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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.

International Conversations on Curriculum Studies

Subject, Society and Curriculum

Edited by Eero Ropo and Tero Autio

This collection of essays from the most prominent scholars in the field of curriculum studies paint an intellectually rich palette of the present state of curriculum research across the countries and continents when the traditionally prevailed national imaginaries give increasingly way to transnational, international, and postnational impulses. The main parameters of education, subjectivity and its belonging, is shifting by employing the contradictory and broader issues around the question of nation and nation-state as well as around its traditional educational counterpart, the psychologized individual, both radically reinterpreted by post- and rereadings of old educational and social canons. International Conversations on Curriculum identifies the present transformations at work nationwide, worldwide, between and beyond, by focusing on these shifts from a variety of methodological, theoretical, national, political, and pedagogic concerns. It will open new and, one could argue, compelling vistas for reconsidering the social and political mission and moral purpose of education policies, of curriculum theory and practice in the increasingly but unevenly connected world characterized by economic volatility, unfair trade, ethnic and religious conflicts, and growing social instability and collective existential insecurity. As such, the essays are a vital international testimony to the scholarly vibrancy and to the global awareness of the current intellectualized field of curriculum studies to alertly recognize and register the cultural, educational, and political urgencies of our times.

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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.

Seeing With Poetic Eyes

Critical Race Theory and Moving from Liberal to Critical Forms of Race Research in Sociology of Education

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Benjamin Blaisdell

“Seeing with poetic eyes” is a phrase used by a teacher to describe one of his students, a teenager who could recognize the disconnect between U. S. society’s claims about racial equity and its actual commitment towards that equity. As a teacher, he saw it as his mission to help all of his students see the world in such a critical way with that hope that they would be motivated to pursue antiracism more actively in their lives. In this book, I discuss how critical race theory (CRT) can motivate research on race in sociology of education in a similar way. Specifically, I describe how CRT helped me work with seven white teachers on developing more critical understandings of race. In my ethnographic interviews with these teachers, the analytical tools of CRT gave me a way to openly dialogue with them about issues of race in education. I was able to not only learn from the teachers but also work with them on developing racial awareness. Instead of relying on more liberal forms of sociological research—where the researcher extracts data from participants—CRT helped me promote a more critical approach, one where the researcher and participants work together to actively pursue antiracism in the research act itself. So “seeing with poetic eyes” refers the way that I have come to view research as a means of antiracism. Similarly, I propose that CRT can promote such a critical approach to research on race in the field of sociology of education.

Andrew J.C. Begg

An important contribution that ‘Emerging curriculum’ makes is a reconceptualizing of the curriculum development process. This moves development thinking from the traditional research-development-dissemination model to one that acknowledges: the interrelatedness of many influences on curriculum, the multi-layered nature of curriculum, and the complexity of the educational system in which curriculum exists. Indeed the educational system is envisaged as a ‘complex living system’ The study is autobiographical, it is based on a lifetime spent in education during which the author had a particular interest in curriculum and the associated development processes, and how one’s ideas about these change over time. ‘Emerging curriculum has been successfully submitted as a PhD thesis but was written as a book for a wider audience than the traditional thesis one. It shows by example how reflection on one’s work throughout one’s career can be considered as research and can contribute to knowledge in a similar way to that of more traditional doctoral research projects. It is hoped that teachers reading this will relate to the author’s experiences in schools, and will see themselves significant contributors to curriculum; that curriculum developers will be provoked into considering alternative ways of working; and that academics might move curriculum theorising closer to the reality of schools.

James Bay Cree Students and Higher Education

Issues of Identity and Culture Shock

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Christopher Darius Stonebanks

This book examines the continuing challenges of lingering colonial cultural imperialism on the James Bay Cree, through an examination of the relationship between Cree students and the current “mainstream higher education” system. Culture shock and identity formation are central themes as the book investigates the uneven relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous authority in North America, dispelling notions of living in a “post-colonial” context. Well suited to a number of interests, such as Multiculturalism, Native/Indigenous studies, Sociology, Curriculum Studies, Cultural Comparative Education, Qualitative Research and more, readers will gain an understanding or simply benefit from a confirmation and validation of the complexities regarding “Native education”.

