How can we build culturally safer and relationally stronger schools?

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Your invitation to our free webinar:

Building Culturally Safer and Relationally Stronger Schools

on Wednesday 26 August  2020 at 11:00 AM AEST.

This webinar is co-hosted by our Justice-involved Young People Network with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.

Our panel will reflect on the challenges and opportunities for building stronger and safer schools to support and value young people.

In the Victorian government Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030 the first key direction is ‘Improving diversion and supporting early intervention and crime prevention’, which includes a commitment to ensuring that young people are engaged in education and connected to school, reducing school expulsion rates, and providing education support and information at the Children’s Court to re-engage young people in education. Education is therefore seen as an important right and an opportunity to strengthen connection and future opportunities. However, education has also been known to be a place in which young people can experience misunderstanding, alienation and discrimination.

This panel will reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities for building stronger and safer schools to support and value young people. If education and schools are to be part of an early intervention and diversion strategy we need to understand both how they may have been failing at this and what might need to occur to enable education to be a place of safety and strength.

The panel draws on the expertise of academics and educators working across youth justice and education contexts to analyse the challenges and propose some opportunities. A range of key ideas will be explored, including: power relations, reflexive teaching, cultural responsiveness, racism, and the importance of relationships in education.

Dr Melitta Hogarth, Kamileroi woman and Assistant Dean Indigenous at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, will explore the question – how do we make our schools less white? Drawing on a chapter written with Professor Tracy Bunda, she will propose some opportunities for addressing what has been an assimilatory impulse in Australian schools. She will examine some of the power relations in schools that impede relationship building and alienate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and will offer some suggestions for what might constitute quality partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Leah Avene is a Tuvaluan mother, musician, broadcaster and educator whose work focuses on personal, relational and collective decolonising. As Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Leader at Parkville College, Leah’s work aims to scrutinize and dismantle colonised culture whilst also celebrating the resilience, resistance and strength of first nations communities and people of colour across the globe. Leah will present a model of culturally responsive pedagogy that seeks to celebrate students strengths and decolonise relationships within the classroom.

Dr Nikki Moodie, is a Gomeroi/Kamileroi woman and Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She will present key findings from a number of systematic literature reviews on Indigenous education, including the impact of racism on the school experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and the factors that contribute to the development of school and Indigenous community engagement.

Dr Jessica Gannaway, Lecturer in Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, will examine possibilities for teacher reflexivity in order to shift teacher dispositions and therefore classroom relationships. Jessica poses that as members of an education system that continues to reify structural inequalities and racism, a teacher’s relational work in classrooms is at the frontlines of where these dynamics continually play out. Jessica explores the ways that teachers can reflect on their own dispositions and worldviews, whiteness and colonisation and their place within structures, in order to shift the way they interact within classroom communities.

The panel will be chaired by Dr Sophie Rudolph, Lecturer in Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and co-convener of the Justice-involved Young People Network.

Register to attend here.

 

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