Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

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KEY WORDS: Canada Natives; Case Studies; Culturally Relevant Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Equal Education; Inclusive Schools; Indigenous Populations; Minority Groups; Parent Participation; Public Education; Racial Discrimination; Diversity.

Burns, G. E. (2001). Toward a redefinition of formal and informal learning: Education ahnd the Aboriginal people. NALL Working Paper No. 28. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

The Western paradigm of education regards schools as the essential institutionalized cultural settings in which formal learning can take place and as the only socially valid settings in which learners can get a formal education. Knowledge is commodified and may be exchanged for currency in the form of jobs or licenses. Learning that occurs outside this institutionalized educational system is judged by the dominant culture to be invalid for certification or professional recognition, is labeled informal, and is associated with the unschooled. This dichotomization of education into formal and informal learning serves to maintain unequal relations of power in education as well as the control, marginalization, and exploitation of minority groups in society. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Canada Natives had their own highly successful systems of education. The Elders are the most knowledgeable people in Aboriginal societies, yet their learning has been through informal practices and is therefore unrecognized by the dominant culture. Aboriginal people want their children to learn everything that formal education has to offer, as well as their own culture and ways of doing things. The work of Elders must be incorporated into the practices of the formal educational system so that it contributes to the acquisition of credit in formal courses. Obstacles to Elders' participation in formal education must be identified and overcome. (Contains 19 references.) (TD)
KEY WORDS: Acculturation; Canada Natives; Cultural Differences; Culturally Relevant Education; Educational Attitudes; Educational Needs; Equal Education; Nonformal Education; Self Determination; Social Bias; Eurocentrism; Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

Butler, E., & Ferrier, F. (2006). Asking difficult (feminist) questions: The case of 'disappearing' women and policy problematics in Australian VET. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 58(4), 577-601.

Since the establishment of Australia's first national vocational education and training (VET) system, policy that centres women has diminished, to a present-day national scenario in where "woman" is all but unspeakable in national VET policy forums. This article provides a contextualisation and partial tracking of this erasure, before juxtaposing the present problematic positioning of women with findings from research conducted over the last two to three years. It confirms that a process of re-traditionalisation in gender roles is being enacted through enmeshing policy shifts, supported by the complicity of contemporary education policies and practice. Given the location of VET at the nexus of work, welfare and education policies, there is an ongoing need to advocate for gender-sensitive policy initiatives with the potential to cross sectoral and institutional boundaries of education and training, industrial relations, labour force and welfare portfolios. Moreover, it is time to think hard about how to speak "woman" and so do gender equity policy work in VET that centres "women".
KEY WORDS: Equity; Gender Roles; Government Policies; Neoliberalism; Skill Training; Vocational Education; Women.

Castells, M. (Ed.). (1999). Critical education in the new information age. Lanham: Rowan & Littlefield.

This book in the Critical Perspectives Series (Macedo, general editor), a series dedicated to Freire, focuses on new developments in education capable of promoting social/political change. Leading educators critically address crucial issues in light of communications technologies, the information society, globalization, multiculturalism, ecology, feminism, the media, & individual liberty. Contributors are committed to a pedagogy of social justice in their search for new ideas to inform the practice of education & contribute to a more humane civil society. It is maintained that postmodern capitalism is facing a structural crisis that is mirrored in new educational inequalities exacerbated by new networks & identities that are products of the information society. Themes of postmodernism, commodity fetishism, politicized pedagogies, & the crippling impact of globalization on democracy are threaded through the essays. It is argued that the crisis in capitalism reflects a radical rupture with the past induced by globalization. Current discourses of postmodernism are examined in light of insights that emerge from the dialectical relationship between modernism & postmodernism.
KEY WORDS: Critical Pedagogy; United States; Popular Education; Social Aspects; Work and Learning.

Church, K., Fontan, J.-M., Ng, R., & Shragge, E. (2000). Social learning among people who are excluded from the labour market - Part one: Context and case studies. NALL Working Paper No. 11. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

This working paper lays groundwork for a Network for New Approaches to Lifelong Learning study on informal learning by people displaced from the labor market or chronically unemployed, in the context of community organizations. Section 1 examines the context and two particularly significant features--wider changes in the nature of work and related changes in the welfare state--that arise from structural changes caused by globalization of the economy. Section 2 describes three community organizations working with people excluded from the mainstream labor market that are attempting to create new forms and traditions of labor under considerable pressure to place people in the mainstream labor market. (The Homeworkers' Association is an example of how a labor union responded to work restructuring by departing from traditional tactics of collective bargaining and strike action in favor of creative alliances and innovative strategies for working with displaced workers. Chic Resto-Pop illustrates the complex interaction among business development, job training, political advocacy, and linkages to the wider culture of the community movement. A-Way Express Couriers demonstrates similar connections from within a framework of self help and with a goal of not integration but building an alternative labor market that redefines, accommodates, and organizes the capacities of a heavily stigmatized community.) Section 3 provides comments on directions the research is pursuing into informal learning. (Contains 52-item bibliography.) (YLB)
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Case Studies; Community Education; Community Organizations; Dislocated Workers; Employer Employee Relationship; Foreign Countries; Global Approach; Informal Education; Job Placement; Job Training; Labor Force Development; Self Help Programs; Unemployment; Unions.

