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In Search of a Better Way for Schools and Their Communities
Volume Editors: Eija Kimonen and Raimo Nevalainen
This volume is a collection of studies examining the key role of the teacher in the process of school change when innovative pedagogical practices and better ways to develop the school are being sought. Teachers’ work in a changing school culture is a central source of strength in establishing the new practices in ordinary school life. Teachers are generally understood to be crucial for successful change in the school, for the long-term development of their professionalism, and for the advancement of the school’s socio-cultural processes.
The aim of this book is to outline the complex character of teachers’ work in schools and their communities. Teachers’ work is observed here in the light of research presenting innovative approaches and reforms. This book is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on contexts for transformation in teachers’ work, the second on an examination of case studies documenting the changing nature of teachers’ work, and the third on comparison of the trends and issues previously presented. The chapters in this volume discuss prospects of teachers’ work in the United States and Europe, as well as in China, India, and Japan.
Cover photographs by Raimo Nevalainen
Experiences from the U.S.A., India, and China
Volume Editors: Eija Kimonen and Raimo Nevalainen
Toward Community-Based Learning contends that the ideal school offers the opportunity to understand reality in a way that connects teaching and education with conditions in the surrounding community and the student’s life and concerns. This view holds that problem solving requires an understanding and awareness of the whole, which can be achieved through direct activities. In this manner, learning is linked to its natural context, with ideal instruction being actively problem-oriented, holistic, and life-centered.

This thought-provoking volume offers an essential and comprehensive picture of community-based learning in the field of education. The book deals with the history of community-based learning as well as its present applications, including its global successes and difficulties. The authors provide numerous pedagogical approaches that are designed to meet the challenges of contemporary education. They show how learning is connected with authentic community environments in which students can gain new understandings through solving emerging problems. They also demonstrate how teachers can make learning more functional and holistic so that students have the ability to work in new situations within the complex world around them. School-specific descriptions reveal how teachers and their students have implemented community-based projects in the U.S.A., India, and China at different times.

Contributors are: Thomas L. Alsbury, Mary Ewans, Linda Hargreaves, Susan K. Johnsen, Eija Kimonen, Susan Kobashigawa, Karon N. LeCompte, Suzanne M. Nesmith, Raimo Nevalainen, and Lakia M. Scott.
Part 2 The Research and Evolution of Community-Based Learning
In: Toward Community-Based Learning
Part 1 Foundations for Community-Based Learning: An International View
In: Toward Community-Based Learning
In: Toward Community-Based Learning
In: Toward Community-Based Learning

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to examine the changing nature of the pedagogical activities of community-based learning and their authentic learning environments in the United States, India, and China. This analysis, based on a previous historico-hermeneutical study in comparative education, concentrates particularly on the activities of community-based learning and their central pedagogical approaches in a context of social change. With respect to the United States, the primary focus is on experiential education, while in India it is on vocationally productive education, and in China it is on productive labor education. This chapter demonstrates that community-based learning can take place in a variety of learning environments prioritizing the Naturalistic, Sociocultural, Productive, Economic, Martial, Ecological, or Scientific-Technical Dimensions, in accordance with the general direction of political, economic, and social development. The chapter shows that by the mid-20th century these three countries had started to focus efforts on expanding learning environments from schools to the real world outside of schools. In the past five decades, pedagogical approaches and their learning environments have increasingly given special importance to the use of technology-based applications. The study concludes that approaches to community-based learning could provide a way for teachers and communities to prepare students to participate and become engaged in solving local problems.

In: Toward Community-Based Learning
Part 3 Community-Based Pedagogical Strategies with Students and for Educators
In: Toward Community-Based Learning
Part 4 Global Approaches for Community-Based Learning
In: Toward Community-Based Learning
Chapter 1 Ideals for Community Engagement from the East and West

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to globally analyze the foundations of community-based learning with a focus on the philosophical views, educational aims, and associated value dimensions in the United States, India, and China. The previous research in comparative education leading to this analysis utilized a historico-hermeneutical approach. This chapter shows that the American philosophical tradition of community-based learning is founded on the ideas of progressive education and is based on the tradition of pragmatism and the naturalistic view of the human being held by functionalism. In India, the philosophical tradition of such learning is related to the ideas of neo-traditional education and relies on a tradition that insists on truth, as included in the philosophy of satyagraha. The Chinese philosophical tradition of community-based learning is rooted in the ideas of revolutionary education, which rely on the radical social theory of dialectical materialism. These traditions in the United States and India gave particular importance to sociomoral aims and socioethical and universal values, and in China to moral-political aims and values. The study concludes that development in the countries started to stress school-centered intellectual aims and science- and technology-related values, and community-based learning allowed experts to be trained for an advanced society in which mental work is performed in modern production.

In: Toward Community-Based Learning