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Curriculum Wisdom and Educational Leadership  

Daniel J. Castner, Jennifer L. Schneider, and James G. Henderson

Curriculum wisdom was developed by curriculum theorists in the United States and has roots tracing back to Ancient Greek wisdom traditions as well as the European Enlightenment. Curriculum wisdom envisions educators as lead professionals for democratic ways of living. As such, it is a pedagogically grounded approach to curriculum development and leadership and is an aspirational, ethical vision for empowering contemporary educators. To support this vision, the essay introduces two interdependent scaffoldings. Curriculum workers engage in 3Ds—deliberation, discipline, and democracy—for the purposes of developing holistic 3Ss—subject, self, and social—understandings. Rounding out the essay is a discussion of a fourfold problem-solving process for democratic curriculum development and leadership.

Article

Data-Based Decision-Making  

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

Data Use in Recent School Reforms  

Sølvi Mausethagen, Tine S. Prøitz, and Guri Skedsmo

Typically involving the use of test scores, grades, and other forms of assessment in various educational contexts, the concept of data use has developed in parallel with the introduction of new managerial approaches to school governance, including performance management and accountability measures. This use of data for governance purposes is one way in which national authorities coordinate activities across administrative levels to improve education quality and effectiveness. Policymakers’ and researchers’ frequent use of the concepts of data and data use also usually parallels this development. However, based on systematic research mapping, the present findings identify differing ideas about data use in national and local contexts, including the role that data play and should play in school reform. Such differences relate to variations in school systems, teachers’ status, school governance traditions, curricular traditions, and research traditions. Moreover, characteristic of the literature on data use is an emphasis on the organization and development of effective data use practices. This is somewhat paradoxical, as both earlier and more recent studies emphasize the need for a stronger focus on the actual practices of the involved actors if data are to be of value in school development processes. Three important needs are important when considering data use in policy, research, and practice: the need for greater awareness of the epistemic aspects of data use; the need for context sensitivity, as data use is often presented as a universal concept across national and local contexts; and the need for researchers to communicate with other related fields to improve theory and practice.

Article

Deleuze Studies in Education  

David R. Cole

Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) was a French philosopher, who wrote about literature, art, cinema, other philosophers, capitalism, and schizophrenia. His wide-ranging oeuvre has begun to be considered seriously in education, because his ideas act as springboards for further elaboration and application in connected areas such as research, learning theory, early childhood education, curriculum and policy studies, and teacher education. Whilst it is impossible to track exactly how, when, and indeed if “Deleuze Studies in Education” will mature and progress to occupy a mainstream position in education, it is worth considering the influence of the French thinker as a mode of renewal and new thought. The questions that concern “Deleuze Studies in Education” therefore shift from positing thought from “the known” to “what can be done.” Deleuze’s solo work acts a basis for new thinking in the philosophy of education. His series of philosophical studies track and develop a new philosophy, that redraws Western concepts of the subject, knowledge, learning, and thought. The intent of this new philosophy is to open up fixed Western ideas to their international and historical counterparts and to produce a way of thinking that occupies a middle ground, disconnected from the dominant, intellectual empire building that has predominantly hailed from the West. Deleuze’s writing with the French intellectual activist, Félix Guattari (1930–1992), takes on a distinct shift and urgency away from the rewriting of the Western philosophical tradition until their last joint work called: “What is Philosophy?” and which presents a new philosophy that is sketched out in the second half of this book, and which deploys affect, percepts, concepts, and forms and functions, to move away from the ultimate horror of the present situation as they saw it: “commercial professional training.” “Deleuze Studies in Education” is deepened and reinvented through their dual work and is transformed into a mode of critical capitalist and environmental studies, which adds historical/subjective valence to how one understands current shifts in educational practice. Lastly, the specific oeuvre of Félix Guattari, which is often less investigated and focused upon in education than Deleuze, serves as a pressing and ethical engagement with theory that can be readily applied to issues such as environmental concerns, inequality, power, and activism. Guattari’s ideas are present as a lasting aspect of “Deleuze Studies in Education” because they demonstrate many of the links to practice that Deleuze theorized throughout his philosophy.

