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Inclusive Education as a Human Right  

Ignacio Calderón-Almendros and Gerardo Echeita-Sarrionandia

Inclusive education has been internationally recognized as a fundamental human right for all, without exception. This international recognition seeks to address the dramatic inequality in current societies, since the enjoyment of the right to education for many disadvantaged people depends on it being inclusive. The recognition and enjoyment of this right requires a detailed analysis of the meaning and scope of inclusive education, as well as of the barriers and the main challenges faced. The consideration of inclusive education as a right, with its moral and legal implications, has been achieved to a large extent thanks to the political impact of diverse association movements of people with (dis)abilities. Paradoxically, many students with disabilities continue to be systematically segregated into special schools and classrooms, which violates their right to inclusive education. There is therefore much to learn from this contradiction. A lot also needs to be done to ensure the equal dignity and rights of people that experience exclusion and segregation associated with gender, social class, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, ability, etc. To this end, it is important to conceptually delimit the neoliberal domestication of a profoundly transformative term. The historical evolution of the recognition of inclusive education as a human right needs to be understood. There is also a need to consider the strength of the scientific evidence supporting it in order to counter certain views that question its relevance, despite them having been soundly refuted. Untangling these knots enables a more situated and realistic analysis to address some of the problems to be tackled in the implementation of inclusive education. This is a social and political endeavor that must break away from the market-oriented logic in education systems. It involves accepting that it is a fundamental right to be guaranteed through collective responsibility.

Article

Slow Violence and Schooling  

Leanne Higham

The concept of slow violence has broadened understandings of violence in ways that capture its spatial and temporal complexity, and that draw attention to its often-hidden operation. Since the 1960s and 1970s scholars of schooling and education have asked questions about power relations, inequalities, and injustices in schools, and in the early 21st century have turned their attention to affect and materiality. Although its conceptual predecessor, structural violence, has informed past education research, slow violence has not been widely taken up. This article explores the concept of slow violence, considering its relevance and use for education scholars concerned with the various mundane forms of violence enacted in schools, sometimes unintentionally, and often unnoticed. While the concept of slow violence is useful for thinking about everyday violence in this way, its real strength as a concept is lifted to view when considered in relation with affect in schooling and education.

Article

Researching Conditions of Learning—Phenomenography and Variation Theory  

Angelika Kullberg and Åke Ingerman

The research tradition of phenomenography and variation theory has contributed to insights on teaching and learning at all levels, from preschool to higher education. Phenomenographic studies contribute knowledge about how learners experience the same phenomenon in qualitatively different ways and thereby shed light on what learners need to discern to experience a phenomenon in more powerful ways. Variation theory, which was developed in relation to the collective empirical outcome and interpretation of decades of phenomenographic studies, is a learning theory that points to variation and invariance as primary mechanisms for learning. The theory may be used to plan teaching and to analyze teaching and learning and can therefore be used to address the relationship between teaching and learning. Learning study combines lesson study as a form for development of teaching in relation to learning with the theoretical input from variation theory, and an action research approach, using teacher experience and insights to systematically enhance teaching practice for learning (of the identified learning object). Recent developments in the field to a larger degree combine elements from phenomenographic and variation theory modes of inquiry and address the whole of teaching–learning as it unfolds in classrooms, as well as teaching and learning across larger knowledge areas and/or the stability of findings across larger sets of classrooms with teachers and students.

Article

Current Debates Over the Teaching of Phonics  

Greg Brooks

Phonics is a method of teaching people to read and spell (and therefore write) in an alphabetic writing system by associating symbols (letters/graphemes) with sounds (phonemes). The place of phonics in teaching children to read and spell is vigorously debated among researchers, often spilling over into the popular press. Advocates of principally comprehension-based (e.g., whole language) teaching have maintained that little or no phonics instruction is needed; others are of the view that it is essential and must be systematic. Analysis of the most rigorous evidence from research reviews and meta-analyses suggests that systematic phonics teaching is effective for teaching children to read and spell in English, and that the combination of systematic phonics teaching and comprehension-based approaches is probably more effective than either alone. Research has therefore begun on integrated teaching of literacy that incorporates both code and meaning emphases, but currently the requisite professional knowledge and teacher capacity are challenges for many school systems. The principal forms of phonics teaching are synthetic, where children are taught to sound out the letters of a word and to blend (synthesize) the sounds together to form a word; and analytic, in which sounding-out is not taught to start with, but children identify the phonic element from a set of words in which each word contains the element under study, for example, pat, park, push, and pen. There is not yet sufficient convincing research evidence to decide which of these is more effective. Systematic phonics teaching in general is effective across the primary age range, for normally developing and most at-risk children, and probably for children whose first language is not English; and its effects last, at least in the crucial early years. Nonetheless, government policy and reform interventions in this area are sometimes heavy-handed, frequently influenced by political and community pressure, and may face difficulties of scale, resources, and implementation that hamper their effectiveness and generalizability across school systems. A new, large systematic review may be needed to clarify various outstanding issues.

