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Fair Go Lecture Series
The Fair Go research program has operated in the School of Education at Western Sydney University since 2000. The program is focused on pedagogy and engagement in low-SES schools through working with teachers on collaborative action research into their own practice.
The principles/contexts of:
- pedagogy and engagement
- low-SES school communities
- practitioner action research
are fundamental to all of the individual research projects in which the overall Fair Go program has been involved. We believe that the profession is enriched when teachers see themselves as generating, as well as delivering, knowledge as researchers, and to this end, we see the taking on of a ‘researchly disposition’ (Lingard & Renshaw, 2010 ) by teachers as fundamental to the work of the program.
Many schools in Western Sydney and rural NSW have worked with the Fair Go program. Numerous professional and academic organisations in Australia and overseas have cited Fair Go as an exemplary student engagement initiative for low-SES schools, such as: Learning Difficulties Australia, Education Services Australia, Australian Council of TESOL Associations, Primary English Teaching Association Australia, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, and University of Toronto’s Centre for Leadership & Diversity. Fair Go has informed government policy around improving schooling outcomes - being used as an exemplar by, for example, the Commonwealth HEPPP, the Departments of Education in NSW and Victoria, and in the evaluation of the Bridges to Higher Education program. The NSW Department of Education described Fair Go as ‘informing the system, school leaders and other teachers about different ways to encourage and support teachers to improve their classroom practices and student engagement’, and subsequently used Fair Go in statewide professional development material. The NSWDE’s paper on ‘Research underpinning the reforms’ in reference to the Commonwealth/States National Partnership on ‘Low SES School Communities’ traced a series of Fair Go projects since 2002, referencing its model of engagement as showing ‘clear signs that (the relevant) changes to classroom teaching practices encouraged greater and extended interest in learning’. Fair Go was again featured in a cross-sectoral paper on the research base for the Low-SES National Partnership’s 2014 impact evaluation.
In 2020, the Fair Go research program marked its 20th anniversary and the School of Education had planned a series of events to mark this significant milestone. Due to Covid-19, all events were cancelled during 2020 and 2021.
In order to recognise the long-term place of the Fair Go research program in the work of the School of Education, the School is pleased to be running a Fair Go lecture series on the theme of educational equity.
On Thursday 31 March 2022 the first lecture event was given by Dorothy Hoddinott AO. Dorothy is Presiding Pro-Chancellor at Sydney University, where she is an Honorary Fellow. She holds Honorary Doctorates from both Sydney University and Western Sydney University. She holds the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal. She also holdsthe Western Sydney Leadership Award for services to education and refugees and the Australian College of Educators Medal for service to school education, particularly to disadvantaged students. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational leadership. For the whole of her teaching career, Dorothy worked tirelessly both within and outside schools to support newly arrived immigrant students. As Principal of Holroyd High School in Western Sydney, she led her school in addressing the needs of an expanding enrolment of refugee students who had experienced trauma, terror, displacement and detention. Her conspicuous and continued involvement in the education of immigrant and refugee students has significantly enlarged school and post-school educational opportunities for those students.
A copy of Dorothy's address can be found here