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Article

Inclusive education is increasingly prioritized in legislation and policy across the globe. Historically, the concept of inclusion within educational contexts refers primarily to the placement of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. More recent descriptions of inclusive education focus on ensuring that all children can access and participate in physical, social, and academic aspects of the classroom. However, a growing body of research suggests that students continue to experience exclusion even within educational contexts that express a commitment to inclusion. In France, a growing number of private, independent schools seek to create the inclusive environments that, despite the ministry of education’s initiatives focused on inclusion, the public school system does not yet provide. One such school engaged in a participatory action research project to create an inclusive classroom that responded to the evolving needs and interests of the community, resulting in a sense of belonging for all members. As all classroom community members (students, families, and teachers) participated in the project of creating an inclusive classroom, the elements of participatory action research allowed inclusion to become a flexible, ongoing, and reflexive practice of identifying and responding to contextually specific needs of classroom members. Approaching inclusion as a participatory action research project in the classroom offers a promising approach to moving beyond interpretations of inclusion that fail to actively address pervasive inequalities and their impact on classroom experiences.

Article

Gabriel Huddleston and M. Francyne Huckaby

The relationships between curriculum studies and qualitative inquiry are built upon similar trajectories and theoretical concerns. There are key points in the histories of both of these inter/trans(un)disciplinary fields, the work of certain scholars working in both, and shared concerns. Historically, the lineage of curriculum studies and qualitative inquiry intersect around a shared investigation of education, specifically in schools. Of note is the common turn away from (post)positivism and an attentiveness to emic forms of inquiry that seek to understand from the inside out. Some commonalities include, but are not limited to, currere, duoethnography, autobiography, and broader qualitative research. Comparing the journey of curriculum studies and its qualitative forms of inquiry to traveling through the universe, travel begins on a home planet, reaching the farthest reaches of spaces, but a return is required, or at the very least, eventually inevitable. In the case of curriculum studies, explorers return to curriculum and, therefore, education. As curriculum has expanded beyond questions of knowledge to include the lives of those experiencing curriculum, qualitative inquiry has been a constant and loyal companion forging a journey that does not require one land at the place from which one launched.

Article

Since the 1970s, following the crisis of representation, narrative inquiry has opened educational research to story as a valuable source of knowledge production across the field, in general, and curriculum studies, in particular. While competing approaches continue to shift and expand how scholars understand narrative inquiry across curriculum studies, a common thread in the scholarship is the positioning of story at the heart of teaching, learning, and research. Narrative inquiry has pushed the field of curriculum studies toward exploration of story as a way of examining the master narrative and its construction of the universal human subject that privileges some discourses and marginalizes others. Scholars who engage with story as the basis for “doing” curriculum studies interrupt positivist methodologies, universal ontologies, and foundational epistemologies that inform educational policies and practices to shape the lived experience of exclusion. On the one hand, scholars of narrative inquiry use story to deconstruct exclusionary educational policies and practices and highlight the social, cultural, and political significance of the lived educational experience of those historically marginalized from traditional curriculum discourse. On the other hand, critics contest the limits of story as a research genre or pedagogical practice, arguing that narratives perpetuate ways of silencing or lose critical importance when personal stories do not connect with political action. Each side of the debate, in its way, generates spaces for new ways of thinking about the place of story in the production of educational knowledge, especially how curriculum scholars engage with the multiplicity of human experience within a network of changing and contextual relations. Reflective of diverse orientations, narrative inquiry in curriculum studies continues to be conceptualized, practiced, and contested in differing ways as methodology/form of inquiry; modes of expression; and, pedagogical and political practice for engaging with the telling, analyzing, and interpreting of story as a way of understanding lived experience.

