Young People’s Narratives of Disadvantage, Class, Place and Identity
7. Re-framing what it means to be educated
← 126 | 127 → 7. Re-framing what it means to be educated
Elsewhere in our writing we have explored extensively and intensively why it is that so many young people in affluent western countries are giving up on school (see: Smyth, et al., 2000; Smyth & Hattam, 2004; Smyth & McInerney, 2007; 2012), and with such damaging and devastating consequences on young lives. If we strip it back to its essentials, the short answer to the mythical student behind Novinger and O’Brien’s question is because what passes as schooling for many of these young people is a curriculum and forms of pedagogy that are ‘irrelevant, fragmented [and] meaningless’ (Novinger & O’Brien, 2003, p. 3). Despite seemingly monumental efforts to reform schooling around the world, for a disproportionately large number of young people what is on offer in school collapses down to being no more than ‘boring, meaningless shit’ (p. 3).
In some respects in this book we have stepped sideways a little from the theme of our earlier work—the standardized, regulated, controlled, surveilled and contrived nature of contemporary schooling—to examine some topics that have a different inflection. What we have done is bring our socially critical lens to bear on a number of other protracted social attributes that present as significant additional impediments and obstacles to young people ‘becoming somebody’ (Wexler, 1992) as they engage in identity formation within the contexts of their schooling.
One of the things we have strenuously attempted to do in this book is to engage in what amounts to...
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