Abstracts of Speaker Papers

Professor Ivor Goodson and Dr. Tim Rudd

Representing Education: Development Education Meets Critical Pedagogy

This presentation will argue for the need to develop methodological approaches that uncover the life histories, experiences, influences and pre-figurative practices that lead to mediation and refraction of waves of policy reform, leading to quite different, and often unintended, outcomes and responses. Moreover, the presentation will outline the basis for the development of a concept of ‘refraction’ and highlight how the exploration and exemplification of such variations provide not only powerful stories in themselves but also rich insights as seedbeds for alternative approaches and practice, especially in the face of current dominant neo-liberal waves of reform and hegemonic discourse pervading educational policy debates. Ivor will draw heavily on his work on narrative methodologies and life histories, and also key projects looking at the personal and professional lives of practitioners, whilst Tim will draw on work around refraction, critical pedagogies and sources and routes to resistance.  

Dr. Fionnaual Waldron

Letting the light in: Re-presenting education in a turbulent age

Professor Fionnuala Waldron, DCU Institute of Education, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra

Acknowledging the impact of neo-liberalism on education and its insertion into every level of policy and practice, this paper argues that development education, as part of a broader coalition of justice-oriented educations has the capacity to disrupt that meta-narrative and open spaces for critical engagement with the world from early childhood onwards. It argues that the challenging political, environmental, social and economic global environment and the fracturing of collective values of solidarity, justice and respect, creates a growing imperative to act across all fields of education. This imperative require us to seek out potential spaces and fissures in mainstream policy and practice which offer opportunities to disrupt the established narratives. Drawing on research into children’s thinking about justice-related issues and about difference, and on recent thinking in teacher education, the paper focuses on two key sites of intervention: primary education and initial teacher education. Despite the dangers posed by the domestication and co-option of development education in a mainstream environment, the paper concludes that if rooted in deep and on-going dialogue with ‘powerful’ critical theories (Apple, 2011) and informed by a view of learning as open-ended and relational, the spaces exist for transformative encounters in classrooms, seminars and in the halls of policy.

Dr. Vanessa Andreotti

The educational challenges of imagining Other-wise: expanding the frames of critical development education

If dominant modes of education have conditioned what it is possible for us to imagine and desire, what kinds of education might have the potential to rearrange desires and open up alternative possibilities for different futures? On the one hand, mainstream schooling has reduced the vast constellation of possibilities to a single story of progress, development, and human evolution in ways that silence difference and co-opt critique. On the other hand, the complexity, speed and uncertainty of change in this historical period render previous alternative educational approaches insufficient. This presentation invites participants to re-imagine critical education in ways that can more effectively and responsibly address the unprecedented global challenges and pedagogical paradoxes we face today.  A map of different approaches to global justice and their implications for education will be presented as an invitation to rethink our approaches to critique, to take systemic analyses a step further, and to expand possibilities for imagining the future Other-wise.

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