This book deals with one of the most urgent, damaging, and complex issues affecting young lives and contemporary society in general – the escalating high school dropout rate. Though against the wishes of teachers and school administrators, young people’s decision to leave school is usually made under circumstances that provide little time or space for discussion. This book provides a disturbing account of how students’ voices are over-ridden – lost in the imposition of curriculum and the rush to impose testing, accountability, and management regimes on schools. ‘Dropping Out’, Drifting Off, Being Excluded reveals the complex stories that surround identity formation in young lives and the «interactive trouble» as young people struggle to be heard within inhospitable schools and an equally unhelpful education system.
Becoming Somebody Without School
John Smyth and Robert Hattam
A Conversation with the Research of John Smyth
John Smyth, Barry Down, Peter McInerney and Robert Hattam
John Smyth’s remarkable body of writing, research and scholarship has spanned four decades, and the urgency of our times makes it imperative to look in some depth at the breadth of his research and its trajectory, in order to see how we can connect, extend, build and enrich our understandings from it. Possibly the single most unique aspect to Smyth’s version of critical research is his passion for living and ‘doing’ what it means to be a critical pedagogue. For him, ‘doing’ is a verb that gives expression to what he believes it means to be a critical scholar. This necessitates actively listening to lives; taking on an advocacy position with informant groups; displaying a commitment to praxis; and being activist in celebrating ‘local responses’ to global issues. Smyth’s research is pursued with vigour through the lives he researches, as he interrupts and punctures ‘bad’ theory, supplanting it with more democratic alternatives, which, by his own admission, makes his research (and all research), political.