Social and Cultural Contexts of Education

This unit allows students to creatively investigate the relationship between theory and practice by analysing how changing economic, political, social and cultural contexts impact upon education systems, families and young people. Students will explore how education is not value free and how it is influenced by developments at the local, national and global levels. The significance of changing values for adolescents, families and the wider social realm will also be explored.


Course

EDFD653: Social and Cultural Contexts of Education

Course dates

10 -21 July 2017

Lecturer(s)

Dr Amy McPherson

Form(s) of teaching Face-to-face teaching, online learning and fieldwork

Assessment

Short film project and written tasks

ACU credit points

10

ECTS Credits

7.5

US Credits

3 or 4

Contact hours

25 hours (includes class, inquiry based learning and field work)

This course would be of particular interest to students who are interested in learning more about the contexts of the Australian education system. Students will develop new understandings of contemporary education issues and discourses as well as advance their skills, knowledge base and qualifications in the field of teaching. Graduate students, as well as advanced level bachelor students in teaching, education and sociology degrees should consider enrolling in this unit.

This course allows students to creatively investigate the relationship between theory and practice by analysing how changing economic, political, social and cultural contexts impact upon education systems, families and young people. Students will explore how education is not value free and how it is influenced by developments at the local, national and global levels. The significance of changing values for adolescents, families and the wider social realm will also be explored.

In addition, students will examine how these shifts in values have impacted on educational policies and pedagogical approaches for learners from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, including those form Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. The impact of an increased presence of information technology for the wider society and for education will be investigated in light of changing values and contemporary education policies. Particular emphasis will be given to the question of how the mission and identity of school systems, and individuals within them, respond to change.

Topics may include:
  • The contributions of social theories to our understanding of education
  • The changing nature of global and Australian society and the consequential developments for education policy and school practices
  • Social class, ethnicity and gender differences and their impact on experiences of schooling and educational outcomes
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ historical and contemporary experiences of schooling in Australia, and the implications for learning and teaching
  • Changing values in society and the impact on the individual, families and schools, education and education systems
  • Technological change, in particular ICT, and its impact on individuals and schools
  • Introduction to teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds

This course will include ethnographic fieldwork in two diverse suburbs of Sydney.
The fieldwork will be set up as a research project that includes data collection through research on suburb demographics and the collection of field notes based on observations in public setting spaces, such as shopping centres, public libraries and parks.

On successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • critically analyse and describe the impact of economic, political, social, religious and cultural contexts and change, on education systems, families and individuals
  • demonstrate broad and in-depth knowledge and understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages; and of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the influential factors impacting on the production and implementation of education policy and legislation to determine the implications for school and educational settings
  • critically examine the means by which the mission and identity of schools and systems of education in Australia respond to broader social and cultural influences and changing values
  • analyse and critique a range of teaching strategies that are intended to respond to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds analyse and critically evaluate the impact of information and communications technology on education and student learning in contemporary society

Gardner, R., Cairns, J., & Lawton, D. (2003). Education for values: morals, ethics, and citizenship in contemporary teaching. London, England: Kogan.
Price, K. (Ed.) (2012). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: An Introduction for the teaching profession. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.
Reay, D. (2012). What does a socially just educational system look like: Separating the minnows from the pike. Journal of Education Policy, 2(5), 587-599.
Schiro, M. (2013). Curriculum theory: Conflicting visions and enduring concerns (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Tait, G. (2013). Making sense of mass education. Port Melbourne, Vic; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

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