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Article

Current Trends and Directions in Socioscientific Issues Education Research  

Aswathy Raveendran

References to socioscientific issues (SSIs) in science education research literature can be traced back to the 1980s. With a focus on introducing students to SSIs or issues with conceptual or technological links to science, the SSI movement aims to foster skills for democratic citizenship in students. This entails understanding the ethical and political complexities involved in these technoscientific controversies, the nature of the evidence involved and arriving at one’s own position on these issues. Two major approaches characterize research in the field of SSI education—the sociocultural and sociopolitical approaches, which differ in their assumptions and methodological approaches. While both approaches are concerned about issues of democratic citizenship and teaching skills to engage SSIs, they differ in their overarching emphasis on sociopolitical actions. The literature on SSIs raises questions on citizenship and how it is theorized in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education research as well as whether schools are meaningful spaces where students can engage with SSIs. It is also important to carefully deliberate on what meaningful sociopolitical actions entail. Future SSI research needs to focus on the issue of navigating SSIs in the affective space of the classroom where complex power-ridden relationalities play out between teacher and students. There is also a necessity for the SSI movement to engage with questions of contextualization and politicization of the STEM curriculum as a whole.

Article

LGBTQ+ Students in PK–12 Education  

Benjamin A. Lebovitz, Erin K. Gill, Mollie T. McQuillan, and Suzanne E. Eckes

Shifts in the visibility and recognition of LGBTQ+ identity have been accompanied by an evolution in understanding how educational policies, curricula, and environments impact well-being, health, and academic success. Since 2015, landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizing same-sex marriage and expansively defining sex under employment law have been joined by a retrenchment in public opinion as well as federal and state policy. This paradox of both increasing LGBTQ+ visibility and resistance toward LGBTQ+ acceptance has centered LGBTQ+ youth in political debates, with a particular focus on issues related to transgender and nonbinary youth. Historically, the literature on LGBTQ+ students in schools has focused on discrimination and poor social relationships, such as bullying, harassment, and victimization. While situated in a deficit-based framing, students’ reports of negative school environments and their connection to poor academic and health outcomes provide the motivation for policymakers, educators, parents, and other educational stakeholders to invest in structural and social reform efforts. The law has played a prominent role in both the expansion and retrenchment of students’ civil rights in schools, and this has been true for LGBTQ+ students. LGBTQ+ students have experienced many favorable but fluctuating rulings in many courts, so school officials would be wise to keep apprised of the evolving decisions in their jurisdictions. Educational stakeholders should familiarize themselves with the legal landscape, advocate for inclusive and protective state and local policies, ensure that local district practices protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination and harassment in schools, leverage LGBTQ+-inclusive community organizations and resources, participate in trainings to improve inclusive school practices, and build LGBTQ+-inclusive facilities, teaching practices, and social supports for youth.

Article

Locus of Control Framework and Teacher Well-being  

Inga Venema-Steen and Anne Southall

The locus of control framework, a well-established model of human management in the business sector, suggests that individuals display internal characteristics (Internals) and external characteristics (Externals). Internals are known for being more focused and proactive in the workplace, whereas Externals are more guided by outside influences and therefore are more accepting of external outcomes. Researchers support the notion that teachers are able to support their personal well-being by drawing on their internal and external resources and examining their teaching role in relation to three key areas: the school leadership, the students, and the teachers themselves. The school leadership impacts teacher well-being through the creation of the school climate, which is more suited for staff with either internal or external attributes. The school leadership is able to support teacher well-being levels by positive relationships, empathetic communication, and strong bonds of trust to foster teacher resilience and job satisfaction in Internals and Externals. Educators who exhibit high self-efficacy or possess a higher level of internal locus of control tend to display proactive behaviors, resulting in lower stress levels and enhanced job satisfaction. Furthermore, the influential role of students in shaping teacher well-being, primarily through the dynamics of teacher–student relationships, is profound. Internals are known for establishing positive connections with students. These relationships are known for contributing significantly to a sense of fulfillment and overall well-being among teachers. Conversely, negative teacher–student relationships can lead to heightened stress levels, burnout, and increased absenteeism among educators. To extend resilience and strengthen positive relationship toward students, Externals could participate in practical courses where detailed guidance is provided, resulting in enhanced job satisfaction. Teachers need to draw onto their internal environment to identify factors that impact their well-being. Personal circumstances encompass both their work and home life, as well as their physical and mental well-being. The emphasis and adoption of positive coping strategies, such as effective time management, stress management, and maintaining a healthy work–life balance, are effective means of mitigating workplace stressors in both Internals and Externals. Negative coping strategies, including avoidance and reliance on substances, are discouraged, with a strong emphasis on seeking support from mentors and professionals.