Article

Dell Hymes and Language Education  

Levi Durbidge

The work of Dell Hymes has been highly influential in language education and the field of linguistics more generally. Questions about the appropriateness of engaging with his work have been raised following allegations of sexual harassment during his tenure at the University of Pennsylvania. However, the radical nature of his work and its role in demonstrating that language was co-constitutive of the social, historical, and political contexts of its speakers requires engagement, particularly given the challenges facing language education in the early 21st century. Hymes’ identification of the communicative event as fundamental to an understanding of language has been instrumental in the development of an influential collection of approaches now collectively referred to as communicative language teaching (CLT). Hymes’ sociologically informed concept of communicative competence, developed in reaction to Chomsky’s notions of linguistic competence and performance, has also been highly influential in language education research and practice. Subsequently, concerns have been raised about the recontextualization of Hymes’ work and the disconnect between idealized notions of communicative competence as they appear in contexts of language education and the actual language use in speech communities. From a conceptual standpoint, re-engagement with Hymes’ work is needed to reorient CLT and corresponding notions of communicative competence to their sociological bases. Hymes understood the speech community as the context par excellence for describing language, and therefore it should also inform the orientation of language education to communication. This can be achieved by allowing ethnographic work to play a larger role in contexts of language education. Advances in digital communications technology offer many such opportunities, removing proximal requirements for observing and interacting with target speech communities and providing access to digital artifacts produced by the community. As language education faces challenges driven by rapidly changing political, sociological, and technological circumstances, Hymes’ insights about the inherent inequality of language and its relationship with the political and social dimensions of speech communities remain highly relevant. Re-engaging with a Hymesian understanding of communicative competence means recognizing the contextually dependent bases for judgments about language and the variation that exists between individuals even within the same speech community. Hymes saw that the path to a more aware, more just society ran through this understanding of communicative competence, and so language education must look to this understanding if it seeks to transform the role that language plays in our social and political lives.

Article

Democracy and Justice in Mathematics and Science Curriculum  

Paola Valero and Auli Arvola Orlander

How mathematics and science curricula connect to democracy and justice is understood through the examination of different perspectives of mathematics and science education as political. Although frequently conceived of as neutral, these school subjects have been central in recent modern education for governing the making of rational, science-minded citizens who are necessary for social, political, and economic progress. Three main perspectives are identified in the existing research literature. A perspective of empowerment highlights the power that people can acquire by learning and using mathematics and science. A perspective of disadvantage focuses on how the pedagogies of mathematics and science intersect with categories such as ability, gender, class, ethnicity, and race to generate and reproduce marginalization. A perspective of subjectivation examines the effects of mathematics and science curricula within the context of historical and cultural processes for the making of desired modern, rational, and techno-scientific types of citizens, thus creating categories of inclusion and exclusion. All together, these perspectives point to the ways in which mathematics and science, as privileged forms of knowing in contemporary school curricula, simultaneously operate to include or exclude different types of students.

