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Elizabeth A. Stevens and Sharon Vaughn
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
Adequate reading skills are necessary for college and career readiness; unfortunately, however, many students do not have basic reading skills necessary to be successful in the work force and later in life. The most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), given in 2017, demonstrated fourth- and eighth-grade students have made little to no progress in reading since the previous report in 2015. Elementary students often received dedicated English language arts instruction during the day; this is not always true for middle and high school learners. One way that educators can supports students across the grade levels is by providing evidence-based reading instruction within the content areas (i.e., science and social studies instruction).
Researchers have investigated ways for teachers to provide high-quality content area reading instruction to support the reading comprehension and content acquisition of students in general education settings. A series of randomized control trials examined the effects of multicomponent reading instruction that includes explicit vocabulary instruction, background building to enhance students’ prior knowledge before reading text, reading connected text, explicit reading comprehension instruction to identify main ideas and summarize text, comprehension monitoring practices such as question generation, and team-based or collaborative learning opportunities that allow for in-depth conversations about text. These practices resulted in improved reading outcomes and content acquisition outcomes not only for typical readers, but also for struggling readers and those identified for special education. Educators’ implementation of such practices within science and social studies instruction may improve students’ reading performance and content learning across grade levels.
April Longa and Steve Graham
Writing is especially challenging for students with disabilities, as 19 out of every 20 of these students experience difficulty learning to write. In order to maximize writing growth, effective instructional practices need to be applied in the general education classroom where many students with special needs are educated. This should minimize special education referrals and maximize the progress of these students as writers. Evidence-based writing practices for the general education classroom include ensuring that students write frequently for varying purposes; creating a pleasant and motivating writing environment; supporting students as they compose; teaching critical skills, processes, and knowledge; and using 21st-century writing tools.
It is also important to be sure that practices specifically effective for enhancing the writing growth of students with special needs are applied in both general and special education settings (where some students with disabilities may receive part or all of their writing instruction). This includes methods for preventing writing disabilities, tailoring instruction to meet individual student needs, addressing roadblocks that can impede writing growth, and using specialized writing technology that allows these students to circumvent one or more of their writing challenges.
Catherine Doherty and Megan Pozzi
While meritocratic ideals assume a level playing field for educational competition, those who can may seek to tilt the field in their children’s favor to ensure better educational opportunities and the associated life rewards. A growing body of literature is researching “up” to better understand how advantage for some through the choice of elite or private schooling contributes to the relative disadvantage of others. Institutional claims to offering an “elite” education can rest on different logics such as social selectivity by dint of high fees or academic selectivity by dint of enrollments conditional on academic excellence. Private education provided by a non-government entity serves as an alternative to public sector provision for those who can afford it. The global spread of neoliberal metapolicy has fanned a general trend towards privatization. Such logics of social restriction can distinguish the whole school, niche programs of distinction within a school, or tracking practices that pool advantage in particular classes or subjects. While education policy debates wrestle with how to articulate competing ethics of excellence, inclusivity, and equity, elite branding unapologetically resolves these tensions by conflating excellence and exclusivity. To achieve and sustain elite status, however, relies on the extra work of carefully curating reputations and protecting the brand. Recent research has started to ask more difficult questions of educational privilege. Such research helps to understand: the curricular processes and nature of privilege achieved through elite and private educational choices; how such education harnesses the semblance of meritocratic competition to legitimate its forms of distinction; and the broader impact of these processes.
Jane Kenway and Diana Langmead
Whatever else it involves, elite schools’ core work is to help to make and remake class through education. Here, we provide an overview of their everyday practices of class-making and present ways of categorizing them: the spatialization of their social imaginations, their mobilization of feelings, and their class-based disavowals. These practices are well established in the local (national/state) context, and we devote the first part of the article to these. In the second part, we shift the angle of scrutiny and outline such schools’ class-making practices in the contemporary global context.
