the work of Ball (1990) I felt a fellow sufferer of acute self consciousness. Is there a harder question than: What can I ask of myself that I didn't know beforehand? 79 My Relationship with Art and Craft My relationship with the field of art and craft education in Iceland forms the backdrop of this study; it informs my questions as well as the participants' responses to my inquiry. I do not approach the research from the outside, and yet I am no longer an insider. I trained and worked briefly as a wood and metalwork teacher, and as a woman I was part of a minority within this professional group. I shifted fields, moving from craft education into art education, first in my teaching positions, and later in further studies. In opting for graduate studies and focussing on curriculum and instruction rather than training further in art and craft, I became an academic rather that either a teacher or a craftswoman. Although I left the classrooms, shops and studios of Icelandic elementary schools, my research interests remain with the teachers who work and have worked there (Gu5run Helgadottir, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995a, 1195b, 1996). The fundamental difference between my account and those presented to me in the interviews, is not in the events and conditions described, but is that of a standpoint. My account is written in the first person ~ a fragment of an autobiography. I am also the researcher, the interviewer, the biographer and the author, which means that my experience affects the whole project from inception to its final presentation as text. The reader should be able to see and identify my presence in the text in order to navigate it independently and come to conclusions, not simply in agreement or disagreement with mine, but as a result of taking a train of thought that I couldn't possibly have caught. It is a way of opening the question of where I have lost sight of my subjectivity to such a degree that the account becomes untrustworthy. While I hope to present a trustworthy 80 account, I also hope to offer the reader a view broad enough to find alternate accounts in the material presented. It seems necessary to account for my relationship to the subjects — and perhaps my worldview -- but rather than risk a narcissist exercise by including a lengthy description, I will relate a few anecdotes which illustrate the subject. I was born in Reykjavik on March 9th 1959, by nine years the youngest of my mother's five children and the only child in her second marriage. My parents, Helgi Jonsson and borunn Magnusdottir had met through the Socialist Party, which they remained loyal to during my childhood. Growing up in a family of communists in a western democracy during the Cold War shapes my outlook in that I can't shake the belief that the margins are wider and ultimately more important than the mainstream. M y father was a blacksmith back then, and my mother ran the household. He plied his trade until I was four or five, but I have no memories of his workshop. I only remember how I would run to meet him when he returned from work, and he would put his hands behind his back to avoid black smudges on my clothes, before bending down to give me a kiss. Design and crafts were always held in esteem at home ~ I don't recall exactly when my parents first explained to me that form should follow function -- but when I got over wishing I was a princess I desperately wished I had been a Mitarbeiter at Bauhaus. My father is an amateur artist and mother has always had an interest in the visual arts and crafts. We had a collection of art books that I was welcome to, provided I had washed my hands properly. I didn't touch my father's art materials but had my own felts, crayons, paints and plasticene. A typical summer's day family outing doubled as a sketching trip 81 for my father. We would find a sheltered spot for a picnic and he would disappear with his watercolours and sketchpad. By late afternoon it might have clouded over, our patience might have worn out and then my brother would be dispatched to retrieve the errant family man from the lures of the landscape. I remember posing while father drew my portrait, most often in pencil, sometimes in chalk or charcoal. I recall it not as a chore but as a privilege. It seemed worthwhile to me to sit stock still for however long it took to have my picture completed. I liked the sound of the pencil rushing across the pad and felt important, special to have been party to the creative process. Once in my sixth summer I tried to draw my father's profile from observation. I was furious with the result, it didn't look like him at all! No amount of reasoning from my model could reconcile me to the gap between our abilities in portraiture. I dismissed his arguments in favour of my effort by pointing out to him that he simply wasn't that ugly. When I was little, Mother made my clothes, and I remember myself as a five year old arguing with her on how the seat of my pants should be cut. Seeing the pattern cut from the reverse I didn't think it did justice to my rear end. I was more impressed with the sweaters she knitted for me and the steady stream of mittens and socks required as they inevitably went missing by and by. Hats were a bit of an issue. A beautifully knit turquoise hat with an oversize pompom was a mixed blessing in grade five, even i f it was highly fashionable in adult eyes. As my own daughter grows up I realize how much work and resourcefulness my mother must have put into celebrating my appearance, particularly as the family finances always remained tight. In my seventh year I was enrolled in children's art classes for the first time. The adult classes in painting and sculpture were housed in the same building and people whom we kids knew to be important or aspiring artists were around. The art world was mysterious and sacred to me, but I doubted whether I would be worthy of inclusion. There were conditions that I could easily meet: I could sit still to be a model, wash my hands before touching the art books and behave myself at art galleries. But what about talent? Although I loved art it wasn't what I was best at. One of my art teachers said: "Gu5run, you talk too much. You've always put everything into words before you can make a picture of it". The hierarchies of artistic merit were clear and as I approached adolescence it seemed less and less likely to me that I would achieve much artistically, so I quit art. My mother taught me to read before I entered elementary school and my proficiency as a reader earned me the right to skip second grade. My physical maturity — or rather lack thereof — was not considered, for although I was small for my age and very poorly coordinated I was put into the third grade. Physical education, swimming, handwriting and textiles were subjects where this disadvantage put me at the bottom of the class, but nevertheless I was considered a bright pupil. My first lessons in textiles were in grade three with a very patient textile teacher who finally took the gingham apron I had been working on all year home with her and finished it. I had managed to embroider about 1/3 of a border of simple contour stitch in three colours and my initials in cross stitch. She also sent me home in the spring with a ball of cotton and a crocheting needle, in the hope my mother would teach me over the summer holidays. Mother refused to do what she considered my textile teacher's job. I never made 83 much progress in textiles and was always one of those who couldn't even finish the compulsory projects. It wasn't that I didn't like textiles — when I finally mastered the art of knitting I liked to design and knit sweaters. When I went through elementary school from 1966-1974, wood and metalwork was not a compulsory subject for girls and the discussion of making it so was only starting. I did not have any interest in the subject — what little I saw of it were glimpses of dusty workshops in school basements where some man in overalls kept the boys busy. Upon passing the National Exams in 1974 I couldn't even do a somersault, still thought it entirely likely that I would drown if I ever ventured to the deep end of a swimming pool, and of course had not done crafts for a year. This didn't affect my good standing in the class, for as I pointed out to the examiner of physical education, these subjects did not count toward the grade point average. I went straight to Grammar School where I completed the four year program in modern languages and passed my Matriculation Exams in 1978, thereby earning the right of admission to university. At the time, I was very conscious of and angered by social inequity, particularly the lack of regard for manual labour and snobbery for academic fields of study. So studying my strongest subjects, languages or humanities at university, did not appeal to me. I remember that my mother asked whether I would consider the University College of Education and I categorically refused the prospect of becoming a teacher. A couple of weeks later I applied for admission and became consumed with the vocation to teach. At that point in my life I ruled out training as an art teacher, for that would have meant going through the dreaded entrance exams of the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts as well as two years of foundation study in fine art before teacher training. It was too close for comfort to choosing to become an artist. Nevertheless, I was interested in teaching art or an art related subject such as crafts, because I saw them as an important counterpoint to the academic subjects. I saw them as creative and therefore of special importance to young learners. When I picked up the application forms from the office of the University College of Education in May 1979 I asked how many were enrolled in textiles and wood and metalwork respectively. Thirty students had applied for textiles and four for wood and metalwork. A student passing by heard my question and casually commented that I would probably be happier in wood and metalwork, for it was quite homey. Realizing my weakness in both areas I thought that at least I would get more instruction in a group of five than of thirty and opted for wood and metalwork. In this era of second wave feminism, it also seemed important to get more female wood and metalwork teachers out into the schools to be role models for the girls in this compulsory subject. I entered teacher training in the fall of 1979 and within the first few weeks I realized that wood and metalwork teacher training was not all that I had hoped for. It was farther from art and design than I expected. The only drawing instruction consisted of exercises in industrial drawing. The workshop training was mainly basic cabinet making, which I couldn't see as relevant to teaching school children. A humbler person would have assumed that she was in the wrong place, but I assumed that the place was all wrong, and 85 set about to change it with a self righteousness that only the young and reckless are blessed with. The time was ripe for changes which, unbeknownst to me, generations of students had asked for. I became fascinated by curriculum rationales and one day I asked during the morning coffee break: "Why should we teach wood and metalwork to children?" My instructor shot back "You think we shouldn't?!" and coffee break was over. My cohort became very active in the discussion of college policy, mainly because we were concerned that the pedagogical content of the program was neglected in relation to the major subjects. We got some insight into practice in schools through connections with the Ministry of Education and the professional organizations. The staff of the Ministry and the Association of Wood and Metalwork Teachers were supportive and welcomed our initiative. The association invited us as members in our last year of training, and we participated with them in a conference on teacher education that year. While our concerns were in many cases justified and resonated with practicing teachers and many teacher educators, we must have been hard to contend with as students. The main argument for the inordinate amount of craft training in the program was of course that we had entered the subject without any background. In my case, this was most serious in wood work for I never got over the fear of wood working machines, which intensified when my best friend had a serious accident in class. My small scale projects took a long time and I wasn't particularly impressed with the designs or techniques suggested by my instructors. It must have been galling to be faced with a student who not only didn't have a hope of meeting the highest standards of the profession as it had been 86 known, but added insult to injury by publicly renouncing these standards. However it must have been clear to all and sundry that what I lacked in craftsmanship I made up for in my commitment to the subject and it's place in elementary education. Just before graduation one of my instructors wanted to reassure himself though, and asked me candidly in front of the whole class: "Gu5run, do you really think you can teach wood and metalwork?" I put on my bravest face, swallowed my doubt and said that although I realized I still had a lot to leam I intended to serve as a generalist teacher teaching wood and metalwork in the primary grades and for that I felt qualified. Gender was an issue ever-present but never mentioned. The majority of wood and metalwork teachers were — and still are — male, although in our small class the women were a majority. Given the chance, our male classmates would work together in a separate room or at least somewhat out of the fray. The women in the classes ahead of us in the program seemed to fall into two main groups; masculine women and women who needed and accepted a lot of help from our male instructors and fellow students. Nobody voiced reservations about our presence directly, but it was a grave concern for the profession that so many people with no background were entering and women were usually mentioned in this regard. Nevertheless male colleagues often commented on how happy they were to have the women around, but somehow this was not reassuring, and not conducive to a feeling of collegiality. There was an intangible ethos of masculinity in the subject, the dress code of carpenter's overalls or coat, the ubiquitous below the belt humour, and the virtual absence of women wood and metalwork teachers actually teaching in the schools. A strong friendship with 87 another female student was a life saver for me. Even so, I never felt comfortable in the program and the fact that I graduated as a wood and metalwork teacher was a result of stubbornly believing that there must be another way in the subject, more than a sense of having found my way. In the fall of 1983 I was hired as a primary teacher to Grundaskoli, Akranes. I was the second wood and metalwork teacher hired to the school. A man who had graduated a couple of years before me was hired for most of the wood and metalwork teaching and I accepted assignment to the younger grades. I was also a generalist on a team of three kindergarten teachers. On the first day of school one of the boys actually asked me what I was; a carpenter, a wood and metalwork teacher, or 'just a woman teacher teaching wood and metalwork'. I was very self-conscious as the first female wood and metalwork teacher in a town with a sizeable, male dominated, building and woodworking industry. Wood and metalwork was immensely popular and the children literally fought to get into the shop. There was little patience for teacher talk, or for the design process. They wanted to get their hands on the tools and materials and make something. As a consequence I fell into the traditional routine of very brief introductions of material and technique and the parameters of the project before giving way to the work frenzy. I was needed everywhere at once and literally ran back and forth among the joiner's benches, usually with an entourage of impatient pupils trailing from the back of my overalls. I hated having to use the combination woodworking machine and never got over the fear of hurting myself or others. In those early years of my teaching career I had opportunities to teach art, wood 88 and metalwork and leatherwork in different settings, which allowed me to treat the subjects as closely related. I remained interested in policy and advocacy and was involved in the professional organizations as the president of the Association of Wood and Metalwork Teachers. I decided to enter graduate studies and use the opportunity broaden my background by moving into art education. The aim was to do graduate studies in art education with a focus on art and crafts. In 1986 I enrolled at the University of Victoria, B.C., for one year of study in art education to qualify for a master's program in the subject. This program was mainly studio oriented, preparing teachers for secondary schools. In the meantime I had set my eyes on and been encouraged to transfer to University of British Columbia for a more research oriented graduate program. I started my M . A . in art education there in January 1988. For me graduate school was a chance to reflect on the school subjects art and craft, how they had come to be what they were and from there begin tentative movement toward a solid pedagogy of the subjects. It never occurred to me to do my research anywhere but in Iceland. I always felt that my background enabled me to do more meaningful research there than elsewhere. I became quite interested in work on teachers' relation to curriculum. My master's thesis was based on a survey of art and craft teachers' attitudes toward curriculum rationales. It was completed in August 1989 and, because it definitely left more questions than answers, I enrolled immediately in a doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction. 