Article

Détournement as a Qualitative Method  

James Trier

The term détournement is most associated with a European, mainly Paris-based avant-garde group called the Situationist International (SI), which was founded in 1957, went through three distinct phases, played a key role in the May ’68 massive general strike in France, and eventually dissolved in 1972. Guy Debord was the SI’s singular leader and its most important theorist. Debord’s 1967 book The Society of the Spectacle is the best-known work produced by an SI member. In it, Debord develops his theorization of what he called the Spectacle, which is capitalism in its economic, political, social, and cultural totality. Debord argued that culture—especially visual and popular culture—played a central role in transforming citizens into consumers and passive spectators in all spheres of their lives. In societies saturated by seductive visual representations and permeated by an endless staging of spectacles, all that matters to those in power is that people consume commodities and become politically malleable and stupefied. The Spectacle works to transform everyday life into a continuous experience of alienation, passivity, mindless consumption, and political non-intervention. An apt cinematic reference for the Spectacle is the film The Matrix. Debord’s theory seems to preclude any possibilities for challenging or contesting the Spectacle, but Debord also theorized that such possibilities (situations) could be created in everyday life, and détournement was the critical anti-art that Debord and his friends practiced for the purpose of critiquing and challenging the alienating, pacifying, spectator-inducing, socially controlling forces of the Spectacle. For Debord, détournement was by definition an anti-spectacular action and creation that sought to subvert the debilitating effects of the Spectacle’s life-draining power. During the SI’s first phase (1957–1962), members of the SI created many détournements that contested the dominance of what they believed was a crucially important sphere within the Spectacle—that of the Art World. The SI’s détournements took many forms, including films, comics, paintings, graffiti, novels, and public interventions and scandals. Eventually, during its second phase (1962–1968), the SI called for a détournement of the streets and of everyday life through strikes and protests. Of their role in the events of May’68, the SI wrote that it brought fuel to the fire. During those events, ten million people walked off the job, engaged in wildcat strikes, and brought the country—and the Spectacle—to a standstill. For Debord and the SI, May ’68 was the ultimate construction of a revolutionary situation in which détournement contributed to the radical transformation of everyday life, if only for a brief time. So détournement is an important practice in the service of combatting the Spectacle and dismantling capitalism. In terms of qualitative research, détournement has a set of resemblances to several qualitative methods and perspectives, including the aesthetic and arts-based research approaches of bricolage, collage, critical media literacy, and public pedagogy, to name a few.

Article

Dialogic Education  

Rupert Wegerif

Dialogic education is a relatively new force in educational theory and practice. Despite the variety of approaches to dialogic education, it nonetheless offers a coherent theory of education with implications not only for how education should be practiced but also for the purposes of education. Dialogic education takes place through dialogue which means opening up dialogic spaces in which different perspectives can clash or play together and new learning can occur. But dialogic education is not only education through dialogue, it is also education for dialogue, meaning that as a result of dialogic education learners become better at learning together with others through dialogue. The intellectual background of dialogic education theory goes back at least as far as Socrates and includes thinkers as varied as Freire, who saw dialogic education as a means of liberation from oppression, and Oakeshott, who understood education to be a process of engaging learners in their cultural inheritance, described as “the conversation of mankind.” Bakhtin, an influential source for recent dialogic educational theory, argues that meaning requires the clash and interaction of multiple voices. There are a range of approaches to implementing dialogic education, varying in the extent to which they focus on teacher to student dialogue, small group dialogues, and whole class dialogues. All approaches include some idea of (1) a dialogic orientation toward the other, characterized by an openness to the possibility of learning, and (2) social norms that support productive dialogue. Published assessments of the impact of dialogic education in relation to general thinking skills, curriculum learning gains, and conceptual understanding have been positive. However, the assessment of dialogic education raises methodological issues, and new methodologies are being developed that align better with dialogic theory and with the idea of measuring increased dialogicity, or expanded “dialogic space.” Assuming that dialogic education works to promote educational goals, various hypotheses have been suggested as to how it works, including some that focus on the co-construction of new meaning through explicit language use, others that focus more on changes in the identity of students, and others on changes in the possibilities of engagement afforded by the culture of classrooms. There are many issues and controversies raised by dialogic education. One issue is the extent to which dialogue as a goal is compatible with a curriculum that pre-specifies certain learning outcomes. Another is the extent to which teaching a set of social norms and practices promoting dialogue might be a kind of cultural imperialism that fails to recognize and value the culture of the students. These and other challenges to dialogic education are part of a lively and constructive debate in the field, which values a multiplicity of voices within the broader context of convergence on the value of teaching through dialogue and teaching for dialogue.

