Social justice dispositions informing teachers’ pedagogy in advantaged and disadvantaged secondary schools

This project studies the different perspectives that teachers have towards social justice and how these differently influence their teaching in advantaged and disadvantaged secondary schools. It will produce new concepts and methods for researching educational inequalities and to better enable teachers to act in more socially just ways.

PI and Co-PIs - International Collaborators

Trevor Gale – University of Glasgow, School of Education

Russell Cross – University of Melbourne

Carmen Mills – University of Queensland


Start and End Date

1 January 2013 to 31 December 2015


Funder and Funding Amount

Australian Research Council, $452,501


Related Publications

Articles and chapters

Cross, R., Mills, C. & Gale, T. (2019) Thinking with Bourdieu about teachers’ pedagogies and their dispositions for social justice: unthinkingness in aspiration formation. In G. Stahl, D. Wallace, C. Burke & S. Threadgold (Eds.) International perspectives on theorizing aspiration: Applying Bourdieu’s tools. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 130-142.

Gale, T., Mills, C. & Cross, R. (2019) Researching teachers’ social justice dispositions. In Lynch, J., Rowlands, J., Gale T. & Parker, S. (eds.) Practice Methodologies in Education Research. London: Routledge

Mills, C., Gale, T., Parker, S., Smith, C. & Cross, R. (2019) Activist dispositions for social justice in advantaged and disadvantaged contexts of schooling. British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Molla, T. & Gale, T. (2019) Positional matters: School Leaders Engaging with National Equity Agendas. Journal of Education Policy.

Gale, T., Mills, C. & Cross, R. (2017) Socially inclusive teaching: belief, design and action as pedagogic work. Journal of Teacher Education 68(3), pp. 345-356.

Mills, C., Molla, T., Gale, T., Cross, R., Parker, S., & Smith, C. (2017) Metaphor as a methodological tool: Identifying teachers’ social justice dispositions across diverse secondary school settings. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(6), pp. 856-871

Gale, T., & Molla, T. (2015) Social justice intents in policy: An analysis of capability for and through education. Journal of Education Policy, 30(6), pp. 810-830

Conference papers:

Gale, T., Cross, R. & Mills, C. (2016) Researching Teachers’ Social Justice Dispositions Through Pedagogic Activity. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association (AERA) Conference, Washington DC, USA, 8-12 April 2016.

Mills, C., Cross, R. & Gale, T. (2018) Pedagogic activity: Situating teachers’ social justice dispositions in context. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference, Sydney, 2-6 December.

Cross, R., Mills, C. & Gale, T. (2017) Unthinking-ness, pedagogy, and aspiration formation: Bourdieu’s tool-kit for researching teachers’ pedagogies and the dispositions that guide socially just practice. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference, Canberra, 26-30 November.

Mills, C., Smith, C., Gale, T., & Cross, R. (2016) Activist dispositions towards social justice in advantaged and disadvantaged contexts of schooling. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference, Melbourne, 27 November – 1 December.

Cross, R., Mills, C., Gale, T., & Smith, C. (2016) An activity theoretical analysis of how socially just pedagogic work is authorized in advantaged and disadvantaged schools. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference, Melbourne, 27 November - 1 December.

Gale, T., Cross, R., & Mills, C. (2016) A methodological technique for exploring unspoken dispositions that guide teacher action. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference, Melbourne, 27 November - 1 December.

Molla, T., Gale, T., Mills, C., Cross, R., Parker, S. & Smith, C. (2016) Doing social justice in schools: moments of policy compliance, adjustment and contestation. Paper presented at the Annual International Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Melbourne, Australia, 27 November – 1 December.

Mills, C., Molla, T., Gale, T., Cross, R., Parker, P., & Smith, C. (2015) Metaphors for social justice: Conceptualisations of teachers located at the extremes of education advantage and disadvantage. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) annual international conference, Fremantle, Australia, 29 November – 3 December.

Cross, R., Mills, C., Gale, T., Smith, C., Parker, S., & Molla, T. (2015) Pedagogic authority, action, and power: The distribution of labour in the activity of pedagogic work. Paper presented at the Annual International Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Fremantle, Australia, 29 November – 3 December.

Cross, R., Gale, T., & Mills, C. (2015) From pedagogic action to pedagogic activity: Reading social justice dispositions from the practice of teachers’ work. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, UK, 15-17 September.

Gale, T., Mills, C., Molla, T., Cross, R., Parker, S., & Smith, S. (2015) Metaphors as framing devices for social justice work in schools. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, UK, 15-17 September.

Gale, T., Mills, C., Molla, T., Cross, R., Parker, S., & Smith, C. (2015) Teachers’ metaphors of social justice: A Bourdieuian investigation of the logics of practice informing social justice work in secondary schools. Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Conference of the European Educational Research Association (EERA), Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 September.

Cross, R., Gale, T., & Mills, C. (2015) From pedagogic action to pedagogic activity: Reading social justice dispositions from the practice of teachers’ work. Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Conference of the European Educational Research Association (EERA), Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 September.

Gale, T. & Molla, T. (2014) Leading social justice in schools: Prescriptive and descriptive principal dispositions. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) annual international conference, Brisbane, Australia, 30 November - 4 December 2014.


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