Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Improving the Pathways for Young People who are Early School Leavers and/or Require Alternate Education: Translation of Research into Practice (Praxis) Alternate Pathways - have we forgotten about Social Justice?

David Zyngier.

There is significant interest and concern within Australian schooling in relation to low student attendance, retention and achievement. Many schools are responding to these issues by developing and implementing alternative programs and/or utilising or modifying programs developed elsewhere, adapting them to their own local understandings of their students’ specific needs. This paper examines how the community understands the ‘problem’ of student disengagement and its potential ‘resolution’ in terms of deficit explanations for students’ problems and hence the need for alternative programs that remove students from the mainstream. This is compared with students’ own understandings of these issues, particularly for students ‘at risk’. If we are to act in socially just ways then program ‘success’ needs to take account of students own reasons for why they are disengaged from schooling and what changes schools and teachers themselves might need to consider, including the interests and involvement of students in decision-making processes and the inclusion of intellectually challenging material for marginalized youth ‘at educational risk’.


David Zyngier  (Australia)
Faculty of Education
Monash University

David Zyngier recently completed the development of the ruMAD? Program
He is currently undertaking a Doctoral Dissertation in Education at Monash University. The thesis focuses on school-student engagement and connectedness, investigating how school connectedness can improve student outcomes for all but in particular for at risk students. The provisional title is “What does student engagement look like in action?” He recently completed the development of the Kids Making a Difference in the Community program for the Education Foundation of Victoria. He was formerly a school principal. Together with colleagues he recently completed the research on student disengagement with learning and is currently developing Key-Makers: Advancing Student Engagement through Changed Teaching Practice. He holds to a critical and post-structural orientation to pedagogy that is distinguishable by its political commitment to a radical social justice (with interests in who benefits and who does not by particular social arrangements) and its dialectic critical method.

  • Student attendance
  • Retention
  • Achievement
  • Alternative programs
  • Student disengagement
  • Marginalized youth
  • Educational risk

(Virtual Presentation, English)