Article

Dialogic Education and Jacques Rancière  

Don Carter and Gregory Martin

Collectively, terms such as dialogic education and dialogic teaching are used both interchangeably and pervasively in education contexts. No single agreed-upon definition exists for dialogic or combinations of terms such as dialogic instruction and dialogic pedagogy. However, such terms are inclusive of a desire to promote meaningful classroom dialogue where students learn to reason, discuss, argue, and explain; to develop higher order thinking skills; and to transform the world around them. Importantly, dialogue as a type of exchange between individuals or groups draws upon and is expressed through the rich legacies of numerous cultures. For example, literature points to diverse texts and traditions in India and China, continuing cultural practices of “yarning” and “talking circles” in First Nations contexts, the dialogues of Plato and Socrates, as well as more contemporary models in the Western tradition. Unfortunately, Western models of dialogue enjoy a dominance that has marginalized and eroded the value of “other” cultural traditions as well as the diverse ontologies and epistemologies that give rise to them. Under this set of circumstances, Western models of dialogue have been complicit with Eurocentrism, which may also present itself in the form of paternalism within the context of teacher and student relationships. As a counterpoint, the work of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière has been drawn upon to disrupt the logic of Western models of education, including those that claim to be critical or “emancipatory.” Rancière’s approach represents a departure from normative conceptions of dialogue because it promotes the presupposition of equality between the student and teacher. In Rancière’s conception of education, the elevation of student to co-learner is reinforced by both the teacher’s and the student’s focus on an external artifact—a book or text, for example—which provides the intellectual stimulus for student investigation and dilutes the teacher’s traditional authority as the “master.” In this way, Rancière is able to complement the aims and features of dialogic education and extend it by casting the student as the intellectual equal of the teacher.

Article

Dialogic Pedagogies  

Christine Edwards-Groves

Dialogic pedagogies, contrasted with more monologic approaches to teaching, constitute a broad field of study concerned with classroom talk and interaction and its influence on student learning, knowledge building, and disciplinary competence. Classroom talk and interaction matter, and what constitutes their efficacy in the dialogic classroom has been the subject of intense research across the globe for many decades. In particular, research interest lies in the role and influence of teacher’s and student’s routine interactional work for facilitating student learning, engagement, and participation. Spanning several decades, the detailed and systematic study of the nature of classroom talk in lessons has intensified, with attention being drawn to ways that dialogic approaches to pedagogy can enhance learning through changed teacher–student exchange patterns. In many ways, focusing on classroom talk, and the patterns of interaction that support it, may seem to be a relatively trivial idea, in that teachers at all levels routinely engage in talk in their pedagogical interactions with students. But herein lies the central issue: Talk and interaction is so commonplace that its purposes, its power, and its position in pedagogy is taken for granted, and it is rarely a focus of deliberate professional reflection, critique, and development. Thus, in the main, classroom dialogue is frequently underplayed as fundamental to efficacy in practice, and so its centrality for teaching and learning drifts into the background. It is in this vein that dialogic researchers across the globe have sought to give prominence to classroom talk and interaction beyond its everyday taken for grantedness. Drawing on a range of theoretical, methodological, and analytic paradigms, classroom talk and interaction is foregrounded as it relates to pedagogical dialogism. Proponents of dialogic pedagogies make a strong case for renewing an emphasis on classroom talk and interaction through identifying, describing, representing, and changing lesson talk through more dialogically enriched lesson practices. Taken together, the research argues for sustained emphasis on the dialogic, directing educators to the efficacy of everyday encounters in classroom lessons by focusing on the nature and influence of dialogicality, how it works—and what it affords—in the everyday unfolding of teaching and learning. In ranging educational contexts, it has been shown that a dialogic sensibility emerges when teachers and students explicitly attend to and manage the lesson talkscape, where their pedagogical dialogues are learning focused and a shared responsibility. Proponents of dialogic pedagogies argue for the promotion of “academically productive discourse” by focusing on the impact of opening up the communicative space in classroom discussions in ways that promote student engagement and participation. Yet against a burgeoning body of work from diverse national contexts, research traditions, and analytic approaches heralding its merits, it seems more restrictive discourse structures and more limited discursive opportunities have prevailed in classrooms across the world. In fact, as some researchers have indicated, changing the nature of talk in lessons has proven to be difficult as typical patterns of talk appear to be resistant to change. Ultimately, enduring issues concerning methodology, scalability, focus, and impact on dialogic practice provide grounds for increased larger scale and longitudinal research.

