Strand A: 

Teaching and Learning in Democratic Classrooms

Strand B: 

Educational Policies & Reforms for Equity in Education


Michael W. Apple:




Throughout the world, neoliberal and neoconservative governments and movements are mandating reforms that are increasingly dominant. They are changing the very meaning of democracy from full participation to simply consumer choice on a market. They also are installing deeply problematic ideas about what counts as a "common culture." The results of these proposals have been an increase in inequalities and at times a class and racial structuring of the school itself. In the first part of my address, I critically examine what these effects are and argue that this requires that we work even harder for a more fully democratic school and a more fully democratic curriculum. I examine the underlying principles of critical democratic education and give examples of what it looks like in real schools and real communities. But I also raise cautions about some of the political and educational dangers and contradictions that may arise if we are not very careful and thoughtful in creating such schools.


David Rose:




‘How does power and control translate into principles of communication, and how do these principles of communication differentially regulate forms of consciousness with respect to their reproduction and possibilities of change?’ (Basil Bernstein 2000:4)


If we are serious about changing the structures of inequality that plague education systems the world over, then we need an analysis of its principles of communication that is powerful enough to make change possible. Genre pedagogy offers the kinds of tools needed for such an analysis. These tools enable us to analyse how pedagogic relations are enacted by teachers and learners, how pedagogic activities are structured, the roles of spoken, written, visual and manual modalities in them, and the structuring of knowledge and identities produced by them.


Such a comprehensive analysis is essential if we are to understand how structures of power and control at the level of society can be created, maintained and reproduced by the unremarkable, everyday practices of teachers and students at the level of classrooms in schools. More importantly, this explicit, detailed understanding is essential if we are to effectively redesign the everyday practices of teachers and students to democratise education outcomes. This paper will outline these analytic tools and the possibilities for redesigning pedagogies that they afford.




Ninetta Santoro:




Teaching and educating for social justice features strongly in how many teachers envision the purpose of their work. They mostly enter the profession for altruistic reasons and to make a positive difference to the material and social aspects of students' lives. However, often there are tensions between what teachers want to do and achieve and what it is they are able to do. Despite the best of teacher intentions, some groups of students are disadvantaged by, and within schooling systems that fail to address their needs and cannot provide them with education that is meaningful and effective.

In this paper I address such tensions and inconsistencies. I raise questions about what teaching for social justice means in practice and particularly, in relation to culturally and linguistically diverse students and the development of culturally responsive pedagogies. Despite their desire to teach for social justice, many teachers struggle to address the learning needs of students who are not from the dominant cultural mainstream.  Students of colour, immigrants and refugees are often marginalised by ineffective education practices and thus, denied access to the social and material resources that facilitate their full participation in society.

I draw on my own research as well as the work of key international scholars in the field to illustrate and highlight what I see as the barriers to teachers' effective engagement with issues of educational disadvantage and social injustice. I then argue the need for critical teacher education, that is, education that develops teachers' critical awareness about how relations of power and historical and socio-political discourses shape education and teaching practices. Importantly, a critical teacher education enables teachers to develop reflective and reflexive dispositions. Thus, it has the potential to make visible, those practices that sustain inequality and injustice within schooling systems.

Monica Axelsson:



Education for newly arrived students in Sweden is commonly organised in introductory classes, providing a basis for transition to the mainstream system. This presentation will focus on how newly arrived students experience the time in and transition between introductory and regular classes analysed from a social and pedagogical perspective.  In addition, the allocation of responsibility for newly arrived students’ education will be discussed.

Caroline Liberg:


Within a perspective of curriculum studies the questions of What?, Who?, How?, and Why? are fundamental. In this presentation I will focus on the question of What? and discuss the choices we can make as teachers concerning the content of teaching/learning. The discussion will be based on research about traditions and conceptualization of teaching/learning practices in the subject areas mother tongue education (Swedish in Sweden), social science, and science. These traditions will also be viewed in light of how the students are supposed to be positioned or even given opportunities to position themselves in the teaching/learning practices. Some reflections will also be made regarding demands on teaching/learning practices and type of content in the school subjects in relation to changes in society such as globalization and an increasingly multilingual society, the constantly evolving technology and rapidly changing media landscape, and last but not the least increasingly pronounced requirements concerning equity and the equal access to ways of pronouncing one’s own voice, and interacting with other people's voices.

Guadalupe Francia:



Globalization has challenged the legitimacy of welfare states. The Swedish Welfare state is one case in point because globalization has resulted in reforms based on free choice, increased individualism, and the retreat of the state and the acceptance of inequalities.

This contribution analyzes the implementation of EU educational policies for equity within the current Neo-Liberal political framework in Sweden.  Based on the analysis of political documents at EU- and national levels and statistics concerning students’ academic results, dropout and national and regional educational expenditures this contribution discusses constraints and possibilities for equity policies in Sweden

Philippe Vitale:


The purpose of this paper is to examine what appears to be a normative model in Basil Bernstein’s broader theory: the model of “pedagogic rights”, the opening “theme” of Bernstein’s last book (1996, 2000). Long before the publication of Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity, Bernstein developed a model of “pedagogic rights” in a piece written for a lecture delivered in Santiago de Chile in 1986 at a conference attended by other scholars (including Roger Frydman, Charles Taylor and Jacques Rancière) seeking to understand the conditions of democracy – an extremely sensitive issue addressed in a context of political transition: the end of the Pinochet regime. My paper suggests that by developing a model of “pedagogic rights”, Bernstein was able to articulate and “problematize” the social and political implications of his theory – which is precisely what the theory is designed to promote in the analysis of the relationship between education and society. More generally, this paper argues that Bernstein’s theory provides a basis for reflection on democracy, education, and the social ontology of sociology (i.e. social ontology understood as a foundational theory” of social phenomena – specifically, the relationships between the individual and the collective, social and symbolic control, and the possibility of social and historical change).

Sally Power:



In this presentation, I will reframe current developments in education through exploring shifts in the politics of education over time. Rather than looking at education policies in terms of their political provenance (left or right) or ideological underpinnings (the state or the market, the public or the private), the paper compares education policies in terms of the domains of social injustice which they address.

Based on Nancy Fraser’s theorisation of different kinds of social justice, I use on examples from England to show how the politics of education have sequentially attempted to address injustices in economic, cultural and political domains. This has resulted in a changing orientation from a politics of redistribution to a politics of recognition and, in recent years, to a politics of representation. This approach enables us to understand the complex relationship between, for example, privatisation and social justice. It also reveals the multi-faceted nature of educational inequalities and the fragility and incomplete nature of strategies to address them.