Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence

By Morwenna Griffiths | Go to book overview

Appendix: Fair schools

1 A fair school is always a learning community of pupils, teachers, support staff, parents and neighbourhood.

'Equality is not the end but the way.' The same is true for fairness.

2 A condition for the establishment of a learning community is the valuing of everybody in conditions of trust and safety.

These conditions take time to establish. People can only learn from the continuing actions of others that they can give their trust. And they can only learn from the continuing actions that they are both valued and safe.

3 Learning requires being wholeheartedly consultative of everybody in the community, open and able to deal with change.

Being wholehearted means not being cynical about actions. Consulting everybody means consulting with all those affected by the school, both inside and out of it: both home and community, and with pupils, teachers and support staff.

4 It is acknowledged that consultation and change are going to result in some conflict and people feeling exposed when putting their views on the line.

The process of accommodating the views of everybody feels risky. So everybody, whether headteacher or first-year pupil, has to feel safe about expressing themselves. They also have to be willing to find that others do not agree with their perspectives.

5 There is an in-built chance of learning leading to a complete change of direction (including of dearly held values and traditions).

A change of direction means wholeheartedly holding the new values. This cannot be undertaken lightly. The point is to acknowledge that people can change their minds when they learn.

6 Meanwhile, it is important that both the leadership and also the rest of the school has a clear ethos and tries to act on it.

The core values must be the ones that create conditions for learning. The ethos must support this.

7 Instant Utopia is not to be found - fairness has to be constructed on the run.

By the time the best solution is found for certain, the situation will have changed. It's important to do what you can, now, rather than wait until it is better planned out.

8 Utopia is not to be found.

A fair school still needs to improve. It's important to start from where the school is, improving what it has. This may mean that there are areas in which a school is excellent, even while it needs to work hard on other areas, and even while some other things may be out of its control altogether.

9 improvements always come as a patchwork or ragbag.

There can never be a tidy overarching rationale or masterplan for improving fairness. Events move too fast.

10 Improvements in fairness need to be recognized and celebrated.

It is important not to be weighed down by all the things that remain to be done. Working for fairness is already to be doing the most important thing.

11 Consultation means that the school undergoes a constant process of review and revision. But don't try to deal with everything at once: change the focus of attention.

12 Alliances between different interest groups need to be supported at the same time as all the different groups are acknowledged and valued.

There are alliances to be made between groups of people on the basis of, for example, class, race, gender, social class and sexuality. They cross-cut alliances between, for example, teachers, advisors, children and parents. All these groups need acknowledgement, support and understanding.

-148-

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Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Doing Qualitative Research in Educational Settings ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Part I: Introduction and Context 1
  • 1: Taking Sides, Getting Change 3
  • 2: Research for Social Justice? Some Examples 15
  • Part II: Theoretical Frameworks for Practical Purposes 29
  • Introduction to Part II 31
  • 3: Truths and Methods 33
  • 4: Facts and Values 44
  • 5: Living with Uncertainty in Educational Research 65
  • 6: Educational Research for Social Justice 85
  • Part III: Practical Possibilities 99
  • Introduction to Part III 101
  • 7: Getting Started 105
  • 8: Getting Justice 117
  • 9: Better Knowledge 129
  • 10: Educational Research at Large 141
  • Appendix: Fair Schools 148
  • References 149
  • Index 159
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