Article

African and Black Diaspora as Curriculum  

Horace R. Hall

The African diaspora, also referred to as the African Black diaspora, is the voluntary and involuntary movement of Africans and their descendants to various parts of the world. Even though voluntary widespread African diasporas occurred during precolonizing periods, the Arabic slave trade (7th to 18th centuries) and the transatlantic slave trade (16th to 19th centuries) are largely recognized as phases of involuntary movement with an estimated combined 30 million Africans dispersed across the African continent and globally. Today, the largest populations of people descended from Africans forcibly removed from Africa reside in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States, with millions more in other countries. Such vast movement of a people across time and space has meant that those who are part of the African diaspora have suffered similar problems and disadvantages. The legacy of slavery, especially in relation to racism and colonialism, has garnered attention across the scholarly disciplines of history, ethnic, cultural, and religious studies. Likewise, African and Black diasporan responses to colonial oppression have manifested in multiple curricula in literature, music, philosophy, politics, civilization, customs, and so forth, designed for and by African diasporans in their efforts to unite all people of African descent, building on their cultural identity and resisting racist ideology and colonial rule.

Article

Diaspora Curriculum  

Ming Fang He

Diaspora curriculum draws upon a wide array of theoretical traditions of diasporas such as conceptions of diasporas; the breadth, diversity, and complexity of diasporas; diaspora consciousness; diasporic space and the in-betweenness of diasporas; exile and diaspora epistemology; exile pedagogy; exile curriculum; decolonizing diasporas; diasporic imaginaries and diasporic futurism; Afrofuturism; and Indigenous futurism. The diaspora curriculum, with its epistemological similarity to exile pedagogy and exile curriculum, is interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and counterdisciplinary. Diaspora curriculum is international, transnational, and counternational. Diaspora curriculum, with its interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and counterdisciplinarity, thrives with diverse paradigms, perspectives, and possibilities, and demands multiple understandings toward commonplaces (teachers, learners, subject matters, and milieu) in diverse contexts. The breadth, diversity, and complexity of diaspora curriculum and its practical relevance are central to a wide array of educational thoughts reflected in contested theories, practices, and contexts. In addition to its breadth, diversity, and complexity, another illuminating aspect of diaspora curriculum is evolving diasporic imaginaries, where we can keep our hopes and dreams alive in hard times when white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and settler colonialism are bolstered by hatred of differences. Such diasporic imaginaries invent diasporic futurities and cultivate radical possibilities and revolutionary imagination. Such diasporic futurities exhilarate diasporic consciousness that educates hope, evokes different histories and different futures, and invigorates radical love. Such diasporic consciousness enables people to find the strength, faith, and humility to join in common struggles and build solidarity across differences to fight against all forms of oppression. Such diasporic futurities inspire optimism over despair, love over hatred, and possibilities over impossibilities. Such diasporic futurities invigorate diasporic space for imagined communities where curriculum workers work with other educational workers such as researchers, educators, teachers, administrators, parents, students, community workers, and policy makers to heal the soul of humanity and planet with shared interests, principles, and visions for desirable collective futures in an increasingly complicated, diversified, uncertain, and fragile world.

Article

Diaspora Literacy, Heritage Knowledge, and Revolutionary African-Centered Pedagogy in Black Studies Curriculum Theorizing and Praxis  