Article

Sweden and Education as a Market  

Lisbeth Lundahl

Since the late 1970s, the relationship between the state, the public sector, and the economy has undergone a profound transformation globally toward privatization, commercialization, and market organization. Pronounced marketization of education has occurred even in the Nordic countries, traditionally characterized as having social democratic/universalistic and egalitarian welfare systems, but with considerable national variations. Sweden has caught international attention by introducing unusually far-reaching, state-supported privatization of educational provision and strong incentives for school choice and competition. Central issues addressed include the factors associated with the exceptionally swift and far-reaching market reforms in Sweden, as well as the persistence of the resulting system and its consequences according to current research. A hasty reform decision, paucity of envisioned alternatives, and the appeal of school choice for an expanding middle-class contributed to the neoliberal turn in Swedish education politics. Generous rules of establishment and possibilities of profit-making attracted big businesses, particularly after the decision in the mid-1990s to fully tax-fund independent “free” schools. Within a 10-year period, substantial proportions of the schools were owned and run by large, profit-making companies and chains. Research has shown that the school choice and privatization reforms, besides providing parents and young people in the urban areas with a vast smorgasbord of schools, have fueled growing educational inequity and segregation since the 1990s. Despite increasing criticism of the design of school choice and profit-making in education from many sides, recently even from conservative–liberal media and politicians, the Swedish “market school system” persists and flourishes.

Article

Embedding Sustainability in Teacher Education in Australia  

Lisa D. Ryan and Jo-Anne L. Ferreira

The role of education in addressing environmental and sustainability concerns has been recognized since the 1960s, with contemporary education for sustainable development (ESD) approaches seeking to prepare students to be active citizens with the knowledge, skills, and capacities to successfully address sustainability challenges. Given the focus on education as a key strategy, there have also been numerous international initiatives seeking to reorient teacher education for sustainability (TEfS), including providing curriculum resources for teacher educators, upskilling teacher educators, building communities of practice, and developing ESD competency frameworks. Despite these efforts, few teacher education institutions embed such work, resulting in limited skills and capabilities among teacher educators to teach active citizenship for sustainability. Barriers to effective TEfS include compartmentalization of disciplines and the prioritization of other curriculum areas such as numeracy and literacy, and this has compounded the problem. A case study of a decade-long project, Embedding Teacher Education for Sustainability in Australia, demonstrates how systems approaches to change that build common visions, identifying and working with all stakeholders within a system, can lead to positive TEfS outcomes. There are key lessons to be learned from this project, which might inform a future model for embedding sustainability in teacher education in other countries. Using a systems approach to change that recognizes key drivers of teacher education, such as governmental policy and teacher accreditation, and that advocates for the inclusion of ESD into teacher standards should be a key priority action if ESD is to be successfully embedded within teacher education.