Sheila L. Macrine and Jennifer M.B. Fugate
Embodied cognition theories are different from traditional theories of cognition in that they specifically focus on the mind–body connection. This shift in our understanding of how knowledge is acquired challenges Cartesian, as well as computational theories of cognition that emphasize the body as a “passive” observer to brain functions, and necessary only in the execution of motor actions. Historically, mental representations within the brain were typically considered abstractions of the original information (i.e., mental representations). Accordingly, these amodal (disembodied) theories provided the knowledge used in cognitive processes, but did not reflect the original sensorimotor states themselves. In contrast, Embodied cognition provides a starting point to advance our understanding of how perceptual, sensorimotor and multisensory approaches facilitate and encourage learning throughout the lifespan. Derived from embodied cognition, embodied learning constitutes a contemporary pedagogical theory of knowing and learning that emphasizes the use of the body in educational practice. Embodied learning approaches scientifically endorse and advance sensorimotor learning, as well as offer potentially useful tools for educators. This article begins with a discussion on the historical progression of embodied understanding in the disciplines of philosophy, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience, with a focus on how embodied cognition differs from traditional models of cognition. Empirical evidence from varied field domains (e.g., reading, handwriting, STEM fields, haptic technology, mixed reality, and special education) are presented that show how embodied learning increases and facilitates learning and memory. Discussions within each content area draw upon embodied principles and show why the reviewed techniques facilitate learning. Also discussed are examples on how these principles can be further integrated into educational curriculum, with an eye toward the learner as a unified whole.
Emotion research in teaching and education more generally is a well-developed field of inquiry, offering suggestions for initial teacher education course development and practical suggestions for improving the working lives of teachers and schoolchildren. In contrast, emotion research in teacher education is an emergent and expanding area of inquiry. Preservice teachers, or university teacher education students, have unique emotional demands given that their teacher identities may still be in formative stages and their school-based practicum may not present the full complement of emotional experiences that full-time teachers encounter daily and for extended periods of time. Some specific objectives of past research in teacher education include explorations of preservice teachers’ emotions; preparing preservice teachers for the emotional demands of the job; developing understandings about the interplay between teacher–student relationships or social bonds, emotions, and learning; and addressing the strong emotions associated with practicum for preservice teachers, school-based teacher educators, and university-based teacher educators. A diverse range of theories are available for investigating emotion in preservice teacher education. This range presents different ways of conceptualizing what emotions are considered to be, stemming from disciplines including sociology, philosophy, psychology, critical studies, cultural studies, anthropology, and neuroscience. In addition to canvassing theories and traditions, dominant approaches to the study of preservice teacher emotions are addressed including early investigations, which relied on single self-report research methods to the more complex and dynamic multimethod and multitheoretical studies that have emerged in recent years. Suggestions are made for fruitful future lines of inquiry of preservice teachers’ emotional experiences and needs. Teacher attrition and burnout, particularly in the early years, continue to be vexing international problems. Research into preservice teacher emotions and emotion management are two important areas of inquiry that could address the related problems of burnout and attrition. Emotion management is also linked to social bonds, and better understandings of these connections are needed in the context of preservice teachers’ experiences and learning during practicums and within university courses. A focus on enacted classroom and staffroom interactions offers great scope for novel research contributions. Better understandings of structural conditions affecting emotions and preservice teachers’ learning are needed that include the bridging of macrosocial structural factors influencing work conditions with microsocial interactions in classrooms, staffrooms, and during parent-teacher interactions. New research adopting contemporary theories of emotion and methods is needed to explore preservice teacher identities. Combining this focus with the aforementioned lines of investigation into burnout, attrition, social bonds, and connections between macrostructural and microinteractional aspects of teaching and learning presents a third line of novel research. Guiding questions to prompt these and other lines of investigation are offered.
