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ItemRefiguring sustainability education: Reckoning with relationships to place and Country on unceded urban LandsBelcher, Fiona Margaret ( 2021)Sustainability education is a dominant site for the production of ideas about place and Country. At the international level, Education for Sustainability broadly references social justice; however, place-based pedagogical frameworks neither stem from nor centralise Indigenous concerns and futures. Similarly, in the Australian National Curriculum, the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority is represented as commensurable with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, without the associated foregrounding of sovereign claims. At the same time, First Peoples of the place known as Melbourne have long storied possible futures in which invader/settlers take seriously the protocol of not harming Country. As a white invader/settler researcher, I respond to this tension between sustainability curriculum and sovereignty. This thesis investigates the possibility held in curriculum and its enactment; that of producing in a generation of young people specific ideas about their relationships and responsibilities to place and Country. This thesis is therefore grounded in the question, what relationships to place and Country are produced through the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority in secondary schools on the Country of the Kulin Nations? This thesis is an original contribution to knowledge about the ways white invader/settler logics are produced via sustainability praxis. In doing so, it contributes to a deepened understanding of the relationship between Education for Sustainability and Land education. While the field of Land education identifies place-based education as a site of possibility, this thesis contributes to an understanding of the specific ways these possibilities are delimited by the influence of the priorities and assumptions of Education for Sustainability frameworks on sustainability education practice in Victoria. By employing white possessive logics as a key conceptual framework, this thesis contributes to increasing the theoretical possibilities of Land education. This theoretical contribution enables further analysis of how patriarchal white sovereignty operates through sustainability education to produce incommensurable imaginings of not only the future, but of the past. Curriculum texts alongside secondary school and sustainability hub educators across Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Country form the sites on which this thesis is located. My research findings emerge from analysis of the material and representational elements of sustainability education on these school grounds, revealed through walking interviews, go-along methods, photovoice, and policy analysis within a critical place inquiry approach. In this context, I find that sustainability education as represented in policy and curriculum reduces the concepts of place and Country to resources, framed by the problematisation of scarce environmental resources between nation states. This policy emphasis on resources is mirrored in classroom settings, whereby students’ relationships to displaced objects, such as single use waste, is framed through a moral lens. The final finding of this thesis is that educators’ impetus for sustainability praxis is for establishing an affective re-connection between students and place. This educational assumption of students’ disconnection amplifies an investment in cultivating an imagined return to love of place. The primary argument of this thesis is that white invader/settler benevolence is produced through sustainability education in secondary schools, while contested relationships to Country are disavowed. Sustainability education at the sites on the Country of the Kulin Nations produces two related affects that stem from the central concept of the environment. First, an investment in displaced objects is cultivated as a way for students to inhabit a moral subject position in relation to unceded Country. This thesis argues that the reduction of place and Country to resource relations enables moral positions to be assigned to consumer choices. As a result, students who choose keep cups and Boomerang Bags are able to inhabit not just an innocent but a moral subject position. Further, invader/settler relationships to place are rendered innocent, framed in terms of a depoliticised love. The depoliticisation of relationships to Country and emphasis on individual relationships to displaced moral objects work in tandem in an attempt to secure patriarchal white sovereignty. This thesis contributes to an understanding of the ways these two affects work in concert to produce benevolent settler subject positions, reinscribing postcolonising processes through sustainability praxis. The implications of this are significant and also Country-specific. In contrast to the language of resources, the affective enactment of Education for Sustainability on Kulin Country reveals the ways that students’ futures and histories are produced to actively deracialise relationships to Country. Such enactments work in an attempt to legitimise white invader/settler replacement of First Peoples across the past, present and future. Despite these attempts, the materiality of Country – such as the extractive histories revealed through landfill – continues to work against this attempted reinscription of relations.
