Supporting minority students through a reflexive approach to empowerment
Referring to the experiences of three Muslim refugee girls recently settled in Australia, this paper examines issues of schooling and empowerment. The paper draws on teacher and student interview data from a study that investigated inclusive approaches to addressing issues of cultural diversity in a secondary state high school in Queensland. The paper foregrounds the girls' highly positive views of their experiences at the school; views that reflect the girls' access to spaces of empowerment but belie the complexity and tensions involved in how empowerment was understood and approached by educators at the school. Theorising empowerment through poststructural understandings of agency, the paper examines conditions and ways of understanding that make possible spaces of empowerment for the girls. In particular, the paper argues for a reflexive approach to empowerment that is informed by an understanding of the framing discourses shaping minority student identity and a critical reflection on educator and school positionality.
British Journal of Sociology of Education