Paul A. Schutz, Sharon L. Nichols, and Sofia Bahena
After two decades of research on emotions in education we have come to understand little about the relationship of teachers and their instructional decision-making and students and their motivation and learning. Most of what we know about emotions stems from studies that look specifically at students and their approach to learning tasks as well as teachers and how they grapple with the stress of teaching and the emotional experiences of working with students. However, we know less about how emotions manifest in varying social-historical educational contexts. When it comes to students, we know that emotions can influence students’ adoption of self-regulation strategies and their subsequent learning outcomes. For example, pleasant emotions tend to be related with effective learning strategies, whereas unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and boredom can reduce motivation and academic achievement. Importantly, these relationships are not consistent throughout the literature, and evidence suggests that, in some cases, anxiety can be motivating for some students. When it comes to teachers, there are two types of research areas. First are studies about how teachers handle unpleasant experiences in an effort to better understand teacher burnout. Second are studies that try to understand the role of emotions and pleasant and unpleasant experiences for newer teachers and how they inform emergent professional identities. More research is needed to understand how emotions play out in the classroom so that we can better support teachers and students and create effective intervention programs aimed at reducing the emotional stress of teaching and learning.
Interviews are used ubiquitously in everyday life as a source of information about the social world, whether in clinical interviews, parent–teacher interviews, job interviews, or media and journalistic interviews. Likewise, researchers in education have long made use of a spectrum of interview formats to produce knowledge about research problems. Interview formats used by education researchers range from standardized survey interviews to semi-structured interviews to open-ended, conversational interviews. Broadly, data in the form of answers to questions and descriptions generated in interviews are used as evidence in a variety of ways across educational research. Yet researchers have long acknowledged the problems associated with interview research, including those to do with self-reported data, accomplishing mutual understanding, and representation of the Other.
How researchers deal with these problems is directly relevant to the value attributed to interview accounts as evidence to support claims. The use to which educational researchers put interviews varies widely, particularly since they draw on a range of epistemological perspectives in their use of interviews—whether or not these are acknowledged. Neopositivist, emotionalist or romantic, constructionist, transformative, decolonizing, and new materialist approaches to interviews are founded in different epistemological assumptions about how interviews are conducted, how interview reports are used as evidence to warrant claims, and how the validity or quality of studies is judged. Although much has been written about interview practice, there are still numerous avenues to explore with respect to using the interview method in educational research.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
For teachers to effectively engage in given pedagogical practices, they need to have beliefs that support these approaches to teaching. These are not philosophical beliefs per se; rather, they are the individual understandings that teachers hold about the nature of knowledge and knowing, which underpin and guide their actions and which are referred to as personal epistemologies. A wide range of paradigms for understanding and studying personal epistemologies is evident in the research literature in this field, but these different perspective and approaches—while varied in outlook and conclusion—point to how important it is that initial teacher education courses allow for the development of sophisticated personal epistemologies through explicit teaching that enables students to think ontologically and epistemologically, and that teacher educators initiate and sustain reflective and discursive practices throughout their courses to promote the best possible outcomes for the children that student teachers will go on to teach in their subsequent careers.
Mei Wu, MaryJo Benton Lee, Forrest W. Parkay, and Paul Pitre
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
Since the 1950s, China has had a “dual system” for the education of the country’s 56 ethnic minority groups. Though Article 4 of China’s 1982 Constitution states that “All nationalities in the People’s Republic of China are equal,” the quality of education for ethnic minorities is lower than that provided for the Han majority. Linguistic, cultural, economic, and geographic differences among China’s ethnic groups have resulted in unequal educational opportunities and outcomes for different groups. Several factors contribute to these inequities: a shortage of qualified minority teachers, inadequate professional development for teachers, few textbooks and learning materials in minority languages, curricula that do not reflect local knowledge, limited use of educational technology in classrooms, and poor communication between schools and communities. To date, policies and regulations developed by the Chinese government to address these problems have met with limited success. If China’s ethnic minorities are to benefit from China’s rapid socioeconomic development and rising stature on the world stage, the education they receive must reflect more appropriate language policies, innovative teaching practices, and enriched learning resources.
