Boys, productive pedagogies and social justice

Year: 2005

Author: Mills, Martin, Keddie, Amanda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The issue of boys' education continues to dominate the gender agenda in Australian Education. Whilst concerned with the direction much of this debate has taken, we recognise that there are issues for some boys stemming from the ways in which certain masculinities have been valorised within the various communities that different boys inhabit. This paper will draw on a range of voices from schools to stress the importance of providing boys with curricula, pedagogies and assessment tasks that provide them with opportunities to explore and critically analyse their personal experiences of what it means to be 'masculine'. We argue that such an approach to boys' education has to avoid treating boys as 'disadvantaged' and instead has to be cognisant of the complexities surrounding gendered relations of power operating within boys' various communities. We suggest that the productive pedagogies framework provides an avenue through which such an approach to boys' education can be taken up in schools. We are mindful, however, that the gender just enactment of this pedagogical framework requires that teachers draw on key threshold knowledges about gender, masculinity and schooling. We present some of these knowledges and demonstrate their imperative in moving beyond reinscription to transformation of the gendered relations that constrain boys' and girls' schooling experiences.