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University Social Responsibility  

Montserrat Vargas Vergara

University social responsibility is an approach that goes beyond understanding the university as a transmitter of content and the training of future professionals. As an institution, it has a social mission: to positively transform and promote the social, economic and environmental development. It draws on the morality, ethics and responsibility of the entire university community to promote a culture and awareness of evaluation and self-assessment. It is a holistic vision that helps to design structures and governance, training and transfer plans, which enable and allow the development and active participation of all members of the society towards which it is projected.

Article

A Transnational History of Intellectual Exchanges with the United States and the Shaping of Latin American Education  

Rafaela Rabelo

At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States stood out internationally as a reference in pedagogical innovations and educational research. Teachers College (TC) at Columbia University in New York was one of the most renowned institutions that received students from many countries. Between the 1920s and 1940s, TC received more than 300 Latin American students. Some were already teachers or held administrative positions in their home countries. Upon their return, these Latin American educationalists promoted the circulation of what they had studied at TC by leading educational reforms, working on teacher training, and translating books. Later, several held prominent positions as university professors, in public administration, or as heads of research laboratories.

Article

Ethnic Minority Education in China  

Mei Wu, MaryJo Benton Lee, Forrest W. Parkay, and Paul E. Pitre

The introduction of bilingual education, the institution of preferential policies, and the implementation of 9-year compulsory schooling and its strengthening measures have resulted in educational attainments that are significant for a country with the size and diversity of China. The percentage of the ethnic minority students receiving education has increased greatly since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949; however, bilingual education is still challenging because of an inadequate supply of qualified teachers and other resources. Preferential policies created educational opportunities for ethnic minorities but did not improve educational quality. Instead, these policies created disparities among different ethnic groups and the Han who live in ethnic minority areas. China’s minority groups are diverse, and its policymaking mechanisms are highly centralized. Designing programs that allow ethnic minorities to benefit from the PRC’s rapid economic development will continue to be a challenge.

Article

Examining Challenges and Possibilities in the Objective of a Decolonized Education  

Marlon Lee Moncrieffe

This article examines challenges and possibilities in the objective of a decolonized education. Beginning with key referents to the term decolonized education, this article then provides a unique presentation of decolonizing the education of Eurocentric knowledge created through colonialism, empire, and racism. This process is shown as enacted through a decolonial consciousness framed by a historical, social, cultural, intellectual, emotional, and political disposition which takes action to reverse colonial knowledge. The article applies this decolonial consciousness in a review and analysis of the intergenerational educational experiences of migrant 20th-century African Caribbean people across the United Kingdom, and the ethnogenesis of their Black British children in the face of a White British-centric school system of epistemic inequality. The article provides a critical review on the challenges and possibilities in advocating for decolonized education for the greater inclusion of Black British experiences against national curriculum policy discourses given by U.K. government over the last few decades. The critical focal point of the article is on the aims and contents of the primary school history curriculum and the uncritical teaching and learning perspectives in the delivery of this curriculum. Challenges to decolonizing education and curriculum teaching and learning are presented, discussed, and analyzed through U.K. conservative/liberal democrat coalition government curriculum reforms of 2013 centered on restoring education and curriculum teaching and learning through an ethnic nationalist monocultural version of British national identity (whiteness) at the expense of multiculturalism (cultural diversity). This curriculum hierarchy of whiteness is contrasted by presentation and analysis of evidence-based research that decenters curriculum whiteness. Following this discussion is a review and analysis of debates and discussions in the U.K. Parliament held in 2020, forced by heightened public appeals for a decolonized curriculum. Finally, this article concludes by reviewing examples of continued professional development in teacher education and research that seeks to advance and extend decolonial praxis.

Article

Sociology of Gender and Education  

Mohammad Naeimi and Jón Ingvar Kjaran

Sociology of gender and education is an interdisciplinary subfield of inquiry in sociology that is situated in feminist sociological theories and education/pedagogy/schooling. The field investigates complex, multileveled, and unequal distributions of power in educational spaces regarding gender constructions, identities, and characteristics such as femininity, masculinity, non-normativity, and nonbinarism. More precisely, sociology of gender and education deeply inquiries how and to what extend education systems and schools, as modern institutions of society and public sectors, embody power and resources to reinforce and deploy the social order built historically around male gender privilege while maintaining women’s and other marginalized groups’ issues at the periphery. The researchers of this field, therefore, by touching upon historical, political, and sociocultural accounts, highlight and criticize the heteronormative, patriarchal, and male-centered inherence of the educational environment that (re)produces gender distinctions, gender inequality, and gender-based violence. These gender inequalities can be found in areas and aspects of education including curricula, learning material, teacher-student interaction, and school culture.

Article

Systems Theory Approaches to Researching Educational Organizations  

Raf Vanderstraeten

In modern society, organizations are present in almost every social domain. From the end of the 18th century onward, education has predominantly taken place in school organizations. Of course, education still takes place within families, but to send a child to school was from around that time onward no longer seen to reflect unfavorably on its family. Schools are no longer a symptom of the family’s failure. The family and the school, rather, have become perceived as different but coexisting settings within which education takes place. Moreover, the way school organizations operate has generally come to be seen as more in accord with the needs of our modern “(post)industrial” society. Educational organizations, such as schools, build upon their own decision-making histories, but the organizational order which they produce is thought to be in line with the kinds of order that dominate in other social domains. More so than families, schools are expected to prepare children for the present and the future. Using systems theory, the consequences of the organizational framing of education can be examined more closely. Developments within systems theory draw particular attention to the relation between organizations and their environment. Informed by this literature, we discuss, on the one hand, how the relation between schools and society can be adequately conceptualized, and, on the other hand, how the growing societal status of school organizations is affecting nonorganized families. Rather than focusing on the ways in which school organizations adapt to their environments, the interest in systems theory approaches is shifting to the ways in which the environments of school organizations must adapt to the expansion of these organizations. Topics that may be fruitfully tackled in future educational research are also explored.

