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International Review of Education

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 9–28 | Cite as

How experiential learning in an informal setting promotes class equity and social and economic justice for children from “communities at promise”: An Australian perspective

  • David ZyngierEmail author
Original Paper
  • 1.5k Downloads

Abstract

Educational research often portrays culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised (CLED) children’s disengagement from school learning as individual behaviour, ignoring the contribution of race, gender, socio-cultural, ethnic and social class factors. This paper analyses a specific community engagement programme in Australia which uses experiential learning in an informal setting. The programme, which has been running for seven years, partners pre-service teachers, volunteer high school students and volunteers from a national bank with primary schools where many pupils are experiencing learning difficulties and school engagement problems as a result of their socio-economic status, their poverty, and their ethnic and cultural diversity. Drawing on the perspectives of the children and volunteers participating in the pilot study, and privileging their voices, this paper illustrates how community partnerships may be developed and sustained. The programme’s conceptual framework of Connecting-Owning-Responding-Empowering (CORE) pedagogy is explored for its potential to enhance student engagement, achievement and empowerment through focused community involvement. The findings show that when students feel connected to and involved in their community, all participants are empowered in their learning and teaching.

Keywords

Experiential learning Informal education Student disengagement Social disadvantage Community involvement Connecting-Owning-Responding-Empowering (CORE) pedagogy 

Résumé

Comment l’apprentissage expérientiel en situation informelle favorise l’équité entre les classes et la justice sociale et économique pour les enfants de milieux défavorisés: une perspective australienne – La recherche éducative décrit fréquemment sous forme de comportement individuel le désengagement de l’apprentissage scolaire par les enfants défavorisés sur le plan culturel, linguistique et économique, en laissant de côté la contribution des facteurs d’ordre socio-culturel, ethnique, liés au sexe et à la classe sociale. L’auteur de l’article analyse un programme spécifique d’engagement communautaire en Australie, qui exploite l’apprentissage expérientiel dans une situation informelle. Déployé depuis sept ans, ce programme associe en un partenariat des enseignants en formation, des bénévoles étudiants et employés d’une banque nationale aux écoles primaires accueillant de nombreux élèves en difficulté d’apprentissage et d’engagement scolaire en raison de leur statut socioéconomique, leur pauvreté et leur diversité ethnique et culturelle. Partant des perspectives des enfants et des bénévoles qui ont participé à l’étude pilote, et privilégiant leurs avis, l’auteur illustre comment peuvent être élaborés et maintenus des partenariats communautaires. Le cadre conceptuel pour le programme pédagogique Relier-Posséder-Réagir-Autonomiser (Connecting-Owning-Responding-Empowering CORE) est exploré pour son potentiel à favoriser l’engagement, la performance et l’autonomie des élèves à travers l’implication communautaire. Les résultats démontrent que si les élèves se sentent reliés à leur communauté et impliqués dans celle-ci, tous les participants connaissent une autonomisation dans leur apprentissage et leur enseignement.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Firstly, thank you to the wonderful volunteers without whom the E-LINCs programme would not have seen the light of day. Also thank you to the visionary school principals and their staff who made it possible, and to the National Australia Bank, Foundation for Youth Australia and Schools First for believing in the programme. Finally, thank you to the children from whom we learn so much every time we meet.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash University, Peninsula CampusFrankstonAustralia

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