Joyce E. King

The original mission of Black Studies is producing consciousness transforming knowledge, and teaching for social change in close connection with Black communities, not mimicking other disciplines in producing esoteric knowledge for establishment legitimacy in the academy. Two principal pillars for Black Studies curriculum theorizing and praxis have been: (a) knowledge making as (and for) consciousness transformation and (b) social change for (and as) Diaspora literacy knowledge making also refers to the ability to “read” various cultural signs as continuities in African-descended people’s experience. As a foundation for collective cultural agency, Heritage knowledge or group memory, refers to a repository or heritable legacy that makes a feeling of belonging, peoplehood, and communal solidarity as an outcome of education possible. Vèvè A. Clark, scholar of African and Caribbean literature, African American dance histories, and African diaspora theatre, coined the concept of Diaspora literacy in a 1984 paper analyzing allegory in Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé’s novel, Hérémakhonon, which situated an Afro-Caribbean women’s identity quest in postcolonial West Africa. Clark later revised and expanded the concept to denote a narrator’s or reader’s ability to understand and/or interpret the multilayered meanings of stories, words, and other folk sayings within any given African diaspora community. Heritage knowledge takes the unjust system out of the center and puts the Africanity of group memory, the Black perspective, which is the cultural foundation that generates people’s collective cultural agency, at the center. While Heritage knowledge is a cultural birthright of every human being, the experience of Blackness as “ontological lack” obstructs and denies African people’s humanity and agency. These conceptual tools and revolutionary African-centered pedagogy provide opportunities for consciousness transforming education for Black liberation. Such theoretical concepts and praxis in Black Studies are neglected in curriculum theorizing discourse and praxis. This is so even though curriculum is viewed as racial text and reconceptualists focus on autobiography, subjectivity, identity, transformation, and more to define curriculum as a process (currere) not an object of study. Likewise, curriculum theorizing has yet to become an identifiable subfield within the transdiscipline of Black or Africana Studies, notwithstanding decades of institutionalizing curricula in higher education since the 1980s, including a National Council of Black Studies curriculum framework. Because African-descended people’s continent of origin and history, as well as Black children, their families, and teachers have been maligned in society, the radical introduction of African content in Afrocentric curriculum and pedagogy is needed to change the quality of education and to create new understanding of the racial politics of knowledge for all students and teachers. Revolutionary African-centered pedagogy aims to undo “twisted thinking” about Africa; challenge the oppressive educational system’s vision; defend students from self-hatred, and support agency for those who have been marginalized by hegemonic concepts, themes, and curricular ideas. The aim of examining relevant theoretical, epistemological, curriculum, and pedagogical developments in Black Studies and Black education scholarship is to clarify the meaning, significance, and implications of (a) African diaspora/s as a concept in education, political discourse, and method in Black Studies; (b) what deciphering Africanity in Diaspora literacy consciousness and Heritage knowledge reveals about the importance of the Black (Studies) perspective; and (c) revolutionary African-centered pedagogy as a philosophy and method of teaching for consciousness transformation.

Article

Differentiated Instruction and Inclusive Schooling  

Diana Lawrence-Brown

Differentiated instruction encompasses a wide range of responsive pedagogies, including individualized types and levels of curricula, teaching methods, materials, and assessment strategies. It has at its roots the impetus for effective inclusive schooling, providing supports directly within general education classrooms for students with the full range of exceptionalities (both significant disabilities and giftedness) and other diverse educational characteristics such as cultural and linguistic background and socioeconomic status. To effectively include students with higher levels of need, comparable levels of supports follow the student from the special education setting to the general education classroom. This enriched level of support in the general education classroom benefits not only students with disabilities, but the class as a whole. The legal and ethical bases for inclusive schooling are connected with various civil rights movements (including race, disability, culture and language, gender); it can be viewed as a response to segregated schooling (and denial of schooling altogether). Schools frequently remove students when traditional educational programs fail, adding on separate programs rather than rectifying the existing system. Such special programs have been routinely promulgated without substantial evidence of their effectiveness over supportive general education classrooms (either for segregated students or for their unlabeled general education peers). Important aspects of differentiated instruction and inclusive schooling include multilevel instruction; authentic and culturally responsive curricula, methods, and assessment; universal design for learning; assistive and instructional technologies; positive behavioral supports; and a collaborative team approach to instructional decision-making and delivery. Differentiated instruction and effective inclusive schooling are vital for equitable access to educational opportunities, bringing more responsive curricula, methods, and perspectives to increasingly diverse classrooms and schools.

