07 SES 13 C JS, Unpacking The Many Meanings Of Justice In Education: Analyzing justice from multiple perspectives
Joint Symposium NW 07, NW23, NW 27
Vague and indistinct concepts like equity, justice, inclusion, marginalization and differentiation hold a strong position within in the educational sciences – however they are seldom clearly defined, decomposed or operationalized. Rather the opposite – they often lack precise spatial and temporal boundaries and have several and overlapping grey zones. Terms like justice or equity, for example, cover both educational ideals and normative issues, but also substantial elements of educational practices (Hackman, 2005). Bell (1997) defines social justice as being both a goal and process and highlights participation, empowerment and equitable distribution of resources and responsibilities as key aspects. As such, justice might be termed a ‘vague concept’ (Blikstad-Balas, 2014) open for multiple, overlapping and even competing interpretations - however still definite enough to be worthwhile to embrace and pursue ideologically and empirically.
In the current Nordic Center of Excellence (NCoE) examining different aspects of justice in education, the term justice is decomposed into three thematic areas covering aspects of justice such as issues of governance, politics and marketization, educational justice linked to cultures of classroom teaching and learning, and how justice interplay with agency, marginalization and diversity. The three areas (e.g. policies, classroom learning, issues of agency and marginalization) refer to different theoretical traditions and methodologies, and can be studied from both a macro-, meso and micro level. Marginalization for example can be studied at the level of national discursive policies and practices but also at the level of individuals and interactions operating among peers, teachers and students.
In the present symposium we present different ways of approaching, decomposing and operationalizing justice in education - ranging from understanding justice as discursive and formative elements operating at the level of educational policies and mechanisms of inclusion/ exclusion and statistical databases - to justice understood as substantial elements and qualities of classroom teaching and learning such as for example student participation and engagement. All four papers questions how operationalization, categorizations and indexing of justice vary and with huge theoretical, methodological and empirical implications. One of the takeaways from this session will be how justice as rather vague term lacks natural boundaries and delimitations thus leaving it up to the different researchers to define the boundaries for how they use the term. As such the present symposium provide an opportunity to address possible definitions, delimitations and operationalization of a highly embraced, however still a rather vague term, justice in education - and discuss it from a policy perspective, classroom perspective and conceptual perspective.
Paper 1 analyses international and national statistical databases and datasets with regard to their potential to enable comparisons of social justice and privatisation of education across countries and show how existing indexing systems favor some aspects of justice while at the same time neglecting others.
Paper 2 use the case of Finland to discuss how theoretical robustness but also an awareness to theoretical contingency (e.g. structural, discursive and action-oriented) and complexity is required in order to study and compare educational policies across contexts and time periods.
Paper 3 uses classroom teaching and learning as its departure for discussing justice in education. Drawing on analyses of video recordings from Nordic secondary classrooms they show how these classrooms convey rather different approaches to the term justice analyzed through the lenses of respectively i) student participation and engagement and ii) access to content.
Paper 4 use special needs education to address existing understandings of equity and justice. More explicit aims to eliminate social and educational inequalities, including issues such as special needs education structures and bullying, would create a stronger conceptual and empirical allegiance to equity and justice they argue in this paper.
Hackman, H.W. (2005). Five Essential Components for Social Justice Education. Equity & Excellence in Education, Vol 38, pp103–109. Bell, L. A. (1997). Theoretical foundations for social justice education. In M. Adams, L. Bell, & P. Griffin (Eds.), Teaching for diversity and social justice: A sourcebook (pp. 3–15).NY: Routledge. Blikstad-Balas M. (2014). Vague Concepts in the Educational Sciences: Implications for Researchers. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Vol 58, No 5.
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
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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