The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

“All our hands would tell about the communityâ€: Re-imagining (im)possible teacher/student subjectivities in the early years of primary school.

Clare Britt, Sophie Rudolph


In Australia, as in many countries across the world, our educational landscape is being shaped by an ever-increasing focus on the “globalised educational policy discourse” (Lingard, 2010) of standardised, ‘high-stakes’ testing, and the subsequent quantitative measuring and ranking of children, classes, schools, districts, states, and countries. Through this paper, we explore our research conducted with children, teachers and parents at a culturally, linguistically, and socio-economically diverse public school community. The paper draws on the voices of teachers, parents, and children who were co-researchers in Clare’s case study research at the school (using emergent, arts-informed methods (Clark & Moss, 2001; Cole & Knowles, 2008; Somerville, 2008)), and Sophie’s teaching and teacher-research experiences (using pedagogical documentation (Rinaldi, 2006)). We will explore the children’s perspectives on how they were developing individual and collective subjectivities, how they conceived of difference and connection, and the ways they worked with difference to create a community of belonging in this highly diverse context. We will also analyse the ways in which the teachers and school community sought to actively challenge hegemonic constructions of the ‘successful’ student subject through discourses of trust, difference and connectedness. Shaped by a theoretical framework of connections between theories of hope (McInerney, 2004; Singh & Han, 2007; Sumsion, 2007; Zournazi, 2002), feminist poststructuralism (Davies, 2004; Neilsen, 1998; Richardson, 1997; St Pierre & Pillow, 2000) and the philosophies of Deleuze and Guattari (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987), this paper highlights the ways this school community may disrupt ‘normalised’ conceptualisations of pedagogical practices and contribute to the research literature that offers hope in opening up ways to re-imagine possible subjectivities for teachers and students. 


Subjectivities; Resistance; Critical Pedagogies; Neoliberalism; Reggio Emilia; Deleuze and Guattari; Discourses of Hope

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