Young People and Social Inclusion : Challenges for Teachers

Terri Seddon, Monash University

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). Research Conference (13th : 2008 : Brisbane)


The Crounulla riots were a wake-up call for Australia. With a booming economy and an assertive government, the violence at Crounulla was a stark reminder that nations have to be made and remade culturally, as well as economically. An identity as citizen is as important as an identity as worker in forming sustainable imagined communities that can transcend and ameliorate socio-cultural divisions and conflicts. Yet being a citizen means more than simply belonging to a community. It means using power responsibly to further community (collective) action in pursuit of preferred goals. This paper examines the changing context of skill-building for work and citizenship in Australia. It highlights the role of schools and teachers in this learning, and the way lifelong learning reforms are now reconfiguring these roles. My main argument is that Australia has unfinished business in ‘building skills for work and citizenship’. Reform since the mid-1980s has emphasised skills for work but forgotten to consider how people develop skills for citizenship.