How education policies and practices reflect changing social contexts


Education for a more socially fair and just society remains a professional duty and comprises of identification and challenging of the economic, social, cultural, and education policies and practices, which impact on the safety of students. Educators focus on social and economic disparities in the general public, and unfavorably mirror the role educational organizations play in reproducing them. Considering the way these institutions are capable of addressing disparities in our society remains the primary step in tackling them. All educators are responsible for active agents of changing to uphold more publicly fair and just consequences for students. Education policy remains high on the program of administrations globally. Worldwide pressures center on growing attention on the results of education policy as well as on their insinuations for commercial opulence and social residency. The knowledge of every learner is thus definitively formed by the broader policy setting. Nevertheless, there is frequently an unfledged understanding of the way education policy is shaped, what motivates it and the way it affects schools and higher learning institutions (Shor, 2012).

This paper focuses on finding the ways in which education policies and practices reflect changing social contexts. To support this, the paper draws examples from two major social changes that are reflected in Australian educational policy shifts.

Background Information

Education Policy: Themes, Course, and Influences is divided into three divisions and explains and connects three major features of policy: (1) Policy and Education emphasizes on the growth of policy at the height of the individual institution and nation-state. (2) Educational Policy Themes elaborates on the forces, which form policy with a given stress on the subjects of the human capital model, nationality and social accountability and justice. (3) The Educational Policy Influence demonstrates the way policy grows in practice via research-based case studies that base on the policy application in a series of circumstances from the school-based policies’ development in multi-ethnic societies to the implementation and formulation of tactical policy as well as planning in global settings (Daly, 2010).

Many people stick with the notion that education may perhaps be the force of transforming society and resolving social ills. However, others outline that school is capable of being reformed merely if society is as well reformed. It is stipulated that education is merely the societal image as well as reflection. It emulates and replicates the latter other than it fails to create it (Daly, 2010). Most common suggestions to improve education take on that our society is sound, but that for various reasons, our schools are weakening. Diverse critics target various villains: mediocre teachers, coddled, troublesome or ill-prepared learners, the beliefs of their families, administrators, unions, higher education institutions, tests, which are too easy, or insufficient curriculum. But society has the school system that it merits. Disapproving the poor education quality is like accusing a mirror of not liking your reflection. Under the settings, it is not astounding that our system of education is considered to reform children and leave many uninformed. To legitimize the mode in which our society is prepared, its educational institution teaches competitive conduct and social disparity as if they were vital regulation of nature. At the same time as with the economy, many are rewarded in educational institutions, others are disciplined, and both sets are trained that punishment and rewards are the consequence of their determinations (Moloney, Horne & Fien, 2010).

Ways in Which Educational Policies and Practices Reflect Changing Social Contexts

Education policies and practices replicate the shared opinion in the educational institutions that specific skills, knowledge, and qualities are required to turn out to be competent graduates. Therefore, this common perception is based on people’s understanding of external authorization requirements, expertise and experience as educators, individual research, and reading of pertinent educational and research literature (Darling-Hammond & Lieberman, 2013).

As said earlier, education for a more socially fair and just society remains a proficient responsibility and comprises of identification and challenge of the social, traditional, financial, and education practices and policies which impact on the welfare of learners. Educators base on the economic and social differences in the society, and analytically consider the role schools play in the replication. However, appraisal of the way these institutions are capable of addressing societal differences remains the primary step in tackling them. All teachers are responsible for active representatives of change in the promotion of more socially fair and just results for learners. Therefore, all education programs analyze the bases of educational and social disparity. They offer breaks for teachers to recognize and analyze instances of unjust and unfair practices which have their origin in historic differences concerning sexual orientation, racism, and ethnicity, faith, gender, incapacity, socio-economic and cultural position. By the provision of critical study and assessment tools to teach, they remain in a position of critiquing the taken-for-granted dissections in society and stand a substantial basis for more lenient, wide-ranging and just treatment of disadvantaged and victimized persons and groups (Thoonen et al., 2011).

Another pint is that education is established on a multidisciplinary database that comprises of content about curriculum, recognition of human learning and development, and a consideration of the relative matters that impact on teaching and learning. Effective teachers possess the wide-ranging understanding of the learning zones they teach. They as well have thorough information about their students’ learning capabilities, cognitive development, and emotional and social wellbeing. To balance this, effective instructors correspondingly understand the cultural, social, and philosophical impacts which impact on the setting of education. They are knowledgeable by their official studies, their skills, and their capability to read, understand, carry out and implement research pertinent to their field. Therefore, all education policies and practices help educationalists to obtain vital information across four interrelated areas (educational, curriculum, pedagogical, besides specialist studies. In these domains, teachers study the collection, analysis, and evaluation of learning with the use of evidence-based approaches. The practices reflect an obligation to offer a stable suite of developments which are research informed and form an indispensable knowledge-base for actual education in the society (Darling-Hammond & Lieberman, 2013).