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Edited by Julia Resnik

"What impact does globalization have on the production of educational knowledge, and on the way scholars envisage education systems and education in general?
Western education systems are being transformed, and their role redefined, in light of the processes of globalization: education targets are being reshaped in response to global economic needs; education systems are rated according to international rankings and education itself has been packaged into a commodity that can be commercialized worldwide. In addition, globalization prompts more intimate contact with different types of societies, cultures and knowledge that defy our “universal” foundations and research tools. Has educational knowledge developed in a way that enables us to disentangle the new education configurations? In order to respond to this question this edited volume addresses four major challenges:
to understand the denationalization of education and the need to re-conceptualize this transformation.
to uncover the agents and the tools of educational globalization, such as the knowledge producers, international organizations and role of statistics.
to explore the implications of the emerging international educational institutions and international curricula.
to understand non-western education and integrating it into western educational knowledge.
These challenges are located at the core of the production of educational knowledge and are treated from a variety of viewpoints: sociological quantitative and qualitative scholarship, ethnographic accounts, socio-historical perspectives and philosophical reflections.
This book contributes to critical thinking about globalization and educational knowledge and, at the same time, opens our spirits to the theoretical opportunities and educational enrichment that the globalization era offers. This is a compelling collection for anthropologists, sociologists, educational researchers, and anyone who seeks to understand the need of new modes of thinking about education in the global era.
CONTRIBUTORS: Robert Arnove, Aaron Benavot, Eyal Ben Ari, Roser Cussó, Yossi Dahan, Roger Dale, Oren Lallo, Julia Lerner, Orna Naftali, Julia Resnik, Susan Robertson, Philip Wexler and Yossi Yonah.

Symbolic Movement

Critique and Spirituality in Sociology of Education

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Philip Wexler

This is a book about sociology of education—past, present and future.
In the first section the author chronicles and specifies the changes in the field, in a reflexive sociology of education, tracing the path out of liberalism, through radicalism and postmodernism, to an emergent new age stance in understanding education in society. Section two looks in more detail how these movements have actually worked in education and society.
The third section places the historical, macrosocial analysis of education and society on the smaller, more everyday screen of school life. Based on the author’s studies in high school, the question of identity and education is the fulcrum for a series of concrete studies or school portraits, which connect public social change and more personal, everyday life and identity with the social process of schooling.
The final section probes the new age theme. Questions of spirituality, rationality, magic, mysticism and sublimation are related to changes both in education and in sociology of education. What does it mean to do educational research in a re-sacralized, mystical society? And, does a new theory of sociology of education emerge on a Weberian rather than Durkheimian-functionalist or Marxist-radical view of the directions and reversals that begin in modernity and become more evident in our times?

Enaction

Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching

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Domenico Masciotra, Wolff-Michael Roth and Denise Morel

This book is addressed to all those in the field of education or related fields, including teachers, teacher-trainers, consultants, and researchers, who are interested in exploring the question, “What does it mean to know, to learn and to teach?” Contrary to popular conceptions, an enactive perspective assumes that knowing and learning are not disembodied operations that take place solely in a person’s head. Rather, they are a function of the whole person who is firmly situated in the world and who acts in the world to transform it, just as she is transformed by it. The dynamic and transformational nature of knowing and learning are reflected in the relationship between the person and her world, a relationship that evolves through acting in and with the world rather than abstracting oneself from it. Knowing develops as a function of the person’s availability, that is, her full involvement and presence in the here- and-now. The aim of education is thus to foster the development of this relationship in a never-ending quest for deep interiority with the world.
Drawing on their experiences as teachers, curriculum developers, students, Zen practitioners, karateka, bicyclists, hobby mathematicians, and gardeners, the authors provide many concrete examples of what it means to think about knowing and learning in terms of enaction and how teachers and curriculum developers who take enactivism seriously might go about designing and implementing lessons.