University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Education, Equality and Development (EED) Group Seminars > Challenging the ‘Tyranny of No Alternative’: teachers and students working towards socially just schooling.

Challenging the ‘Tyranny of No Alternative’: teachers and students working towards socially just schooling.

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This talk is part of the Leadership for Learning, Group Seminar talks

This presentation will draw on data from a range of alternative schools in Australia and the UK to explore the ways in which schools can become more socially just. It will draw on the work of Nancy Fraser to argue that socially just schools need to work towards ‘parity of participation’. The data for this presentation will come from schools variously known as ‘second chance’, ‘flexi-schools’ and ‘flexible learning centres’ and schools sometimes referred to as ‘democratic’. The first set of schools regularly cater to the needs of young people who experience severe social and economic disadvantage through, for example, poverty, homelessness and caring responsibilities. Many of these young people have been failed by the mainstream education system, yet now demonstrate a great enthusiasm for learning. The second group of schools cater to more middle class students, but demonstrate how engaged young people can be when involved in schools’ decision-making processes. It will not be argued that more of these schools are needed, rather it will seek to demonstrate how all schools can take up the challenge of addressing the economic, cultural and political injustices faced by young people from various backgrounds.

Martin Mills is a Research Professor in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Australia. Martin’s research interests include the sociology of education, social justice in education, alternative schooling, gender and education, and education policy. Martin’s work in these areas has been significant in contributing to international and national debates on these topics, and he has been on a number of government advisory committees, for example, the Equity advisory group to the Queensland Studies Authority. Substantial policy advice has also been provided through the numerous government reports that he has co-authored, the most recent of which is a report to the Australian Capital Territory government on the alternative provision of schooling in that Territory.

This talk is part of the Education, Equality and Development (EED) Group Seminars series.

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