Article

Digital Literacies in Early Childhood  

Fiona Scott and Jackie Marsh

The study of digital literacies in early childhood (0–8 years) is an emergent and fast-growing area of scholarship. Young children’s communicative practices are today more complex and diverse in scope than ever before, encompassing both “traditional” reading and writing and a growing range of “new” communicative competencies across multiple digital media contexts. Scholars are increasingly interested in children’s literacy practices outside traditional print-based texts, and the theory of multimodality helps them to understand children’s communicative practices in relation to a range of modes, including those present in digital technology. At the same time, the boundaries between what constitutes “digital” and “traditional” literacies are themselves blurred. Multiple academic disciplines have contributed to our understanding of children’s digital literacy practices. Numerous definitions for digital literacy or literacies exist, and scholars have proposed a range of theoretical approaches to the topic. Bill Green’s “3D model” of literacy provides a useful starting point for understanding the different dimensions of children’s digital literacy: operational, cultural, and critical. It is acknowledged that children’s digital literacy practices are specific to particular social and cultural contexts. In particular, scholars have identified important differences between accepted literacy practices in schools and early years’ settings (“school literacies”) and children’s literacy practices in a socioculturally diverse range of home settings (“home literacies”). A growing field of research is explicitly concerned with the unique skills developed at home, as children learn to produce and interpret a range of “new” digital and multimodal texts. At the same time, numerous scholars have suggested that there is still a general lack of progress with regard to early years’ practitioners’ use of technology in the curriculum. Gaps and absences in knowledge still exist, and it will be important for scholars over the coming years to continue research into young children’s digital literacy practices, both in homes and communities and across early years’ settings.

Article

Distributed Practice or Spacing Effect  

Shana K. Carpenter

The spacing effect (also known as distributed practice) refers to the finding that two or more learning opportunities that are spaced apart, or distributed, in time produce better learning than the same opportunities that occur in close succession. A number of theories have been proposed to account for the spacing effect. These include deficient processing, encoding variability, study-phase retrieval, and consolidation. According to the deficient processing account, learning opportunities that are spaced apart in time, compared to non-spaced or “massed” learning opportunities, are more likely to receive a learner’s full attention, ultimately leading to better quality learning. The encoding variability account proposes that spaced learning opportunities, because they are separated in time, are more likely to be associated with a number of different contextual cues that can benefit later memory for the information learned. Study-phase retrieval is based on the premise that retrieval benefits learning, and spaced learning opportunities are more likely than massed learning opportunities to involve retrieval of the previous learning experience. More recent evidence suggests that spacing learning opportunities across different days may benefit memory due to sleep-dependent neural consolidation processes. Research in authentic educational contexts shows that spacing benefits learning of a wide variety of materials, from basic facts to complex scientific concepts and skills. Regarding the practical question of when spaced learning opportunities should occur, the ideal scheduling of these opportunities depends upon how long the information needs to be remembered in the future, such that retention over longer intervals of time benefits most by longer spacing between repeated learning opportunities. Despite its promise for enhancing student learning, spacing can be challenging to implement in authentic educational contexts due to the intuitive notion that immediate repetition is better for learning, and the difficulties involved in setting a spaced study schedule in advance and adhering to it. To realize the full potential of spacing to enhance educational practices, future studies are needed that can measure implementation of spacing by students and teachers in real educational environments.

Article

Documentary Filmmaking as Curriculum Inquiry and Film as a Means to Broaden Portrayal of Curricular Phenomena  

Daniel Chapman

There are three areas where the Documentary Studies’ and Curriculum Studies’ literature overlap. Firstly, both literatures concern themselves with the social construction of reality in opposition to scientism and objective truth. Secondly, both literatures speak to the ethical implications of representing other people, particularly when the one doing the representing has more social capital than the represented. Lastly, both traditions speak to how the authors should account for their own biases. A case is made for Curriculum Studies scholars to use documentary filmmaking, in addition to writing, as a means for communicating the ideas, commitments, and critiques that Curriculum Studies offers.

Article

Drama and Learning  

Anton Franks

As ways of making meaning in drama strongly resemble the ways that meanings are made in everyday social life, forms of drama learn from everyday life and, at a societal level, people in everyday life learn from drama. Through history, from the emergence of drama in Western culture, the learning that results at a societal level from the interactions of everyday social life and drama have been noted by scholars. In contemporary culture, electronic and digitized forms of mediation and communication have diversified its content and massively expanded its audiences. Although there are reciprocal relations between everyday life and drama, aspects of everyday life are selected and shaped into the various cultural forms of drama. Processes of selection and shaping crystallize significant aspects of everyday social relations, allowing audiences of and participants in drama to learn and to reflect critically on particular facets of social life. In the 20th century, psychological theories of learning have been developed, taking note of the sociocultural relationships between drama, play, and learning. Learning in and through drama is seen as being socially organized, whole person learning that mobilizes and integrates the bodies and minds of learners. Making signs and meanings through various forms of drama, it is interactive, experiential learning that is semiotically mediated via physical activity. Alongside the various forms of drama that circulate in wider culture, sociocultural theories of learning have also influenced drama pedagogies in schools. In the later part of the 20th century and into the 21st century, drama practices have diversified and been applied as a means of learning in a range of community- and theater-based contexts outside of schooling. Practices in drama education and applied drama and theater, particularly since the late 20th century and into the early 21st century, have been increasingly supported by research employing a range of methods, qualitative, quantitative, and experimental.