Cohen, M. G. (Ed.). (2003). Training the excluded for work: Access and equity for women, immigrants, first nations, youth, and people with low income. Vancouver: UBC Press.

In recent years, job training programs have suffered severe funding cuts, and their focus has shifted to meet the directives of funders rather than the needs of the community. How do these changes to job training affect disadvantaged workers and the unemployed?

The chapters in this book show that, in the ongoing shift toward a neo-liberal economic model, government policies have engendered a growing reliance on private and market-based training schemes, and that these new training policies have undermined equity. Good training programs, the various authors argue, are essential in providing those who are chronically disadvantaged in the workplace with tools to acquire more secure, better-paying jobs. To that end, the authors examine various kinds of training programs needed to redress social inequities in the workplace, and recommend specific policy initiatives to improve access to them.

KEY WORDS: Excluded; Disabled; Disabilities; Disadvantaged; Labour Market; Unemployed; Unemployment; Government Programs; Skills.

Colley, H., James, D., Tedder, M., & Diment, K. (2003). Learning as becoming in vocational education and training: Class, gender and the role of vocational habitus. Journal of Vocational Education & Training,, 55(4), 471.

Official accounts of learning in vocational education and training emphasise the acquisition of technical skills and knowledge to foster behavioural competence in the workplace. However, such accounts fail to acknowledge the relationship between learning and identity. Drawing on detailed case studies of three vocational courses--in childcare, healthcare and engineering--in English further education colleges, within the project Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education, it is argued that learning is a process of becoming. Learning cultures and the vocational cultures in which they are steeped transform those who enter them. The authors develop the concept of "vocational habitus" to explain a central aspect of students' experience, as they have to orient to a particular set of dispositions--both idealised and realised. Predispositions related to gender, family background and specific locations within the working class are necessary, but not sufficient for effective learning. Vocational habitus reinforces and develops these in line with demands of the workplace, although it may reproduce social inequalities at the same time. Vocational habitus involves developing not only a "sense" of how to be, but also "sensibility": requisite feelings and morals, and the capacity for emotional labour.
KEY WORDS: Childcare; Emotional Labour; Engineering; Gender; Habitus; Healthcare; Identity; Learning Cultures; Training; Vocational Education.

Davis, J. M., & Watson, N. (2001). Where are the children's experiences? Analysing social and cultural exclusion in 'special' and 'mainstream' schools. Disability & Society, 16(5), 671-687.

In this article, we employ ethnographic data to show that disabled children encounter discriminatory notions of "normality" & "difference" in both "special" & "mainstream" schools, & that these experiences relate to the structural forces in schools & the everyday individual & cultural practices of adults & children. In contrast to much of the literature in the field, this article examines the daily life experiences of adults & disabled children from their own perspective. We bring to light disabled children's own criticisms of "special" & "mainstream" schools to illustrate the fluid nature of disabled children's lives within educational settings. We argue that schools will be prevented from becoming fully inclusive until adults who control schools recognize children's views of specific educational processes & until educational policymakers take on a more nuanced multilevel approach to inclusion.
KEY WORDS: Handicapped; Children; Discrimination; Mainstreaming; Educational Inequality; Educational Policy; Adults; Policy Making; Learning Disabilities.

Dei, G. J. S. (2002). Rethinking the role of indigenous knowledges in the academy. NALL Working Paper No. 58. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

This paper is an invitation to critically engage in the discussion of ‘Indigenous knowledges’ and the implication for academic decolonization. Among the issues raised are questions of the definition and operationalization of Indigenous knowledges and the challenges of pursuing such knowledge in the Western academy. The paper draws attention to some of the nuances, contradictions and contestations in affirming the place of Indigenous knowledges in the academy. It is pointed out that Indigenous knowledges do not ‘sit in pristine fashion' outside of the effects of other knowledges. In particular, the paper brings new and complex readings to the term ‘Indigenous’ maintaining that different bodies of knowledge continually influence each other to show the dynamism of all knowledge systems. It is argued that when located in the Euro-American educational contexts, ‘Indigenous knowledges’ can be fundamentally an experientially-based, non-universal, holistic and relational knowledge of ‘resistance’. In the discussion, the paper interrogates the notions of tradition, authenticity, orality and the assertion of indigenous identity as crucial to the educational and political project of affirming Indigenous knowledges (Author's abstract).
KEY WORDS: Cultural Influences; Ethnicity; Higher Education; Indigenous knowledges; Indigenous Populations; Knowledge Level; Minority Groups; Oral Language.

