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
One of the key aspects of an alternative policy manifesto must be a more practical and comprehensive approach to inclusion in our schools and, ultimately, our society. The Children and Families Act, which recently gained Royal Assent, outlines some changes to the special educational needs and disability (SEND) systems and evaluations of the pilot projects show some positive progress. However, the Act does not impact on the power differentials between parents and professionals within the education system and does nothing to address the lack of knowledge and understanding of SEND present within many schools and local authorities. Continue reading Nowhere that fits: the realities of schooling for families of children with SEN
Below I discuss two concerns which have preoccupied me for a while now.
Since the 1960s’s in schools and educational policy discourse much has been made about the lower attainment of Black children (but specifically Black Caribbean) and the perceived lack of parental valuing of education, and supporting their children’s educational attainment. So it was no surprise to hear a teacher at a conference (aimed at encouraging Black children to consider careers requiring higher education study) in 2009 point to Black educational failure being cultural and innate, and questioning whether ‘Black people’s culture predisposed them to underachievement’. Some might consider this a statement of fact given the persistent lower attainment of Black Caribbean students vis-à-vis White British students. While the comment by the teacher incensed me, it did not affect me as much as I was by a Black teenager at the conference who said, ‘lots of people say we can’t do it, people like me are a failure’. Continue reading Teaching Black children
University of Roehampton
In Britain neo-liberal education policies have driven ‘parental involvement’ behaviours beyond merely checking the children’s homework or hearing them read. Parents have become essential to the operationalization of the education market. Parents have been induced or seduced to engage in the choice processes for their children’s schools. Parents now expect to have a choice of school for their child and have a right to meaningful involvement in their child’s school. They have been led to believe that these actions will enhance their child’s educational experience. Continue reading Parent – School Relationships and Social In/Justice: Problems and Possibilities