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Building aspiration and re-imagining community through curricular and pedagogical (re)design Lew Zipin University of South Australia For Symposium: Making.

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Presentation on theme: "Building aspiration and re-imagining community through curricular and pedagogical (re)design Lew Zipin University of South Australia For Symposium: Making."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building aspiration and re-imagining community through curricular and pedagogical (re)design Lew Zipin University of South Australia For Symposium: Making desirable futures possible through pedagogical and curricular change 7 May 2010

2 A prevailing policy/media commonsense about the need for greater aspiration among less achieving population groups Presuming that all people do/ought to aspire towards the same goods. These goods are narrowly defined in terms of economic rationales. Constructing individual and national needs, desires, and hopes in the same economic terms. Facilitating pursuit of these goods is the prime purpose of schooling.

3 At the core of the dominant aspirations paradigm: three logics of capital Cultural capital: a hidden, deep-structural logic of sorting and selecting for winners and losers. Human capital: a powerfully mediated ideo-logic of neoliberal (economic rationalist) individualism. Social capital: an extension of human capital logic to regional community populations.

4 The limiting effects of logics of capital on educational possibilities Stifle efforts to (re)design curriculum and pedagogy to engage local populations. Inhibit recognition of funds of knowledge and aspiration that are organic to specific groups and their lifeworld locales. Reinforce deficit viewpoints in terms of both aspiration and capacity of the less advantaged to achieve educationally.

5 A more participatory-democratic conception sees aspirations not as pre-determined goods that all should want, but as capacities to: Make sense in-and-of lived conditions Imagine different and better life conditions and goods Articulate these sense-makings and imaginings Work to realise desired re-imaginings, not as mere individuals but as inter-active, civic-social people who collaborate in exercising capacities to aspire

6 What is meant by capacities? At a very rudimentary level, capacities to make sense, imagine, articulate and collaborate inhere as basic intelligence powers of all people, poor or rich, advantaged or disadvantaged. However, these capacities need to develop as effective, empowered, specifically expressed forces through enabling social-cultural conditions and processes – i.e. education – especially for learners whose families cannot endow them with inheritances of power-elite cultural capital.

7 Enabling capacities to aspire: working with home/community funds of knowledge Learning and teaching take place in many contexts, including home/community settings which precede, extend wider, and have deeper influence than school settings in shaping learners identity structures. Meaningful funds of knowledge and aspiration are carried culturally, learned-and-taught socially and (re)created actively in home/community sites. Substantive educational use of home/community ways of knowing and aspiring – designed into curricula, pedagogies and assessments – can fund richly engaged, rigorous and challenging learning-and-teaching in school settings.

8 Incorporating funds of knowledge in a two-way pedagogical approach (based on Delpit: The Silenced Dialogue Give curricular pride of place to home/community-based funds of knowledge that engage learners. Scaffold from this engaged curricular work to learning that acquires the capitals necessary to succeed in terms of assessed mainstream standards (make the codes of both home/community and mainstream ways of knowing explicit). Frame this two-way learning with age-appropriate critical reflection on why both ways of knowing are needed.

9 Making complex communities curricular: Significant challenges The structural and ideological gravities of the three logics of capital, which need to be negotiated but also courageously contested and shifted. Difficult and dark knowledge in the lives of young people in high-poverty regions – which we need to learn to make use of as bona fide funds of knowledge. The complex social-cultural fabric in northern suburb areas and schools: liquidly mosaic rather than homogenously cohesive communities.

10 Aspiring to make better futures possible: Re-imagining community [B]y not elaborating... norms for futurity as a cultural capacity,... [most conceptions of culture] allow a sense of culture as pastness to dominate (Appadurai 2004: 67). Given the unsettling complexities of globalising processes, the work of the imagination [is] a constitutive feature of modern subjectivity... [and] a fuel for action (Appadurai 1996: 3). In schools of liquid-abject regions, curricula and pedagogies that enable future-oriented, re-imaginative capacities are vital for mobilising learners funds of knowledge and aspiration as resources of hope: of agency to create new possibilities for lived community to come.

11 Re-imagining classrooms as communities that embody and work towards future community Classrooms in schools of the north embody diverse mixes of culture, language and nation-hyphenated identity (First Nation- Australian, Lebanese-Australian, Sudanese-Australian, Anglo- Australian, etc). Such diversity can challenge cohesive learning-and-teaching; but it can also fund the development of capacities to re- imagine and re-create the knowledges, practices and relations that constitute being-in-community. Working with/on funds of knowledge and aspiration: going beyond reproduction of communities; becoming knowledge- building and community-(re)building schools.

12 An illustration: Debbies clay animation art- and-literacy work with year 8/9 students Discovering a thematic hook that engages lived identities: in this case, violence in local community life. Negotiating a problem-solution genre that both recognises dark funds of knowledge and re-imagines community. Developing a pedagogy of safe space and collaborative work. Negotiating robust literacy work in creating clay animations. Exhibiting projects: giving back to local community. Empowering hopeful, future-oriented aspirations: We can find ways to solve problems in our community, or the community can. (See Henderson & Zipin, Chapter 1 in forthcoming book: Connecting Lives and Learning: Renewing Pedagogy in the Middle Years.)


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