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Inside Teaching : June 2010
Inside Teaching | June 2010 RESEARCH 40 Poverty, education and class It is rather unfashionable in some quarters to talk about poverty in affluent western countries. We are all supposed to have shared in the benefits of the 'trickle down' effects of neo-liberal policies of globalisation, deregulation and free trade. Sadly, this theory has not delivered for sizeable groups within our societies. In many cases what we have are very unequal societies in which educational disadvantage remains a blight on our social and economic landscape. Our chapter on poverty, education and class takes a critical look at contemporary understandings of poverty, class and inequality and considers how educational policy and practice needs to be re-aligned in schools and education systems to ensure a more inclusive and equitable education for all students, not just the privileged few. In particular, it looks at the manifest inadequacies of the currently popular 'culture of poverty' view. Relationships, power and pedagogy Whether or not young people in the most difficult circumstances 'hang in' with school, depends greatly on the quality of their relationships with their peers, adult educators, and the ideas they are required to relate to. Our chapter on relationships, power and pedagogy highlights the ways in which teachers and schools can enhance the educational engagement of the most marginalised and disenfranchised young people by placing relationships and issues of power at the centre of the curriculum, and by negotiating learning in ways that are relevant, valuable and respectful of young lives and the circumstances in which they are lived. Doing community voice Schools are social organisations that are embedded in communities. Meaningful learning is only possible with the active consent and support of parents, students and the many diverse groups that make up the school and local community. Our chapter on community voice explores the ways in which robust forms of school/community engagement can strengthen social bonds and contribute to improved educational engagement of young people 'put at a disadvantage.' Special significance is attached to place- based learning, civic education and the ways in which schools can work with the community and for the good of the community. Doing identity formation Young people today are absorbed in a world of television, music, video games, comic books, the internet and other aspects of popular culture -- all of which can be a rich source of ideas for a pedagogy that connects directly to young peoples' lives. Our chapter on identity formation outlines the ways in which enterprising and creative teachers incorporate aspects of youth and popular culture into MEANINGFUL LEARNING IS ONLY POSSIBLE WITH THE ACTIVE CONSENT AND SUPPORT OF PARENTS, STUDENTS AND THE MANY DIVERSE GROUPS THAT MAKE UP THE SCHOOL AND LOCAL COMMUNITY.