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This paper reports on an Australian government-commissioned research study that documented classroom pedagogies in 24 Queensland schools. The research created the model of ‘productive pedagogies’, which conjoined what Nancy Fraser calls a politics of redistribution, recognition and representation. In this model pedagogies are differentiated to support the role of schooling as a positional good, a good in itself, and a good towards the betterment of the broader social world. In contrast with the model’s intentions, the pedagogies mapped in the study’s classrooms lacked differentiation; indeed, they reflected ‘pedagogies of indifference’ and were seen as producing and legitimising social inequalities. The paper theorises the redistributive, recognitive and representative justice possibilities of ‘productive pedagogies’ towards more equitable outcomes for marginalised students. The paper justifies its reprising of this research in light of the contemporary policy emphasis on teaching quality, the reductive impact on pedagogies of high-stakes testing, and the context of growing inequality which limits the potential effects of schools and teacher pedagogies.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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