Article

Marcela Rodriguez-Campo

Testimonio involves bearing witness to the collective experiences of historically marginalized communities, particularly as it relates to their oppression, resistance, and resilience. As an approach, it is an inherently decolonial process since it decenters Eurocentric knowledge and challenges power. Unlike oral history, memoir, or autoethnography, testimonio positions itself as an urgent and political voicing that rejects notions of objectivity and neutrality. Instead, it posits that there exist multiple truths of which each contributes to producing our understanding of a collective reality. Similar to these different practices, testimonio does not have a predictable or set structure as it can take the form of a poem, speech, interview, letter, and so on. Each of these, however, involves a public accounting of human experiences that have the ability to build solidarity. Testimonio finds its formal roots in Latin America; however, as a practice it could be argued that it predates most traditional approaches as it has long existed within indigenous cultures that observe oral traditions and storytelling. Testimonio has been used primarily for movement building and resistance as marginalized groups globally named the oppressive practices of their governments and institutions. Since the late 1990s, testimonio has found a home in education, where scholars have deployed it as a strategy for visibilizing the experiences of people of color and women, especially Chicanas and Latinas. Additionally, testimonio has been adapted as a pedagogical tool, research method, and methodology. In the classroom, testimonio can help reveal the varying experiences and knowledge that students bring into the classroom. As a research method and methodology, testimonio compels researchers to reenvision their role in the research process and their relationship to their participants.

Article

Assessment needs to be a positive experience that can incite learners to progress their learning, understand themselves as learners, become excited about what they learn, and acknowledge that learning is more than the specified and often prescribed curriculum. Educational assessment typically requires students to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, or application of their skills as a way to demonstrate their learning or, more specifically, their learning outcomes. Often this is to attract an external grade or mark related to an externally identified “standard,” or to show their level of “need” and thereby access additional resources. Students generally have little say in when or what is assessed, and their experiences have largely not been taken into account. There is a distinct difference between what a student learns and how the assessment results reflect their learning. To incite learning, assessment practices and processes need to celebrate learning and provide learners with positive, encouraging messages that their efforts contribute to their own growth. When the assessment process enables learners to see their own culture and identity valued, and allows opportunities to showcase diversity of learning, it becomes a meaningful and authentic process. In educational contexts, the process of assessment is typically an approach to support, measure, initiate, monitor, and explain the learning of self or others. Assessment of student learning has complex social, emotional, and academic influences on learners and on their lives more generally. A key unintended consequence of these practices has been well documented with regards to negative social and emotional consequences for the student, and these must be weighed against the “good” any assessment will do in terms of knowing the student and their learning aspirations. However, while there are distracting elements associated with the assessment of students, there is also value in using appropriate methods and processes to enhance and incite learning. Ultimately the rights of the learner to be included in their own assessment practices is key, and therefore it is argued the young person must be an agentic and capable assessor of their own learning for any assessment to be educational, culturally relevant, and authentic.

Article

Self-regulation is a complex, multifaceted concept that can be described as a higher mental process oriented toward children’s (and adults’) metacognitive, motivational, and behaviorally active participation in their own learning. It includes cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional development. It is related to several other higher mental processes, notably executive function, and the two are sometimes confused and even conflated. They are, however, not interchangeable, and it is vital to clarify both what self-regulation is and what it is not. Failure to do so may lead to confusion at practice and policy levels, and ineffective or inappropriate practice, potentially disadvantageous to young children. Self-regulation may be significant in all aspects of development, particularly in early childhood, and efforts to enhance children’s self-regulation may be among the most effective educational interventions. Interest is reflected in developments in the field of assessment, including by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and in government policy in, inter alia, England. Play, particularly pretense, problem-solving, and talk (both private speech and dialogue) are advocated as rich, naturalistic contexts for the development, support, and meaningful assessment of young children’s self-regulation. Some specific approaches to assessment are identified, notably observation and stimulated recall, in the form of reflective dialogues, including the use of video. Decontextualized assessment is suggested as a potentially less effective approach in capturing the full depth and range of young children’s self-regulatory competence.

