Productive Pedagogies: narrowing the gap between schools and communities? (FORUM 3)

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Format: Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

DAVID LEAT, ULRIKE THOMAS

There is little sign that current attempts to close the ‘attainment gap’ are working. This article argues for a different approach to addressing the ‘gap’, based on a community asset approach. The authors describe ongoing work on community curriculum making in North-East England, in which schools undertake projects using community resources. The approach argues that young people should ‘connect’ with the world beyond the school fence: go places, meet people and do and make things. Many of the projects, despite successes, have been more problematic than expected, reflected in many logistical, communication and cultural challenges as well as the fact that teachers in the United Kingdom, and particularly in England, are no longer significant agents of curriculum development. These projects are analysed in terms of ‘boundary crossing’ in which all parties, including students, have to adapt and engage in ‘horizontal learning’ as they move between communities. The article discusses the critical importance of brokerage both within the school and the community partner, which permits translation and transformation of respective practices.

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