José Ignacio Rivas-Flores
Teaching’s purpose is to build a society’s knowledge and skills through a group of students using a curricular proposal within a social and institutional framework. It therefore takes place in institutions specifically created for this purpose, which, as such, represents a culturally constructed environment that is in line with the conditions of the society in which this process unfolds. Thus professional cultures have been historically constructed according to the working conditions, the teaching experiences transmitted from generation to generation, and the evolution of the educational systems. In addition, institutional cultures are developed according to the particular history of each school. Student cultures also form as social groups within these institutions. This represents a complex system that goes beyond mere instruction by curriculum. Preparing the professionals who will go on to work in these institutions requires an understanding of these cultural frameworks and the competence to be able to act on them. Ethnographic research promotes an understanding of educational reality from a critical reflective perspective, and this is only possible if researchers themselves participate in those frameworks. Ethnography can be understood as a shared construction of places for reflection, aimed at comprehending the cultural, social, and political phenomena that involve participants in the processes of change and transformation. Teacher preparation must, therefore, be established with an ethnographic approach, which reconstructs the school experience from a critical reflective perspective. In this way, the conditions for developing a professional identity based on the reconstruction of this experience are created. The theories, in this case, offer the opportunity to pursue this critical dialogue, breaking away from the prescriptive role that they adopt from a positivist perspective. Ethnography contributes to the tasks through three basic dimensions. First, teacher preparation throughout is an object of educational inquiry: there are many research studies of an ethnographic nature that report teacher training methods in an attempt to understand the processes taking place. Second, ethnographies are a tool for preparing future teachers: in this case, this refers to a curricular use of ethnography aimed at future teachers’ understanding of the educational processes through research. Third is a way of understanding learning—in other words, ethnographic attitude as a learning strategy and the use of ethnographic inquiry strategies and tools as means of learning about educational processes. This last case generally entails staying and acting in schools, and it is what most clearly links research and teaching in a shared process.
Ethnographic research in innovative education settings and initiatives has shown the practical impact of modern digital life culture and conditions on both research and professional development of curriculum and teaching strategies.
Following the process of digitization, themes that are high on political and institutional agenda include “IT-enhanced learning” and the necessity of synergistic organizational and pedagogical development. Ethnographic methodology enables ongoing interpretation of school development as reflected and discussed by professionals and teacher teams, thereby facilitating elucidation of changes and consequences at technical, organizational and pedagogical levels. The general question addressed can be expressed as: How can a digital platform, associated on- and/or off-line learning processes, and the context be understood, described and explored in a practical sense?
Against this background, ethnographic research is challenged to go beyond the rhetoric to explore the practical implications of the digital transformation and associated discourse. The challenge has been approached in terms of practice-oriented research facing the digital culture and renewing the ethnographic approaches across the spectrum from policy- and organizational-level to practical learning-level ethnographic investigation. The challenge is also seen as embedded in research which illustrates the potentials for ethnographic multisite studies contributing to that which I express as mapping the field of practice or paradigm, and cross-case studies crossing different learning contexts. The common highlighted theme is that changes in educational systems and practices are necessitating changes in ethnographic practices.
Maropeng Modiba and Sandra Stewart
Postcolonial ethnographic studies in Africa and, specifically, in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region tend to demonstrate varying sensitivity to local knowledge systems and culture. Ethnographers, both local and international, differ in the ways in which they engage with these aspects. Studies expose shifts, or lack thereof, in the mindsets of researchers. In general, researchers take for granted their cultural ideals and how to embrace broader responsibilities beyond the education or development initiatives they are studying. Although rhetorically supportive of the education/development of the subaltern, some studies selected and reviewed in this article indicate the researchers’ missionary dispositions and reliance on preconceived notions in making sense of the behavior and environments studied. To varying degrees fragmentations in perceptions, anthropological empathy, reluctance to acknowledge African contexts and ways of living as adequate in themselves stand out rather than deliberate efforts to preserve the internal cultures and knowledge systems of the communities and expand their knowledge and skills in sustainable ways.