89 Over the years I have been involved in this research, I have enjoyed support and encouragement from art and craft teachers in Iceland. They have responded enthusiastically to calls for participation and shown interest in the results. I have come to understand that from their perspective this research, particularly the doctoral work which is the only Ph. D. thesis in progress in the field, represents both a chance to reflect on their profession and a foot in the door of the academic world where art and craft have been marginal subjects. The Ministry of Education, the University College of Education and research funding agencies have also shown their support for the research over the years. It has taken a while to complete this thesis. It has weighed on my mind and my luggage across oceans and continents. Sometimes we were purposefully travelling together, such as on the trips to Iceland to conduct interviews and discussions with participants, giving papers on the contents of the thesis here and there. Then there were detours, less productive in this regard but part of the life that sustains the project. The daily trudge to and from daycare, the teaching load, a year in New Zealand, the Halldora papers — 'other things' as I vaguely termed them when my committee asked. Collectively 'the thesis thing' and the other things, have been a solid preparation for the work that I'm doing now: teacher education, research, graduate student supervision, inservice education, curriculum development and administration. I have come a curious full circle, or a spiral turn at least, to be the assistant director of The Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, the one I stayed away from in the past. It feels remarkably like coming home. 90 The Research Process and the Document The Formulation of a Research Problem and Methodology This study developed from the research for my master's thesis, which was a survey of Icelandic art and craft teachers' attitudes toward curriculum and instruction in their subject area (GuSrun Helgadottir 1989). The initial interest stemmed from questions and concerns that remained after the master's thesis. During the early stages of the proposal process I summarized those as follows: * The survey method does not allow the respondents to speak from their own experience but rather to the researcher's formulation of the problem. * The findings suggested a difference in attitudes based on age and teaching experience, which leads to an interest in how the art and craft teacher and his/her profession develops over time. * My study surveyed respondents on attitudes but not on their actions and I felt a need to look at what these teachers have been doing in their professional lives. These concerns, of course, mirror larger concerns about quantitative methods, preceding my work by decades. As others before me, I have turned my attention to qualitative methods to find a way to address those concerns. What remained constant between the two studies was the focus on teachers as the core of the curriculum community. In the initial indication of my field of interest for the doctoral program I identified three categories which I wanted to pursue: Curriculum: The 91 identification and development of school subjects with a focus on art and crafts; Gender and education: The effects of tradition and change in gender roles on curriculum, with a focus on art and crafts; Research methods: Research paradigms, methods and political implications with a focus on ethnographic and historical research. One issue stood out in my mind as not having been successfully addressed in my master's thesis, that of gender in art and craft education. Although the responses to my survey did not bear this out, gender was in my experience a central issue. So at the outset of the program I wanted to look exclusively at this issue and originally thought of the study as dealing with women's experience in the field of art and craft. This would have focussed on differences in experience within male and female dominated occupations. This approach did not prove satisfying as I started thinking more about gender as a social construct. Female and male gender seemed equally as important in the construction and definition of art and craft as school subjects. Therefore it made more sense to include both men and women. I wanted to ask people what they actually do, which led me to think of the concept of work. Again, feminist theory helped me to see this concept broadly, including not only paid work or work done in the public sphere, but also the unpaid work done in the home or family. Out of this grew an interest in the everyday world or lifeworld of the art and craft teacher, and at this point the study threatened to become an all encompassing account of these teachers' existence. I came to my senses and remembered that my initial interest and task was to investigate their experience as teachers of certain school subjects, and thereby to shed light on the development of these school subjects as curricular 92 constructs. In the end I proposed a study that chronicles teacher's identification with a school subject throughout their lives. The question is: what did this mean to them ? My thesis is that the teacher has a lifelong relationship with the subject and that this relationship and its meaning is affected by gender, life stage and the historical time or generation of the teacher. And, that there is a curriculum identity which is shard by membersof a certain curriculum community. At the outset I envisioned a study of all four subjects within the subject area of art and craft in Icelandic schools: art, textiles, weaving and wood and metalwork. This view prevailed through to the stage of analysis and writing, where it became increasingly clear that it would be misleading to keep this configuration or treat the four subjects as equal partners in a group of subjects. The school subject art has a history and philosophical foundation sufficiently different from that of the other three to distinguish itself as a separate entity. I have accounted for this distinction elsewhere (Gu5run Helgadottir 1995) and would like to refer to that publication here. Art and craft teachers have developed different curriculum identities and this difference cannot be readily related to the traditions discernible in the formal curricula. I have suggested that the dichotomy between public and private spheres prevalent in Western culture offers a way to view this distinction. Whether we pose the dichotomy as between the polis and the oikos, or adopt the Marxist notion of productive and reproductive spheres (Engels, 1972) does not matter here. And of course, it is inevitable with such grand generalizations that this dichotomy is wanting in many ways (Elshstain, 1981). Despite this it is illuminating. 93 Art and craft teachers, according to my interview evidence, profess a strong need to create, to make objects. The context of production does, however, differ. Art teachers identify strongly with the public world of art, the world of artists and exhibitions, the art market. Gratification is derived from the acknowledgement of an external public such as gallery personel, art critics and art collectors. Craft teachers, on the other hand, identify themselves with the handiperson, the person who can fix and make things about the house. Art teachers both male and female focus on a role in public life, whereas craft teachers, women and men, focus on the private or domestic life (GuSriin Helgadottir, 1995). This was not clear to me when I started the study as a former wood and metalwork teacher, as it is now that I am an art teacher and art education lecturer. In hindsight it seemed to me that the research problem that I had formulated addressed the craft subjects more so than it reflected the art education community. It is also a major finding in curriculum studies of art and craft in Iceland, but one that warrants treatment outside the confines of this study. Throughout the research process, this study has been torn between a sociological and historical focus. The interest in the dimension of time both in the life of individuals and that of the profession has prevailed in the end, so this study is an oral history based on biographical and life history evidence. I hope that the title sums this up: Icelandic Craft teachers' curriculum identity as reflected in life histories. 94 The Interviews As referred to earlier, there is much debate within ethnography, anthropology and oral history on the amount of structure in the interview. Approaches to eliciting information through an interview range from open ended invitations to narrate, to survey type questionnaires conducted face to face. As I began to envision the interview situation, I began to appreciate the value of structure. In this case, the participants could reasonably expect me to have enough insight into the topic to have specific concerns and an agenda. To ask them to 'tell their story' would have obscured my intent. I was not interested in their entire life story ~ I wanted the story of their life with the subject they chose to teach.The purpose of the interviews was to document teachers' lifelong relationship with their chosen subject. I decided to organize myself with a questionnaire outline, which served two purposes. First, it helped me phrase and think through how to present certain issues and concerns in the interview. Second, it kept me oriented and served as a checklist of the issues covered in the interview. Last but not least, this outline helped to identify the themes that were part of my premise about the curriculum identity of art and craft teachers. I enlisted a fellow graduate student to go through a trial interview with me to see if the structure worked, and to discover how certain issues were best approached. She also made helpful suggestions on issues that needed more fleshing out, such as the physical environment and facilties for instruction. In the actual interview situation, I did not refer much to this checklist, for I was devoted to the notion of giving the participants enough scope to give their account in their own words and narratives. 95 The last point about narrative is very important. Many oral historians claim that the true value of oral history lies in the participant's narrative. By reducing the interview to responses to the researcher's questions, the participant does not have a chance to construct a narrative. By collecting narratives rather than responses to questions, the analysis becomes textual, and therefore there is more opportunity to probe, and to find, meaning that the researcher was not conscious of at the outset of the process. To organize the interview so that the respondent's account or narrative would flow naturally I opened the interview with an invitation to tell me how they first came to know their subject, and to carry on from there to the present day. I had identified four life stages, Childhood, Youth, Adulthood and Retirement, and grouped certain issues accordingly. While the respondent spoke of Childhood, I made sure that information about both home and school were provided. The Youth stage refers to the period of career choice, and the reasons for choosing this subject as a vocation as well as a discussion of the teacher training program. The stage of Adulthood referred to the period from the first teaching post to retirement, and I tried to elicit information about the rationale for the subject, its importance to pupils, the material and human environment of the school, teaching methods, as well as information on the place of the subject in adult life in general. The final stage of Retirement referred to the period after retiring from teaching within the school system, and what role the subject played in the later years. Recruitment of participants in the study was conducted through the professional organizations, which supported the project by mailing a letter of introduction and invitation to participate in the study. Furthermore, an advertisement was placed in the 96 newsletters of the organizations. The Institute for Educational Research and Development provided office space and telephone service, and was promptly flooded with calls from art and craft teachers who volunteered for the study. Due to the response I was able to ensure participation from all subject specializations and different generations of teachers, men and women. I conducted interviews with 42 teachers of art, textiles, weaving and wood and metalwork. This text is based on the 30 interviews with textile, weaving and wood and metalwork teachers, that is, interviews with 12 textile teachers, 5 weaving instructors and 13 wood and metalwork teachers, four of whom are women. Weaving instructors are by far the smallest group, but several textile teachers initially trained as weaving instructors. The oldest participant was born in 1913 and the youngest in 1960. I selected participants who had been engaged in teaching the subjects long-term, either continuously or recurrently employed as teachers. Teachers may be committed professionals despite discontinuous employment, for example, women may have taken leaves of absence or resigned from their positions to care for their young children. Study leaves or temporary employment in a different field do not necessarily constitute a breach with the profession. It was important to me to try to ensure participation by both men and women, younger and older teachers and to make sure that not only those who were in some way prominent within their profession would participate. Those who were prominent held positions of authority or leadership such as in professional organizations, teacher education or curriculum development. The story of development of the subjects and of the curriculum identity of the teachers is also contained in the experience of those who have worked relatively unnoticed by their peers. To my surprise the volunteers came 97 mainly from this latter category, teachers who had worked on the ground, called immediately and were keen on participating. Those who had achieved prominence generally did not pick up the phone to volunteer, but they might indicate interest i f we met. This was a concern until I realized that due to their past or present prominence they rightly assumed that I would be particularly interested in their participation and therefore expected me to contact them. I therefore contacted those who had been involved in teacher training in the long term and invited them to participate. Two out of eleven could not or would not participate, but the rest were happy to take part. I also contacted the three teachers who had served with the Ministry of Education and they agreed to participate. Beforehand I had estimated that the number of participants needed would be between 30 and 50 to allow for what Glaser & Strauss (1967) referred to as saturation. The interviews generally took place in the respondent's home, although four of the wood and metalwork teachers and one art teacher preferred to be interviewed at work as they felt there would be less interruption than at home. Only in one case was a third person present during part of the interview. The interviews ranged from an hour to five hours conducted over two days. As my time frame for conducting the interviews was limited, I was tempted at first to conduct more than one interview per day. It soon became apparent that this reduced the quality of the interviews, both because it was tiring and did not allow for reflection on each interview as such. I found that it was better to focus on one interview at a time, prepare for it, conduct it and make notes before moving on to the next one. Of course, the interviews affected each other in that information elicited in one interview might lead to a question in the next one, as well as experience with the flow of the narrative, increased familiarity with my performance and the way I related to the respondents. Over the interviews the main themes and issues remained constant. In preparing for each interview I looked the respondent up in the Directory of Icelandic Teachers and made a life history line to familiarize myself further with the respondent. I also reviewed my previous acquaintance with the person, tried to make sense of how this related to the project at hand. Most of the interviews were quite a pleasant social occasion, an afternoon of intense conversation over coffee and cake, sometimes there were shared memories, laughter, and even tension, but always a sense that we had accomplished something through the interview. It was obvious that the respondents were proud of the fact that research was conducted in their field, and happy to participate. Of course, those who did not feel that way didn't volunteer. Most seemed to enjoy the opportunity to elaborate on an aspect of their personal life history. In many cases they commented on the opportunity for reflection that the interview afforded them. In a few instances however, I felt that the respondent had already constructed the story, whereas in many cases, especially with the younger participants, it felt as i f it all came together on the spot. During the time I was interviewing, my notes reveal struggles to keep the course. At one point early on the notes reflect dissatisfaction with the structure of the interview. I was concerned that I seemed to be asking too many questions out of fear of forgetting some of the issues I wanted raised. The next week I was wondering whether I have become too passive in the interview, whether the respondents would be insecure because my motives 9 9 would not be clear enough. I wondered about how far I could go in being a critical listener — that is whether and to what extent I should challenge the story as it was presented to me. I decided to work with the story as it was told to me, while acknowledging that naturally the respondents would not tell all. Nevertheless, it seems that most participants took this as a chance to reflect on the relationship they had built with their subject. While they guarded the negative aspects better than the positive, the main elements of this relationship were exposed. In the instances where I felt some questioning or contention was needed, I either posed as an outsider by suggesting that the participant explain the issue to me as if I was totally unfamiliar with it, or by going the other way of making a reference to my past involvement and experience and responding from that vantage point rather than that of the interviewer. The third strategy was to not respond immediately but to return to the issue for clarification later in the interview, thereby placing it in a different context. The Analysis and Writing At the outset I had imagined myself transcribing all the interviews, but in reality this proved unfeasible so I hired help for part of the transcription. I reviewed and edited the transcripts by listening to the taped interviews and made an inventory of the contents of each tape as I listened. Each interview went through four kinds of'listenings': The first, as soon as possible after the interview to monitor the process and whether predetermined issues had been dealt with or new issues arising. The second listening was to itemize the content of the interview and the third one was to listen specifically for the emotional tenor of the interview. This third listening was often done by going back to the interview 100 to double check whether my recall of the situation was correct. The fourth and last listening was to confirm the quotations and references used in the text. As pointed out before, the interviews took place in Icelandic and were transcribed in that language. I only translated a quote or a comment after I had selected it as an expression of an idea discussed in the final text. I chose to do the translation myself for the professional jargon and the emphases and articulation of the curriculum community was more clearly understood by me, than by an outsider to this community. Furthermore, I was the interviewer, so I had the memory of gestures and tone to aid in translating the text of the transcript. The predetermined themes that I had envisioned as contributing to curriculum identity were gender and class, as well as curriculum both as text and as community. That is the curriculum Umwelt, or symbolic, material and human environment of the curriculum (Apple, 1993; Smith-Shank, 1995). Each of these themes was broken down into smaller subcategories such as gender, the gendered division of craft work in the childhood home, the gendered curriculum in elementary school, Women's Domestic Schools, gender differences among pupils, the effects of co-education in crafts and the culture of tools and equipment to name a few. Of the emerging themes of the symbolic environment, one proved most important for the development of the study ~ the distinction between art and crafts. In the analysis I realized that this distinction was greater than I had understood before the study, and that discussion of the curriculum community and identity of art and crafts in one document, 101 was misleading. They are more adequately represented as distinct communities with separate identities, where the relationship between the craft subjects is closer than with art. I decided to leave the interviews with art teachers out of the thesis, as it seemed impossible to do justice to all three communities within the document. In writing the document I began by making an inventory of the themes in the transcripts and then using that inventory to further investigate each category. Upon closer inspection some of the categories I had identified needed merging, others to be split up. There are instances where translation becomes difficult for a particular discursive practice or convention of speech carries connotations which do not translate well (Bassnett-McGuire, 1991; Hatim & Mason, 1990). For instance, the term 'project' in the craft curriculum community refers to a thing, an object which the pupil will produce according to the teacher's prescription. It does not refer to the design or process as much as the thing, the physical manifestation of the process. In the first versions I used many direct quotations and only rewrote them into the text after closely reviewing it to make sure that vital information was not lost or subverted in the process. As the work progressed and I started thinking more about translation as a process, the more doubts I had about including direct quotations. The quotations are not 'direct' because they are translated, and therefore it seemed like a falsehood to include them in double quotation marks. Nevertheless, I tried to find the middle ground by using translated quotes and comments as appropriately as possible, and in the end they were used to convey the affective aspect of what was said more than to provide description or facts. 