07 SES 05 B, Re-Imagining Schooling and Pre-Schooling
This paper begins with the key premise of our recently published book, Re-imagining schooling for education (McGregor, Mills, te Riele, Baroutsis, & Hayes, 2017) that current paradigms of mainstream or conventional schooling are fundamentally flawed in respect of ensuring a socially just, democratically shaped education for all young people. While the data for the research were collected in an Australian context, the findings and arguments are highly pertinent to European societies where school systems are very much shaped by the same ‘grammar systems’ (Tyack & Tobin, 1994) as those in Australia.
Historically, understandings of ‘schooling’ are associated with hierarchical control and deficit constructions of young people. Such factors have served to shape the learning experiences in schooling institutions, and our argument is that ‘education’ is incompatible with the oppressive effects of such discourses. We acknowledge that many teachers and educational leaders strive to change the ways in which schools attempt to educate young people by creating supportive and caring environments where diversity is respected and valued. However, schooling practices can work in ways that support some groups while alienating others. For example, additional support may be available for students with diagnosed learning difficulties, while those who exhibit the types of behaviour associated with 'schooling disengagement’ may draw less sympathetic responses. The current semantics of educational policies position such young people as being responsible for their own situation because they may not conform to institutional demands of dress, attendance, compliance in respect of homework and assignments, and verbal exchanges with teachers. The structures of schooling are rarely questioned, and such ‘problematic’ young people are commonly withdrawn for remediation.
Our theoretical framework has been shaped by (but not confined to), the likes of Nancy Fraser (1997, 2010), Kathleen Lynch (2012), Zygmunt Bauman (2011) and Michael Fielding and Peter Moss (2011). We argue for the need to create a model of schooling that conceptualises learning as a process of education that enriches the lives of young people. Schooling should not be limited to the development of human capital. Within such a re-imagining, education has to be engaging. It has to be underpinned by a commitment to forming positive relationships between teachers and students, and among students and among teachers. This means welcoming and valuing differences of all kinds. As members of societies that appear to tolerate growing social inequalities, we must collectively take responsibility for the policy frameworks developed by democratically elected governments. Thus, we come to the focus of this paper which is ‘the next step’. Much has been written that critiques conventional forms of schooling but we contend that nothing will change unless the research community successfully prosecutes the case for the viability of something different.
Drawing upon data from one of the case studies of unconventional schooling in our book, Banksia College, this paper goes beyond the book to explore the particular ‘enablers’ that worked to support the delivery of a broader range of educational opportunities for disadvantaged young people than typically available in a conventional/mainstream high school. Such enablers included: education policies, school leadership and vision, effective staff recruitment and mentoring, efficient resourcing and skilful relationship building with local communities. In critiquing this case study in its current form, we also present it as a viable model of schooling that provides strong evidence of how a more socially just paradigm of schooling may be imagined, and indeed, enacted in the ‘next step’.
Bauman, Z. 2011. Collateral damage: Social inequalities in a Global Age. Cambridge: Polity Press. Fielding, M., & Moss, P. (2011). Radical education and the common school: A democratic alternative. London, UK: Routledge. Fraser, N. (1997). Justice interruptus: Critical reflections on the ‘postsocialist’ condition. New York, NY: Routledge. Fraser, N. (2010). Scales of justice: Reimagining political space in a globalizing world. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Lynch, K. (2012). Affective equality as a key issue of justice: A comment on Fraser’s 3-dimensional framework. Social Justice Series, 12(3), 45–64. Tyack, D. and Tobin, W. 1994. The ‘grammar’ of schooling: Why has it been so hard to change? American Educational Research Journal, 31(3), 453-479.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
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