Taking a standpoint: teacher agency and education for the least advantaged

Year: 2007

Author: Kruger, Tony, Cherednichenko, Brenda, Cacciattolo, Marcelle

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The education of low income families is the key question in a collaborative investigation being undertaken by Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services Inc. and a research team from the Victoria University School of Education. In its application of Connell's conception of a 'standpoint curriculum', the project's concern is that educational outcomes in Australia remain socially divided, despite nearly 40 years of policy formation and funding dedicated to the improvement of schooling. Whether expressed in the grand scope of the Disadvantaged Schools Program or in neo-liberal accountability driven school and teacher effectiveness prescriptions, little change has occurred in the access of the poorest in society to the rich rewards of education. Through an examination of descriptions of practice in schools serving low income families, the paper will indicate what taking a standpoint looks like. The paper will discuss the difficulty education practitioners face in taking the standpoint of the poorest in society as the basis for educational understanding, planning and action. It will also present the methodology of the project which commences with the application by teachers of Good Shepherd's 'Low Income Awareness Checklist'.