Re-imagining Citizenship: Views from the classroom

Multilingual Matters
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Langauge Policies and (Dis) Citizenship Rights, Access, Pedagogies, 2013, 1, pp. 167 - 187
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In this chapter we explore the highly contested notions of citizenship and dis-citizenship through the experiences of teachers and learners in four very different classroom settings: a literacy and numeracy program for young people disengaged from learning, a vocationally oriented class for speakers of English as an additional language, a numeracy class for adults and a flexible learning centre for adult basic education (ABE) students. The settings bring learners from various intersecting communities within Australia. We take the classroom (in its broadest possible sense) as the point of departure to illustrate citizenship as something generative and collectively created in a shared space. We present a more critical interpretation and diHerent possibilities of citizenship than what is defined by dominant discourses and that which underpins the content of programs designed for people seeking to be accepted as Iworthy citizens'. We show the teacher;s role as pivotal in creating a collaborative space where the society's power relations are acknowledged, but where students' agency to achieve their own goals in and beyond their classrooms is affirmed and addressed. We argue that teachers can work with their learners to create these new spaces of belonging and being.
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