University of Western Sydney

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Researching and Resisting Educational Inequality


Speaker: Robert Hattam

Affiliation: University of South Australia

Time: Thursday 26/11/2015 from 10:00 to 11:00

Venue: Access Grid UWS. Presented from Parramatta (EB.1.32), accessible from Campbelltown (26.1.50) and Penrith (Y239).

Abstract: In this presentation Associate Professor Robert Hattam will be mapping out a research program for researching educational inequality and especially related to schools serving vulnerable suburban communities. The presentation is framed by two related questions: What are our explanations for the persistent nature of educational inequality in Australia? and, What do we know about how to improve educational engagement and success in so-called 'disadvantaged' communities? The paper aims to map ‘educational inequality’ as an interdisciplinary phenomena that requires a whole of university response. Associate Professor Hattam will be briefly outlining the following:

  • Critical sociology of education provides understanding of how schooling contributes to (re)production of social stratification
  • Critical policy sociology maps the effects of policy regimes on teachers’ work, leadership practices and student learning. Anthropology provides methodologies for researching life in schools.
  • Media studies provides insight into the mediatisation of contemporary policy processes
  • Political philosophy provides understandings of the neoliberalising of social policy including education/schooling
  • Philosophy of knowledge helps explain the truth games that characterize contemporary governmentality, and in education studies brings into view the significance of a ‘school effectiveness and school improvement’ paradigm that frames policy and practice in schools
  • Psychology and anthropology provides frameworks for making sense of the ways in which our subjectivities are constituted in contemporary forms of capitalism and especially the aspirations of young people with and without schooling
  • Cultural studies provides insight into social processes that directly impact on the national educational project including racism, and also provides insight into hopeful cultural politics that have the potential to inform educational studies
  • The case of Indigenous students and STEM (STEAM)

Biography: Robert Hattam is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, Associate Head of School: Research, Director of the Centre for Research in Education and leader of the Pedagogies for Justice research group at the University of South Australia. His research focuses on teachers' work, educational leadership, critical and reconciliation pedagogies, refugees, and school reform. His research program includes: (i) school based studies that engage with teachers as they attempt to redesign pedagogical practices in response to their own existential classroom challenges and provocations for more justice; (ii) cultural studies in hopeful sites of public pedagogy of new social movements and especially socially-engaged Buddhism and ‘reconciliation’ broadly defined; and (iii) philosophical investigations into friendship, forgiveness, hospitality and conviviality. He has published in a range of international journals including Sociology, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, British Journal of Sociology of Education, British Educational Research Journal, Social Identities, Critical Studies in Education, and Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. He has been involved in book projects with others that include: Schooling for a Fair Go, Teachers' Work in a Globalising Economy, Dropping Out, Drifting Off, Being Excluded: Becoming Somebody Without School, Connecting Lives and Learning, and Pedagogies for Reconciliation. He also has published a book entitled Awakening-Struggle: Towards a Buddhist Critical Theory.

University of Western Sydney

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