Riding Fences: Anticipatory Governance, Curriculum Policy, and Teacher Subjectivity


  • Jill Morris University of British Columbia
  • Jean-Claude Couture University of Alberta
  • Anne M. Phelan University of British Columbia




anticipatory governance, Canadian curriculum reform, teacher subjectivity


In this article we question the discursive deployment of narrowing conceptions of the future in education in three provincial cases: Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Asserting that educational policy in Canada is grounded in the “future-logics” of educational innovation—reflective of an anticipatory orientation to governance—we critique concepts from each province’s curriculum policy documents: “competence,” “personalized learning,” and “professional teacher.” We ask to what extent anticipatory governance is at work in Canadian policies, and if it is, to what degree does an anticipatory strategy occlude or disrupt the objectification of curriculum and the over-determination of teacher subjectivities?

Author Biographies

Jill Morris, University of British Columbia

Jill Morris is a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brandon University in Manitoba. Her research focuses on both educational policy and the educational experience, exploring the ways in which these two are often at odds. Responding to Canadian and international policy discourse that tends towards standards based on limited notions of economic progress and success, she explores how engagement with multiple ways of knowing might allow us to think and act in new ways through encounters with difference, particularly in teacher education.

Jean-Claude Couture, University of Alberta

Jean-Claude Couture is currently an adjunct colleague and instructor with the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. Previously he coordinated the research program for the Alberta Teachers' Association which led to the development of numerous research studies and international collaborations involving Canadian teacher organizations with Finland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and Australia. He is active in a number of international initiatives that include the development of graduate courses dedicated to mobilizing the transdisciplinary scholarship in educational futures. His most recent research projects include a comparative analysis of the foresight capacity of teacher organizations in four countries and the futures orientations of school leaders. 

Anne M. Phelan, University of British Columbia

Anne M. Phelan is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia and Honorary Professor at The Education University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on teachers’ intellectual and political freedom, and on the creation of teacher education programs and policies that support that end. Her authored books include: Curriculum Theorizing and Teacher Education: Complicating Conjunctions (Routledge, 2015), The Power of Negative Thinking: Teacher Education and the Political (Routledge, 2017, with M. Clarke), and Feeling Obligated: Teaching in Neoliberal Times (University of Toronto Press, In Press, with M. Janzen). Her co-edited volumes include: Reconceptualizing Teacher Education: A Canadian Response to a Global Challenge (University of Ottawa Press, 2020, with Pinar, Ng-A-Fook and Kane) and Critical Readings in Teacher Education: Provoking Absences (Sense Publishers, 2008, with J. Sumsion).


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How to Cite

Morris, J., Couture, J.-C., & Phelan, A. . (2023). Riding Fences: Anticipatory Governance, Curriculum Policy, and Teacher Subjectivity. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 46(3), 517–544. https://doi.org/10.53967/cje-rce.5833