Education for Social Justice and Inclusion (ESJI)

Academic members:

Education for Social Justice and Inclusion (ESJI) researchers investigate growing and embedded educational inequalities to find new ways of understanding and reframing such inequalities. Our research identifies how education can better meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities and marginalised young people. It builds on a strong foundation of researching high poverty contexts by program members, along with award-winning research into teacher education.

Professor Wayne Sawyer and Dr Katina Zammit are known for their work in the Fair Go project on exemplary teachers and leadership in high poverty schools. Associate Professor Christine Woodrow has researched early childhood contexts and vulnerable communities in Chile and Australia. Dr Jacqueline D’warte researches language teaching and learning in diverse multilingual, multicultural schools. Associate Professor Susanne Gannon has investigated aspirations for higher education and teacher trajectories into the profession. Associate Professor Susanne Gannon has investigated aspirations for higher education and teacher trajectories into the profession and gender issues in education. Associate Professor Loshini Naidoo researches and teaches in the area of social justice education which includes refugee education, equity and access for students from low SES backgrounds and cultural, racial and ethnic diversity in education. Dr Rachael Jacobs has been working with the Sydney Theatre Company on a research project assessing the suitability of Drama to improve the language and literacy skills of newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers. The project operates at nine sites in Western Sydney, specialising in adult learning environments.   Dr Criss Jones Díaz's teaching, research and publications are in areas of diversity and difference, bi/multilingualism, early literacies and languages learning in childhood. Her work is informed by poststructural, critical and cultural studies focussing on languages, literacies and identity negotiation in contexts of social justice, diversity and difference.

Program members draw on an asset-based frame of reference which recognises diverse social, cultural and linguistic knowledges that students and communities bring to educational settings. We foreground education for democracy, social inclusion and flourishing in early years through to post-secondary education.

The research questions to which our work responds to are:

  1. How can educational settings better understand and respond to educational under-achievement?
  2. How can pre-service and in-service teacher education develop skills for pedagogies of reconnection?
  3. What new research methodologies offer fresh insights into the problem of underachievement and disengagement of young people and their families?
  4. What kinds of pedagogies and polices will productively engage with the linguistic, cultural and knowledge repertoires of students for educational success?
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