Trends and Development in Society That Is Reflected In Educational Policy Shifts in Australia

Social besides political institutions establish the setting for the person and group behavior as well as are destined to offer the resources persons require to survive. The way people live and act are formed in huge part by the social organizations that they get themselves (Koleth, 2010). Social justice is, partly, an aspect of making sure that these institutions and structures do gratify basic human needs. However, in some instances, society’s social organizations are considered by political segregation, utilization, and unequal admission to resources (Galligan & Roberts, 2003). These structural impacts frequently build a system of victors and failures that people come to be trapped in a particular social situation. As a result, structural violence often ensues, in the type of power unfairness, poverty, as well as the renunciation of basic human needs. Fundamental human rights go unmet, and sets grieve from insufficient admittance to resources and marginalization from institutional decision-making forms (Koleth, 2010).Unfair structural powers and divisions as well add to discernment, lack of education, and insufficient work opportunities (Levey, 2008). An instance of this type of structural violence remains the impact of de-industrialization on working- and minority-class Communities Australia (Spinks, 2010). It is questionable that procedures in the system are capable of being efficient in handling the inequality and injustice, which arise outside system fault. For the reason that these processes are considered to care for the current institution, fights, which arise from unmet human rights may perhaps be controlled by the current system but are questionable to be determined. There will be long-drawn-out conflict till there are modifications made to these basic social organizations (Levey, 2008). And in numerous instances, in case social structural variations are not made; ultimately change (often for the worse) will take place via violence (Spinks, 2010).

Since the introduction of essential social structural variations is tremendously hard, these systemic and structural challenges are often a primary reason for prolonged, intractable conflicts. Any group of institutions besides social associations, which refute identity, social gratitude, independence, or prerequisites for human progress, forms a setting of conflict. Structural conflict remains probably to result in every time decorated social associations do not satisfy basic human needs or protect significant human interests. Society, which seeks to meet the societal needs, contend with serious social challenges and evade violent clash have to tackle these issues (Lopez, 2000).

Giving Multiculturalism and Assimilation policies in Australia as an example, multiculturalism was a policy that was formulated to react to the growing ethnocultural range of Australian society. This was due to mass immigration following Second World War, and the desertion of racially constrained 1960s immigration policies, in a mode that overwhelmed the restrictions of prior methods of integration and assimilation (Koleth, 2010). From the time of the formation of Australia’s main Immigration Department in 1945, the administration policy emphasized migrant settlement and community discourse. Concerning the resulting ethnocultural variety of society has changed (fluctuating in significance from integration and assimilation to multiculturalism, as well as, in modern times, a coming back to integration and assimilation (Levey, 2008).

The 1940s and -50s assimilation policies needed immigrants to study English, assume Australian cultural practices as well as turn out to be indistinguishable from the native Australian populace as fast as possible. Through the late 1960s, administration policy had progressed to an integration policy, replicating a greater cognizance of the problems impacted by new immigrants and a receipt of the likelihood that immigrants could assimilate effectively in Australian society without losing their national identities entirely. The reverberation of progress in other immigrant states, there was a rising receipt of wider expressions of ‘multiculturalism’ or cultural diversity in Australian society (Levey, 2008).

From its initiation, multiculturalism has been a disputed concept and policy, in Australia and abroad, with critics often criticizing it as a troublesome policy as well as an idea, which was purportedly missing in precision and substance (Galligan & Roberts, 2003). The government along with other services reputable under multicultural rules has been integral in the facilitation of the settlement of migrants, and numerous aspects of the service structure have tolerated notwithstanding the hullabaloo about the concept. Previously in Australia, the multiculturalism concept has been under criticism in government and public grounds. Discussion on the advantages of assimilation and integration has recurred (Levey, 2008).

Public address on the multiculturalism policy and concept and ethnocultural diversity more general has significantly changed in line with the precise political and historical basis of the Australia. In the Australian settler societies, multiculturalism public discourse is arbitrated by the particular settlement pasts. A critical aspect of racial and cultural relationships in Australia is the past treatment of Native populates and their modern place and well-being in these cultures. As recognized in the Australian setting, debates on multiculturalism have to incorporate Native Australians essentially and take account of commitment with matters of reconciliation. As indicated earlier, efforts to bring Native issues in the multiculturalism rubric in a policy setting have remained contentious (Koleth, 2010). Some educational critics restraint that to conflate matters that face Native Australians with that which face migrant contextual in this way does not appreciate the roots and source of Australian multicultural policy and fails to recognize the independent thought because of Indigenous populates as the main populates of the land (Levey, 2008).


Koleth, E. (2010). Multiculturalism: a review of Australian policy statements and recent debates in Australia and overseas. Canberra, ACT: Department of Parliamentary Services.

Levey, G. B. (2008). Multiculturalism and Australian national identity. Political theory and Australian multiculturalism, 254-276.

Spinks, H. (2010). Australia’s Migration Program. Australia: Parliamentary Library.

Lopez, M. (2000). The origins of multiculturalism in Australian politics 1945-1975. Melbourne: Melbourne University.

Shor, I. (2012). Empowering education: Critical teaching for social change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Daly, A. J. (Ed.). (2010). Social network theory and educational change (Vol. 8). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Moloney, S., Horne, R. E., & Fien, J. (2010). Transitioning to low carbon communities—from behaviour change to systemic change: Lessons from Australia. Energy Policy, 38(12), 7614-7623.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Lieberman, A. (Eds.). (2013). Teacher education around the world: Changing policies and practices. London: Routledge.

Thoonen, E. E., Sleegers, P. J., Oort, F. J., Peetsma, T. T., & Geijsel, F. P. (2011). How to improve teaching practices the role of teacher motivation, organizational factors, and leadership practices. Educational Administration Quarterly, 47(3), 496-536.

Galligan, B., & Roberts, W. (2003, September). Australian multiculturalism: Its rise and demise. In Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, Hobart (Vol. 29).

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