Much has been written about the complexities involved in preparing pre-service teachers (PSTs) to take up the challenge of educating an increasingly diverse student population and, thus, enabling them to create connections and live productive lives in a world that is rapidly changing. However, there is a gap in the literature concerning PSTs that explores potential strategies and pedagogical approaches regarding the teaching and awareness of social inclusion issues for students in Higher Education and Secondary sectors. In order to discuss these strategies and approaches I first turn to Diane Celia Hodges’ (1998) notion of dis-identification as a framework from which the subject positions and contexts of teachers, students and situations can be examined. In this investigation, teaching practices that describe and work with difference can be constructed and analysed. Then, I look to Jacqueline Darvin’s (2011) work concerning Cultural and Political Vignettes (CPVs) that I have used as a tool to open up space for PSTs to explore, analyse and act upon a number of interactions between bodies that may occupy socially, politically and culturally different positions. While CPVs have originally been used in New York City public school classrooms, I have used them in courses at a regional Australian university. This paper is, then, a case study outlining some of the work I have done with CPVs in a setting that is very different to that of the original work. In this paper I continue the international discussion concerning CPVs and their effectiveness in forging student connections and working with issues of social inclusion.
The Labor government in Australia has recently embarked on an extremely ambitious program of social inclusion for the most marginalized groups in society. Drawing upon the approach of "policy scholarship" this paper examines some federal government "policy texts" to describe what has occurred and asks questions about what is meant by the social inclusion policy orientation in the context of educational disadvantage. It challenges the efficacy of uncritically following the experience of New Labour in England as the basis for an Australian social inclusion agenda. The paper concludes with the need to include the voices of "policy users", who are supposed to be the beneficiaries, in the construction of more reflexive alternatives