University of Sunderland
Community and Youth Work Studies (BA Hons)
Education in Community and Youth Work
16th January 2012
Please use your understanding of critical educational theory to analyse a case study from community and youth work practice.
“Our aspiration is for a more socially mobile and just society, where young people can be the authors of their own life story.” (Tim Loughton MP, 2011)
In this essay I will explore my understanding of critical educational theory and how it relates to empowering young people to make informed choices about their own lives. I will look at ways Community and Youth work can enable young people to bring about social change and how change can impact on their lives. I will further explore social, cultural, symbolic and economic capital and how this impacts on young people from different social classes. I will look at how critical education theory affects the delivery of a youth work curriculum. I shall base my essay on the following case study. Case Study
Kingsmeadow Community Comprehensive School
Year 8 L4L Day (Learning for Life)
Kingsmeadow Community Comprehensive School in Gateshead is in the bottom two for attainment, with 44% students achieving five GCSE passes at grade A-C, and in the top two for SEN statements out of the eleven m mainstream comprehensive schools in the Borough, with 9% of students subject to SEN statements. Kingsmeadow School hold an annual Learning for life (L4L) day where professionals from many fields deliver sessions to a whole year group during the course of the day. One of the Year 8 sessions for L4L is the session I deliver, ‘Why you are politically important in Gateshead’. The broad aim of the school for this session is a potted local politics session and Gateshead Youth Assembly nominations. During the course of the day all five of the Year 8 classes attend this session. I have delivered this session to year 8 students during L4L for the past four years. Most students attending Kingsmeadow School come from relatively low social and economic backgrounds, the surrounding areas falling into the 10% most deprived areas in England according to the ward profile for the area (Gateshead Council 2008). The majority of students coming from households where benefits are claimed and the highest proportion in Gateshead of lone parent families. The group were described to me as low achievers by their commissioning Deputy Head and further confirmed by the accompanying teacher and staff during breaks. Voting habits in the ward covering Kingsmeadow School are the lowest in Gateshead according to the Gateshead Council website. During the course of the sessions most of the young people expressed that politics wasn’t for them, ‘it’s for posh, clever people’ and this was broadly agreed with by the class. Out of a whole year group of over 100 students only one believed himself to be involved in politics in any way. Part of the session looks at plans for the future, hopes and dreams, again, only one expressed a desire to go to university, the majority of the boys talked about joining the Army or ‘working on the buildings’ most of the girls talked about the stereotypical shop work, hairdressing and having children. My general impression of this group is of resignation, these young people expect little, they are not especially angry or concerned about this, it’s just how it is. Hegemony, a Marxist concept is the process by which one group exerts is dominance over the rest of the population. Antonio Gramsci, imprisoned in Italy for most of his adulthood for his Marxist views, further developed the concept of hegemony, from the initial dominance by force, to include and indeed hinge on the idea of consent. The masses accepting the status quo as normal. The young people of Kingsmeadow School show signs of accepting the dominant ideology on the United Kingdom...
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