Test slide - Australian Catholic University

advertisement
GOOD TEACHERS IN
CHALLENGING TIMES:
LOCATING SOCIAL JUSTICE
AT THE CENTRE
Professor Margaret Vickers
Good teachers: Challenging times


The times are challenging
 Increased levels of systemic auditing and
assessment can narrow our vision
 Complex issues – some are new, some are old but
still intractable
Good teachers & good schools locate social justice at
the centre – they do whatever it takes to ensure that
every student learns, no matter how difficult this might
be
Good teachers: Challenging times



In rich and diverse schools, what can be ‘marginal’
tasks for teachers elsewhere are often at the centre
of teachers’ work
What can we as researchers contribute?
What we research, & how we go about it, are both
critical decisions
Sharing two of our projects:


Staying on at School – what can schools do to
re-engage students & increase completion
rates?
Teaching to make a difference: The transition to
mainstream of students with refugee
backgrounds
1. Staying On at School

UWS and DEC in partnership – ARC funded

Longitudinal study -3 years (2009, 2010, 2011) -participants initially in Years 7, 8 & 9, from nine schools

Surveys initially with 1966 students

Interviews with ‘disengaged’ students over 3 years

Interviews with staff
Turning Points
Early disengagement need not be permanent –
many students turn around
and become engaged
Erica’s Story
In year 8 she said there was
nothing much she was learning
at school that would make any
difference to being a
hairdresser -“ ..If you want to be a
hairdresser, you just get to a
salon and learn how to cut
hair”
Erica’s Story




You told us a couple of years ago
you were definitely going to be a
hairdresser.
Yeah, I had it all planned out but
I have no idea anymore.
Really?
Yeah -- Now I don’t know what
to do be. I might be a history
teacher if I am smart enough
How?

What does it take?
How do students reengage?
Why?

Why do some students
‘turn around’?
Jackson’ story




How’s school been this year
compared to last year?
Um, it’s better
Good on you. So what things
have changed between last year
and this year?
Um, I don’t know, I think the change
of friends. I started to hang out
with the wrong group last year. So
I decided to hang out with a
better group --- it’s a lot better
now.
Jackson


Yeah. [Last year my friends]
were always mucking
around in class, never
getting work complete,
always truanting from
school ..
My marks kind of flunked
last year to the lowest
marks I’ve ever had. This
year my marks have
started to go back up, and
I am starting to get a few
firsts in class.
Jackson


You’ve sort of made a
decision.
Yeah, I just like saw how
like their lives were
turning out, half of them
have dropped out of
school already, and I
wanted to stay at school
and finish school. So I
just dropped it all and
changed all my friends.
Jackson


Was it hard to get into a
different group of friends?
Yeah, I had to change myself a
lot to fit in with them. I cut back
on swearing, I used to swear a
lot. I’ve stopped swearing. I
stopped bullying people and
then they decided that I changed
and I became a good friend with
them, with a lot of them actually.
Jackson


So you all get on better
with teachers and stuff?
Yeah, we don’t show
[attitude] to the teacher, so
they don’t show attitude
back.
The quantitative surveys support this focus




If the key to staying on is engagement with school, then what
is the key to engagement?
Our surveys were designed to explore the construction of
new scales – specifically, scales measuring social-relational
support for education
A 5-factor scale emerged from our analyses – in our
modelling, three of these factors explain most of the
variance in ‘engagement’
Two other factors were identified, but these became nonsignificant when ‘I-Thou values’ was added. These related to
‘having friends at school’ and ‘feeling a sense of belonging’
Social-relational support for engagement
1. Perceived Parental Support for Education (PEV)
 My parents think if I do well at school it will improve my chances in
life
 Doing well at school is something my parents take seriously
2. Teacher Respect and Care (TRC)
 Most of my teachers really listen to what I have to say
 At my school, staff members invite students to raise their concerns
3. I-Thou Support for Education (ITV)
 I feel proud to be a student in this school
 Most of my friends care about doing well at school
I-Thou – the centrality of social relations
Martin Buber
 Buber's philosophy focuses on two
fundamentally different human relations: I-It
and I-Thou relations.
 Our research is pointing to the powerful role of
relationships with others who share the same
values, and of the need to relocate oneself
socially if one’s values really change
Jackson
I decided to hang
out with a better
group …
 I had to change
myself a lot to fit in
with them”

Why do some students turn around, and
what can teachers do?