Article

Drama in Education and Applied Theater, from Morality and Socialization to Play and Postcolonialism  

Kathleen Gallagher, Nancy Cardwell, Rachel Rhoades, and Sherry Bie

The field of drama education and applied theater is best understood through a consideration of the major developments and aspirations that have shaped its trajectory over three historical periods: the latter years of the 19th century up until 1960, between 1960 and 1990, and the years encompassing the turn of the 21st century, 1990–2015, which was a decidedly more globalized epoch. The drama education/applied theater scholarship of the English-speaking world, including the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and North America, offers a fascinating distillation of the relationship between making drama and learning, including the history of alternative forms of education. Scholarship from Asia drawing on traditional forms of theater-making, as well as imported and adapted structures of Western drama education movements, speak to hybrid and ever-expanding practices across the globe. Although young as a discipline within the academy, drama education/applied theater has all but made up for its relative immaturity by spanning a wide domain of multidisciplinary thinking, embracing an eclectic theoretical field that covers an enormous breadth of social issues and a vast range of learning theories, while straddling a compelling spectrum of political positions. The development of the field is infused with pioneering ideas that broke with entrenched historical traditions and habitual ways of learning, harkening toward new ways of thinking, being, relating, and creating. Taking the world as its source material and humanity as its target audience, the history of the progressive discipline of drama education/applied theater tells the story of an ambitious, flawed, idealized, politicized, divisive, and deeply humanistic scholarly and practice-driven field.

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Dyslexia: Conceptualization, Assessment, and Intervention  

Julian G. Elliott

Scholars, teachers, clinicians, and the general public have puzzled over the nature and consequences of severe reading (decoding) problems for more than a century. With the advances of genetics, neuroscience, and psychology, we know much about the underlying nature of reading disability. However, we still have much to learn, and fierce debate continues about whether there is a subgroup of poor readers who can, or should, be called dyslexic. This issue has become highly contentious, as gaining the label can bring significant benefits in terms of resourcing, various forms of test and classroom accommodation, and more positive and understanding responses from others. Many clinicians argue that special cognitive tests are needed to identify and diagnose those with dyslexia. These may take the form of general tests of IQ, or measures of more specific cognitive or executive functioning. Despite their popularity, the evidence for the utility of such measures is low, and many of the processes examined are often problematic for all poor readers, not merely the subgroup deemed to have dyslexia. A further difficulty concerns intervention. There is no strong scientific support for the notion that intervention programs designed to improve underlying cognitive processes (e.g., memory processes) can successfully improve the reading accuracy of those who struggle to acquire literacy. Similarly, interventions geared to improve visual or motor functioning have not proven successful, despite often vociferous support from adherents. The only approach that has strong scientific support takes the form of an educational program that utilizes systematic, structured phonics teaching as part of a broader literacy curriculum. This finding applies equally to those who have been diagnosed as dyslexic and those poor readers who haven’t. For this reason, it is unclear how a dyslexia diagnosis helps to inform the nature of subsequent intervention. In establishing effective forms of intervention that can cater for any child who struggles with their reading, it would appear most efficacious to utilize what is known as a “response to intervention” approach. This requires early identification of, and intervention with, all those who are making limited progress. Intervention should only utilize those approaches that have strong scientific support. The nature and extent of additional educational support should be determined on the basis of the progress that is made when additional help is given. If insufficient progress has resulted, it may well be necessary to increase and intensify the intervention. Such an approach helps to ensure that all struggling children are helped at an early stage, and no one is missed because of an absence of parental advocacy or a lack of family resource that can cover the cost of diagnostic assessment.