Dei, G. J. S. (2002). Spiritual knowing and transformative learning. NALL Working Paper No. 59. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

This paper discusses the place of spirituality and spiritual learning in the promotion of transformative education. In highlighting the importance of taking spirituality seriously in the politics and ontology of educational transformation, I locate my discursive framework in the discussion in the challenges of critical teaching to a diverse school audience. I bring an anticolonial reading to what it means to engage spirituality in the political project of transformative learning. My understanding of transformative learning is that education should be able to resist oppression and domination by strengthening the individual self and the collective souls to deal with the continued reproduction of colonial and re-colonial relations in the academy. It must also assist the learner to deal with pervasive effects of imperial structures of the academy on the processes of knowledge production and validation; the understanding of indigenity; and the pursuit of agency, resistance and politics for educational change. The paper grounds the discussion in issues of African education and what it means to critically teach so that education serves the spiritual development and/or unfolding of the learner and her or his community (Author's abstract).
KEY WORDS: Adult Learning; African Culture; Colonialism; Critical Pedagogy; Cultural Context; Culturally Relevant Education; Educational Environment; Educational Objectives; Indigenous Knowledge; Indigenous Populations; Learning Processes; Learning Theories; Political Attitudes; Political Socialization; Spirituality; Theory Practice Relationship; Transformative Learning

Diekman, A. B., & Murnen, S. K. (2004). Learning to be little women and little men: The inequitable gender equality of nonsexist children's literature. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 50(5-6), 373-385.

The change in gender roles has been predominantly asymmetric: the roles of women have changed more than the roles of men. To investigate the reflection of such asymmetry in the popular culture, we examined how books recommended to teachers & parents as "nonsexist" differed from books categorized as "sexist." Multiple participants read a sample of elementary-level novels & rated the portrayals of various forms of sexism, including stereotypic personality, segregated work & family roles, status inequality, gender segregation, the traditional idealization of femininity, & unequal representation of the sexes. Although nonsexist books were more likely than sexist books to represent female characters who adopted male-stereotypic characteristics & roles, both types of books similarly portrayed female-stereotypic personality, domestic chores, & leisure activities. Such representations may contribute to the perpetuation of gender inequality, particularly if they are held up as examples of equality.
KEY WORDS: Literature; Children; Sex Stereotypes; Socialization Agents; Sexism.

Downey, D. B., Broh, B. A., & von Hippel, P. T. (2004). Are schools the great equalizer? Cognitive inequality during the summer months and the school year. American Sociological Review, 69(5), 613-635.

This paper examines how schooling affects inequality in cognitive skills? Reproductionist theory has argued that schooling plays an important role in reproducing & even exacerbating existing disparities. However, seasonal comparison research has shown that gaps in reading & math skills grow primarily during summer vacation, suggesting that non-school factors (eg, family & neighborhood) are the main source of inequality. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Cohort of 1998-99, this paper improves upon past seasonal estimates of school & non-school effects on cognitive skill gains. Like previous research, this study considers how socioeconomic & racial/ethnic gaps in skills change when school is in session vs when it is not. This study reaches beyond past research by examining the considerable inequality in learning that is not associated with socioeconomic status & race. This "unexplained" disparity is more than 90% of the total inequality in learning rates and is much smaller during school than during summer. The results from the analysis suggest that schools serve as important equalizers: nearly every gap grows faster during summer than during school.
KEY WORDS: Schools; Cognitive Development; Socioeconomic Status; Skills; Seasonal Variations; Educational Inequality; Black White Differences.

Dunn, N. A. W., & Baker, S. B. (2002). Readiness to serve students with disabilities: A survey of elementary school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 5(4), 277-284.

Surveys the actual and perceived role elementary school counselors in North Carolina have in working with students with disabilities. Data reveals that many school counselors acquired some formal education about students with disabilities prior to entering the profession, yet many have found the demands for them to possess expertise in this domain have exceeded their perceived level of knowledge.
KEY WORDS: Counselor Attitudes; Counselor Role; Counselor Training; Disabilities; Elementary Education; School Counseling; School Counselors; Special Needs Students; Surveys.

England, P. (2005). Gender inequality in labor markets: The role of motherhood and segregation. Social Politics, 12(2), 264-288.

