Class experiences: A lifelong educational journey to political consciousness

Institute for Education Policy Studies
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 2020, 18, (2), pp. 30-69
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
This paper features the first-hand ‘lived’ experiences of one current university researcher on how social class across his lifelong educational journey has impacted his political dispositions. Written in an autobiographical style, the paper examines four successive life phases, beginning with working-class life in East London in the 1950s, failure at the eleven-plus exam and experiences in a secondary modern school. Phase two examines the shift to middle-class educational milieu – attendance at a private school, a grammar school and then a teacher training college in the early 1970s. Phase three features the beginnings of class consciousness during secondary teaching in working-class schools in the UK and Australia, followed by post-graduate studies in radical education and teaching in prisons. The final phase features political dispositions in teaching and managing adult literacy programmes in Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and then university research. The article indicates how, for this researcher, early life working-class experiences are embodied in later life political dispositions and how this is atypical of the life world of most university academics. The paper argues for the centrality of social class in educational research as the key to understanding power in society and redressing educational inequalities and inequities.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: