14 SES 08 B, Place-Based and Place-Conscious Education I
Introduction: Some authors (e.g Lawson & Lawson, 2013) have pointed towards the centrality of engagement in an alternative approach to school improvement with greater attention given to social justice. Anderson-Butcher et al. (2008, p.161) argue that ‘walled-in improvement planning reflects traditional thinking about schools as stand-alone institutions focused exclusively on young peoples’ … academic achievement, and also reinforces the idea that educators are the school improvement experts’. They argue that resources, opportunities and assets are ‘walled out’, creating an unnecessary gulf between in-school and out-of-school learning. ‘Connectedness to the world’ is one of central principles of Australian work on socially just pedagogies (Lingard, 2005). Such a conceptualisation takes an asset-based approach in which communities are seen as part of the solution to educational challenges rather than part of the problem (McKnight, 2003).
Previous work in the UK (Royal Society of Arts, 2012) has indicated the difficulties in getting secondary schools to engage with external audiences in 'area-based curriculum', partly because of the fear that it will distract from examination work, partly because of the subject department structure of schools and partly because of the long term commitment involved.
Co-Curate is a research council funded project which supports schools and community groups to use digital archives to create/mash up new artefacts. The groups are assisted in co-production by university and museum staff. This paper focuses on work of Co-Curate with nine classes in one secondary school on local history. The project culminates in an exhibition of students’ work at the Great North Museum (http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/great-north-museum.html) .
Our theoretical frame is drawn on from the work of Emirbayer & Mische and Biesta & Tedder on ecological agency. It is argued that some environments or contexts provide the means for individuals to achieve agency through providing support and resources - thus agency resides considerably in the context. This contrasts with a traditional view that agency resides in the individuall and is consdiered as a trait. Additionally we draw upon the work of Engestrom (2004) on co-configuration, which has the following characteristics:
(1) adaptive ‘customer-intelligent’ products or services, or more typically integrated product/service combinations, (2) continuous relationships of mutual exchange between customers, producers, and the product/service combinations, (3) ongoing configuration and customization of the product/service combination over lengthy periods of time, (4) active customer involvement and input into the configuration, (5) multiple collaborating producers that need to operate in networks within or between organizations, (6) mutual learning from interactions between the parties involved in the configuration actions. These characteristics can be reframed in terms of a school curriculum model in which customers are equated to community partners, product/services are students' work in projects and schools and partners have long term relationships from which all parties learn.
Questions: 1. What are the affordances and constraints of secondary school students presenting their work to an external audience?
2. What are the implications for teacher and student agency and a new approach to community curriculum making
Anderson-Butcher, D., Lawson, H., Bean, J., Flaspohler, Boone, B. & Kwiatkowski, A. (2008) Community Collaboration to Improve Schools: Introducing a New Model from Ohio, Children & Schools, Vol. 30 (3), pp. 161-172. Biesta, G. J. J., & Tedder, M. (2007). Agency and learning in the lifecourse: Towards an ecological perspective. Studies in the Education of Adults, Vol. 39, pp. 132–149. Dyson, A. & Todd, L. (2010), Dealing with complexity: theory of change evaluation and the full-service extended schools initiative, International Journal of Research & Method in Education, Vol. 33 (2), pp. 119-134. Emirbayer, M., & Mische, A. (1998). What is agency? The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 103, pp. 962–1023. Engestrom, Y. (2004) Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 16 (1/2), pp.11-21. Lawson, M. & Lawson, H. (2013) New Conceptual Frameworks for Student Engagement Research, Policy, and Practice, Review of Educational Research, Vol. 3. pp. 432–479. Lingard, B. (2005) Socially Just Pedagogies in Changing Times, International Studies in Sociology of Education, Vol. 15 (2), pp. 165-186. McKnight, J. (2003) Regenerating Community: The Recovery of a Space for Citizens, The IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture Series May 2003, Northwestern University. Thomas, L. (2012) The Area Based Curriculum in Peterborough, London: The Royal Society of Arts.
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