I-Thou support – help students connect to
groups that are engaged with learning

Teacher respect is hugely important

Teachers recalibrate their expectations

Allow choice: electives / early start on VET
2. Teaching to make a difference
High schools enrolling
African and other
‘acute’ refugees face
new challenges
The TMD project used
an entirely different
approach - Teacher
Research Circles
Teacher research circles




Here we invite teachers to work as researchers,
reflecting on their experiences and taking time to
identify what they know
We funded teacher release for four days – the first
involved discussion, identifying themes
On subsequent days the teachers started to write
their own scripts
These scripts were re-written so the action unfolds in
a different way, and polished to make them more
responsive to the audience
Mary’s script
Mary began
by helping
as a
Having
absorbed
a smallout
degree
temporary
teacher
thestudents’
IEC. As
of
knowledge
aboutatthe
she said, I knew
nothing
background,
I asked
my about
students
Africa,
Sudan,acivil
war, or
in
to prepare
five-slide
refugee camps.
I was teaching
PowerPoint
presentation,
one
numeracy
and question:
computing‘Who
classes
slide
for each
am
in the
IEC are
using
set text,
I?’,
‘Who
thethe
people
in my
Mavis Beacon
family?’,
‘WhoTeaches
are myTyping.
friends?’,
‘What do I like to do?’ and
‘What would I do if I won a
million dollars?’
Mary
AI then
student
moved
asked
on me
to the
to check
‘million
the spelling
dollars’
question.
and grammar
Part wayin
her PowerPoint
through
the second
presentation.
paragraph,
I
readtext
the
herbegan
name,to
family,
penetrate,
friends,
favourite
and
I hadactivities.
to go back
Forand
me, at
this stage,
read
it again.
the information was
quite secondary to the
student’s demonstration of
writing skills.
This
girl told
of dead
herselfalso).
as a She
9-year-old,
over,16-year-old
and the soldiers
hadthe
leftstory
her for
carried his
scooping
up her
anddays
attempting
flee aher
military
body through
thebaby
bush brother
for several
beforetofinding
mother
raid.other
They siblings.
shot andThe
killed
him then
in hertrekked
arms. She
up’ totofind
and
family
for ‘woke
five-months
thethe
dead baby on
top ofofher
(the force
of the shot had knocked her
comparative
safety
a refugee
camp.
boy whose
hands moved
hold
phantom
gunswimming
when he
Ithe
wasyoung
emotionally
paralysed.
I lookedtoat
thisagirl,
her eyes
was tears
challenged,
child who
dipped
her head
but would not
with
that didthe
nothing
to mask
the steely
determination,
andpray.
I noticedthat
for I,the
time the burn
marks
realised
in first
my protected
world,
just on
diddark-skinned
not get it. legs, the
on to
wrists
andand
necks
(from rope
or other
restraints?),
the tooIscars
started
watch
to really
‘see’ these
students.
The young
girl
thin, flinched
sometimes
who
as twisted
a male limbs.
teacher came near her,
Mary

It was then that I became a teacher. I read their
history. I listened as they spoke of John Garang,
their fallen hero. I watched video footage of the
refugee camps and I began to know and love these
so-special of God’s children.
‘Entering into a relation with your whole being ..’


Away from Mavis Beacon teaches typing, away from
the focus on spelling and grammar
Connecting so as to ‘know and love these children’
Research circles

Not just a method of investigation –

While the insights uncovered are useful -

For teachers who participate, the results can be
transformational
Good teachers
Good teachers locate social justice at the centre
– they do whatever it takes to ensure that every
student learns no matter how difficult this might
be
 Good teachers work collectively – children's
lives are turned around through the consistent
and respectful work of all

For more on the TMD project

Crossing Borders: African refugees, teachers, and
schools. (2011). Tania Ferfolja, Margaret Vickers,
Florence McCarthy, Loshini Naidoo, & Eric Brace.
Canberra: Australian Curriculum Studies Association
Professor Margaret Vickers
School of Education
University of Western Sydney
[email protected]
Download