Perspectives on the Individualisation and Differentiation of Teaching: Key Conceptual Features, Some Problems and Perspectives Damijan Štefanc
Summary: In this paper we address the issue of conceptual notions and systemic positioning of teaching differentiation and individualisation in primary school in Slovenia, a topic that has been most intensively addressed by France Strmčnik in Slovenia. In the first part of the article, we outline the understanding of the concept of individualisation in the didactic and pedagogical literature of the post-war decades, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, before Strmčnik started to participate in the field with his research and professional work. We show that the individualisation of instruction was always understood as one of the didactic principles, but not only that: especially in the 1960s, it was also an important systemic and school political, as well as ideological issue. In the second part of the paper, we outline Strmčnik‘s contribution to the development of differentiation and individualisation. We prove the thesis that by systematically studying this area, and particularly by justifying the role and importance of so-called flexible differentiation, he made an important - if not decisive - contribution to the preservation of the unified primary school and to the suppression of 1990’s political and professional tendencies to introduce external differentiation already at the level of lower secondary education. The final part of the article is devoted to an overview of the systemic solutions to differentiation in primary school legislation: firstly, the 1996 solutions, and then the changes to these solutions that followed in the period from 2006 to 2012 - which also met with a critical response.