Uma Pradhan and Karen Valentin
From an anthropological perspective, (educational) ethnography is much more than just a method in terms of a set of techniques but a way of taking a place in and grasping the world that ethnographers aim to represent and comprehend. With an imperative of “being there,” the ethnographer travels to specific locations to establish some form of physical presence in the field site. The idea of “location,” therefore, is central to educational ethnography in several ways. Research on education among different categories of people in Nepal, and a vast body of ethnographic literature on education around the world, demonstrates the centrality of “location” in anthropological knowledge production. This article discusses “location” as a conceptual category in order to explore the different analytical levels at which it operates in anthropological knowledge production on education. It does so in three different ways. First, ethnographers’ locations in the field—their biographical trajectories, academic backgrounds, and social positions—lay the ground for the ways in which ethnographers ‘see’ education in the field. Second, the historical context and sociopolitical developments of specific geographic locations, in this case Nepal, draw attention to ways in which existing societal concerns foster particular research interests on education and consequently shape knowledge about a given geographical location. Third, conducting ethnographic fieldwork in a variety of spatial sites within and beyond institutions of schooling allows ethnographers to explore the multiple and often conflicting meanings of education. This awareness on the multiplicity of ethnographic locations in educational ethnography promises to deepen our understanding of education, broadly defined, through a rigorous and highly contextualized inquiry that highlights multiple and contested voices and presents subjective modes of perceiving reality.
Ethnography is about cultural representation, which implies a gaze and set of questions and assumptions about who is being represented, by whom, and what for. In this sense, ethnography always is conducted across borders where borders imply a set of differences to confront and understand, even while the ethnographer is expected to effectively overcome these through embedded practice in the field. If the enterprise of conducting these studies is always marked by border crossing, then what are the different ways in which border crossings happen in knowledge production through ethnography? How does the definition of “border” change the way ethnographic studies are performed? Potential shifts in the meaning of “borders” heightens the importance of interrogating cultural representation, the social locations that ethnographers occupy, see, and speak from, and how perspectives on cultural representation and actual representations will differ. These dynamics build up when, as here, ethnography across borders implies the presence of the nation-state, either as palimpsest or direct actor in the relations and daily lives of the community-participant in the ethnography.
Borders are necessarily evoked—geopolitical, social, cultural, national, regional, global, and personal ones, such as gender, race, class, and ethnicity. Ethnography across borders emerges in this instance as a methodology and a stance to deconstruct the ways in which ethnographers and ethnographies are radically situated in their own histories, and how radical contextualization of those histories is required to understand across borders and uncover the limits of cultural representation, language, and ethnography as a tool to understand the lives of people, their histories, and communities.
Alpesh Maisuria and Dennis Beach
As described in Beach and Dovemark’s 2007 book, Education and the Commodity Problem, critical researchers have identified two fundamental roles for modern-day schools within capitalist states. These are the ideological and material roles and function, where schools produce ideologically compliant workers and consumers for a corporatist economy on the one hand, this is partly through a teaching and a curriculum, which is often hidden and informal; and, on the other form part of a corporate business plan for the accumulation of private capital in the welfare sector through mass outsourcing of welfare-State education provision and the wholesale commodification of education as a public service. This article presents a research method for investigating education in these circumstances. It is a method with a philosophical foundation not only for understanding contemporary educational empirical reality under neoliberal forms of capitalism, but also for developing critical consciousness for the transcendence and transformation of this condition toward a more just form of political economy and human existence.
This research method draws from critical realism and its concept of explanatory critique as a way to forge a scientifically robust Marxist critical ethnography. In relation to this, the description of the method accompanies an overview of some of the basic principles and broadly accepted possibilities of and for ethnography and critical ethnography, followed by a presentation of what Marxist critical ethnography is and how Marxist critical ethnography functions as explanatory critique, respectively. This entails description of what explanatory critique is, and how it can be used to develop a philosophy of social science and an ontological base for ethnography. The aforementioned components together expand on a historical, theoretical, conceptual, and political development of ethnography as part of a Marxist approach to research and practice for social transformation.
