Pedagogy for cultural inclusivity: A critical humanist approach

Year: 2016

Author: Soong, Hannah, Slee, Roger

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Australia, with 27 per cent, has one of the highest overseas-born share of its population of any immigrant country and consists of a mix of several cultures and subcultures (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2009). Yet the increased Australian population represent great challenges to how schools need to catch up with the rapid change and range of student diversity within the institutions (Singh, 2013). This is coupled with how the neo-liberalised school policies that were introduced have actively constructed ‘strangers’ in the community they shared (Marginson, 1987; Bauman, 2004). Although scholars of social justice in education may lean on different conceptual traditions in their theory and practices, this paper is an attempt to draw on Nel Noddings’ work on an ‘ethics of care’ (2003) to propose a pedagogy that is respectful of the human ‘otherness’ (Geertz, 1983). We first highlight the notion that education is a political practice (Apple, 2004) which involves teachers to know how they interpret the world and how knowledge is chosen based on its perceived ‘worth’ (Connell, 2009). We then explore the significance of Noddings’ (2003) ‘ethics of care’ to recognise education as also a moral practice that resists a ‘a condition of collective indifference’ (Slee, 2011). We argue that pedagogy for cultural inclusivity inevitably involves a discussion of the central elements in establishing relations with care as well as the big-picture issues of life provided by their teachers (Biesta, 2006). In arguing for a critical humanistic approach to developing a pedagogy for cultural inclusivity, we are also providing a counter critique to the return to a ‘common culture’ that makes schools more open to both the intended and the perverse effects of neo-liberal ideology. In sum, by broadening the focus of what are inclusivity and justice outcomes for individuals, the term ‘critical pedagogy’ is understood as comprising a complexity of issues found below the surface of the daily interactions teachers and students have with one another which are often left unaddressed (McLaren, 1991). ReferencesApple, M. (2004). Ideology and curriculum. New York & London: Routledge Falmer.Bauman, Z. (2004) Wasted Lives. Cambridge, Polity Press.Biesta, G. (2006). Beyond learning. Democratic education for a human future. Boulder: Paradigm Publisher.Connell, R. (2009) ‘Good teachers on dangerous ground: Towards a new view of teacher quality and professionalism’. Critical Studies in Education, 50(3): 213-29.Geertz, C. (1983). Local knowledge. New York: Basic Books.Marginson, S. ((1987). Educating Australia: Government, economy, and citixens sicne 1960. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.McLaren, P. (1991) ‘Critical pedagogy: Constructing an arch of social dreaming and a doorway of hope’, Journal of Education, 173(1): 18. Noddings, N. (2003) Caring: A Feminie approach to ethics and moral education, nd edn. New York: teachers College Press.