Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Re-engaging marginalised young people in learning: the contribution of informal learning and community-based collaborations

an article by Debra Hayes (The University of Sydney, Australia) published in Journal of Education Policy Volume 27 Issue 5 (September 2012)


In the twenty-first century, a socially just system of schooling prepares all young people to adapt to new technologies, and participate in a global economy that is highly differentiated at the local level.

In Australia and other countries where local markets have become heavily dependent on service economies, ‘working-class’ families are less able to exchange their labour for low-paid wages in factories and other industries, and they are more dependent on education and its accrediting authority than they have been in the past.

At the same time, the influence of markets on education has allocated schools to these families, which operate under the least favourable conditions and produce weak outcomes.

This paper illustrates how enterprising community collaborations can ameliorate some of these effects. It outlines relevant research about young people who do not complete school, and it describes the implementation of a learning programme in inner Sydney as a means of explicating some of the conditions required to re-engage young people in learning.

It is argued that a socially just system of schooling assists young people to construct life narratives in which they are able to chart their way through and around problems, and accumulate the skills, knowledge and dispositions they need to access the formal economy.

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