Article

Benjamin Bloom’s vision of a taxonomy of educational objectives was very ambitious; it could bring order out of chaos, facilitate meaningful descriptions of educational programs and experiences, enable the development of theories and research studies, and improve teacher training in part by “orienting [teachers] to the varied possibilities of education” (emphasis by the author). Since the 1950s, numerous taxonomies have been developed, most in the cognitive domain, but also a few in the affective and psychomotor domains. During these seven decades the relationship between taxonomies of educational objectives and curriculum scholars and curriculum workers has been quite complex and, often, difficult. Claims have been made for both the potential of taxonomies for curriculum development and for the harm that taxonomies, particularly cognitive taxonomies, can do (and, some would say, have done) to curriculum theory and practice.

Article

Lawrence J. Maheady and Angela L. Patti

Teacher preparation programs are undergoing a shift from knowledge-based to practice-based, meaning the emphasis is on what teacher candidates can do, rather than what they know. In light of this movement, high leverage practices (HLPs)—a set of core practices that educational experts agree all teachers should be able to do upon entering the teaching field—have been developed in several different educational areas (e.g., general education and special education). As experts develop sets of HLPs, they identify practices that (a) are researched based, (b) are often used by teachers during the school day, (c) can be applied across grade levels and subject areas, (d) are fundamental to student learning, and (e) can be taught, practiced, and developed to some degree of fluency by teachers entering the profession. The idea is that these practices can be used as a core curriculum for teacher preparation programs. While initial work with HLPs is promising, additional questions must be answered before moving forward. Institutions of higher education that choose to use HLPs to frame their teacher preparation programs need to determine (a) which HLPs to use, (b) how to integrate HLPs into the program, (c) how to assess teacher candidate fluency with HLPs, and (d) how to evaluate the effects of HLPs on P–12 students. As these questions are answered, further light can be shed on what truly makes a practice worthy of the designation “high leverage.”

Article

Mark Carter, Jennifer Stephenson, and Sarah Carlon

The term data-based decision-making can refer to a wide range of practices from formative classroom use of monitoring in order to improve instruction to system-wide use of “big” data to guide educational policy. Within the context of special education, a primary focus has been on the formative classroom use of data to guide teachers in improving instruction for individual students. For teachers, this typically involves the capacity to (1) determine what data need to be collected to appropriately monitor the skill being taught, (2) collect that data, (3) interpret the data and make appropriate decisions, and (4) implement changes as needed. A number of approaches to such data-based decision-making have evolved, including precision teaching, curriculum-based assessment, and curriculum-based measurement. Evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses indicates instruction incorporating data-based decision-making has positive effects on outcomes for students with special education needs although the size of these effects has been variable. While the extent of the research base is modest, there are indications that some specific factors may be related to this variability. For example, the use of decision-making rules and graphic display of data appears to improve student outcomes and the frequency of data collection may differentially affect improvement. The presence and frequency of support offered to teachers may also be important to student outcomes. There is a need to increase our research base examining data-based decision-making and, more specifically, a need to more clearly define and characterize moderators that contribute to its effectiveness. In addition, there is a case for research on the wider use of data on student outcomes to inform broader policy and practice.

Article

Eileen S. Johnson

Action research has become a common practice among educational administrators. The term “action research” was first coined by Kurt Lewin in the 1930s, although teachers and school administrators have long engaged in the process described by and formally named by Lewin. Alternatively known as practitioner research, self-study, action science, site-based inquiry, emancipatory praxis, etc., action research is essentially a collaborative, democratic, and participatory approach to systematic inquiry into a problem of practice within a local context. Action research has become prevalent in many fields and disciplines, including education, health sciences, nursing, social work, and anthropology. This prevalence can be understood in the way action research lends itself to action-based inquiry, participation, collaboration, and the development of solutions to problems of everyday practice in local contexts. In particular, action research has become commonplace in educational administration preparation programs due to its alignment and natural fit with the nature of education and the decision making and action planning necessary within local school contexts. Although there is not one prescribed way to engage in action research, and there are multiple approaches to action research, it generally follows a systematic and cyclical pattern of reflection, planning, action, observation, and data collection, evaluation that then repeats in an iterative and ongoing manner. The goal of action research is not to add to a general body of knowledge but, rather, to inform local practice, engage in professional learning, build a community practice, solve a problem or understand a process or phenomenon within a particular context, or empower participants to generate self-knowledge.