Thursday, May 10, 2012

Centre for Social and Educational Research Across the Life Course Launch Event

Centre for Social and Educational Research Across the Life Course
Launch Event
2nd May
Gandhi Hall, Headingley Campus. 

Professor Nick Frost 
Constructing and re-constructing Childhood: New Labour and Coalition approaches to childhood
Two models of childhood
The New Labour child experiences more-regulation: assessment and measurement: social investment: holistic approaches: professional involvement: planned and strategic approaches.
The Coalition child experiences less-regulation: and less social investment: is the 'educated' child rather than the 'holistic' child: a more 'privatised' and less 'public' existence: more localised variation. 
What can we work with that's progressive and what do we need to fight against?
Nick Frost says
We need to work with progressive elements-eg. Health and well-being Boards.
We need to work with less progressive elements-eg. Social Investment bonds
We need to oppose the negative impact on children- 'in and against the State?'

Dr Dot Moss
Children's Political Engagement: Social justice and social change.
Rather than focusing on government, party politics and children's formal participation, the research explores children's everyday experience of social change.
Please see stories photographed from Dot's research.
She concluded:
-Social events are politicized in everyday childhood through political background noise and selective social memory.
-Children's political understanding develops in relation to experiences, their fears and caring connections with others.
-Children's political alignment is a temporal process. It may be the outcome of a long process of exclusion; this is how Rachel came to feminism. It may involve critical turning points, such as Paulina, learning of a death in custody. It may be a temporary or more permanent alignment; with other children and with adults. 

In the round table and 1 to 1 discussions of the day some areas of key interest were:
Children 'bunking off' school to protest against the cuts
A girl protecting a vehicle during the riots by sitting on it she stopped the vandalism
Unfair assumptions made about young people
Prince Henry's school in Otley didn't want to become an 'academy' and pupils campaigned against it happening
Attendance a key target for many schools has a direct effect on many families children not wanting to be ill and therefore let the class down by being off

SPACE children need space THEREFORE less furniture

 These are the abstracts for the day:
Professor Lori Beckett
‘Leading Learning’: local knowledge-building across Leeds
This presentation describes the work done in city-wide school-university partnerships supporting practitioner researchers in networks of disadvantaged schools to identify and respond to the effects of poverty and deprivation among other background factors that affect pupils’ learning and academic success. It will articulate the logistics of the ‘Leading Learning’ CPD programme over 3 years, notably the inter-connected city-wide seminars for school Heads and staff and the school cluster-based meetings led by designated academic partners who are responsive to teachers’ needs, school priorities and cluster focus.  The combined task is to facilitate teachers’ learning about disadvantaged pupils’ performance and attainment including progress, and capacity for practitioner research into classroom practices for deep understanding about raising achievement. The optional MA accreditation enables deep knowledge of the complexities of ‘poverty and education’ work in local classrooms, school-communities, and clusters. Named as part of the Leeds City Council’s School Improvement Plan 2011-2015, termed the Leeds Education Challenge, this work demonstrates local capacity where schools work in unison with Leeds Met and the Local Authority to develop an arsenal of critical ideas in the struggle to improve schools which are in turn battling against social and educational inequalities.

Dr Viv Caruana
Internationalisation of Higher Education: a key concept in social and educational research?
Through consideration of recent research in the field this short presentation shows how internationalisation of HE is a multi-faceted phenomenon which transcends the boundaries of marketization discourse and is inextricably linked with other key agenda  in the HE and wider educational sectors. Furthermore, the paper suggests that internationalisation is a key concept in educational and social research, since it requires a radical re-assessment of the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of teaching and learning.

Professor Nick Frost
Constructing and re-constructing  childhood: New Labour and Coalition approaches to childhood
‘New Labour’s period in power included an attempt to fundamentally reform and re-structure childhood through the Every Child Matters programme. This programme effectively ceased with the election of the Coalition government in May, 2010. Drawing on a number of related projects it will be argued that the Coalition childhood policy is fundamentally different in many ways from the New Labour project. The implications for policy, practice and research will be considered’

Dr Dot Moss
Children’s Political Engagement:  Social Justice and Social Change
This considers the form of children’s political engagement in everyday life: social justice and social change. It shares research on how children politically engage focusing on everyday experiences of injustice and social change. Social events are politicized in childhood through ‘political background noise’. Political understanding develops in relation to experiences, fears and caring connections. Political alignment may be temporary or more permanent; formal and less formal.

Dr Jacqueline Stevenson, Pauline Whelan
The disappearing discourse(s) of social justice in higher education?
In this presentation, we discuss the performative appearances and disappearances of social justice discourses across the higher education landscape. Focusing on the discursive mediation of enactments of social justice at the macro, meso and micro levels, we discuss a range of research projects, including narrative interviews with refugees and an analysis of widening participation policy.  We discuss what the visibilities and invisibilities of dominant discourses reveal about the socially (un/)just nature of contemporary higher education in England.

Professor Colin Webster and Dr Sarah Kingston
Negotiating Identity and Social Cohesion: Young people on religion
Thomas (2011) in Youth, Multiculturalism and Community Cohesion argues that criticisms of community cohesion are misplaced because they ignore the limitations of previous ‘multicultural’ policy. While rejecting narrow uses of 'community cohesion' predicated on the misnomers of first, the supposed failure of previous ‘multicultural’ policy, and second, simplistic claims about ethnic and religious segregation, we agree with Thomas that properly understood, cohesion is a workable aspiration among young people on the ground. From our empirical study of the meanings young people (n. 10.5k) in Bradford, Newham and Hillingdon place on ethnic and religious diversity we argue that white and minority young people are clearly positive about religious and ethnic diversity in the schools and places we studied. In contrast to Thomas’s study however, an underlying anxiety among young people in neighbourhoods about ethnic and religious difference, seen in territoriality, the existence of faith schools, and in official anti-Muslim rhetoric.  

Professor  Terry Wrigley
Living on the edge: rethinking poverty, class and education
Research around issues of poverty and class is arguably the most neglected area of social justice research in education, despite the enormity of the social challenge. Though the correlations between childhood poverty, low educational achievement and adult employment and lifecourse are well established, the arguments relating them remain confused. The recurrent circulation of ‘blame the victim’ discourses (‘underclass’, ‘culture of poverty’, ‘welfare dependency’) combine with positivist School Effectiveness research which blames teachers and schools within a marketised and supposedly meritocratic education system, while gaps in outcomes and futures remain large.

This lecture calls for greater theoretical clarity around the concept of class, a stronger awareness of researcher perspective to avoid deficit accounts, and a wider imaginary of pedagogical processes. It will draw on recent case studies, curriculum theory and Goffman’s version of symbolic interactionism as resources for responding with solidarity to young people ‘living on the edge’.

Bio: Terry Wrigley is visiting professor at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is author of a number of books, including Schools of Hope (2003), Another School is Possible (2006) and most recently (as co-editor) Changing Schools: Alternative Ways to Make a World of Difference (2011). He is currently writing a book on poverty and education with John Smyth, and co-editing a book on social justice for student teachers. He edits the international journal Improving Schools.


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