Article

Indigenous Education, Decolonization, and Reinvigorating the Work of Our Ancestors  

Hollie A. Kulago and Angela M. Jaime

Indigenous peoples have always had their educational strategies and systems in place to pass on their Ways of Knowing from one generation to the next. Indigenous education is an ongoing process in which the curriculum comes from the land, language, and community from where their ancestors emerged. Many systems and Ways of Knowing have been disrupted by settler colonialism’s persistent attempts to erase Indigenous peoples from the lands and mainstream narrative. Indigenous decolonization of education intervenes the assimilative frameworks of western education in order to work toward Indigenous sovereignty of the minds, lands, peoples, and nations.

Article

Historical and Contemporary Impact of Joseph J. Schwab  

Cheryl J. Craig

The cumulative research of Joseph J. Schwab contributed to undergraduate education, Jewish education, and secondary school science reform in addition to curriculum deliberations approached through his “Practical” papers, which were intended to mend the theory-practice divide. Schwab’s contributions to education have resulted in his continuing recognition as a leading curriculum figure. His career path features successes and challenges he faced, most often through the experiences and in the voices of those surrounding him. Six fine-grained exemplars from contemporary international research programs instantiate how Schwab’s scholarship continues to exert a major influence in the field. There are representative projects, chapters, and articles that represent Schwab’s ideas for (a) their currency (2010–2020), (b) their adequacy as Schwab-informed approaches, and (c) their ability to go beyond the simple exchange of research findings, which Schwab abhorred. The exemplars revolve around “The Practical” (Canada, China, Israel), Eros and education (U.S.), acts of teaching (U.S.), and connections among “The Practical,” Confucianism, and the German Didaktik (Singapore, U.K.) in addition to serial interpretation (U.S.). These robust exemplars originate with the research of students of Schwab, students of students of Schwab, national and international research teams and/or those who came to know his contributions and impact through the literature. Why Schwab’s scholarship has not been disseminated comprehensively has to do with its particularity and the challenge of generalizing approaches that were never intended to be prescriptions for large populations. Other obstacles include the fact that Schwab was ahead of his time. He defended what could be learned from practice and practitioners and vehemently opposed straight-laced forms of accountability and outcomes-based research.

Article

Critical Educational Psychology  

Tim Corcoran

Critical educational psychology has developed in response to traditional psychological applications taking place in education. Common amongst this area of work are concerns with reductionist and pathological ways of understanding those involved in teaching and learning. Further alignments occur with the promotion of social justice, empowerment, and recognition of difference, particularly in relation to ableism, racism, and other forms of prejudice. Critical educational psychologists rely upon varieties of psychological theory to support their work including social constructionism, sociocultural theories, and psychoanalytics. The intimate connection between theory and practice is regularly made explicit in critical educational psychology. Depending on geographic location, more regularly outside of North America, the referents educational and school psychology can be interchanged. Areas of applied work in educational settings include assessment, counseling, and working collaboratively with professionals such as teachers and speech pathologists. Critical educational psychologists examine the givenness of hegemonic psychological research and how this informs ways of knowing/being. Scientific methods are commonly targeted in this regard. Whether scientific accounts of people and the world should be dispelled outright provides grounds for ongoing debate. Even so, many critical educational psychologists are committed to working inclusively within and across different cultures and epistemologies. To this end, critical educational psychology is informed by explanations that are often marginalized from psychological discussion, such as critical race theory, contributions recognizing the global south, indigenous knowledges, as well as critical disability studies, posthuman theory, and new materialism. A central interest for critical educational psychology is championing difference differently. This is achieved through acknowledging the relationality of all things—human, nonhuman, material, and discursive—to affirm what is yet to be.

