Boys, productive pedagogies and social justice

Martin Mills and Amanda Keddie (2006). Boys, productive pedagogies and social justice. In: AARE 2005 International Education Research Conference, AARE '05 Education Research, Creative Dissent: Constructive Solutons, Sydney, Australia, (). 27 November – 1 December 2005.

Author Martin Mills
Amanda Keddie
Title of paper Boys, productive pedagogies and social justice
Conference name AARE 2005 International Education Research Conference, AARE '05 Education Research, Creative Dissent: Constructive Solutons
Conference location Sydney, Australia
Conference dates 27 November – 1 December 2005
Place of Publication Coldstream, Vic, Australia
Publisher Australian Association for Research in Education
Publication Year 2006
ISSN 1324-9339
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Since the mid 1990s the education of boys has come to dominate the education gender agenda in Australia. However, whilst the concern during much of the 1990s was largely to be found in newspaper articles and current affairs programs, alongside an explosion in pop psychology style books about boys, there has since the turn of the century been an increase in policy concerns about boys, and related issues. For instance, there have been national policies such as the Boys’ Lighthouse Schools Project (Department of Education, Science and Training, 2003a); Success for Boys (Department of Education, Science and Training, 2003b); and the parliamentary inquiry, Boys: Getting it Right (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training, 2002; for critiques of this inquiry see Mills, Martino, Lingard, forthcoming) and some state led initiatives such as Queensland’s Male Teacher Strategy (Education Queensland, 2002; for a critique of this policy see Mills, Martino & Lingard, 2004). It is unfortunate that this recent policy agenda, which has real material effects in terms of drawing resources away from initiatives relating to girls and other equity areas, has been cloaked in a victim politics. Such a politics has worked to construct boys as an equity group requiring affirmative action and special treatment. This construction has led to a plethora of pedagogical and structural remedies supposedly designed to address boys’ disadvantage (see for example, Gurian & Ballew, 2003; Lillico, 2000; Ykema, 2002). There have been numerous critiques of this tendency both in Australia and overseas (see Martino & Meyenn, 2001; Epstein, Elwood, Hey & Maw, 1998; Lingard & Douglas, 1999; Lesko, 2000, Skelton, 2001; Francis, 2000; Francis & Skelton 2005; Gilbert & Gilbert, 1998). We do not wish to cover this territory again, however through social justice lenses that disrupt the victim politics of current gender debates, we want to foreground those educational issues that do involve boys – both as a social group (Young, 1990) and as particular boys – and to consider what may be effective ways of addressing such issues through the classroom without ignoring the ways in which advantage is distributed within the current gender order. Indeed we argue throughout this paper that ‘privilege’ as it relates to gender has to be a key concern of the pedagogical decisions made in relation to the teaching of boys. However, at the same time, the ways in which some boys experience discrimination based upon factors such as race/ethnicity and sexuality, alongside some boys’ failure to live up to idealised forms of masculinity, and many boys’ experiences of powerlessness by being discriminated against because of their youth (McLean, 1997; Denborough, 1996; Mills, 2000) , have also to be considered. A pedagogy for boys thus has to be able, as Yeatman (1995) argues, to develop a language for talking about multiple differences at one time. We have found the productive pedagogies framework useful for promoting such work. In this paper, and drawing on social justice principles, we consider the ways in which the productive pedagogies framework can be utilised in the teaching of boys whilst at the same time raising some concerns about the ways in which such a pedagogy might be used to reinforce problematic constructions of masculinity.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Education Publications
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Created: Tue, 21 Jun 2011, 12:21:13 EST by Claire Backhouse on behalf of School of Education