“They’re not here to just teach you”: practice architectures and student connectedness

Year: 2019

Author: Smith, Lisa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This chapter makes a case for an alternative reading of practice from the banal positivist models that encourage competition, tighter regulations and a performative culture in our schools. Australian research suggests that such rigid, decontextualised models of practice create a dislocation between the school curriculum and students’ aspirations and identities, often resulting in student disaffection. For mainstream schools serving working-class communities in particular, where the rejection of the offers and advantages of schooling continue to result in differential class consequences for working-class young people, there is a pressing need to consider how practice might function to foster student connectedness and create a more socially just education for students living in working-class communities. Drawing from an ethnographic study of one school in the working-class northern suburbs of Adelaide and the collective voices of its leaders, teachers and students, I argue that Kemmis and colleagues’ (2014) intersubjective theory of ‘practice architectures’ is one lens that might be applied when considering how ‘practices of connectedness’ can be better supported.