Article

Trans and Gender Diverse Youth and Education  

Jenny E. Kassen

As more young people find language to describe their gendered experiences, education as a field is reckoning with how to best support and affirm them in schools. Research centering on the experiences of transgender and gender diverse students (TGDSs) has brought to light many issues that impact on their school experiences, such as lack of curricular visibility, in-school support, and lack of appropriate facilities, illuminating the systemic forces at play that hamper TGDS participation and livability in schools and drawing attention to the violence that is enacted against them through erasure and overt transphobia. Examining the pervasive violence that TGDSs face at school through a framework of epistemic injustice provides an entry point conceptualizing of violence as extending beyond direct physical or verbal victimization to include the harm done when an individual is disqualified by others as a knower of their own experience. Cultural cisgenderism, the systemic erasure of TGD people in all aspects of society, is the vehicle by which epistemic injustice organizationally and instructionally informs and creates school climates where TGDSs come to be subject to verbal and physical aggression. Understanding the violence that impacts on every aspect of TGDSs’ academic trajectories as expressions of cultural cisgenderism and epistemic violence provides educators with options for intentionally examining the ways in which school systems are complicit in the production of a silence and invisibility around gender diversity which cultivates unsafe gender climates and thus facilitates more overt forms of harm. Examining the more insidious and normalized forms of epistemic violence opens up space to probe more deeply into how a positive—not merely bearable—school experience might be imagined for and with TGDSs.

Article

Schooling in Racist America  

Zeus Leonardo

Education is both a racial and class project. This means that a multidimensional theory of educational stratification is necessary if an accurate appraisal of schooling’s modern appearance in capitalist, racialized states is central to the research endeavor. Critiques of capitalism are found in critical pedagogy and Marxist studies of education since the 1970s, which argue that schooling’s intellectual division of labor mirrors the material structures of a capitalist division of labor. In addition, the advent of critical race theory in education since 1995 provides compelling evidence that schooling is not only an ideological apparatus of the capitalist state but also equally of the racist state. Together, developing a critical class theory and critical race theory of education offers a more complete explanation of educational stratification in order to understand its processes and perhaps ways to intervene in them.

Article

Critical Race Theory and STEM Education  

Terrell R. Morton

Critical race theory (CRT) is a framework that attends to the prevalence, permanence, and impact of racism embedded within and manifested through the policies, practices, norms, and expectations of U.S. social institutions and how those concepts have differentially impacted the lived experiences of Black and Brown individuals. CRT bore out of the legal studies—complemented by philosophical and sociological fields—and has since been applied to a multitude of disciplines including education. Composed of several tenets or principles, CRT approaches to research, scholarship, and praxis take a structural, systematic, or systemic perspective rather than an individual or isolated perspective. CRT provides scholars and practitioners the ability to acknowledge and challenge structural racism and intersectional forms of oppression as foundational to the perceived and experienced inequities outlined by various constituents. In providing such a perspective, CRT facilitates the opportunity for future ideologies that promote radical and transformative change to systems and structures that perpetuate racial and intersectional-based oppression. STEM education—representing the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from inter- and intradisciplinary perspectives—constitutes the norms, ideologies, beliefs, and practices hallmarked by and within these fields, examined both separately as individual disciplines (e.g., science) and collectively (i.e., STEM). These concepts comprise what is noted as the culture of STEM. Scholarship on STEM education, broadly conceived, discusses the influence and impact of STEM culture across P–20+ education on access, engagement, teaching, and learning. These components are noted through examining student experiences; teachers’ (faculty) engagement, pedagogy, and practice; leadership and administration’s implementation of the aforementioned structures; and the creation and reinforcement of policies that regulate STEM culture. Critical race theoretical approaches to STEM education thus critique how the culture of STEM differentially addresses the needs and desires of various racially minoritized communities in and through STEM disciplines. These critiques are based on the fact that the power to disenfranchise individuals is facilitated by the culture of whiteness embedded within STEM culture, a perspective that is codified and protected by society to favor and privilege White people. CRT in STEM education research tackles the influence and impact of racism and intersectional oppression on racially minoritized individuals in and through STEM by revealing the manifestation and implications of racism and intersectional oppression on racially minoritized individuals’ STEM interactions. CRT in STEM also provides opportunities to reclaim and create space that more appropriately serves racially minoritized individuals through the use of counterstories that center the lived experience of said individuals at the crux of epistemological and ontological understandings, as well as the formation of policies, programs, and other actions. Such conceptions strive to challenge stakeholders within STEM to alter their individual and collective beliefs and perspectives of how and why race is a contending factor for access, engagement, and learning in STEM. These conceptions also strive to challenge stakeholders within STEM to reconfigure STEM structures to redress race-based inequity and oppression.