Relational ways of being an educator: trauma-informed practice supporting disenfranchised young people
International Journal of Inclusive Education
Notes on contributors Ann Morgan explored educator identity and development in alternative education contexts in her doctoral thesis, using a sociocultural qualitative research paradigm. She has had extensive work experience in the fields of mainstream and alternative education. Dr Morgan works with education practitioners in flexi schools to support them in professional learning with a particular emphasis on educator identity, relational dynamics and critical reflective practice. Donna
... st has conducted research in the following areas: middle years education; middle schooling; early years education; school and policy reform and evaluation; Year 7 into secondary; resilience; generational theory; Y and Z generations and pedagogy; teacher efficacy; family and consumer sciences research; home economics philosophy; cyberbullying; mentoring; evaluation of professional development processes; food literacy; gifted and talented students. Professor Pendergast currently holds the position of Head and Dean, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. Raymond Brown has conducted research in the following areas: professional and teacher learning communities; co-operative/collaborative models of learning and teaching; mathematics education; values education; teacher attitudes, beliefs and funds of knowledge; and school renewal. Abstract Despite complex reasons for disengagement and exclusion from conventional schooling, all children have a right to education that is of a high quality. Disenfranchised young people require alternatives for re-engaging in education. This necessitates a rethinking of what it means to be an educator in alternative education settings and how to relate to young people who have experienced exclusion and failure in conventional school settings. Relational ways of being educator are vital to support the creation of lifelong learners, not merely school completers. Flexible learning programs offer a model of re-engagement in which relational ways of being educator are prioritised. This article explores key aspects of trauma-informed practice and relational pedagogy in a network of flexi schools in Australia. Relational pedagogy can redress the impact of trauma and social exclusion experienced by young people. In flexi schools educator identities are challenged and changed by a willingness to explore and understand the impact of trauma on young people's development and capacity to learn. A commitment to trauma-informed practice and relational pedagogy requires educator identities to be co-constructed and negotiated in relationship with young people and colleagues. These shifts in educators' sense of identity in the flexi schools context are explored.