102 These concerns while justifiable, pale in comparison to the general question of whether it is fact possible to translate the spoken word into written text without losing its meaning. Stock (1990) reviews the speculation on this problem: "Through writing, discourse is fixed, inscribed, and given permanent form in a vehicle external to the human voice" (p. 102). The conditions, then, of what took place as verbal communication are irrevocably altered. I have tried to account for the context of the interview. I am the listener, but the participants as speakers appear only through their accounts as I retell them. With reference to the literature on educational ethnography, I consequently assumed that they would take an active interest in my representation of their words. This was not the case. My attempts at getting participants to comment on my use of the interviews have not been very successful. The participants seem to have been quite content to grant the interview but reluctant to spend any time on reviewing the results. This may be logical given the conditions discussed above, that the event of the interview which they granted will never be adequately represented in text. Furthermore, each participant knew that her/his interview was one of many and that the representation would be collective rather than individual. I have only received one letter with definite comments on the use of the interview text, three letters which were more greetings and two letters contained further information. Over the years I have met the participants in various contexts relating to art and craft education, but their questions and comments about my work have generally revolved around the policy implications of the work, rather than their personal part in this study. In a sense I have been accorded the role of writer by a community not particularly concerned 103 with writing, one that defines itself by objects rather than text. - If not as a community in actual opposition to the textual. The experience from this research leads me to believe that the concerns expressed in the literature about the inequitable power relation between researcher and researched are more relevant when there is a major difference between the two parties in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and social standing. In a case such as this, these concerns may signify a rather overblown sense of the researcher's importance in relation to the subject. The gap in social standing between a researcher and a teacher when both come from the same background is neglible in this study. If anything, my financial and social standing has suffered by a lengthy period of study compared to remaining in the classroom as a teacher. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that despite my lofty proclamations to the contrary, from my immersion in a research environment, the participants see themselves as doing me a favour more so than me serving them. They were helping me by participating, and they accept that by enabling me to do research they are offering me an opportunity to speak with some authority about curriculum issues. But most importantly, the research allowed them to be reflective practitioners, a luxury seldom available in action (Schon, 1983). To assist the reader in relating the comments and quotes from participants to historical context and chronology of events, the participants' year of birth is included in the reference to interview material. A n attempt is also made to organize material within each subheading in roughly chronological order. Although there is bound to be some overlap as comments made in the interviews may relate to more than one theme as well as represent a life stage or era, this overlap is kept to a minimum. These concerns are, however, secondary to the purpose of gaining insight into the lived experience of the curriculum community. What they believed to have happened and why is more important than exactly what happened and when. 105 CHAPTER 4: THE CURRICULUM IDENTITY OF WOOD AND METALWORK This chapter is based on the interviews with wood and metalwork teachers and is aimed at articulating their curriculum identity. This is done by relating their stories to three aspects of the environment; the human environment, the symbolic environment and the material environment (Apple, 1993). The first section of the chapter deals with the human environment, more precisely the curriculum community of wood and metalwork as reflected in the life histories of the teachers. The social background of the teachers is described and their lifelong relationship with the subject discussed. The second section refers to the symbolic environment, or the curriculum both formal and experienced (Goodlad et. al. 1979). Here the content of the subject, the rationale for the subject and teaching methods are described. The relationship with other curriculum communities and content areas is articulated as well as the perceived relationship with the world outside school. That is wood and metalwork as a life skill, as a vocational skill and general economic asset. The third section deals with the material environment. There are two main aspects of this issue. On one hand the facilities and resources for wood and metalwork instruction. On the other hand the material nature of the subject, the materials and tools used and the meaning and importance that the teachers attribute to this materiality. 106 The last section of the chapter is a summary and discussion where the curriculum community and its identity are described and an attempt made to locate them in the development of a school subject. The Curriculum Community or Human Environment of Wood and Metalwork Childhood and Youth The socioeconomic background that the wood and metalwork teachers come from is fairly similar. Five of the fourteen teachers interviewed are children of farmers. There is one son of a farmer/tradesman and three are children of tradesmen. Two are sons of labourers, and only one is the son of a teacher. Another the daughter of a civil servant and two daughters of university educated fathers. Seven teachers grew up in town, but only two in Reykjavik, and the rest in smaller towns. Six grew up in a rural household. Only one man is a single child, and his mother brought him up on her own. Most of the families included several children and in several cases grand parents living with or in close proximity to the childhood home. By Icelandic standards these families would be classified as low to middle income and class. A l l the male wood and metalwork teachers recall involvement in the subject as part of their childhood. Adult men were engaged in construction, maintenance and repair of buildings, tools and equipment, either in their homes or as tradesmen. As boys, the wood and metalwork teachers helped out and had chores relating to these tasks (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; SigurQur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946). Their childhood games reflected the work they saw around them.They made toys such as boats and cars, and built 107 houses and boxes, even furniture (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957). Although female wood and metalwork teachers come from a very similar background as the men, they did not speak of relating to the subject in childhood. The girls seem to have watched the trades and wood and metalwork in the home from a distance (borunn Arnadottir, b. 1929; Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). Even in cases where they were directly involved they do not speak of their involvement as an important part of their childhood experience (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; 6 l6f Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). In School The men of older generation, attended elementary school before the crafts became mandatory in 1936, and did not encounter wood and metalwork as a school subject in elementary school. They might have taken the subject in the rural secondary schools or attended evening classes or short courses after leaving school. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918), Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) and SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) all attended small rural schools served by itinerant teache,rs and although they did not have wood and metalwork as a subject, some crafts — mainly textiles and papercrafts — were included. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) first encountered wood and metalwork as a school subject when he attended Laugar rural secondary school 1934-'36. Every boy had to take some wood and metalwork, but pupils were allowed to choose whether they pursued an academic or vocationally oriented program, in which the crafts, wood and metalwork for boys and textiles for girls, were central. 108 Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) attended another rural secondary school where he took a course in bookbinding. Egill Strange (b. 1927) was 11-12 years old when the boys at his school were offered a wood working class. Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) on the other hand does not recall any wood and metalwork form his elementary school in a village. This was a one room school with two groups of children, each group comprised of 2-3 cohorts. In such a situation it was difficult to introduce wood and metalwork. If the schoolteacher was unable to teach the subject it meant hiring a person from the community, which was often not a feasible option for a small school. Further, the one room schools did not have physical space suitable for woodwork. Even as late as when Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson (b. 1941) went to school, wood and metalwork was not offered in the smaller schools. He went to a rural school where girls got some textile instruction, but boys did not have instruction in the crafts. I>6rir Sigur5sson (b. 1927) and Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) were brought up in Akureyri and fortunate to attend an elementary school with an established crafts and drawing program. The school had a woodworking studio equipped with "woodwork benches and all handtools, planes, saws, chisels and carving tools" (I>6rir SigurQsson, b. 1927; p. 25). The projects and techniques were fairly varied, included woodcarving and "shipcarving" as well as basic cabinetmaking. Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946) attended elementary school in a small town and he started wood and metalwork in grade 4 when he was 10 years old. The driver of the school bus who taught the subject in very primitive facilities. When the school hired a teacher who was qualified as a wood and metalwork teacher. The instruction was moved to new premises and the equipment upgraded. More importantly, for Julius as a pupil, the new teacher had a different instructional style. "It changed the subject dramatically for me at least. Not just because we were older but because of his instruction. One got to design and decide to some extent on the projects one made" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 2). GuSvarSur B. Halldorsson (b. 1957) attended school in Kopavogur, a suburb of Reykjavik, where wood and metalwork was taught in a special studio, which he found very impressive at the time as he had attended a small rural primary school with no such facilities. In addition to woodwork, which has traditionally been the mainstay of the curriculum, he was introduced to leatherwork, metalwork involving tin and soldered projects and using horn. Projects made in wood and metalwork fell into two main categories, household objects or ornaments and toys. For example Egill Strange (b. 1927) made a small jewellery box for his mother in the woodwork class in 1938-'39. borir SigurSsson (b. 1927) went through a more extensive program in 1937-1941 and made a wooden sled with metal runners, a car, a boat and small furniture such as a shelf with a towel rack, borir remembers using these toys in his games, the sled was for instance an assett in a town renowned for winter sports and games on ice and snow. Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946) and GuSvarSur Halldorsson (b. 1957) remember similar projects in the '50's and '60's, such as cars and boats as well as household items like wooden serving boards and a planter. The wood and metalwork projects were carried out in the wood and metalwork studio at school and not taken home until completely finished. There was no homework required as the curriculum was based on using tools and equipment which was not necessarily available to boys outside school. Although the projects were common household items it was no longer common to make them at home by the time the subject became compulsory in 1936. If boys 110 were exposed to wood and metalwork at home it was either through acquaintance with a tradesman or as a result of a relative's leisure pursuit. None of the women interviewed had wood and metalwork as a compulsory subject in school. The younger generation recalls making requests to that effect in their upper elementary grades, but none had got more than a few hours' introduction (GuSrun Asbjornsdottir, b. 1959; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; 6l6f Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). The Decision to Become a Wood and Metalwork Teacher Educational opportunities were limited by the social and economic situation of the family, particularly for rural youth of the older generation in the study. Those individuals were deciding upon a career during the promotion stage of the subject. Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913), Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) and SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) received elementary education from itinerant teachers. Ingimundur and Axel attended rural secondary schools for two years, which was considered an advanced education: "I remember how eagerly I waited for the letter from the principal, saying I had been admitted to the school in '28.1 still have it" (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913, p. 2). The rural secondary schools were then, around 1930, a new option. The grammar schools offered the traditional secondary education of an academic program leading to university entrance. Such an education was a privilege beyond the means and social standing of most people. SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) went straight to the College of Trades to train as a carpenter upon finishing elementary school. This choice was a more feasible option for his family than an academic secondary education, for he could support himself as an apprentice and soon earn the wages of a tradesman. He said that he wouldn't have preferred to learn this subject rather than another but an apprenticeship was not available in other trades. And there were no resources to enter more expensive programs of education: "Were you thinking of an academic program then? Yes, no less, even more. Yes, but the finances were not in place, so..." (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 1). SigurSur would have preferred to study architecture or engineering. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) prepared himself for farming by attending Holar Agricultural College, graduating in 1941 as an agriculturist. Axel selected the vocational option at his secondary school and at agricultural college he took blacksmithing and saddle and harness making. The winter 1943-44 he attended the Farmers' Department of the College of Crafts in Reykjavik, which was designed to improve the wood and metalwork skills of farmers, thus enabling them to design and construct better buildings and implements on their farms. In between these intermittent periods of secondary schooling Axel worked on his parents' farm, or 'helped out' as he put it. Being the eldest of 8 siblings, he was expected to take over. During Axel's youth and especially during the war years, Icelandic society changed dramatically. The nation moved from the country to town and relatively small and isolated farms such as that of Axel's family became less tenable. In this context Axel's future as a farmer was uncertain and when another vocational opportunity was presented to him, it proved more feasible. Although Axel was graduating from the Farmer's Department rather than teacher training in the spring of 1944, LuSvig GuSmundsson, the principal of the college, recommended him for a temporary teaching position at a rural secondary school. "I was totally available, there was nothing — I didn't have much to do at home, the farm didn't 112 provide an income to speak of, you see. I thought it over and then gave it a go" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 9). Egill Strange (b. 1927) started secondary school in 1940 in one of the larger secondary schools in Reykjavik. There was no wood and metalwork instruction but there was drawing, which he enjoyed. Egill lost interest and quit school after a year. During the next five years he attended evening school and various classes at the College of Crafts and Art before entering apprenticeship in Modelmaking in 1945. His story suggests that even in the city where secondary schooling was more readily available it could be difficult for the young person with a strong inclination for art and craft to find a way through the system. Like his rural colleague Axel Johannesson (b. 1918), Egill pieced together an education from whatever was available in his field of interest. Wood and metalwork teachers commonly chose this vocation because of a particular interest in the subject rather than teaching as a calling. Some turned to teaching after training and working in the woodworking trades. This is particularly true of those who were in or about to enter the trades in the 1960's when Iceland joined the European Free Trade Agreement. The woodworking trades, particularly furniture manufacture, changed dramatically as cabinetmakers had to compete with imported mass production. This meant a radical redefinition of the vocation as the craftsmanship that had been the tradesman's pride and joy was no longer at the core of the production process. Teaching woodwork was one avenue whereby they could practice and pass on their cherished skills. In this period many teaching positions were available (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934). Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) was just starting out as a cabinet maker 113 during this time of change, becoming a master cabinet maker in 1958: "Cabinet making as I had learned the trade was dying. It was becoming factory work. And it wasn't appealing, really, to be hired into a workshop and stationed at some machine to be left standing there for the next 2-3 years" (p. 4). There was unemployment among cabinetmakers as the new technology was less labour intensive and many masters could not manage upgrading equipment and production processes in their workshops and had to close down. (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934). When Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) tried to enter the trade around 1960 there was such a recession in the trade that it was impossible to get an apprenticeship. A chance remark by one of his teachers that gave Svavar the idea to train as a wood and metalwork teacher: "I always wanted to do woodwork. It had nothing to do with teaching. That was just out of necessity" (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933, p. 5). There are instances of wood and metalwork teachers entering their profession because of a particular interest in teaching. Egill Strange (b. 1927) turned to teaching after 14 years of plying his trade. In his mind it was not disaffection with his trade but a desire to teach that led to his decision. Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946) had already at the age of thirteen decided to become a teacher and the choice to specialize in wood and metalwork came later. Julius trained as a carpenter alongside teacher training and intended to finish his apprenticeship upon graduation, but there was such demand for trained teachers of the subject in his home county that he went into teaching. 114 Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1918) trained initially as a generalist elementary school teacher and added wood and metalwork teacher training because of a particular interest and faith in the pedagogical value of the subject. Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957) did not pursue the subject at the secondary level, because he chose the academic stream which excluded further study of wood and metalwork. A friend who had recently graduated from the program recommended it. The female wood and metalwork teachers also describe their choice as serenpiditious. Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) wanted to become a carpenter, but this proved impossible as she couldn't get an apprenticeship. "Well, at least I didn't plan to become a teacher, that was for sure. Let alone a wood and metalwork teacher. It wasn't a calling. You see, when I chose this I was thinking of whether to take this or to go ahead and take up carpentry at the College of Trades. But then I think environmental influence made the difference that I went to The University College of Education" (Oldf Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960, p. 2). Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) said of her decision to become a teacher: "It was I think very much by coincidence. I finished grammar school and went as exchange student for a year and then I hung around the University for a year and then it was more by chance that I decided to enter the The University College of Education. Not out of a particular calling I think" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 1). Hera initially trained as a textile teacher but she came to prefer wood and metalwork as she got to know the subject through friends. Teacher Training in Wood and Metalwork The teacher training program in wood and metalwork was one of three programs offered by the College of Crafts from 1939. There were two options in the program: one year led to 115 certification for elementary schools, two years to qualify as a wood and metalwork teacher at the secondary level (Bjorn Th. Bjornsson, 1979). Then there was the Farmer's Department. But students in those departments spent most of their day side by side, in the shop, doing cabinet making, wood carving, metalwork, drafting and drawing. The prospective teachers also had classes in psychology and lectures on pedagogical issues such as the role of crafts in education. Gunnar Klasngsson's influence is substantial for the majority of wood and metalwork teachers in the country were his students. During his tenure of about 40 years as the main instructor, the relationship of teacher and students was similar to that of a good master to his apprentices (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur B. Halldorsson, b. 1957). Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) recalls the main subjects in 1944-45 as light cabinetmaking, carving and metalwork such as blacksmithing and tinsmithing. Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946) and Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) described the drawing instruction: the student did the initial sketching for a project and the instructor developed the sketch into a draft or blueprint. Most of the students' time was spent in the shop and "as Gunnar taught most subjects there were no clear divisions in the timetable" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 9). Students were asked to do initial sketches or drafting at home.Gunnar then went through these ideas with the individual, modifying and guiding the student along. Several teachers referred to Gunnar Klasngsson as an exceptional draftsman, and generally it seems that the instructors exerted a strong stylistic influence on their students (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913, Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957). 116 Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) did the two year qualifying course as a wood and metalwork teacher for secondary schools. The teacher training programs in wood and metalwork and textiles had just been moved from the College of Crafts and were now offered under the auspices of the Teachers' College. The programs were housed in a separate location from the main campus and there was little or no day to day interaction between the two campuses. Svavar described the program as mainly cabinet making and school projects "where you had to design and make a project, a boat or something for the elementary school" (p. 2). Svavar recalls that the scale and complexity of the projects was generally well above the capability of elementary students. Instruction in teaching methods seems to have been a minor aspect of the program throughout its history. This is indicated by the fact that information about instruction in teaching methods or curriculum issues in wood and metalwork never emerged in the interviews without prompting. Realizing that I would have to ask specifically about instruction in teaching methods, I decided to use the same question in every interview: 'What was said of children and instruction in the program?' Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) described the program of the College of Crafts saying that the rationale for the subject, the importance of craft education for the individual and for society was often discussed. But there was little in the way of "actual methods of instruction" (p.3). Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) said of the teaching methods "I don't recall, I think that was what was missing to an extent" (p. 13). Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) said that there was no time set aside to discuss teaching methods specifically. He felt he knew next to nothing about teaching upon graduation, but that most students graduated as pretty good craftsmen. What 117 was presented in the way of teaching methods in the program were suggestions on what techniques and projects were suitable for each age group (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934). Any further discussion of implementation or instructional methods was missing (Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). Most of the teachers who graduated prior to the establishment of the The University College of Education recalled that they had to take a teaching test, a demonstration lesson with pupils in the presence of their instructor and an external examiner. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) took the test with Gunnar Klaengsson as his instructor and Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) as the examiner. There was no particular preparation for the test, nor was it a source of anxiety or concern (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946). In some cases teachers even described the teaching test but referred to it as a teaching practice rather than as a test (Egill Strange, b. 1927; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933, Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946): "One morning we got pupils from the Model School and we were to teach them. We sat around in a circle and there was a joiner's bench in the middle of the room. And the pupils waited in the hallway and were called in pairs for us. And we were then to teach these two pupils an assigned task or maybe there was a draw for the task. Was this the teaching test then? Yes" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 12). There was neither a grade awarded or comment made about the performance, nor a record of the test on his certificate of grades. 118 Those who were experienced and teaching at the time were not always required to take the teaching test or practicum. Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) was teaching for the Reykjavik School Board as the junior colleague of an experienced elementary wood and metalwork teacher and was not required to take the test. SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) was already teaching at the vocational secondary school, which provided sufficient teaching experience and perhaps it was taken into account that he was an experienced master of his trade who had not only trained apprentices but had been an examiner for a number of years. Although he took the teaching test, he did not do a practicum. Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946) and Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) were in the last group that went through the two year teacher training in wood and metalwork at the Teachers' College. After that, and until the foundation of the The University College of Education the program involved an academic preparation course before the training in the subject started. In 1971 the Teachers' College became the University College of Education, and the matriculation exam became the entrance requirement (Log um Kennarahaskola Islands 1971). As wood and metalwork was generally not available in the academic programs leading to the matriculation exam, this meant that it was virtually impossible for prospective wood and metalwork teachers to pursue their subject during the grammar school years. Consequently they entered teacher training with less background in their subject, than their older peers, despite a higher educational qualification. Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) who graduated in 1980 and Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957) in 1981 are the first of the teachers interviewed for this study to go through the B.Ed, program. Their recollections of the wood and metalwork teacher training does not differ 119 much from that of older colleagues. "Some people were of course into furnishing their living rooms. I practically lived in a box at the time and wasn't thinking of furniture much. But I made kitchen stools and a chest of drawers from solid pine and then a veneered telephone table. These were the bigger items. Much of the work was done on the machines" (GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 5). Helga Pah'na Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) has similar memories of making furniture using the combination woodwork machines. Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) felt that the main emphasis in the program was "To work in wood, to produce, really. Even major items, difficult techniques like dovetailing which is very beautiful, but of no use in the elementary school I think. And there was a myopic focus on the more difficult and yes, larger projects, beds, cabinets" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 2). To her the goal seemed to be to make students into good craftspeople. Beginning teachers needed to modify their approach for the projects in the program were well above the ability of their pupils. For some it was a shock to realize how little children could do, compared with their expectations upon graduation (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957). Joining methods were mentioned by several teachers as the example of a mismatch between the emphasis in the teacher training program and the classroom situation. The perception of the younger teachers was that the techniques taught were not suited to the ability level of elementary school children (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, 1953; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). While critical of this emphasis, they recognize the rationale for it: "The point is that we were trying to preserve traditional methods" (GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 13-14). Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957) jokingly referred to his struggle as a beginning teacher to develop projects suitable for elementary pupils. Joining methods which were taught in grades 7-9 were a particular headache. "You see, one thought in the beginning that one could teach them dovetailing and such simple things as one learned at the The University College of Education! It didn't last. Yes, the joining methods have been a somewhat rocky road for me and my pupils. Of course one proposed way too complex joining methods at the outset" (Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 13-14). With experience Gu5var5ur has settled for one compulsory project where the wood is joined the traditional way, without nails or screws. This is a good exercise to illustrate the importance of accurate measurements and cutting in the joining process. The feeling conveyed in the replies to the question "what was said about children?" is captured by a rather sarcastic remark "Well, that is it you see. It was probably a taboo of sorts, children! No I'm kidding. But there was very little mention of children or pupils, really" (Gu6var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 6-7). And the issue is summarized here: "Pedagogically, I didn't feel there was much thought" (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 3). "I can almost claim that there was nothing. Some pupil project was expected. But I need to think back,... I'm trying to recall what ~ if we did a cutting board, a serving board. I think there was this one project as a pupil project. Was it discussed then? Yes, I think so, we did a short report, how we planned the project, for what age group and such. We were supposed to discuss it in class but it came to little somehow" (Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960, p. 4). Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) recalls making some pupil projects and so does Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957). "I remember one occasion where we made a project and included some objectives that we wanted the children to obtain, but then the instructor said 'well, this doesn't matter'" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 2). Despite disillusionment with the lack of attention to teaching methods in the wood and metalwork teacher training program, GuSvarSur Halldorsson (b. 1957) spoke for many when he argued that there was little choice in the matter: "You have to take into account that we entered the program with elementary school preparation in the subject, some of us, others had no background in the subject. Some of the girls had never done any wood and metalwork before. It is hard, given the time constraints in the program to teach both the subject, wood and metalwork and to reach teaching methods as well" (GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 7). The women who trained as wood and metalwork teachers agreed with this view (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). When I asked Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953), who graduated in 1980, to describe the wood and metalwork teacher training program her first comment was: "Yes, it was necessary of course to begin by teaching us girls the very basics because we hadn't, I for one had never touched a plane before " (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 3). Those of the teachers who have been involved in teacher education all expressed concern over the lack of foundation in the subject which means that student teachers cannot reach the levels of proficiency that their older colleagues knew (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953). Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson (b. 1941), lecturer of wood and metalwork at The University College of Education, was blunt about the prospects of his graduates when he said: "That the people graduating, the average 122 student he doesn't stand a chance of survival in his vocation! If he isn't an exceptionally strong character he will simply have to retreat" (p. 9). Adulthood: Being a Wood and Metalwork Teacher Entering the Profession The teachers started teaching at different points in their lives, with different backgrounds and motives. Many started as uncertified instructors, a couple had trained as teachers of other subjects first and others entered from the trades. Some colleagues went straight into teacher training in the subject and subsequently took up teaching in their subject. The pattern among those interviewed is that the younger generation acquired their certification before going into teaching and that training first in another subject area has been uncommon for practicing wood and metalwork teachers. Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) graduated from Teachers' College in 1934 and served as itinerant teacher for six years during which he had little opportunity to offer craft education. When he got a position in a tow: "I started for real, taught a little wood and metalwork, had acquired some Swedish books about craft education and it went quite well I thought" (p. 2). Ingimundur got his wood and metalwork teacher certification from the College of Crafts in 1945. As positions were scarce in Reykjavik at the time, he taught at several schools concurrently. In wood and metalwork he served as the junior alongside a more senior teacher of the subject, before securing a permanent full time position in 1952 at Langholtsskoli as a classroom teacher and specialist in wood and metalwork. 123 Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) entered teaching as an uncertified instructor at a rural secondary school where he taught for seven years. During that time he was the only wood and metalwork teacher at the school. As it was a rural school there was little chance of collegial relations with other wood and metalwork teachers. So Axel had to be fairly independent in developing his curriculum and teaching methods. In 1951 he re-entered the College of Crafts, to get certification as a wood and metalwork teacher. He was then hired at one of the largest elementary school in Reykjavik — Laugarnes school, as one of a group of 3-4 craft teachers led by a younger colleague. Upon graduation from the wood and metalwork teacher training program in 1954 Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) got a position in HafnarfjorSur, a suburb of Reykjavik, and considers himself fortunate as there were many applicants for this position. SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) represents the third route into wood and metalwork teaching, entering after a career in the trades. He entered teacher training when he was hired as a secondary school teacher "Yes I had to go to Teachers' College and didn't mind it at all, on the contrary. Because I didn't have the qualifications to teach at elementary or secondary school although I was qualified to take on apprentices in my trade. That was the law, one had to have a teaching certificate" (p. 9-10). Sigur5ur took the training course alongside teaching, which was not uncommon. Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) enrolled in the wood and metalwork teacher training program at the Teachers' College in 1963 and started teaching for the Reykjavik School Board at the same time. In 1964, when he was in the second year of the teacher training program, Julius Sigurbjornsson's (b. 1946) instructor recommended him as wood and metalwork teacher to 124 Landakot Catholic School in Reykjavik, teaching about six hours per week. Upon graduation Julius accepted a position at Vestmartnaeyjar Elementary, where he was the only wood and metalwork teacher and taught a mil time position of over 30 hours per week. Julius is the last of the older generation of wood and metalwork teachers represented in this study, entering the profession with a high level of proficiency in the subject gained through work and study in the woodworking trades. GuSvarSur B. Halldorsson (b. 1957) graduated from The University College of Education College in 1981 and was hired at a new elementary school in Reykjavik as one of two wood and metalwork teachers. The other teacher was more experienced and they have worked closely together. GuSvarSur recalled himself as a beginning teacher: "One was hardly competent to handle the machines after the program, not even that. It was a great help to me that the school was under construction so there were carpenters about. I was given lessons by the carpenters, they taught me to tune the band saw and things like that" (p. 7). In regards to the preparation for teaching and need for support and mentorship, a definite change has occurred over the period described in the interviews. The earlier generations of wood and metalwork teachers were proficient in the craft while perhaps not well versed in classroom management or child development issues. For the younger graduates in this study - - those with a B.Ed. ~ lack of skills and confidence in the craft, coupled with lack of training in teaching methods specific to the subject has been a serious problem. The younger generation is qualified as classroom teachers and therefore can, and often do, opt out of the shop. It is difficult to trace what the effect has been, for the earlier generations only possessed a teaching certificate in crafts and therefore didn't have the option of shifting within the 125 teaching profession as many of their younger colleagues have done. The older teachers are also more likely to have entered wood and metalwork teaching with substantial previous experience and therefore a stronger committment to the subject. Supporting a Family, Maintaining a Home The teachers interviewed here pursue their subject as perhaps the single most important thread in their life's work. A l l the men interviewed have families, they are breadwinners and to fulfill that obligation they commonly take on an extra job to augment their teacher's salary, which has generally been lower than in the trades. The financial merit in teaching has been the job security compared with trades. There is also a bulk of work, waged and unwaged, that is done for pleasure or fulfillment rather than for money. The boundaries are fortunately blurred, there is little said here of toil without the redeeming quality of enjoyment or importance. In many interviews reference is made to how the role of breadwinner has shaped the path of possibilities. SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) had wanted to educate himself further abroad after getting his journey man's papers in 1941. "Well it was also the plan to study further. One was always hoping that the war would end but no, it went on till 1945 and by then my situation had changed of course. I had a home and children by then and such, no money to speak of and restrictions on foreign currency and everything in a sorry state so to speak. So everything had to recover first and then it never came to that" (Sigur5ur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 5-6). While having a family did not prevent men from further education, it imposed certain limits. The length of time which the family could afford to be without or reduce the main income was a factor mentioned both by Egill Strange (b. 1927) and Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957). 126 Egill sought special permission to take the two year teacher training program in one year because "I had four children and didn't want to borrow money" (p. 3). GuSvarSur Halldorsson (b. 1957) made a similar comment, he felt it wasn't feasible for a family man to accumulate debt by embarking upon a lengthy program of study. On the other hand Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) postponed her first year of teaching in favour of an extra year of study as it was easier to care for her newborn second child as a student teacher than as a beginning teacher. Egill Strange (b. 1927) recalled that when he graduated as a wood and metalwork teacher in 1960 that "I couldn't afford to teach for a year! I was so broke that I just couldn't afford to take up teaching and maybe I should never have done that, I've never lost as much financially as by going into teaching" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 3). "In those years when I left the trade to go into teaching I did better financially than by cabinet making, because I could work those three summer months. That made all the difference, although the salary wasn't much during the school year it wasn't that much less than what you earned in cabinet making those years" (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 23). Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933), who started teaching in 1954, worked during the school holidays "Right from when you left off in the spring until the fall. That was what saved it, the salary of course wouldn't have stretched, it was impossible" (p. 7). In addition to working on his own home, GuSvarSur B. Halldorsson (b. 1957) has worked for wages on renovations of older buildings, laying floors and furnishings. Building or buying a house was a major undertaking, and most families have tried to be as self sufficient as possible in this regard. Wood and metalwork teachers were in a good position to use their professional skills and did so (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Vignir B. 127 Arnason, b. 1934; Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1946; Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b.1957; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) could be speaking for generations of Icelanders when he said "I built this house on weekends and at night, and all that it contains. My wife helped me build it. The two of us dug the foundations by hand in September forty years ago, yes she was in this with me" (p. 24). The house, furnishings and furniture were all his work as well. As their guest during the interview I witnessed the pride and pleasure teachers take in the accomplishment of furnishing their home (Axel Johannsson, b. 1918; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927). For instance, during the interview with SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) he pointed out "The chair you are sitting in for example, I designed it and made hundreds of it. It is a fairly successful design. Isn't it comfortable? Yes. Yes, I know!" (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 6). Egill Strange (b. 1927) not only built and furnished his home but made most ornaments as well. The women wood and metalwork teachers interviewed had not taken on extra waged work, but they had used or planned to use their skills outside of teaching. Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) furnished her apartment, and makes repairs around the house and such. She has also worked in the construction industry and for theater and television in stage construction and props. Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) does not take on extra work for she has two young children, but she felt that wood and metalwork might be a useful subject for her to be able to make and mend things about the house. Her plans at the time of the interview were to set up a workshop with a woman friend to make toys and smaller wooden objects for sale. 128 Olof Kristin Einarsdottir (b. 1960) built a house with her husband, but has not used her skills vocationally outside of teaching. The different conclusions that teachers come to regarding the financial merit of going from the trades into teaching may relate to their different trades and their levels of seniority within the trade. Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) was still interested in pursuing a career in the woodworking trades when graduating from Teachers' College in 1954, but as a family man he could not afford to live off the wages of an apprentice. While Svavar couldn't afford to be exploited as a lowly paid apprentice, Egill Strange (b. 1927) was relatively well paid as a master working for a company. Sigur5ur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) was one of the owners of his workshop and his income was therefore tied to the profit rather than the wages of a qualified tradesman. Cabinet making was also especially hard hit in this period and job security a thing of the past. What they all agreed on was that a teacher's salary was not sufficient to support their families and they even joked about having to 'work' meaning to earn, or to afford teaching (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1918; SigurQur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Gu5var5ur B. Halldorsson, b. 1957). The only exceptions from the rule of working more than full-time during the school year and taking on work during holidays were Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) and Olof Kristin Einarsdottir (b. 1960) who had foregone such waged work to take care of young children. Working for Fulfillment Egill Strange (b. 1927) makes the comment that there is extra work where "I write my bill and pay my tax and all, but then there is the other stuff, helping one's friends and such. And they help me out in turn " (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 13). Many of the other teachers 129 comment on using their skills by helping their friends out (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957). This section does not deal with working for wages as much as working for pleasure on the one hand and working out of committment on the other. Some of it is waged; some of it is not, but the reason why the teachers take it on is that they enjoy it and it seems to them that it needs doing. It is working for fulfillment, work as integral to the good life. Working in wood or metal is both leisure and work which may require a demarcation of boundaries as the demand for the teacher's craft skills may exceed the appetite for doing the work. Slowing down and retiring may not be a simple thing for people with particular, even rare skills. "I have a small workshop here and have made a lot of things for my acquaintances but I don't want to be tied down to it" (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 23). SigurSur deliberately keeps these commitments in check as the demand for his expertise is greater than he could cope with — he feels he would be swamped with requests i f it was known he was available for work. Spending time in the workshop at home is a form of recreation, a pleasure that should not be spoiled by taking on projects that are not personally satisfying. Egill Strange (b. 1927) feels most at home in the workshop of his basement. There he works on his own projects or 'nonsenses' as he called them, as well as the occasional commission and even student projects he has taken home to fix. There is no clear distinction between paid work and leisure in Egil's mind. Throughout the interview Egill made references to his love of teaching motivated students and the good times where time flies in the constructive community. Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) also describes a blurred distinction where recreation spills over into teaching. He is involved in the craft of tying tackle for fly fishing, a very 130 delicate craft that has gained popularity along with fly fishing in Iceland. The school where Vignir teaches has a recreation center where he has taught courses in his hobby since 1978: "One could say this is something one has allowed oneself to play at on the side. It can be related to wood and metalwork and is, has been. It is a craft of course and many, there have been great individuals involved who have made works of art in this craft" (Vignir B . Arnason, b. 1934, p. 16-17). Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) was involved in establishing and directing recreational programs for children and youth. As a young man he participated in the Icelandic Youth Association, a national association of local chapters organizing sports and other recreational activities around the country. He was also involved in the children's temperance movement and later among those organizing local chapters of the Icelandic Rescue Squads. These activities were unwaged, but like most teachers, Ingimundur had summer jobs. From 1947 to 1957 he was the head teacher of the Reykjavik School Gardens, a recreational and educational program for school children. Another teacher who became involved in organizing recreation programs for youth is Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson (b. 1941) who was active with the sports club of his growing town in the 1960's. The sports club pioneered recreational programs for young people in town: "We didn't quite realize that there wouldn't just be people wanting to practice the high jump or something like that, but that sometimes 80-100 children and youth would show up. And we were swamped. So I had to organize games and such systems and start a recreational program of sorts. We couldn't manage with just one coach so I had to be there all the time, it was in the evenings and was great fun" (Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1941, p. 4-5). 131 In some cases the wood and metalwork teachers have a second or parallel career teaching specific courses within the subject in adult and/or higher education as well as in recreational settings. Wood carving and bookbinding are common examples. Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) learned bookbinding at secondary school and trained further in the subject at the College of Crafts. The first course Ingimundur offered was for his fellow teachers at the elementary school where he taught, but later he taught the subject at the The University College of Education. The bulk of the instruction has been in a recreational program for senior citizens to which Ingimundur was recruited in 1979. People become eligible for the programs at the age of 67, Ingimundur has therefore been a senior citizen himself for most of his career in recreational programs for seniors. The Symbolic Environment The Rationale for Teaching Wood and Metalwork There was occasional comment about the lack of discussion or thought of rationales within the curriculum community (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934; Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1941; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960). Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) spoke of the experience of having to account for the rationale in the interview. "One gets it all of a sudden now as one is speaking, it is interesting. That, you see, perhaps one didn't understand clearly enough while in training precisely why we are doing this. This is just something that has been and is in the schools and everybody is used to it, that Icelanders know how to manage for themselves in this field" (p. 5). Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) commented "It is so self evident to me that it is strange to have to provide an argument for it" (p. 8). 132 Wood and metalwork has double importance for the teacher of the subject. On the one hand there is the importance it has for him or her personally and the satisfaction it brings to the person who also happens to be a teacher. Distinct, but perhaps not distinguished from the former, is the perceived importance of the subject for pupils and for society. The perception or definition of this latter kind is of course often derived from the former. The teachers tend to attribute the qualities the subject brings out in them to others. "They get so much out of making something they can see the use for", Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) said of his pupils (p. 16). This comment reflects two basic assumptions guiding much of what wood and metalwork teachers have been doing with their students over the years. One, that the learner must enjoy the process; and second, that utility, making something functional, is an important part of getting something out of the subject. Perhaps this is the bottom line in regards to the rationale:, the student must feel that he or she 'got something out of wood and metalwork. That 'something' does, however, refer to many things. Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) saw the crafts having a role in a holistic curriculum where academic and manual subjects were equal. His definition of the content of the subject is stated in three goals: the ability to handle tools and equipment; knowledge of materials and understanding of form and function. Ingimundur's description of teaching wood turning reflects this: "The first exercise was of course just to make a cylinder, make the piece of wood cylindrical and learn the concept. Then you could have a disk or a sphere, but a long piece of wood would make a cylinder. That was one thing, the concepts we tried to make clear, length and width and thickness. And the material, the wood grain and such. The material they were working, these were things that we emphasized" (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 133 1913, p. 9). Ingimundur sees theoretical and practical knowledge as complimentary, and the subject wood and metalwork as involving both. In the example above, geometrical concepts and the practical skill in achieving their physical form are equally important: "I would like to have the manual subjects in such a way that the kids or people understand that you are interpreting things so that you have to study both by the book and by the hand" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 15). Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) made less of the conceptual side of the subject, in his responses the academic and the manual were contesting rather than complimentary subjects: "It is of course all part of maturing. No less than for instance solving a math problem, to use a plane or a saw to make an object. It is an experience and all experience leads to maturity" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 22). The need to be respectful of the pupil's wishes despite the power to direct those wishes according to the teacher's vision of the pupils needs was an important issue for him. On the particular contribution of crafts in education he said: "Maybe this is the big issue, that there is some place where you can make people happy with themselves, make the individual happy with what he is doing, then it serves us to some extent" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 22). SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) draws a line between the role of the subject in general education and vocational education at the secondary level. "At the secondary level students are preparing or nearing a real vocation. But as we know the elementary level teaching involves this and that and isn't directly planned as entry into a specific discipline" (Sigur5ur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 12). While keen to explore the rationale of the subject for the individual, Egill Strange (b. 1927) also brought up the importance of the subject for society, as "we must take 134 care not to run out of crafts people" (p. 13). Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson (b. 1941) also voiced concern over the future of trades. He feels an understanding and appreciation of design is lacking in the training of many trades people in the wood industry. Such neglect of design education is in his view not only culturally but economically impoverishing. The place for wood and metalwork as a general subject at the secondary level, in addition to catering to students who are preparing for a vocation in the field, was acknowledged in terms of life skills, to be better able to manage in life. The rationale or value for the individual goes further than this practical side: "I think it has great value, it develops the pupil and expands their horizon to experience this subject which involves so much. It makes them more independent in many cases, not to mention the fulfillment, the enrichment of their life because they enjoy it" (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 26). SigurSur emphasized that this does not only refer to wood and metalwork. " What is the rationale for teaching wood and metalwork? There are few answers to such big questions! Well, I feel that I'm introducing them to the materials and the equipment, and of course to draw their attention to quality; that is, well crafted work. And then one goes on into the artistic, one points that out so the kids recognize whether things are well made or badly. Perhaps, it is possible of course to make it sound more lofty, but I'm not into making lofty proclamations about these things" (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1934, p. 14). Despite the reservation the answer is clear: the subject is there to introduce pupils to a particular aspect of the material world and how to handle it and appreciate its handling. Although Svavar limits his rationale to wood and metalwork, he refers to more general goals such as training pupils to use their hands and to concentrate and persevere in a task. 135 Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) refers to the practicality of the subject as offering skills for a productive and independent lifestyle. GuSvarSur Halldorsson (b. 1957) makes a related comment: "The most important goal is that the pupils acquire confidence and that they see themselves as people who can take up tools and make something" (p. 14-15). 'What is the value of the subject for kids? Generally? I find it absolutely necessary to teach them to handle the most basic tools so that they can manage with things you need to do around the house and such. And it is also just to make something by hand, not just sit and gawk at the TV or sit and read and write in school" (Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960, p. 7). The point about physically active learning and particularly the importance of training the hand came up in many interviews. Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) made a comment on the difficulty some adolescents have finding relevance in their school work: "Do something. Work at something. They don't see it. If for nothing but to train the fine motor skills of the hand" (p. 9). On the one hand there is a life skill rationale, and on the other, the rationale of using the body and mind to counteract the tendency toward physically passive modes of learning. Vignir B . Arnason (b. 1935) values the life skill rationale, but it is in his mind not the most important: "Rather that which is generally stated in the curriculum documents; to enhance the perception and appreciation of form and the creative outlet, to make them think independently if possible" (p. 9). Vignir also noted that if the subject is valuable for the individual then it has value for society as well: "It is well put in the curriculum documents, I hear the phrase as I speak: 'To make children environmentally literate'. But I fear we don't work systematically toward that" (Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934, p. 21). Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) explained that the educational value of art and craft is that the 136 students look at the environment in a different, more analytic way and thus comes to a deeper understanding of what is before the eyes. Julius Sigurbjdrnsson (b. 1946) is one of the authors of the curriculum documents that Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) referred to above. He said this of the rationale for the craft subjects: "One often feels that it is an old and empty slogan this talk about developing, training and coordinating mind and hand. I think this is a very appropriate way, these subjects, i f you handle them properly, just to develop the individual in general. Really, the senses overall. It is no less a question of touch and sensitivity to material and perception of form, and yes, this coordination too. Not just of mind and hand but it is a necessary factor in simply understanding existence as it appears. Yes, just dealing with, well, oneself and existence, perhaps for instance as a consumer, knowing right from wrong in choosing the things one needs" (Julius Sigurbjdrnsson, b. 1946, p. 17). Here the rationale encompasses individual development and growth, and tentatively reaches out to touch upon the notion of world view and settles down in the life skill mode. "To unite aesthetics and craft" (Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1941, p. 7) is another statement of a possible philosophy for wood and metalwork as a subject. This relates the subject to art and moves it toward design rather than crafts or trades. Ingolfur put much stock in design — it should be a component in the general education of each individual. Design education for Ingolfur related to what Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) referred to as environmental literacy. "It helps the individual in orienting, in grasping the environment, understanding the environment in abstract and concrete terms. To develop an understanding of the backdrop of human environment" (Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b.l941, p. 13). Wood and metalwork in this definition 137 is not only a manual subject, but also no less intellectual and social. Taking wood as an example Ingolfur points out how a person uses the senses to experience the material. Children do experience this, but he argues that this material sense becomes valuable only by relation to thought and knowledge which results in an understanding of the qualities, characteristics and essence of the material. Many of the teachers referred to learning about design, but Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) emphasized experience of the design process in explaining why design was important. "You sketch and work further and then it is time for decision making, you have a lot but you have to choose and say O.K. this is good. It is often hard, but the thing is that i f you don't choose you can't proceed, you can't take the next step which is another circle " (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 12). Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) also values the design process and emphasizes that pupils have to sketch or draw the object, even if the end result will not be like the drawing: "I often feel that if they start drawing it triggers a certain work process so they begin to think the object through" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 4). "It is also to get to know another material, pushing yourself, having to think and create, construct something of one's own and develop it. I think that is an education that transfers into general development" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 8). It is interesting to note here that the rationale is instrinsic, referring to the subject as a valuable experience in its own right rather than the means to an end of becoming a more skilled person. The Formal and Perceived Curricula The content of the curriculum and the sequence and manner in which this content is delivered is pretty constant for most of the teachers interviewed. This suggests that the subject has 138 settled into a tradition unchallenged over the last 30-40 years. "What went on here and still goes on here with us is this joiner's bench bondage, nothing but joiner's bench bondage" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 20). 'Joiner's bench bondage' would be the shop equivalent of a classroom situation where each child remains at his or her desk for all tasks. Usually each pupil makes his or her individual project. This tradition has become so strong that teachers feel bound by the expectation of pupil production of useful objects (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960). The wood and metalwork teachers have more or less followed the suggestions of the formal curricula in terms of what techniques to introduce and when. The youngest pupils are usually nine years old, — in some instances eight (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957) — started off with simple fretwork in thin plywood, and learning to drive nails and use sandpaper. They progressed the next year to work in solid wood, and learned to saw to measure and at right angles using measuring tape and a square and/or mitre box, as well as using a rasp for forming wood. In the third year of the program, when pupils were 11 years old they were taught to use the plane and make a board right angled and even in its thickness. They were also instructed in how to adjust the plane and to care for it. At age 12 or older, they were introduced to a wider variety of materials. If the emphasis on woodwork was continued, they would tackle bigger and more complex projects and be introduced to machinery. At this point teachers introduced the chisel and gouges for carving wood. Projects and materials requiring sustained effort such as horn and bone, or potentially dangerous processes such as soldering metal and turning wood on a lathe, are reserved for 13 to 16 year old pupils. (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Svavar 139 Johannesson, b. 1933; Vignir B. Arnason, b.1934; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960). The younger elementary school pupils often make toys such as cars and planes, jig saw puzzles or shadow puppets. Small household objects such as boxes, signs, bootjacks and small shelves are also common projects for young elementary pupils (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). Older pupils were often involved in making furniture in a wood work oriented program. Their choice of projects reflects their needs, students in a comprehensive senior secondary school (age 16 to 20 approximately) make double beds and even cradle. The older elementary school child (13 to 16 year old) may make a chair, a bookshelf or a computer desk (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933). Commonly the teacher defines the project, introduces the tools and materials to be used and may demonstrate the techniques. These introductions tend to be short as the students are eager to start working and demonstrate lack of patience with teacher talk (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1934; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b . 1960). Only one teacher mentioned having a particular space and time set aside for group discussion and as having taught a project that did not involve any construction (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960). Most of the instruction is individual.The teacher goes around and shows each student the right technique. Many recruit pupils to assist each other with safe processes (Axel Johannesson, b. 1913; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill 140 Strange, b. 1927; Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934; GuSvarSur B. Halldorsson, b. 1957, Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). Many teachers have a collection of pictures of projects to show possible choices of projects. Another way to introduce projects would be to show examples or prototypes, which many teachers have done (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) voices reservations about this practice: "It often makes me feel that if their piece is not as well made as the teacher's then they get this major inferiority complex. That they compare their work too much with the example" (p. 4). She nevertheless acknowledges the usefulness of the examples or prototypes as pupils often have difficulty understanding the design and construction of an object without concrete examples. Using compulsory projects was a common way of ensuring that the curriculum objectives were met (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b.1919; Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946). Choice is constrained by the pupil's ability, the facilities and the curriculum by which the teacher delimits the choice by deciding which materials, tools and techniques are to be used in the project. A teacher would let all the pupils begin with some compulsory project to start everything off as quickly as possible and to see what each pupil was capable of. What they would go on to do was based on this (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918): "I think it is hopeless to teach systematically without compulsory projects. I have always tried to keep the compulsory projects on a small scale so they wouldn't dominate the program" (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933, p. 11). Despite compulsory 141 projects, the teachers maintained that they were open to pupil choice of projects (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Julius Sigurbjdrnsson, b. 1946). The compulsory project allows the teacher to systematically introduce tools and techniques and reduces the complexity of managing a class in the workshop (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). "But I think we must not let them do compulsory projects the whole time. There are many teachers who prefer that, it is much easier to teach that way. You can plan ahead more, yes it won't evolve into organized chaos. It is twice as difficult when they are not all working on the same thing, so help me God — I won't compare it. But I just think we must" (Egill Strange, b.l 927, p. 18). Julius Sigurbjdrnsson (b. 1946) started teaching in 1964, and for him as a beginning teacher anything but setting compulsory projects was inconceivable. Within ten years of entering the profession, Julius became involved in the comprehensive curriculum redevelopment initiated by the ministry of education in the 1970's. He became a proponent of increased pupil initiative and choice within wood and metalwork. Looking back over his wrestling with the issue of pupil choice Julius compares his initial years of teaching with what followed: "Back then one was, in the beginning of the school year at least, completely a compulsory project kind of a guy. One knew nothing else. One didn't have more initiative or foresight at the time than this" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 14-15). Later Julius allowed a certain choice in projects, in the latter half of the school year when pupils had been taught some basic skills. Pupil choice of projects is no simple proposition. Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934), who started teaching in 1963, described his struggle to find the balance between choice and compulsion in pupil projects: "I've tried everything in this matter. According to the theory as I understood 142 it in the early years it was to develop freely. The children were to find their own projects and one was struggling to try this but I came to the conclusion early on that they had neither maturity nor experience to select suitable projects for themselves" (Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934, p. 8). "Well, they had complete freedom to suggest projects. I recall one nine year old chap who got it into his head that he needed to make himself a desk and a bed. Then one stood like a fool faced with the dilemma of trying to chat him out of this" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 15). The constraints of maturity, previous experience, ability on the pupil's part and the constraints posed by the school situation in terms of time alottment, equipment, facilities and materials have led teachers to prefer a more directed curriculum. Lack of understanding by pupils and their families of what would be possible or feasible for a child to accomplish at school could be a problem. "If the pupil took this freedom home and brought it up at home to get guidance it could result in Dad drawing up something fabulous and the kid would come back with stars in his eyes and the parents didn't have a clue what their kids were allowed or able to do" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 15). Julius responded to the problems by defining the parameters of choice and by making these known to pupils and parents: "I didn't set the projects, I set the techniques, a framework of techniques that they had stick to" (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946, p. 15). Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) counts on the family to help pupils decide what projects would be useful for them to make. In his case, having taught in the same community for a long time he can assume that the wood and metalwork school tradition is known to parents. When a compulsory project is used for a while it could reach a certain saturation point in the community. Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957) said "of course we can't use the same project 143 for years or it will be sitting in rows in the windowsill of homes with many children" (p. 12). A good project can become a bit of a drag ~ even for the teacher ~ i f used too long. Egill Strange (b. 1927) had been using a bootjack for a compulsory project and was 'dog tired of it' although it is a form that is good for them as they are learning to use the plane. So Egill had redesigned the bootjack into a wall mounted candleholder, which is essentially the same project with the addition of a metalwork component where they must cut and form a copper dish to hold the candle. "My dear, they walked on air when they left. They thought it was just swell to be able to change the bootjack around and make it into a candleholder" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 17). The use of compulsory projects has changed along the lines described by Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946). They are used more as a safeguard that certain methods are covered than an obligation to make a particular object (GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). Hera SigurSardottir (b. 1960) said on the issue of compulsory projects or free choice: "I use both. Sometimes they can choose between two to three projects but sometimes I introduce one project that they can develop in different ways" (p. 4). The pupils have to design or sketch their project but are mainly directed by the choice of technique, tools and materials, which are determined by Hera. She recalled one instance where she had posed a particular project when she felt that a particular cohort had not gotten enough instruction in this technique. When her pupils have finished their project and if there is time left they can move on to free choice within the parameters set by the techniques they know and the materials available. 144 Building confidence and understanding so that pupils can transfer what they learned through a compulsory or teacher directed project into working independently, is central concern for those who believe techniques should only be the means to the end of being able to create. Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957) teaches eight and nine year old pupils to use the rasp, a project which requires working in solid wood. But the pupils are too young to be able to cut a shape out of solid material themselves, so the teachers cut out something for the pupils on the bandsaw and then emphasize that they are to change the cut-out into something that looks totally different. Using a pre-cut shape is not ideal in Gu5var5ur's opinion, and in a project for 10 year olds using similar materials and techniques, he tries to 'erase' the effects of this. The technique of forming with a rasp learned the previous year is reinforced. The project now also involves designing and cutting out the shape from which the form is then derived. The pupils design their own object ~ such as picture frame — and are taught to use mirroring to achieve symmetry. This design strategy is then referred to in later projects that they design. When pupils come to the point of making an object they have personally designed, the teachers make much of it so that they will appreciate that they were able to see it through for themselves. "And we try to evoke joy in having accomplished this, to see something through from start to finish" (Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 12). The reduction in instruction time per pupil in the subject that occurred in the late seventies forced teachers to accept that they are no longer able to take their pupils to the level of proficiency they once expected (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; Sigur5ur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933). Gu5var5ur Halldorsson's (b. 1957) comments about reasonable demand for craftsmanship today show that times have changed. This is not surprising given that the time allotment in the subject has decreased by half since the older 145 generation were school boys. Over the years Gu5var5ur has come to prefer simpler projects and methods that will allow students to handle basic tools successfully. Much of the commentary about life in the wood and metalwork studio refers to the community that develops with a teacher and a class, and students that stood out in some way as well as incidents that illustrate the way things were. The teachers took pride in the perception that their classes were a constructive community where students were respected and cared for. Sometimes the teacher felt that he or she was meeting a need that did not have much to do with the subject itself, allowing the children time to talk, to enjoy being in a different setting from the rest of the school day (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960). Student motivation has not been a major concern for wood and metalwork teachers and they have not had to go to any lengths to involve their students. In response to the suggestion that some pupils may not have been motivated in wood and metalwork, Axel Johannesson (b. 1913) replied definitely: "That was rare. That people weren't interested" (p. 22). In general wood and metalwork has been a popular subject and the teachers enjoy this (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913; SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur B. Halldorsson, b. 1960; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960; Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b.1960). "I am aware that this is a position of certain prestige from the pupils' point of view, to be a wood and metalwork teacher. They clearly think it is something quite impressive according to what the other teachers tell me. Because the wood and metalwork is, as I say it is without exception that most pupils enjoy themselves in wood and metalwork" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 5). Even classes with discipline problems seem able to settle 146 down in wood and metalwork: "It went really well, they were absolute angels as soon as they came here and got something manual to work with" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 5). There is even demand for more instruction and pressure on the teachers from pupils who wanted additional lessons. One did of course grant extra hours as far as one could but often there were so many pupils in each class it wasn't always possible, but one tried as one could" (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913, p. 9). Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) has had the opportunity to meet this need with an open workshop once a week where any pupil can come and work on wood and metalwork. Many students use this opportunity, both to press on with projects they are doing in wood and metalwork class and also to stay involved during the term they are not enrolled in wood and metalwork class. Vignir's school also organizes what they call 'open days', where the regular curriculum is broken up into workshops running for three consecutive days. Then there are those who excel in the subject, "sometimes one gets absolute geniuses" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 18). Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) uses the same terms to describe outstanding students: "Then we had great geniuses, once in a while one got a pure genius. You had to let them shine... You mustn't bore them to death with stuff they were thoroughly familiar with" (p. 21). Those students who are extraordinarily motivated or skilled can also inspire their classmates. "I admit that I try to get as much out of the kids as possible in class. If you are lucky with one, two, or even three good students in the class you can use them to spur the others on. You see, you let them make other things, other projects which gets the rest of them excited, spurs them on with what they are doing until you can pull them into these other projects too" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 4). 147 "And the kids have helped me over the years, supported me in some things and not as much in other. You get your feedback from them to see if you are heading in the right direction" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 10). Some of the teachers said that they had learned most about teaching from the children. Their ideas and solutions to design problems and the difficulties they have are the most important indicators of how to develop and modify their approach (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960). The relationship with the children emerges as the most important in the interviews. These were among the descriptions and comments that had a definite emotional tone, sometimes there was frustration over the opportunities lost, but more often warmth and joy of having been part of the constructive community where pupil and teacher grow together: "What I enjoy most of all is to see the things materialize in their hands. The creation, that there is a purpose, some meaning derived from what I've said to them. To see things created and come into being, I think that is it. Just as the teacher of reading becomes aware by and by that children are reading" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 15). When I asked Gu5var5ur Halldorsson (b. 1957) what was enjoyable in his work the answer was prefaced by an understatement. "Many things, I can even recall entire days that were good ones. It is of course very enjoyable when you see children happy and you feel their confidence growing. Yes it is very rewarding to deliver such things" (Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b. 1957, p. 19). "Most of them are good kids and a joy to work with, they are positive and you just always forget the bad stuff and remember only the good and also when you get what they are working on and what they do in class. You see, you can't tell exactly 148 what they know but you can just see how happy they are, having finished a project that they are happy with and proud of" (Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960, p. 11). Relationship with the Curriculum in General In Icelandic education, there is a constant struggle for resources and prestige between what can be loosely termed academic and manual subjects. The relation between academic and manual subjects is marked by the persistent perception of academic as more prestigious subjects. References to this notion came up in various contexts. Time allotment is one of the bones of contention as efforts to secure and expand the position of art and crafts in the curriculum have not been successful in the long run. One of the most expansive proposals was the establishment of a vocational secondary stream with the education act of 1946. As Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) put it: "It was a remarkable event in legislation. But there was no implementation and moreover it wasn't long before the implementation was such that there were less vocational studies in the schools" (p. 15). Practices such as offering low achieving pupils more wood and metalwork courses, thereby streaming high achievers away from the subject, were part of the school experience of wood and metalwork teachers. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) said "they still love me, those who were hopeless in the academics" (p. 22). If they met with the attitude Axel expresses, this is no wonder "One mustn't band together with the teachers in the academic subjects to sit on those pupils and make them feel small. You must acknowledge the individual for his due at least.... Often it was a new experience for them not to be the worst at some subject. Some of them could leam it to some degree" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 22). Before the days of 149 mainstreaming, pupils were grouped according to academic ability and it was common to assume that the low achievers would benefit more than others from manual subjects (Sigur6ur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1934). Ingimundur Olafsson (b. 1913) mentioned that at one of the schools where he taught in 1945-1951, classes of low academic ability were given extra hours in wood and metalwork. "Pupils who had difficulty in academic subjects got considerably more time in crafts than those who were able in academic subjects" (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913, p. l 1). While comments were made to this effect, questions alluding to the relative prestige of academic and manual subjects were, however, treated as hostile by the teachers interviewed. Take for instance this excerpt from my interview with Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) where he describes the curriculum of his rural secondary school ~ more precisely the electives or the choices pupils had depending on "where the interest lay and what the ability allowed. Do you think, as you mention ability, was the view apparent that those with little aptitude for learning should perhaps pursue manual rather than academic subjects? (pause) I wouldn't venture a comment on that, I would not. Maybe it wasn't apparent there? I believe that it wasn't, not to speak of at least" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 3). The tone of voice changed after I posed the question and the words become measured and careful. On the one hand Axel was not ready to completely dispel the existence of this view, but on the other hand he was loath to admit to it. Regardless of what the actual requirements and standards were, the perception of the vocational stream as a soft option suitable for the less able student was prevalent. This is not only reflected in what the teachers said, but how they said it. Their comments were delivered 150 in a combat stance. The tone ranged from wary and guarded to defiant and indignant — even angry or sarcastic. The frustration of constant devaluation has created a very sore point. The National Examination results for each school were public and reflected on the reputation of the schools, so principals were anxious for their academic stream to score high on the national exam. While acknowledging that some principals sought to 'dump' their less academically able or inclined students into the vocational stream, SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919)doesn't agree that this marked the Vocational Secondary School. His point was that many of those who were directed there because of their poor performance in academic subjects became more motivated to learn in the new setting with a balance between academic and manual subjects. This motivation in turn improved their performance across the curriculum. "Those who came without an interest came because they'd been convinced that it would be easier, but that was not at all the case, they found out that the requirements in academics were the same and that the manual subjects weren't any easier than the academic when you got right down to it. It was just as difficult as anything else!" (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 13-14). The need to articulate that the subject is just as rigorous or difficult as the academic subjects was also evident in the description of the entrance requirements for Trade School when SigurSur entered: "You passed your elementary school exam and entered secondary institutions such as the College of Trades. Although you did have to sit an entrance exam, one had to pass that and there were entrance exams for the grammar schools as well, for those who went that route" (SigurSur Ulfarsson, b. 1919, p. 2). The comparison is ever present. 151 Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) was still indignant about the way his choice of secondary education was greeted: "I recall that I went into what was called the vocational department. Much to everyone's grief, teachers and parents wanted me to go through the academic stream. Because then students of manual subjects were in effect looked down upon. That there were only second class students there, those who really couldn't learn anything else, or by the book that is. I felt that attitude from many people" (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933, p. 4). Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) faced the same decision twenty years later, but opted for the academic stream and went to grammar school after passing the national exams from secondary school: "If I'd taken the vocational stream I would have learned a lot of sewing which would have come in handy, today I wish I knew more. But because I was good, an achiever in academic subjects one was directed onto this track. Then you were, as a good girl, supposed to go to some grammar school or the School of Commerce and set your sights on the University thank you very much" (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 2). There are indications that wood and metalwork teachers respond to this by posing themselves in an alternate position — they see themselves in opposition to the hegemony of text. Egill Strange (b. 1927) explained the stance of the academically oriented school administrator, who is the ubiquitous opponent of the wood and metalwork teacher: "If you can't read it, it is not" (p. 6), which means that the disregard for forms of knowledge other than the text is so complete that in this pedantic view, manual subjects do not qualify as learning. