14 SES 11, Policies and Actions to Promote School-Family-Community Links - Diversity and Re-Conceptualization
‘The city is in itself an environmental education, and can be used to provide one, whether we are thinking of learning through the city, learning about the city, learning to use the city, to control the city or to change the city. Ward, (1978) p.176
In this paper we bring together over a decade of research from six different research projects in the UK and Norway that have examined learning beyond the school in order to consider the potential of the city to act as a creative resource for learning. We explore how theoretical perspectives surrounding learning in the city have developed since Colin Ward’s original challenge to educators to rethink the city as an educational resource in which young people could develop their ‘skills and sabotage’. In particular, we pay attention to how the people who live within the city act as agents to shape opportunities through which young people can develop competences and innovative skills, whether or not they recognise that agency.
The paper pays particular attention to examining the interplay between different theoretical traditions in researching learning beyond the school. It puts into dialogue critical cultural studies traditions such as those of Paul Willis (1978) and Raymond Williams (1978), new literacy studies (e.g. Pahl and Rowsell, 2011), anthropological perspectives such as the concept of Funds of Knowledge (Gonzales, et al 2005), and more recent narrative perspectives increasingly known as ‘Learning Lives’ approaches (Ecclestone et al, 2013; Erstad et al, 2009).
We draw on the following six studies:
- Strauss’ study of urban youth clubs in East London;
- Roth’s analysis of Vietnamese teenagers in Oslo;
- Eagle’s studies of the families of ‘gifted and talented’ youth in Bristol;
- Manchester’s examination of the flows of creative practice between community arts organisations and schools;
- Facer’s study of city-wide cultural initiatives in Manchester and Peterborough;
- Yee’s studies of sites of informal learning in the South West of England.
Gonzales, N., Moll, L., Amanti, C (2005) Funds of Knowledge, Theorising Practices in Households, Communities and Classrooms, Lawrence Erlbaum: New Jersey Ecclestone, K., Biesta, G.J.J. & Hughes, M. (eds). (2013) Transitions and learning through the lifecourse. London: Routledge. Erstad, Ola and Gilje, Øystein and Sefton-Green, Julian and Vasbø, Kristin (2009) Exploring ‘learning lives’: community, identity, literacy and meaning. Literacy, 43 (2). pp. 100-106. ISSN 1741-4350 Hoggart, R (1957) The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working Class Life Pahl, K and Rowsell, J (2011) Artifactual Literacies: Every Object Tells a Story. Language and Literacy Series, Teachers College Press Ward, C (1978) The Child in the City, The Architectural Press: London Williams, R (1958) Culture and Society, London, Chatto and Windus Willis, P (1978) Profane Culture . London: Routledge & Kegan Paul,
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