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Actions of Their Own to Learn

Studies in Knowing, Acting, and Being


Edited by Bonnie Shapiro

What does it mean to take actions of one’s own to learn? How do human beings create meaning for themselves and with others? How can learners’ active efforts to build knowledge be encouraged and supported?

In this edited compilation, scholars from a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds address these questions, grounded in the conviction that the ability to take effective action of one’s own to learn is itself an essential form of knowledge.

In an era of dramatic social, environmental and political change, the need to access vast amounts of information to make decisions demands that learners become active agents in their own knowledge development. Educators are transforming ideas about their role(s) as they strive to provide guidance to help learners take the lead in their own learning. Learners are building new ideas about their capacities to gather and organize information while working with others. No longer simply consumers of information, they are beginning to see themselves as capable and effective researchers. Researchers are also expanding ideas about their knowledge-gathering work and identities. No longer simply reporters of information, researchers are seeing themselves as learners, as they engage in deeper, more collaborative ways with participants in their research.

Chapter authors describe their dedicated, and often career long journeys to show the vital connections between knowledge, acting to learn, identity and being. To engage in this work means disrupting traditional ideas about how knowledge is most effectively acquired. This book will inspire researchers, educators and educational planners as they build the kinds of new participative structures needed to support individual and collective actions to learn.

Inclusion through Access to Higher Education

Exploring the Dynamics between Access to Higher Education, Immigration and Languages


Edited by Marie-Agnès Détourbe

A key feature of the 21st century is undoubtedly the increased flow of goods, ideas and people across geographical, cultural and political boundaries which has led to new dynamics and ever more complex forms of interconnectedness. In this context, the inclusion of people on the move through education is a central issue which this book addresses in an original way: it combines three extensively, yet often separately studied themes – namely access to higher education, immigration and languages.

Written by both established and new researchers, the studies which make up this interdisciplinary volume shed light on the complex political, social, and cultural dynamics at play between the three dimensions in different settings. Drawing on the specific stakes related to higher education, the tensions between barriers and opportunities for (future) students such as immigration regulations, language policies and internationalization strategies are analysed and confronted with less visible yet powerful logics such as personal and professional aspirations, cultural identities or family priorities.

Decades after many national higher education systems strove to widen access internally to under-represented groups, this book offers new international comparative insights on the way higher education can meet external demands from people experiencing chosen or unchosen displacement, while taking hold of the specific challenges raised by their linguistic and cultural diversity.

Edited by Roberta Hunter

For the past decade reform efforts have placed importance on all students being able to participate in collaborative and productive mathematical discourse as an essential component for their learning of mathematics with deep conceptual understandings. In this book our intent is to support mathematics education researchers, teacher educators, teachers and policy makers in providing positive solutions to the enduring challenge in mathematics education of enabling all participants including diverse students to equitably access mathematical discourse.

By diverse learners we mean learners who are minoritized in terms of gender, disability, or/and social, cultural, ethnic, racial or language backgrounds. We aim to increase understanding about what it means to imagine, design and engage with policy and practice which enhance opportunities for all students to participate in productive mathematical discourse. In widening the lens across policy and practice settings we recognize the interplay between the many complex factors that influence student participation in mathematics.

The various chapters tell practical stories of equitable practices for diverse learners within a range of different contexts. Different research perspectives, empirical traditions, and conceptual foci are presented in each chapter. Various aspects of diversity are raised, issues of concern are engaged with, and at times conventional wisdom challenged as the authors provide insights as to how educators may address issues of equitable access of minoritized learners to the mathematical discourse within settings across early primary through to high school, and situated in schools or in family and community settings.

Student Perspectives on School

Informing Inclusive Practice


Edited by Jeanette Berman and Jude MacArthur

In order to increase knowledge and understanding of educational settings as inclusive communities we strive to understand what supports inclusion as well as to critique barriers. Increasingly we are seeking to understand inclusion from the inside, from the perspective of the students. Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child upholds children’s rights to express their views in matters that affect them and to have those views taken into consideration and acted upon, that is, actively included in decision-making. A serious consideration of Article 12 involves two rights: the right to express a view and the right to have those views given due weight. In this volume we will share a compilation of research from Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond that aimed to access and listen to the views of students. We have brought together voices of students from different educational contexts, seeking their perspectives on learning, wellbeing, disciplinary procedures, literacy intervention and what makes schools good.

Taking Science Home

Reflexivity on Becoming a Teacher Insider in an Afterschool Science Program

Edited by Mark Enfield

This book narrates two teachers’ experiences creating and leading an elementary after-school science program at a public housing authority. The narrative employs a reflexive ethnographic approach to examine the reflections of each teacher during one academic year. The book explores the teachers’ understandings of socially just teaching, their pedagogical transformations, and a vision of how science as a discipline was important in terms of enacting a culturally sustaining pedagogy. The reflexive ethnographic perspective enables consideration of the implications of teachers’ positionality in teaching science to marginalized and/or underrepresented students in informal learning contexts.

Through these examinations, the book explains how collaboration was vital in the teachers’ efforts to become insiders in the setting and engage in culturally sustaining pedagogy. The book also narrates the teachers’ development leading to articulation of a framework identified as the zone of pedagogical potential. Finally, the book uses the teachers’ reflections to consider the affordances of learning science.