This paper provides an overview of gender inequality in labor markets in the United States. The author explores trends in labor force participation, occupational segregation, & the pay gap. Research suggests that the sex gap in pay in the United States has two major sources: the segregation of jobs & the effects of women's responsibility for childrearing. The author proposes that, at least in the United States, these two are largely unrelated and that the causes of segregation do not seem to be largely about women's mothering responsibilities and that the penalties for motherhood do not appear to flow largely through segregation. According to the paper, this thesis is at odds with much thinking among economists, who have seen segregation as a rational response by employers and employees to gender differences. In the dominant economic view, women choose more "mother-friendly" jobs, which maximize their earnings conditional on intermittent and flexible employment but tradeoff on-the-job training, higher earnings, and steeper wage trajectories to do so.
KEY WORDS: Labour Market; On-The-Job Training; Training Programs; Sexual Inequality; Labour Force Participation; Occupational Segregation; Income Inequality; Family Work Relationship.

Faulkner, W., & Lie, M. (2007). Gender in the information society: Strategies of inclusion. Gender, Technology & Development, 11(2), 157-177.

This article reports from a European study on efforts to close a gendered digital divide through inclusion. The authors argue that inclusion is not just a mirror image of exclusion, and that to achieve inclusion, it is not sufficient to curb exclusion mechanisms but to enhance positive measures of inclusion. A variety of inclusion strategies have been studied, the authors concluding that `one size does not fit all'. Therefore, to reach a wide audience, a combination of many different strategies is needed. More women users are not sufficient to increase women's influence on ICT development, however. Particular measures are needed to recruit more women into the ICT profession and to curb marginalization within the profession.
KEY WORDS: Digital Divide; Women; Training; Girls; Inclusion; Information And Communication Technologies; Nonformal Education; Skills Training; Technology Access; Training Programs; Vocational Education.

Fenwick, T. (2004). What happens to the girls? Gender, work and learning in Canada's 'new economy'. Gender and Education, 16(2), 169-185.

Policies hailing lifelong learning in the so-called New Economy promote equitable knowledge work & work-related learning opportunities for all. Gender is hardly mentioned in these discourses; some might assume gender is 'resolved' in a new economy emphasizing entrepreneurism, technology, knowledge creation, & continuous learning. However, a closer look reveals that gendered inequity persists both in access to & experience of these learning opportunities. Indeed, familiar issues of women, work, & learning are exacerbated in the changing contexts & designs of work comprising the so-called New Economy. This is argued in the frame of Canada's most recent policies on work & learning, drawing from contemporary Canadian studies & statistics to underline the point. Current provisions for girls' & women's vocational education in Canada are assessed in light of these issues, focusing on particular learning needs of girls & gendered issues they face in entering the labor market of the New Economy. To move beyond a critical analysis & outline a possible way forward, four directions for change are suggested: more gender-sensitive career education for girls; sponsored vocational education for women; management education in gendered issues arising in the changing economy; & critical vocational education in both schools & workplaces.
KEY WORDS: Canada; Women's Education; Vocational Education; Education Work Relationship; Educational Policy; Educational Opportunities; Economic Change; Labor Market.

Ganding, L. A., & Apple, M. (2002). Can education challenge neoliberalism? The citizen school and the struggle for democracy in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Social Justice, 29(4), 26-40.

Examines how negotiating local control of schooling can be an effective force of resistance against the market-economy paradigm of education, describing the policies of the popular administration in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Focuses on the Citizen School, "which provides quality education to impoverished people." Also examines proposals that are explicitly designed to radically change both the municipal schools and the relationship between communities, the state, and education.
KEY WORDS: Citizenship Education; Democracy; Educational Change; Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; Foreign Countries; Governance; Politics of Education; Poverty; Social Change; Work and Learning.

Gibson-Graham, J. K., Resnick, S., & Wolff, R. D. (2001). Toward a poststructuralist political economy. In J. K. Gibson-Graham, S. Resnick & R. D. Wolff (Eds.), Re/presenting class (pp. 1-22). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

This book is a collection of essays that develops a poststructuralist Marxian conception of class in order to theorize the complex contemporary economic terrain. Both building upon and reconsidering a tradition that Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff—two of this volume's editors—began in the late 1980s with their groundbreaking work Knowledge and Class, contributors aim to correct previous research that has largely failed to place class as a central theme in economic analysis. Suggesting the possibility of a new politics of the economy, the collection as a whole focuses on the diversity and contingency of economic relations and processes. Investigating a wide range of cases, the essays illuminate, for instance, the organizational and cultural means by which unmeasured surpluses-labor that occurs outside the formal workplace, such as domestic work-are distributed and put to use. Editors Resnick and Wolff, along with J. K. Gibson-Graham, bring theoretical essays together with those that apply their vision to topics ranging from the Iranian Revolution to sharecropping in the Mississippi Delta to the struggle over the ownership of teaching materials at a liberal arts college. Rather than understanding class as an element of an overarching capitalist social structure, the contributors-from radical and cultural economists to social scientists-define class in terms of diverse and ongoing processes of producing, appropriating, and distributing surplus labor and view class identities as multiple, changing, and interacting with other aspects of identity in contingent and unpredictable ways.

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