Pedagogies making a difference: Issues of social justice and inclusion

  • Lingard B
  • Mills M
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This paper provides an introduction and framing for this special issue of International Journal of Inclusive Education on pedagogies as an issue of social justice and inclusion. The paper works in the interstices between a sociologically sophisticated reproduction theory and a sociologically naïve school effectiveness framework in suggesting pedagogies can make a difference in terms of schooling as a good in and of itself and as a positional good. It rejects the pessimism of the former and the optimism of the latter and accepts the stance of the US school reform literature that teacher classroom practices have the greatest impact of all school‐based factors. However, pedagogies alone cannot make all of the difference, particularly given the vast inequalities which surround schooling and what Ladson‐Billings (2006) calls the ‘educational debt’. Further, it is argued that considerations of socially just pedagogies also must of necessity involve considerations of curriculum, the purposes of schooling and assessment. The paper then summarizes the ways in which the essays included here provide a scaffold for what socially just pedagogies might look like today, stretching from the public pedagogies of politics to school‐based pedagogies in the ‘totally pedagogised society’ (Bernstein, 2001b). Asking about socially just educational practices requires policy sociology to combine action‐oriented and critical perspectives. It demands a respect for practice and a willingness to see educational practices as sites of justice, not merely sites of injustice (Cribb & Gewirtz, 2003, p. 28).

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  • Bob Lingard

  • Martin Mills

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