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Competition

A Multidisciplinary Analysis

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Edited by Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

The Super Bowl. Democrats vs. Republicans. Ford vs. Chevy. Bloods vs. Crips. Public vs. private schools. Sibling rivalries. Competition permeates every aspect of our society, and we place great confidence in its ability to allocate resources efficiently, spur innovation, and build personal character. As others have argued, competition is now a paradigm—a conceptual framework that is often taken for granted but rarely challenged. In this book, experts examine competition from their own disciplinary perspectives. From economics to philosophy, biology to education, and psychology to politics, the origins and applications of this paradigm are placed in historical context, its mechanics are analyzed, and its costs and benefits are assessed.
The questions addressed in this book are important and varied. What is the historical genesis of the competition paradigm? How is competition manifest in our culture—in religion, politics, economics, sports, business, and education—and are its effects always beneficial? What can we learn about the mechanics of competition from studying nature? Are humans naturally competitive, or is it a learned behavior? How does competition affect our mental and physical well-being? Is competition the best strategy for allocating finite planetary resources to an expanding human population? The book also engages a cooperative alternative, and asks: Is there an ethical tension between competition and cooperation? Why have cooperative models been undervalued and marginalized? Can cooperation increase innovation and efficiency? This collection provides a broad, insightful, and productive examination of one of the dominant concepts of our time.

Education Science

Critical Perspectives

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Edited by Ralf St. Clair

Educational research is not what it was fifteen years ago. In this discipline the changes have been dramatic, far-reaching and rapid. Out of the criticisms of the 1990s and the calls for greater accountability of the early 2000s one idea has come to the fore—education science. There are two main components to education science. The first is the principle that research in education must model itself more closely on disciplines seen as highly credible and successful, mainly the natural sciences and medicine. The second part is that educators must build their practice upon the insights developed through this scientific research process. Overall, education science has the potential to change how we think about education, how we build knowledge about it, and how we know when it is successful.
This volume brings together some of the most active proponents of education science and some of the most committed critics. Within it the idea of education science is explored in depth, randomized controlled trials (considered the “gold standard” of education science) are discussed in detail, and the philosophical difficulties of knowledge in education are explored. Established thinkers are brought alongside newly emerging analysts, and detailed accounts of the institutions driving education science are included. Each contribution is thoughtful and balanced, engaging with the issues of the field and how they might be addressed. As a body of work, this collection of essays provides a well-rounded, critical discussion of the potential—and the problems—of the education science movement.

Educational Accountability

Professional Voices From the Field

Edited by Kenneth D. Gariepy, Brenda L. Spencer and J-C Couture

In an age when responses to accountability regimes in education range from hysteria to cynicism, this volume reframes accountability in narratives of collective, participatory responsibility that leave one feeling inspired and ready to act. The authors, all scholar-practitioners speaking from contexts spanning leadership, policy, literacy, indigenous education, and diversity, explore ways to navigate accountability discourses with wisdom, courage and hope.—Tara Fenwick, PhD, Head, Dept. of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia.
In this collection, the preoccupation of educational institutions with accountability is critically examined by writers who work in the field. They consider the impact of accountability regimes on professional practice and the learning agenda, challenge current policies and call for a rethinking of accountability. The skills and knowledge associated with this work is what we should hold schools accountable to. It is, as you see from reading these contributions, time for change.—Stephen Murgatroyd, PhD, Chief Scout, The Innovation Expedition Inc.
About the Book
From their diverse perspectives, nine educational practitioners discuss current educational accountability policies and how these affect students, educators, learning and teaching in a variety of settings, from K-12 schools to post-secondary institutions and government agencies. The authors combine theory, research and their day-to-day experiences to reflect on the challenges posed by realities such as outcomes-based curricula, high-stakes testing, standardized reporting and management by objectives. By examining current accountability initiatives and their effects in relation to core values of public education such as equity, diversity, democracy and opportunity, this book offers educators a range of insights for thinking about and doing education differently.

