The Socially Just School

Making Space for Youth to Speak Back

  • John Smyth
  • Barry Down
  • Peter McInerney

Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 29)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 1-19
  3. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 21-41
  4. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 43-67
  5. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 69-91
  6. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 93-110
  7. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 111-132
  8. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 133-154
  9. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 155-170
  10. John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney
    Pages 171-181
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 183-195

About this book


This book explores schools and how they can function as social institutions that advance the interests and life chances of all young people, especially those who are already the most marginalized and at an educational disadvantage. Social justice is a key theme as the book examines the needs of youth, the concept of school culture, school/community relations, socially critical pedagogy, curriculum and leadership, and a socially critical approach to work.The Socially Just School is based upon four decades of intensive writing and researching of young lives. This work presents an alternative to the damaging school reform in which schools are made to serve the interests of the economy, education systems, the military, corporate or national interests. 
Readers will discover the hallmarks of socially just schools: 
- They educationally engage young people regardless of class, race, family or neighbourhood location, and they engage them around their own educational aspirations. 
- They regard all young people as being morally entitled to a rewarding and satisfying experience of school, not only those whose backgrounds happen to fit with the values of schools.
- They treat young people as having strengths and being ‘at promise’ rather than being ‘at risk’ and with ‘deficits’ or as ‘bundles of pathologies’ to be remedied or ‘fixed’.  
- They are ‘active listeners’ to the lives and cultures of their students and communities, and they construct learning experiences that are embedded in young lives.  
This highly readable book will appeal to students and scholars in education and sociology, as well as to teachers and school administrators with an interest in social justice.


Paulo Freire critical curriculum critical pedagogy democratic schooling educational disadvantage marginalized youth politics of education school community relations school culture school reform social justice social justice education socially critical teaching sociology of education teaching social justice youth voice

Authors and affiliations

  • John Smyth
    • 1
  • Barry Down
    • 2
  • Peter McInerney
    • 3
  1. 1.Federation University AustraliaBallaratAustralia
  2. 2.Murdoch UniversityRockinghamAustralia
  3. 3.Federation University AustraliaBallaratAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-94-017-9059-8
  • Online ISBN 978-94-017-9060-4
  • Series Print ISSN 1875-4449
  • Series Online ISSN 1875-4457
  • Buy this book on publisher's site