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) made several comments about the welfare of students in an education system where book learning is the hegemonic form. He was concerned that this would be counterproductive for many students and that their self esteem as learners would be enhanced by acknowledging more than one way of learning. Ingimundur Olafsson's (b. 1913) elderly 152 students often express regret at not having had the opportunity to pursue certain subjects. "When they tell me stories of their lives they often say that they always wanted, all their days they wanted to learn this or that subject. And many feel in effect oppressed by what one man described to me as being forced to read school subjects that were of no use or relevance" (Ingimundur Olafsson, b. 1913, p. 14). Egill Strange (b. 1927) summed up the views of many of his peers when he voiced the opinion that despite a few notable exceptions, manual subjects did not receive due consideration in the school system: "Where do you think the problem lies then? It is often with the principals themselves. Too bookish you see, and they don't understand that i f we didn't have manual education we'd still be living in caves" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 6). Understanding the worth of subjects doesn't mean understanding their qualities: "I recall a friend of mine from The University College of Education who graduated in an academic subject. There was always talk about why we needed all this time for learning the crafts. And she, who is otherwise a very intelligent woman, said: 'Can't you just read about it?' Only people who are not engaged in crafts can talk like that, they don't understand that craft isn't something that comes about just by looking at it. It just comes about through this work" (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 3-4). Or as Egill Strange (b. 1927) put it "Some people don't make any gains by merely thinking, there's nothing to show for it" (p. 6). What they are referring to is that the subject is concrete and physical. It requires physical exertion in real time which results in a product which can't be conjured up from thought or text alone but has to be made from material. This fundamental distinction is hard to grasp in the hegemony of text. 153 This Side of Art, the Other Side of Trades Wood and metalwork sits somewhere on the landscape between trade and art — it is a craft. The landscape is nebulous though, and even the inhabitants have difficulty getting their bearings. Over time these relationships have changed, for the oldest teachers did not grow up with a sense of trades as a separate vocation. Craft was practiced for utilitarian reasons in their home environment. Art was remote. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) pointed out how these relations have changed in his life time and how the subject wood and metalwork is differently placed as a result. "It was so much closer to daily labour then than now. To the vocations of farming and fishing" (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 3). The relationship of the craft subjects and art is in many ways closer than with other subjects in the school curriculum. But it is not without its tensions. It is useful to separate drawing from other art forms here, for drawing has a particular function in the design process. Wood and metalwork teachers need certain skills in rendering shape and form two dimensionally. They need to master drafting as well as sketching, skills in which many of them were trained. In most cases, opportunities for art education of any kind have been appreciated. Many downplay their ability to draw, which nevertheless is a subject they have all had some foundation in and constantly utilize in their work. This lack of confidence can sometimes be traced throughout their upbringing and education because they have not had adequate opportunity to cultivate the ability (Sigur5ur Ulfarsson, b. 1919; Egill Strange, b. 1927; Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933; Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1941; Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953). I asked Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) whether he had drawn as a child and he replied: "No, that is something that has always been an obstacle for me. I've always been a rather poor draftsman. It was a serious shortcoming for me later, in my work, not to have some foundation in it" (p. 2). Axel didn't remember paper and pencils as common place in the hands of children when he was growing up. He received drawing instruction in the rural secondary school from his wood and metalwork teacher who also taught free hand drawing from observation where form was rendered with shading and perspective. SigurSur Ulfarsson (b. 1919) also recalls drawing instruction, as part of the elementary school program. Axel Johannesson (b. 1918) was a student in the Farmers' Department at the College of Crafts in 1943-44: "Of course we always had access to see, i f one popped downstairs to the drawing department, they were all downstairs " (Axel Johannesson, b. 1918, p. 8-9). Egill Strange (b. 1927) had a strong interest in art as well as craft as a young man. After leaving formal schooling he enrolled at the College of Crafts and Art for evening classes that he fondly remembers both for the quality of the instruction and the company of the likeminded: "I did drawing, water colour painting, bookbinding and wood carving. One was busy. Yes, yes, I enjoyed it. It gave me a lot and proved very useful later on. ... One felt funny though, we were walking down town, the lads, and they'd take the right turn toward the Old Movie Theater and I'd take the left turn to the College of Crafts and Arts. Sometimes one was tempted to turn right, but didn't indulge" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 2). Although wood and metalwork teachers may feel closer to art than the trades, in the modern configuration, there is a definite distinction made: "I'm not an artist, I'm not claiming to be, you mustn't think that. It wouldn't cross my mind to claim that. I am a craftsman" (Egill 155 Strange, b. 1927, p. 11). When I asked him how he distinguished between artist and craftsman he said: "Well, you see, even if I can make a variety of things nobody is considered an artist except those who are, well, different from others. And I think that I'm just an average man. I enjoy the work. I'm never as happy as when I'm working, particularly for myself or like making various things, models and carving. Interpreting something in carving... I'm a funny bird. As you may have noticed" (p. 11). It seemed to me that he had described himself in terms he might reconcile with the notion of artist, so I asked again: "Butyou don't see your work as... I don't consider myself an artist at all. My friends and acquaintances they all say that I'm a great artist, but, ah — I just want to be allowed to be myself in peace and quiet. They want to mount an exhibition of all the junk I've made. I say that I'll take no part in that damned do" (p. 11). He went on to describe a favourite project which is to make what I can best describe as narrative sculptures to mark the 60th birthdays of a group of friends. He concluded that this was popular art. "There you have yet another definition of art? Yes, there are so many. There are namely so many. You see, many of these men do not want to be called artists. No. Particularly men who are into this kind of interpretation. I am, that is we don't want anything, we're just ourselves... I do this mostly for my own pleasure. I enjoy especially making things that I intend as presents for my friends. It is pure bliss, wonderful. It is really wonderful to be able to interpret something" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p. 12). Interpretation is a term that Egill Strange (b. 1927) used often in his definitions or art and craft work. The term expression would be commonly used as synonymous with his usage of'interpretation', but it conjures up a different image of art. Egill is more interested in the narrative aspect or literal interpretation. 156 What wasn't stated directly was the issue of recognition. When Egill said that he doesn't want anything, he is referring to public recognition of the art establishment. His comments about publicly funded art endeavours reflect a certain disdain of this establishment. The criteria for good art has to do on the one hand with workmanship, and what he calls interpretation on the other. Taking as an example an exhibition of modem sculpture in his home town of HafharfjorSur, where machine parts and scrap metal was used to create abstract and conceptual works, he said: "It has often more to do with how it is made. I could just as well scrounge some old fuel tanks and let them rust and weather, drop them on the lawn and claim that they constitute a work of art. I could also take some bent metal sheet and twist it and prop it up for display. There is no interpretation behind it in my opinion" (Egill Strange, b. 1927, p . l l ) . The proximity to the woodworking trades is considerable, not the least because so many of the wood and metalwork teachers are tradesmen by training. Julius Sigurbjornsson (b. 1946) did have a connection with the woodworking trades. He worked for a carpenter during the summer holidays and the master offered him the opportunity to do an apprenticeship. He did not go into the trade — even though he achieved his certificate as a carpenter in 1968 — teaching has been his primary vocation. In this respect his career path is similar to that of the younger colleagues (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957; Hera SigurSardottir, b. 1960 and Olof Kristin Einarsdottir, b. 1960). These individuals all went through teacher training first and relate to the school subject wood and metalwork, rather than to the woodworking trades. They make a clear distinction between the subject wood and metalwork and vocational training for the trades and are not about to turn out 'little carpenters' (Julius Sigurbjornsson, b. 1946; GuSvarSur Halldorsson, b. 1957). 157 Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir (b. 1953) started out with an interest in the woodworking trades. She then worked in various crafts as a teacher and a craftswoman before finding herself as a textile artist and designer. Her search for a place in the landscape of art, crafts and trades illustrates the relationship between these and where the subject wood and metalwork fits. Growing up in a small town didn't afford her much contact with art, but crafts and trades were practiced. As a girl she took textiles and art in school, but the experience wasn't encouraging. The need to create was easy to acknowledge, but the lack of confidence was hard to shake. It took many years and much searching to make the decision to become an artist/designer by vocation. Reflecting on the teacher training she felt that the design component had been missing. "You know, I always thought of something practical, I could never, wasn't confident enough at the outset that I might be able to do something as a fine crafts person myself. Not back then" (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 9). Even though Helga Palina had worked as an independent craftswoman, costume and set designer as well as training as a wood and metalwork teacher and enrolled in an art school, it was an effort to assume the title of artist. When I asked what goals she had in mind when she entered art school she answered: "I was just thinking of myself and maybe I didn't think, in fact I didn't think very far ahead. I've always been scared of the term artist because it seemed so grand to me and I thought I could somehow never assume it as a title or live up to the title of an artist/designer" (Helga Palina Brynjolfsdottir, b. 1953, p. 10). Another example of an early and continuing interest in art and design and a career in trades was offered by Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson (b. 1941). Drawing was one of the highlights of 158 elementary school. "I was definitely in my element there" (Ingolfur G. Ingorfsson, b. 1941, p. 1). As a young man Ingolfur did not pursue art but went into the wood working trades and then sought further education in design. He explained his stance as seeking to close the gap between art and trade where aesthetics is cut off or loses contact with the trade: "I think this was the major disaster which has meant that these trades have not developed and grown into fine craft and artistic design which we had technically really competent people for. The danger is now, in my opinion, that this high quality craftsmanship will be lost to the nation because the individual looks at the project from an isolated technical perspective and then the product is of little worth " (Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1941, p. 2). Looking back on his trades training, Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) felt that the drawing instruction was inferior. Retraining as a wood and metalwork teacher afforded new insights and experience, especially in drawing and art history which included "the historical development of furniture styles. There I was, a master cabinetmaker and knew nothing or next to nothing" (p. 4). On the other hand Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) argues that teachers need to be able to design projects and direct pupils so that the basic furniture made in wood and metalwork programs functions properly. Therefore they need an insight into the trade of cabinet making. Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson (b. 1941) who has trained in the trades and technology as well as design spoke of attitudes prevalent in trades and technology that he feels are inappropriate for the teacher: "But in such fields men are taught to be effective. It is in itself a good thing and necessary and perhaps lacking in teacher training. But men become too hardened in their understanding of certain things. Like I said it was the downfall of tradesmen how certain they are in their belief that they are doing the right thing when they are on the wrong track. That is 159 they lack aesthetic thought. But they are always dead sure that they are doing it right, that they are so skilled" (Ingolfur G. Ingolfsson, b. 1941, p. 12). While the school subject is related both to trades and art, and design might be a uniting principle, these relationships are tense. It seems that the curriculum community has a slight identity crisis in that it hasn't reached a consensus on to what extent the subject is technical and to what extent is is aesthetic in nature. Relationship With the Larger Curriculum Community Working With Other Teachers There are two main relationships of importance here, the relationship with other wood and metalwork teachers and the relations in the staffroom of each school. While these are very much a matter of personality, several extrinsic factors came up in the interviews that are important in facilitating or hindering collegial relations. The perceived status of the subject and the administrative style of the school affect the staffroom relations. So does the physical setting, such as the location and quality of the workshop facilities. Relations with other wood and metalwork teachers depend on the proximity, the initiative of a professional organization and gender, an issue explored further in chapter 6. Both relations are affected by the workload that the wood and metalwork teacher typically takes on. The organization of most schools is not conducive to collaboration across subjects. "The school is quite divided. For example those who teach, the generalists in the primary grades from 6-12 year old, all those classroom teachers are women. They have specific meetings for each cohort, I don't come anywhere near that" (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933, p. 21). The 1 6 0 specialist wood and metalwork teacher would have to work with the several cohort groups in the primary section to be fully included in the planning process at that level. The incentive is even less in the upper grade levels, where each teacher is a specialist and adheres to a subject oriented curriculum. Collaboration across the curriculum would involve curriculum development which takes time and possible timetable adjustments, which can be difficult to accommodate, especially if the school administration does not see this as a priority. Despite such logistic problems, teachers have tried to initiate collaborative projects, particularly among the art and craft subjects, as well as with generalist classroom teachers at the primary level. Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) described a project involving both textiles and wood and metalwork which he designed. This was a footstool with an embroidered cushion. The stool itself would be made in wood work but the cushion designed and made in textiles. It had a flaw, due to lack of mutual understanding of the technical implications of the design in each subject. Lack of time and incentive for the teachers to meet and put their expertise to the test in solving the design problem was compounded by the dynamic of each particular group of teachers which plays a significant part in the success or failure of collaboration. Here the gender relation between wood and metalwork and textile teachers was inhibiting. The wood and metalwork teacher is male and the textile teachers are female, so the question of the respective value of initiative and subject matter expertise in each subject becomes confounded with the question of gendered authority. In this case, the wood and metalwork teacher initiated and designed the project but there were limits to how far he wanted or could lead the women: "I didn't want to completely direct the whole process down to each detail, to 161 give them orders about what they should to. Of course I had certain ideas about how it could be solved if they'd asked me or wanted to discuss it, but they thought they were capable of solving it although it didn't turn out to be the case" (Svavar Johannesson, b. 1933, p. 22). "Have you had any cooperation with other teachers here? No. That isn't common. It is very complicated in a school this big to organize cooperation. Both because of the timetable and other things. It is extra work, it is purely additional work. There isn't much interest in that, you know" (Gu5var5ur Halldorsson, b.l957, p. 10). Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) agreed that collaboration with other teachers in the staffroom is not a given for a wood and metalwork teacher. The only case he experienced before moving to his present post, was with textiles as part of a nation wide effort to commemorate 1100 years of settlement in Iceland. The anniversary was celebrated in 1974 and art and craft teachers got quite involved with projects which reflected the Icelandic cultural heritage. Notions of integration within the subject area were then ascending and this opportunity for new initiatives was used by many to experiment with integrated approaches. At the secondary school where Vignir B. Arnason (b. 1934) teaches now there is a positive attitude toward collaboration, although the structural obstacles identified by Svavar Johannesson (b. 1933) are present. Several attempts have been made to offer more or less integrated projects, mainly with textiles but also with mathematics. Individual students have also been able to draw on subject matter expertise from different teachers in completing their chosen projects: "And the first obstacle we have encountered when we've talked about it, it has been suggested many times here to get cooperation going ~ is time. Lack of time. Lack of teacher time, lack of time or conflicting timetables" (Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934, p. 10). 162 Vignir attributes the positive attitude toward cooperation to the school ethos where the attitude toward the subject and its teachers is positive: "I feel that the art and craft teachers are on a more equal footing with the others, if I can take that aspect, than I knew before. There is understanding ~ we attend staff meetings here just as any other teacher would" (Vignir B. Arnason, b. 1934, p. 11). In his current position, Vignir is part of the department of art and crafts which meets regularly. He attends staff meetings and is the supervisory teacher of a class and therefore part of a cohort group. At the formal level he has as much input into planning as any other teacher of the school. On the informal level, some of his colleagues drop by the workshop just out of interest, especially when their students are there. Hera Sigur5ard6ttir (b. 1960) teaches at the elementary leve