Literature, Education and Socio-Cultural Representation: Refocusing the Debate

Chelsea Swiftpost by CHELSEA SWIFT
Doctoral Researcher, University of York

Dominant ideas about culture and literateness, advocated by the likes of Matthew Arnold and F.R. Leavis, have been reflected in much educational and political discussion since the late 19th Century. During this period, there has been a shift in emphasis from the act of reading itself to a focus on what is being read, resulting in increasingly narrower notions of what it is to be literate, cultured and educated (Williams, 1976; Milner, 2005). These beliefs about what reading is and what it is to be a reader are the only criteria many young people have to judge their own literary and cultural lives. Continue reading Literature, Education and Socio-Cultural Representation: Refocusing the Debate

The challenge of shaping socially responsible teachers

Carmen Mohamedpost by CARMEN MOHAMED
Assistant Professor, Primary and Early Years’ Education, The University of Nottingham

If, as a community of social justice advocates, we recognise that all is not well in education can those of us engaged in training teachers create new ways of working together to act upon solutions? Many of us are engaged in research activity which is deconstructing how inequalities are perpetuated through policy and practice in schools in the UK, however, research can be a lonely and isolating business and it is only through reading published books and articles that we are able to build on each other’s ideas. Continue reading The challenge of shaping socially responsible teachers

Do sponsored academy chains support the attainment of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Merryn HutchingsBecky Francispost by BECKY FRANCIS & MERRYN HUTCHINGS
Kings College London & London Metropolitan University

All three leading political parties are rightly pledged to address the educational attainment gap for socio-economic background. A key plank in this policy agenda for both the previous New Labour and current Coalition Governments has been academy sponsorship of struggling state schools (typically located in areas of social deprivation). As the academies programme has developed, academy chains have been promoted, having been seen by policymakers as best fostering professionalism, value for money and school-to-school collaboration across previously struggling schools. Continue reading Do sponsored academy chains support the attainment of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Anti-violence work with young people

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This morning I visited a school to deliver training. There was a young man, a young woman and a teacher outside. I heard the young man remark: ‘you’re not a woman, you’re a silly little girl.’ She laughed it off and the teacher said nothing.   The young man and woman had a play fight and he wrestled her to the ground. He stood over her and she asked if he’d help her up. He looked down, laughed and said ‘no’. The teacher did nothing.  Continue reading Anti-violence work with young people

The myth of inherited inequality

Danny Dorlingpost by DANNY DORLING
Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford

If most people in affluent nations believed that all human beings were alike – were of the same kind, the same species – then it would be much harder to justify the exclusion of so many people from so many social norms. It is only because the majority of people in many affluent societies have come to be taught that a few are especially able, and others particularly undeserving, that current inequalities can be maintained. Continue reading The myth of inherited inequality

Repeat performance: Special education, lower attainers, race and class

Sally Tomlinsonpost by SALLY TOMLINSON
Department of Education, University of Oxford

National governments believe that higher levels of education and skills are necessary for successful international economic competition and all young people are expected to invest in their own human capital, learn new skills and compete with each other in stratified education systems and uncertain job markets. As education systems have expanded so too have the ‘industries’ dealing with those who have difficulty in learning to required levels, fail to achieve to constantly raised qualification levels, or acquire one or more of the ever-changing labels bundled into the ‘special education needs/disability’ category. Continue reading Repeat performance: Special education, lower attainers, race and class

Building a Case for Relational Reform in Education: Towards a Relational Pedagogy

Rob Loepost by ROBERT LOE
Education Research Director, Relational Schools Project

Why Relational Education?

To establish an argument for the Relational reform of educational organisations there is a requirement to establish first the goal of such organisations. I would contend that the development of any society comes through the maturing process of its members to reflect the directions a society wishes to take, and thus to influence how resources like land, capital, and human resources (arguably, society’s greatest resource) are deployed in the future[1] (Schluter, 2006). Continue reading Building a Case for Relational Reform in Education: Towards a Relational Pedagogy