Bryant Griffith

The craft of teaching and learning is like playing in a symphony orchestra; every instrument has a voice and every voice is integral to the whole. The arts, history, anthropology, and philosophy and their forged discourses offer us a series of cautionary tales about the multiplicity of ways we can see and understand our world, ways we often ignore in the classroom. In the case of epistemology, and pedagogy in particular, we have hinged our understanding on a binary of opposites engaged in a dialectic dance and a type of discourse constructed to describe and explain it. The art and act of teaching in this as-if world necessitates teachers to be public intellectuals; intellectual symbols who represent something more than just subject-knowledge expertise but serve as conduits between the discourses of our world.
Established genres and discourses are exclusionary. The vast migration of people and ideas is producing a new set of presuppositions. The manner in which we decode other discourses and fuse them into meanings, both personal and shared, is the root of both teaching and learning, giving us a window into the way that each form of thought is connected, both historically and experientially. Look around you, your school is becoming the United Nations, but it’s not so united. Don’t aim for truth, aim for understanding. Today’s students construct and deconstruct in a multitude of ways on an as-needed, just-in-time basis. Since ideas of difference are often nudged but unacknowledged, we are in danger of becoming pedagogical dinosaurs, not heeding change until it is too late.
Teaching and learning are construction zones, so get out your hard hat. These constructions are possibilities that need to be discussed and negotiated, allowing us to sidestep the traps of grand narratives and a hierarchy of discplinarity and research methodology. Our possibilities need to be forged on an anvil of diversity. These are the spaces, the interstices, where our voices become innovative and our silence offers a safe harbor. Spaces to listen, collaborate, and craft cautionary tales about our lives and the possibilities for a shared future.

In the Spirit of Ubuntu

Stories of Teaching and Research

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Edited by Diane Caracciolo and Anne M. Mungai

This is an excellent and timely bookIn the Spirit of Ubuntu: Stories of Teaching and Research represents a seminal educational intervention that should re-direct the way we see and interact with learning and pedagogical projects and relationships. The book is well organized, is written in non-alienating, humanist language, and should be very useful for students, researchers, and the general public. Students in the West, who are not familiar with the philosophy of ubuntu, should be exposed to the contents of this book.”—Ali A Abdi, in Alberta Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 58, No. 4

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Edited by Warren J. Blumenfeld, Khyati Y. Joshi and Ellen E. Fairchild

Today, the United States stands as the most religiously diverse country in the world. This diversity poses great challenges as well as opportunities. Christian denominations and their cultural manifestations, however, often function to marginalize, exclude, and deny members and institutions of other religions and non-believers the privileges and access that accompany a Christian affiliation. Christianity is the privileged religious perspective in the United States since Christian groups, people, and organizations often have the power to define normalcy. Christian privilege comprises a large array of benefits that are often invisible, unearned, and unacknowledged by Christians. At times overt while at other times more subtle as Christian religious practice and beliefs have entered the public square, the clearly religious meanings, symbolism, positionality, and antecedents of these practices and beliefs betray claims to mere secularism. The effect of the so-called “secularization” of Christian religious practices and beliefs not only fortifies, but strengthens Christian privilege by perpetuating Christian influence in such a way as to avoid detection as religion or circumvent violating the constitutional requirements for the separation of religion and government. Christian dominance, therefore, is maintained often by its relative invisibility. With this invisibility, privilege is neither analyzed nor scrutinized, neither interrogated nor confronted. Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States addresses Christian privilege as well as religious oppression since the two are in symbiotic relationship: oppression toward non-Christians gives rise to Christian privilege in the United States, and Christian privilege maintains oppression toward non-Christian individuals and faith communities. This anthology also provides historical and contemporary cases exposing Christian privilege and religious oppression on the societal, institutional, and personal/interpersonal levels. A number of chapters include sections suggesting change strategies, and in particular, ways to achieve the national goal of religious pluralism in the United States.

The Kiss and the Ghost

Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand

Edited by Alison Jones and Sue Middleton

Sylvia Ashton-Warner, novelist and educationist, was extraordinarily famous in the 1960s. She maintained that young children best learn to read and write when they produce their own vocabulary, especially sex words—like ‘kiss’, and fear words—like ‘ghost’. Educators lauded her.
Her autobiographical novels about teaching in remote schools, and being culturally abandoned in a remote country, New Zealand, attained enormous international popularity in both literary and educational circles.
But she had an intensely ambivalent relationship with the land of her birth. Despite receiving many accolades in New Zealand, she claimed to have been rejected and persecuted by her homeland. In her darkest moments, she railed against New Zealand and New Zealanders, even stating in one television interview: “I’m not a New Zealander!”
This is the first book to make Sylvia Ashton-Warner’s passionately difficult relationship with New Zealand its central focus. Its contributors argue that, rather than stultifying her, the country she decried produced Sylvia and her work. In addition, infant schooling in New Zealand in the post-war years was relatively radical and progressive, and education officials seemed to welcome Sylvia’s ideas about literacy.
The edited collection includes chapters by Maori teachers and others who worked with Sylvia, as well as recollections of her son, Elliot Henderson. It reprints her Teaching Scheme that was originally published in New Zealand in the 1950s. And it celebrates her novels as brilliant and angry evocations of life in the wildness of New Zealand.