Ruth Mercado and Epifanio Espinosa
A specific comparative framework that incorporates an interpretive process dedicated to developing a more complex understanding of teaching knowledge incorporates the specific local contexts in which studies on teaching knowledge are conducted. Research on teaching knowledge within the region grew and diversified from the 1980s and 1990s. There are two key thematic contributions of this body of research: the nature of teaching knowledge and pedagogical approaches to teaching specific curricular content focusing on early literacy. Points of comparison between the different contributions of studies addressing teaching knowledge can be found. Additionally, institutional and social inequalities are manifested in schools and education in Latin American countries. Teaching knowledge, which teachers produce in and adapt to different social spaces (in other words, through practice), is crucial for fostering the development and learning of the students who attend school under the challenging conditions of the schools in these countries.
This article examines the possibilities of a comparative approach for ethnographic investigations on teachers’ work. It draws on contributions from a study carried out from 2006 to 2010 in private schools in Buenos Aires. Due to the deep socioeconomic crisis in Argentina in the 1990s, those schools reorganized themselves into cooperative schools. From a holistic approach, the study develops a comparative analysis related to the presencias estatales (state presences) in schools and how teachers experienced this. As the investigation progressed, a series of correlations between theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches were unfolded, allowing teachers’ work, from their “lived experience” perspective, to be recontextualized. The article is organized in four sections. The introduction presents the aim, the methodology, and an overview of the international context for developing comparative ethnographic investigations. The next section provides an overview of studies on teachers’ work in Latin America and Argentina, as well as the possibilities of comparison in the particular thematic field. Moving forward, it describes: (a) the theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches in detail through comparative analysis about the presencia estatales in cooperative schools, and (b) the ways in which teachers experience this. The conclusion presents a synthesis of the comparative analysis and propose new inquiries for further investigations.
Ethnography is a qualitative methodology worthy of consideration for application in studies within the field of early childhood education. The long-term, immersive, relational nature of ethnography enables rich, detailed descriptions of the complex interactions occurring, and ongoing engagement with children, families, and teachers provides the opportunity for co-analysis of the meanings that underlie the observed activities and interrelationships. The foremost source of data for ethnographic research is the regular writing of in-depth fieldnotes over a lengthy period of time, which may be supplemented by photographs, videos, interviews, focus group discussions, and analysis of relevant documents. Issues to be considered by those intending to conduct ethnographic research in early childhood care and education settings include: their availability to be immersed in the site that is the focus of the study, on a regular basis over a long period of time; sensitivity to power dynamics between adults and children and to cultural differences; the ethical issues pertaining to gaining and maintain young children’s informed consent; and collaborating with participants, including young children, in co-analyzing the meanings underlying the data gathered. The ethnographic researcher in an early childhood care and education setting can attend to such issues through an ongoing receptivity to the messages, including body language, of participants, along with a commitment to self-reflexivity on an ongoing basis. The nuanced, culturally located understandings that are gleaned by ethnographic researchers offer potential for such research to inform policymakers in relation to delivering conditions that will enable teachers to offer high-quality, culturally responsive early childhood care and education pedagogies and programs.
The European Commission launched a renewed agenda for adult learning with the objective of ensuring access to high-quality educational opportunities to adult learners for the promotion of their personal and professional development. Thus, European researchers in this field are paying attention to lifelong learning actions in order to address this challenge. Studies in this area are exploring how adult education can strengthen adults’ skills, in particular those required in the current knowledge society (information and communication technologies, problem solving, foreign languages, etc.). Simultaneously, some investigations focus in depth on the role that adult education can play in overcoming social exclusion for the most underserved groups. This paper describes the contributions of these investigations as well as the steps carried out by programs and theories that have contributed the most to adult learning. Lastly, future developments and challenges on this field are explained.