Article

Student Voice, Inequalities, and Class  

Rachel Finneran, Eve Mayes, and Rosalyn Black

It is well-understood that systems of education tend to disproportionately benefit already advantaged social groups. Students have been positioned in recent reform efforts as agents with the right to be involved in decision-making on an increasing range of issues related to their education, in practices commonly termed “student voice” in policy, practice, and research. Student voice has been argued to be a mechanism to intervene in educational inequalities and a means to enhance students’ choices at school. Student voice is frequently represented as a neutral proposition: that is, that students’ involvement in decision-making will directly benefit both the school and the students themselves. This apparently neutral proposition elides how, in practice, some students may benefit from experiences of “student voice” more than others. Critiques of student voice, as well as contemporary calls for a return to class analysis in education, compel attention to the potential ways that student voice practices can aggravate existing inequalities. Classed dynamics contour even well-intentioned attempts to intervene in educational inequalities. The dynamic experience of class has shifted in relation to student voice across contexts and over time, particularly in individualistic, market-driven educational systems structured by the rhetoric of “choice.” Further research into the shifting nature of class in relation to student voice may include longitudinal processes of “studying up” to understand how student voice can be mobilized to cultivate educational advantage and distinction in class-privileged schooling contexts. What is also needed is a renewed uptake of the concept of class consciousness in student-voice practice—that is, beyond voice as a strategy to personalize individual students’ learning and toward enactments of student voice as collective work—if student voice is to disrupt the reproduction of structural inequalities through schooling.

Article

Teach For America  

Spencer J. Smith

Since its founding in 1989 by then–college student Wendy Kopp, Teach For America (TFA) has influenced education policy and public perceptions of schooling both in the United States and abroad. By placing recent college graduates as full-time teachers in schools located in low-income communities, TFA attempts to solve educational inequity. This work has often met with resistance from teacher educators and traditional teacher preparation programs. Central to this resistance is the brevity of TFA’s training. TFA recruits, called corps members, undergo a 6-week training the summer before stepping into a K-12 classroom they control. Over 3 decades, TFA has responded to some of these criticisms and has changed. Even though TFA teachers make up a small proportion of teachers in the United States, scholars still study TFA since many elements of contemporary U.S. schooling are encapsulated within the TFA program. Understanding TFA’s history is necessary for the way scholars and educationists engage with the organization to think about issues in education, including the effect of teachers on student achievement, the standardization of neoliberal schooling, appropriate responses to academic achievement gaps, and the use of culturally responsive pedagogies and cultural competency in classrooms of historically marginalized students. Importantly, these issues are not just entirely theoretical when TFA actively influences public policy and TFA alumni create new school networks, lead large school districts, and become education scholars themselves. Additionally, TFA’s international expansion in 2007 means that TFA’s influence can be felt globally.

Article

Transformational School Leadership to Dismantle Inequitable Systems  

Deirdra Preis

A key reason for the failure of U.S. school leaders to challenge systems of inequity is the lack of exposure to the theory and skill development needed to manage the resistance and political challenges that inevitably occur when interrogating unjust traditions of practice. As preparation programs aim to improve their candidates’ future success in addressing inequitable educational access, it is critical that they develop in their students the self-efficacy around relational practices and strategies needed to manage the micropolitics of transformative work. Examining how transformative K–12 school leaders effectively challenge structural inequities and manage to sustain their leadership positions during turbulent times can help to inform such curricular and instructional revisions. Some of the key practices identified by successful transformative K–12 leaders include engaging in reflection around their positionality, developing racial literacy, effectively facilitating shared visions and collective responsibility for social justice advocacy, building the capacity of stakeholders, developing critical alliances through transparent and authentic community involvement, and participating in supportive professional peer networks that offer ongoing reflection, study, and support. By providing such content and skill practice, and ensuring that instruction and mentoring are provided by faculty who are experienced in transformative leadership, leader candidates can be better prepared for the realities of this challenging work, increasing the likelihood that they will act transformatively upon assuming school leadership roles.

Article

Trauma-Informed Practice in Early Childhood Education  

Elspeth Stephenson

Early traumatic experiences can have a profound impact on the developing brain causing a catastrophic effect on a child’s growth and development, the result of which can be lifelong. Early childhood educators have a critical role to play in the lives of children who have trauma histories. These educators are well positioned to undertake this work because early childhood philosophy and pedagogy align with the needs of a child who has experienced early adversity. Beliefs about the role of relationships, attachment, and felt safety are central to this work. To be effective, however, educators need to be trauma informed in their practice. Understanding how adverse experiences cause adaptation to the developing brain and impede development is a good starting place to becoming trauma informed, but translating this understanding into practice is key to success. While there are strategies that can support educators to work effectively with children with trauma histories, strategies alone will not suffice. They cannot simply be applied to any situation. If educators apply strategies without due thought and consideration in relation to the child’s needs and context, at best they may be ineffective and at worst, there is potential to retraumatize the child. All educators and children are unique individuals and therefore bring different attributes to each situation. Educators who understand themselves and their attributes can use this knowledge, along with their understanding of context and the impact of trauma, to make informed decisions about their practice. While this reflective process can sound arduous, educators can quickly become skilled as they hone their craft and see changes to their practice bring successful outcomes for children. In this way, early childhood educators have the capacity to change developmental trajectories for children and make a difference that will be lifelong.