Education, Diversity and Inclusion

Education, Diversity and Inclusion

The DES ‘Education, Diversity & Inclusion’ research group comprises 11 Core Researchers representing and promoting the strengths and interests of over 23 DES staff (and a wider population of Macquarie University staff) who have, collectively, established a track record and profile in issues of diversity, inclusion or special needs in education. Our research specifically considers how teacher education; policies, programs and practices; curricula; and a range of other support features can be leveraged to enhance inclusion and celebrate diversity within different types of educational settings in Australia and internationally.

Education settings (early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education environments) cater to a wide range of groups and individuals. Historically, these education settings have had a strong emphasis on making diverse peoples conform to the limited and strict conditions of their service provisions which largely assumed that people accessing education fit damaging dominant ‘norm’-perpetuating expectations. This lead to educational exclusion for those unable or unwilling to change the core aspects of themselves problematized by education settings in ways reflecting broader social marginalisation. Exclusion can mean increased feelings of rejection, decreased educational achievement or decreased safety right through to increased drop-out rates and negative health and wellbeing outcomes.

International human rights legislation now promotes the right of all people to an equitable education. This is not simply the right to ‘attend’ school, but to be taught and included socially in a holistic manner that respects differences and supports everyone to learn and belong. Our research projects are informed by the core belief that groups and individuals should not be excluded from education service provisions on the basis of their family structures, disabilities, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural and language diversity or other differences. Instead, our work problematizes, and aims to ultimately create change in and holistically improve, the features of education settings themselves so that they can better cater to a wide range of diversity in an inclusive manner.

The DES ‘Education, Diversity & Inclusion’ research group addresses impactful issues of inclusion for diverse people in education settings – our work has directly impacted areas including (but not limited to) international human rights law, education and equity law, education policy and other social policy, teacher education and training, school curricula and programming, school structures, classrooms and educational communities. Education, Diversity & Inclusion issues collectively represent a current area of strength within the department as illustrated by our past and continuing presence on international (UN/ UNESCO/ foreign government) and local government advisory boards and consultancies; influence on policies and curricula; contributions to teacher education movements; presence on related journal editorial boards; extensive publications and many grants (including multiple ARCs, EU and British Council grants) in these areas.

Our specific focus stream areas cover inclusion for:

Child & Family Diversity (including single parents, grandparents, foster carers, same sex families, young parents, immigrants, refugees);

People with Diverse Cognitive, Learning, Social and Emotional Profiles (cognitive and learning, social and emotional, physical);

Gender & Sexuality Diversity (including LGBTI+ in educational settings and the education workforce);

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders &

Other Education, Diversity & Inclusion themes (e.g. teacher education, curriculum, identity, law, policy, technology).

Our researchers:

Dr Tiffany Jones (A/B/C/D/E): education issues in diversity and inclusion for LGBTI+ and other groups. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/tiffany-jones

Associate Professor Mark Carter (B/E): students with high support needs; autism spectrum disorders and evidence-based practice in special education. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/mark-carter

Dr Kathy Cologon (A/B/E): disabilities; families and teacher education on inclusion. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/kathy-cologon

Dr Fay Hadley (A/E): partnerships with families and family diversity. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/fay-hadley

Dr Iain Hay (A/C/E): inclusion in education around gender, LGBTI+ people and young parents. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/iain-hay

Associate Professor Neil Harrison (D/E): Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander education, trauma and learning from Country. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/neil-harrison

Dr Kevin Lowe (D/E): Aboriginal education, community engagement and Aboriginal languages. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/kevin-lowe

Professor Rauno Parrila (B/E): learning difficulties, cognitive and socio-cognitive compensation mechanisms, special and inclusive education. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/rauno-parrila

Professor Liz Pellicano (B/E): autism education, autistic perception and cognition and inclusive education. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/liz-pellicano

Professor Mary Ryan (C/D/E): pre-service teachers’ epistemic reflexivity to teach to diversity and supporting HDRs in diversity. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/mary-ryan

Professor Manjula Waniganayake (A/C/D/E): child & family diversity; ethnicity, sexuality, engagement with Indigenous educators and cross-cultural studies. https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/manjula-waniganayake

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