Article

The Philosophy of Mathematics Education  

Catherine Henney and Kurt Stemhagen

The philosophy of mathematics education (PoME) is a field of inquiry that pursues questions arising from the long tradition of mathematics as a school subject. An integrated area of study, PoME draws on other established disciplines such as philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of education. However, propositions and theses within PoME also have implications for the theory and practice of mathematics education. Rather than actively blurring boundaries among contributory disciplines, PoME is a subdiscipline that reflects their inherent interdependence. Many of PoME’s core questions address the very nature of mathematics, how we come to learn it, and the historical and contemporary aims of mathematics education. Though not the first to address these individual lines of inquiry, Paul Ernest’s The Philosophy of Mathematics Education (1991) may be regarded as PoME’s inaugural text. His landmark publication also demonstrated how philosophical inquiry may guide critical analysis of educational practices and policies. Questions about what mathematics is are not disentangled from those about its teaching and learning. Thus, PoME demonstrates a kind of internal elasticity: how we answer one question has a bearing on how we might answer another. For example, is mathematics something “found” or “made”? The perception of mathematics—how we tend to characterize its nature—can underscore beliefs about mathematics pedagogy. The view of mathematics as a cultural construct (rather than an absolute body of knowledge and related skills) likely dovetails with a constructivist pedagogical approach. But at the same time, such a view of mathematics may encounter ideological tension, if not outright resistance, in sociopolitical arenas. Reconceptualizing mathematics and mathematics education may be considered philosophical endeavors that challenge dominant assumptions and build frameworks with the potential to make mathematics fundamentally more inclusive. The story of PoME is the story of its genesis, its role in imagining a more equitable and humanistic school math experience, and the need to make room for new, alternative approaches and viewpoints that honor the radical spirit in which PoME was developed.

Article

Critical Policy Discourse Analysis in Higher Education  

Jane Mulderrig

Critical Policy Discourse Analysis (CPDA) is a method for critically investigating the linguistic mechanisms by which education policy is constituted and contested in specific contexts. It involves a systematic methodology for textual and contextual analysis, designed to explore historically specific policy problems and their ideological significance. The analytical procedures involved in this approach are illustrated by means of a case study examining the introduction of quality-assurance governance practices and market-oriented reforms to U.K. higher education (HE). Specifically, the “Teaching Excellence Framework,” introduced in 2017, has two core purposes: to audit and rank universities by teaching quality and to open up the university market to private (for-profit) providers. The two main government documents which introduced this policy are examined in order to explore the prominent themes within this policy, as well as the linguistic strategies that contribute to its ideological framing. A critical investigation of the language through which this policy was introduced and legitimated reveals the neoliberal principles which underpin it and demonstrates how it operates as a dehumanizing technique of calculation and surveillance, while subordinating universities’ societal role to the needs of the economy. Corpus-aided methods are combined with a framework for close textual analysis of policy data, focussing on presuppositions, evaluation, modality and pronouns. The analysis shows the systematic linguistic processes by which student-consumer subjectivities are constructed and the rhetoric of “choice” and “value for money” is (mis)represented as the key to greater access and social mobility for students. This policy takes a significant step toward recasting educational relations in extrinsic, exchange-value terms, which are deeply damaging to universities’ original purpose of building communities of critical reflection, intellectual freedoms, and trust.

Article

Early Jesuit Visions of Education  

Rosa Bruno-Jofré and Ana Jofre

Founded by Ignacio de Loyola, the Society of Jesus was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 and suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. The Jesuits’ vision of education, which was transformative and student centered, thus showing awareness of the rise of individuality, was framed by The Spiritual Exercises (1548), Chapter IV of their Constitutions (1558), and, especially, the Ratio Studiorum (1599). Their conception of education integrated humanism and medieval scholasticism, embraced Aristotelian conceptions, and adopted the theology of Thomas Aquinas. It intersected humanism and confessionalization. A major aim was to prepare a male Catholic leadership for the new order of things; hence, the emphasis was on the creation of colleges and also universities. Funding of their colleges and universities often led to questionable practices such as slavery. Their educational work was framed by a developing geopolitical context of coloniality, and the ministry followed colonization and trade involving the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe, generating powerful networks and embodying a form of globalism with precursory transnational characteristics. The Jesuits often acted as cultural brokers and interlocutors with local cultures. See interactive map. There was an interplay between the Jesuits’ educational work and their research in math and areas of science with the contextual intellectual and political configurations of emerging ideas and discoveries, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, and they tried a degree of articulation with new ideas. The 17th century witnessed the dispute of the Jesuits with the Jansenists around human freedom and divine grace, as well as the decline of scholasticism and Aristotelianism, but also a spiritual renewal that opened the Church to the needs of the people, resulting in basic education for poor children as a response to the Reformation, while the 18th century brought a scientific and philosophical movement. Within the patriarchal setting of the Church, there was a realization that women were needed outside the cloister in the educational enterprise. The 18th-century scenario was not easy for the Jesuits, who could not articulate their thinking within new emerging configurations of political and intellectual ideas as they had done in the 16th century. Interaction with location, the historicity of experience, and the Jesuits’ search for knowledge and the role the schools played in the formation of thinkers of modernity give reasons, among others, to decenter the analysis of the Society. See concept map of contexts.