The book concludes with a discussion of the implications from this research for promoting equitable practices in informal settings, as well as the potential for those practices being useful in formal settings. Thus, the book should be of interest to researchers, teachers, educators, and students of education and in particular science education.

The Unorthodox Professor

Surviving and Thriving as a Change Agent in Education

Edited by Barbara S. Spector

The book is an autoethnography (self-analysis) of a woman’s career as an educator that spans half a century. Her stories as a visionary change agent in STEM education provide
•an unorthodox approach to surviving and thriving in academia. By candidly “telling tales out-of-school” about events common in higher education – but not openly talked about – these stories and 149 lessons learned can be a roadmap for both seasoned and early career faculty;
•a guide to sources of joy and satisfaction – career rewards;◦insight to attaining grants from public and private sources to develop programs for diverse learners and for community engagement;
◦a federal grant funding program officer’s use of a systemic approach to infuse marine education nationally;
◦adventures of an out-of-the-box high school biology teacher as a template for use of the community as a resource for teaching K-12;
◦use of program and course development for learners of all ages in formal and informal settings as a mechanism for change.

Social issues emerging during this study that are relevant to the next generation of educators include a woman's role in society, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment; shifting paradigms, school reform, resistance to change, and educational funding; environmental degradation and climate change.

Beyond Observations

Narratives and Young Children

Susanne Garvis, Elin Eriksen Ødegaard and Narelle Lemon

This book provides important insights into narratives and young children. It is structured to help others learn more about the importance of narrative approaches and early childhood education. The first section of the book explores the concept of narrative across the current research field. The second section explores a range of different narrative methods related to young children.
Readers will discover how narrative methods empower children to be heard and respected by adults. They will also discover the importance of narrative methods in allowing a sharing of understanding, knowledge and trust in contemporary times.
Overall, the book aims to encourage readers to critically reflect on new ways of thinking about contemporary research and young children.


Edited by Keiichi Ogawa and Mikiko Nishimura

Achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) has received considerable attention since the early 1950s. The concept of universal education is, however, not well defined and is used to mean many different things to different people. This book contains a five-year research work conducted by a group of African and Japanese researchers who have developed an equal partnership and network to review the expansion of primary education, some policies prompting the free primary education intervention, and the challenges of implementation based on the case study of two districts in four countries, namely, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. The first part discusses issues related to administrative, financial, and perceptive issues related to UPE policies in each country case, followed by the second part that focuses on quality of education and UPE policies. The book contains various lessons learnt and implications for future education policies in developing countries.

Educational Internationalisation

Academic Voices and Public Policy


Edited by Jennifer Olson, Heidi Biseth and Guillermo Ruiz

This book is part of the Sense Publishers series emerging from the 2013 WCCES XV World Congress in Buenos Aires (Series Editors Suzanne Majhanovich and Allan Pitman). The Congress Theme of New Times, New Voices provided the broad frame for the conference and the series of volumes, including this one, which contains research contributions focusing on educational internationalisation. Ever since the early days of international and comparative inquiry in education, the idea that policy and practice might be borrowed or transferred from one location to another has been a continuing theme. Several studies included in this volume focus on the activities of governments, the interactions between supranational organisations and states and the role of private and civil society actors in educational internationalisation.
The chapters in this volume explore how internationalisation is carried out in various educational levels and through new or expanding policies and practices. Moreover, the chapters represent diverse research perspectives and geographical regions. More specifically, they examine issues pertaining to: (1) changes in the academic profession, (2) responses to the European Bologna Process and European perspectives on internationalisation, (3) political and institutional interventions that shape educational policy agendas, (4) children’s rights and teacher education in Latin America, and (5) the voices of Roma interest groups. Taken together, these chapters explore the relationships between academic voices and those of international organisations, as well as how national policy makers interpret contrasting international discourses, and political and social factors that influence educational internationalisation processes.

Lifelong Action Learning and Research

A Tribute to the Life and Pioneering Work of Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt

Edited by Judith Kearney and Maureen Todhunter

This tribute to Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt is a celebratory Festschrift of her learning/research action-packed life. Colleagues around the world reflect on their own learning, research and professional development, with and through Ortrun, in action learning and action research (ALAR).
Four Parts identify focus areas in Ortrun’s work and interests over the last 40 years. Higher Education is the site for most of Ortrun’s work experience since 1974 when she joined Griffith University in Australia. Organisations is a context where Ortrun has actively explored processes of learning, leadership and development in management education. Communities of Practice characterise Ortrun’s work throughout her career, particularly through participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) in communities. Futures focusses Ortrun’s recent writing advocating for PALAR as a flexible and effective methodology for responding to rapid change.
Here we see why Ortrun is a quintessential international scholar. And an ALAR practitioner/advocate. Her world view, understandings of knowledge and personal qualities naturally orient her along this path of inclusive, purposeful action. This is why Ortrun is a vital energy in shaping the evolution of the ‘Action’ family of scholarship, now including PALAR and LAL (Lifelong Action Learning). No wonder her life and pioneering work are an adventure story—not just of learning and research, but also of passion and action. This tribute opens windows onto that story.