Knowledge Reigns Supreme

The Critical Pedagogy of Hip-Hop Artist KRS-ONE

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Priya Parmar

Knowledge Reigns Supreme: The Critical Pedagogy of Hip-hop Artist KRS-ONE argues for the inclusionary practice of studying and interpreting postmodern texts in today’s school curriculum using a (Hip-hop) cultural studies and critical theory approach, thus creating a transformative curriculum. Based on the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, the text argues that the implementation of teaching strategies and techniques derived from Hip-hop culture and specifically the rap lyrics of legendary Hip-hop pioneer and activist, Lawrence Parker, aka KRS-ONE (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) is an empowering, liberating pedagogy for educators, prospective educators and students of diverse backgrounds. The purpose of Knowedge Reigns Supreme … is to analyze and critique KRS-ONE’s rap lyrics as a postmodern text and as one concrete example of critical literacy, particularly because of the emancipatory potential it has for educating all youth, regardless of race, class or ethnicity. KRS-ONE’s lyrical career began in 1986 and continues today with the inclusion of lecture tours and performances at universities nationally and internationally. He is one of the most sought after collegiate speakers in the country, visiting over 200 universities, including: Clark, Yale, Moorehouse, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Temple, Howard, Spellman, and UCLA. Knowledge Reigns Supreme … also provides educators with pedagogical strategies that can be implemented in the classroom. Educators teaching courses in pedagogy, language arts, social studies, research and methodology at the high school (9-12), undergraduate and graduate levels will find the contents of this text useful.

Life History Research

Epistemology, Methodology and Representation

Edited by Michael Anthony Samuel, Rubby Dhunpath and Michael Samuel

Much has been written about lifehistory research in recent times. It has been paraded as a counterculture to the traditional research canon, and celebrated as a genre that promotes methodological pluralism. However, lifehistory researchers have an obligation to transcend spurious claims about the perceived merits of the methodology and extend the debates around how the genre simultaneously problematises and responds to the competing challenges of Epistemology, Methodology and Representation.
In conceiving of each of the chapters from an epistemological perspective, the authors focus on how their individual work has crossed or expanded traditional borders of epistemology and ontology; of how the work has satisfied the rigours of thesis production and contributed to changing conceptions of knowledge, what knowledge gets produced and how knowledge is produced when we make particular methodological choices.
Since any methodological orientation is invariably selective, and the researcher is always involved and implicated in the production of data, the authors focus on what selections they have made in their projects, what governed these choices, what benefits/deficits those choices yielded, and what the implications of their research are for those meta-narratives that have established the regimes of truth, legitimacy, and veracity in research.
Knowledge production is inextricably linked to representation. In the process of articulating their findings, each author made particular representational choices, sometimes transgressing conventional approaches. The book explores why these choices were made and how the choices influenced the kinds of knowledge generated. The book provides theoretical justifications for these transgressions and reflect on how the experience of representation helped disrupt the authors’ essentialist notions of research production and for whom it is produced.
This book is not another celebration of lifehistory as a counterculture. The book hopes to be a deeply critical contribution to disrupt notions around epistemological authority, voice and power and how these are mediated by the delicate relations of the researcher and researched. The problematises and complicates the assumptions that frame this genre with a view to highlighting the potential hazards of the method while demonstrating its potentiality in shaping our conceptions of Ethics, Methodology and Representation.

Organizing the Curriculum

Perspectives on Teaching the US Labor Movement

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Edited by Rob Linné, Leigh Benin and Adrienne Sosin

Contemporary American youth live in a culture that ignores or denigrates labor unions. Mainstream media cover labor issues only sparingly and unions no longer play much of a role in popular culture texts, films, or images. In our schools labor has been limited to a footnote in textbooks instead of being treated seriously as the most effective force for championing the rights of working people—the vast majority of the citizenry. Teachers have been convinced that to bring up class or to teach about the labor movement may be construed as “taking sides,” while the all-pervasive presence of corporate America in our schools is rarely questioned. So for all the talk of schools preparing young people for the work world, we are failing to teach them even the basics of how that world is structured or how they can be empowered through collective action.
Organizing the Curriculum: Perspectives on Teaching the US Labor Movement is the first book-length treatment of this blind spot in contemporary curriculum and pedagogy. Contributors to this collection—unionists, activists, teachers, teacher educators, and academics—interrogate the ways in which knowledge is constructed in school discourses, conceptualize pedagogical strategies and curricula that open discussions around class analysis and political economy via studies of the labor movement, and put forward an activist vision of education that truly engages young people beyond the classroom walls.