Article

Imaginative Ecological Education: Evolution of a Theory and Practice  

Gillian Judson

Imaginative Ecological Education (IEE) is an emerging cross-curricular and cross-grade pedagogical approach that seeks to address the neglect of emotional and imaginative engagement in Place-based learning. Its dual aims are to engage learners emotionally with the natural world and, ultimately, to transform how learners understand their relationship within the natural world. Understanding ecologically or the development of ecological understanding is the main goal; this represents a deep understanding of human connectedness within the living world. To achieve this goal, Imaginative Ecological Education acknowledges the central role of emotion in all learning and considers the value of emotional engagement not just for learning, but for supporting connections to nature that inspire environmental values and action. This pedagogical approach brings imagination from the sidelines to the centre of theory and practice, acknowledging that imagination is essential for engaging in learning and transforming human-nature relationships. Envisioning the possible, the not-yet, requires imagination. The central focus on emotional and imaginative engagement of learners within Place-focused teaching is what sets Imaginative Ecological Education apart from other approaches to outdoor learning. Imaginative Ecological Education theory and practice is evolving based on practitioner feedback and research.A Walking Curriculum: Evoking Wonder and Developing Sense of Place (K-12) is the most practical and accessible book on Imaginative Ecological Education. It contains a series of walking-focused activities that engage the principles of Imaginative Ecological Education in order to support emotional connections in learning. To date this approach has been most employed in the elementary school context. Research suggests that Imaginative Ecological Education practices support learners in forming emotional connections with and in the natural world.

Article

Researching Relationships Between Rural Education, Space and Social Justice  

Hernan Cuervo

The relationship between rural schooling, space, and theories of justice is important to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals (e.g., students, teachers, principals) learning and teaching in rural places. To understand these challenges and opportunities, social justice needs to be comprehended at the level and setting where it is being enacted. This need for a contextualization of social justice, rather than universal and impartial notions of the concept, contributes to make visible the structures and relationships that constitute the space of rural schooling. This is important because the entrenched inequities experienced by rural school participants (e.g., students, staff, and the community) can only be fully addressed through a plural conceptualization and practice of social justice. This plurality needs to include a politics of distribution and a politics of recognition if it aims to make rural school spaces equitable and just. The work of Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth has been key to theorize the plural conceptualization of social justice in the intersection with space and rural education. Their scholarly work has been crucial because traditionally, a politics of distribution has tended to be the main social justice dimension applied in educational policies to redress perennial inequalities, such as shortage of staffing. This has produced a shortcoming and one-size-fits-all approach that can homogenize the diversity of rural spaces and schools. Against this dominance of distributive justice, a politics of recognition, through the work of Young, Fraser, and Honneth, is key to enhance the resignification and value of the rural space, knowledge, and schooling. To illustrate the need for a plural approach to social justice, two issues in rural education are particularly important: the constitution of the rural school curriculum and the perennial problem of recruiting and retaining school staff. While distribution of resources is important, at the core of both issues is a need for the social respect and cultural resignification of rural knowledge, experiences, and ways of life. This approach that takes recognition theory seriously into account, as well as distributive justice, helps to better understand how rural schooling can be socially just.