ItemStories of language, culture and race from African Australian children, their caregivers, and educatorsIser, Rose Mary ( 2021)This study responds to ongoing and highly racialised public and political debate surrounding young people from refugee backgrounds, in particular African backgrounds, in Australia. The study investigates how the languages and cultural backgrounds of second-generation African Australian students are understood by educators, students and their families at one primary school in inner-Melbourne. It builds on scholarship that, over many decades, has sought ways of conceptualising the languages and cultures of students who have been marginalised in monolingual classrooms. The application of theories of cultural capital and funds of knowledge in previous research has supported asset pedagogies that value the skills and knowledge brought to classrooms by students from marginalised communities. However, it is argued here that the application of these theories, and specifically their transformative potential, has been limited by the normalised devaluation of marginalised students’ ‘resources’. This study investigates existing arrangements and new possibilities for conceptualising the languages and cultural backgrounds of the African Australian participants. A tri-part theoretical lens employed critical race theory (Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993), theories of plurilingualism and translanguaging (Garcia, Lin, & May, 2017), as well as the emerging concept of LangCrit (Crump, 2014) to explore racialised understandings of languages and cultures by the educators, caregivers and the children themselves. The theoretical framework was applied to expose racial inequality (Gillborn, 2005; Rowe, 2020), focus on languaging, or language practices that challenge the social and political construction of linguistic codes (Makoni & Pennycook, 2007), and identify how socially constructed categories connect race and language (Crump, 2014). Employing an interpretivist qualitative research design layered with a lens of critical inquiry, data were collected at one primary school in Melbourne that caters for a significant population of second-generation African Australian students. Three cohorts of participants contributed to the study providing multiple perspectives to address the research problem: the educators at the school, the second-generation African Australian children, and their caregivers, with community members providing additional insights and context. Data collection methods involved language portraits, recordings using Garage Band, and in-depth interviews of varying lengths with participants from each cohort. The results of this investigation support the usefulness of the theoretical framework, revealing how narratives reflecting raciolinguistic ideologies in a school are constructed and reinforced as stock stories by the educators. These stories perpetuate deficit beliefs about inferior language acquisition, and sideline home languages as irrelevant to in-school academic pursuits. The students, caregivers and community members’ alternative counter-stories both accept and reject these constructions and signal a profound gulf between school and home. The findings also contribute conceptualisations of language and culture that depart from transactional notions of resources, and the racialisation of languages in schools, and instead honour subjective experiences of languages, cultures and identity. The study reveals the persistence of monolingual approaches to language learning, noting the constrictive implications for students and caregivers, and urges the adoption of approaches to learning aligned with culturally sustaining pedagogy to support the multilingualism of second-generation African Australian students in Australia.
ItemSpace to act: Conceptual framework analysis of student agency within innovative learning environmentsDonaldson, Nicholas James ( 2021)The substantial societal shifts of the 21st century have supported the development and implementation of innovative learning environments (ILEs) and the endorsement of student agency within the field of education. There exists, however, a resonant gap in knowledge regarding the presence and properties of this learner quality within these teaching and learning spaces. This thesis addresses this gap by encapsulating the nature of student agency within ILEs through the qualitative methodological approach of conceptual framework analysis (Jabareen, 2009). Though limited by its theoretical focus and exploration of secondary data, the resultant framework offers a complex conceptualisation of the phenomenon of student agency within ILEs; its psychological antecedents, the environmental features that may support it, its characteristic actions, and its potential constructive contributions. Beyond establishing a foundational platform for future research, these findings also provide educators with the valuable knowledge and tools that allow them to more effectively understand, identify, and nurture this lauded learner quality within modern educational spaces.
ItemChange leadership when implementing innovative learning environmentsOsborne, Mark Ian ( 2020)The educational architecture that has been built in New Zealand since 2011 has predominately been in the style of innovative learning environments (ILEs). While ILEs potentially offer teachers access to a wider range of teaching and learning approaches and more collaboration opportunities than traditional classrooms they also often require significant shifts in teacher practice to be successful. Leadership is often seen as an important factor in the successful implementation of such environments but there is very little research into the specific change leadership practices principals can employ to successfully transition their schools to ILEs. As part of the Australian Research Council-funded Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change project (ILETC) an analytic autoethnographic study was undertaken to identify the change leadership practices that are most likely to lead to a successful ILE implementation. A literature review was undertaken, the key findings from which were used to develop a conceptual framework. This framework was then used in a series of interactive interviews with New Zealand primary school principals to compare their personal experience (and those of the researcher) with change leadership principles in research literature. This joint sense-making was complemented by a range of other data sources including field notes, workshop artefacts, workshop transcripts, memories and recollections. Two ‘key informants’ (recognised experts in the field) were also used throughout the research process to support sense-making. The findings outline two sets of change leadership principles; a set that are important to uphold throughout the entire change process (persistent principles); and a set that are important (respectively) in the preparing, implementing and sustaining phases of a change (phase-dependent principles). These principles, when intelligently and sensitively applied by school leaders throughout the innovative learning environment implementation, will increase the likelihood a transition to ILEs will be successful, ultimately leading to improved learning and well-being outcomes for teachers and students.