• Media literacy, curriculum and the rights of the child

      Cannon, Michelle; Connolly, Steve M.; Parry, Rebecca (Routledge, 2020-10-09)
      Engaging with digital media is part of everyday living for the majority of children, yet opportunities to learn about, through and with media are denied many pupils in compulsory schooling. Whilst Media Studies in the UK is internationally reputed to be well established, changes made to the primary and secondary national curriculum in 2014 included removal of existing media study elements. We demonstrate what is lost by these actions in relation to the United Nations Rights of the Child and, in particular, the right of the child to express identity. We demonstrate how media literacy had previously been included in curriculum, enabling opportunities to address children’s rights, and propose that the absence of media education is part of an overall trend of the non-prioritisation of children’s rights in England and Northern Ireland. The paper calls for media literacy to be reintroduced into primary and secondary curriculum
    • Subject English as citizenship education

      Belas, Oliver; Hopkins, Neil; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2019-01-04)
      This article is equal parts educational history and political philosophy. We aim to remind readers that subject English (SE) and indeed state education emerge from the contradictory impulses of classical liberalism, and that, more than simply resembling citizenship education, SE emerges in the first instance as a form of highly normativising citizenship education. We further argue that, following England's recent educational reforms initiated by former Education Secretary Michael Gove, SE continues to be framed in moral terms consistent with citizenship education—again, of a highly normativising sort. England's current educational policy generally, and specifically the framing of SE, employs the language of liberal possibility, while ultimately espousing an invidious exclusionary and assimilationist politics. The framing of SE, moreover, is one that misrepresents the supposedly ‘rich and varied literary heritage’ it is supposed to exemplify and promote. The current political landscape in which the study of literature takes place is one where a crisis of liberalism is manifest (in terms of populism, radicalisation or apathy). However, we do not believe the answer is to retreat into a sealed, hermetic canon that excludes the reality that England and English literature are fundamentally multicultural and polyethnic. SE will be the poorer for not fully acknowledging and embodying this, for not enabling students to imaginatively and critically engage with characters and experiences that reflect both the present and long‐standing diversity of English society, as well as its present and long‐standing inequalities.
    • Transitions to motherhood: young women’s desire for respectability, responsibility and moral worth

      Calver, Kay; (Taylor & Francis, 2019-08-17)
      In the UK, teenage motherhood is depicted in the media and government policy as highly negative and problematic. Pregnant and mothering young women are constructed as socially excluded members of society who belong to an assumed underclass who lack responsibility and respectability. This article draws on the views and perspectives of pregnant and mothering young women in the east of England to examine how positive and successful subjects are defined and understood. It is illustrated how this group of working class young women negotiated and resisted their positioning as 'unfit' mothers and 'bad' citizens. Central to their narratives was a desire to reassert themselves as respectable and responsible individuals through engaging in education and employment in order to achieve financial independence. It is argued that this notion of respectability provides a limited and limiting understanding of inclusion and moral worth for working class young women.
    • Young black males: resilience and the use of capital to transform school ‘failure’

      Wright, Cecile; Maylor, Uvanney; Becker, Sophie (Routledge, 2016-01-06)
      This article addresses the idea of ‘failure’ of young black males with respect to schooling. Perceptions of black masculinity are often linked to ‘underperformance’ in the context of school academic achievement. This article addresses how young black men, by great personal effort, recover from school ‘failure’. It explores how young black men, despite negative school experiences, see possibilities for their future and how they seek to transform school ‘failure’ into personal and educational ‘success’. Low attainment combined with permanent/temporary exclusion from school does not necessarily deter young black men from pursuing their education. This low attainment is used by some to make a renewed attempt at educational progression in a different post-school learning environment. Yosso’s concept of ‘community cultural wealth’ provides an understanding of how different forms of capital are accessed by young black men to form a ‘turnaround narrative’. This article considers the complex ways in which young black males work to transform their negative school experience. Their narratives reveal a determination to succeed and the ways in which cultivation of this determination by the family, organisational/community agents promotes a sense of possibility. However, it remains to be seen how, in the UK, the cuts to vital local services and support will impact on this sense of possibility.