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Article

English Education in the United States  

Ashley Boyd

English Education, broadly defined, is the study of the teaching and learning of English teacher education. The curriculum of English Education addresses all aspects of reading and writing, including language and rhetoric, and the teaching of those entities. Historically, the field has been punctuated by contention, with debates over what texts, contexts, and approaches should be included, and has been subject to the political influences that have impacted all public education, ranging from calls for progressive approaches that are student-centered to an emphasis on standards and accountability. Intertwined with these forces have been scholars whose theories greatly affected teachers’ approaches, especially related to the teaching of literature and methods for writing. While some movements advocated for basic skills and isolated drills, others pushed for a more critical and culturally situated English Education that expanded traditional notions of literacy to include social practices. Scholarship and research in the field mirrored these trends, with much focus on preservice teacher education, secondary students’ performance, and teachers’ use of various strategies to further engage youth. Future directions for the field include more classroom-based research on how English Education can respond to the demands of our technology-saturated and media-driven society as well as longitudinal studies of English teachers from preservice through their induction years to further study the impacts of their preparation programs.

Article

Environmental Education in Brazil and the Influence of Paulo Freire  

Marcos Reigota

In Brazil and around the world, the ideas of Paulo Freire have impacted the field of environmental education, at least since the 1970s. It is possible to observe and associate the influence of Paulo Freire, when environmental education emphasizes the political dimension of any and all pedagogic activity, as he so emphatically stated. Another central aspect of Freirean influence relates in particular to the objective that environmental education should make “participation” possible, as advocated by the first documents produced and disseminated by UNESCO. Although the topic of environmentalism, in its best-known sense and definition of the protection of nature and natural resources, was not initially at the core of his pedagogical thinking, a strong concern with the theme can be seen traversing his work in the 1990s. In this sense, the international academic institutionalization of environmental education and the support that this pedagogic and political movement received after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, was crucial for consolidation by means of public policies and projects elaborated by NGOs as well as by the theoretical production and curricular changes that took place in universities around the world, with different thematic priorities, theoretical and methodological focuses, and impact on the population and on the natural and social environment. Since 2009, especially in Brazil and other Latin American countries, dissertations and theses have leaned toward this production, identifying and analyzing the increase of Freirean pedagogy in connection with environmental education, defined as “the political education of citizens.” Political actions in everyday pedagogical practices for social and environmental justice, alongside various other rights (e.g., cultural), are urgent issues to address. The connections between environmental education and Freirean pedagogy have contemporized both, as they clarify the central arguments of Paulo Freire’s political and pedagogic thought, which reaffirmed throughout his extensive production that access to education is a universal right, and that it is by means of education (including the environmental dimension) that political processes for the construction of just, democratic, and sustainable societies are solidified.

Article

Environmental Education Teacher Training  

Miguel Ángel Arias Ortega

The way environmental education has been presented as a viable response to the emergence of national, regional, and global environmental problems since the 1970s is reviewed; as well as some environmental education presuppositions, approaches, and aims with which a field of knowledge and educational practices have been constituted and provided to the individual, to help re-evaluate and redefine the established forms of relationship and exchange with society and nature. Also, the concepts of education and environmental education are examined as they are considered the starting point for undertaking teacher education processes and the potential to generate a new environmental culture in society. At the same time, certain inconsistencies in this process are observed, along with the analysis of some distinctive features (knowledge, attitudes, abilities, and skills) a teacher who is trained in the field of environmental education must possess. General reflections on environmental education teacher training and its processes which are meant to increase debate and discussion on the subject are included, together with the description of some educational experiences developed in different areas and levels that aim to innovate in the reflection and practice of environmental education. Finally, some clues are given to help the design and development of training proposals for environmental education teachers with a greater social, scientific, critical, and humanistic projection.

Article

Epistemology and Learning in STEM Education  

Andrew Elby

STEM students’ personal epistemologies—their views about what counts as knowledge and knowing in mathematics, science, and engineering—influence how they approach learning and problem-solving. For example, if algebra students conceptualize “knowing algebra” as knowing how to manipulate symbols and numbers to solve particular kinds of problems, they are likely to approach learning as mastering procedures, not as making sense of why those procedures work. By contrast, consider a student who conceptualizes “knowing physics” as having a qualitative understanding that makes sense to her. When studying, she might practice and reflect on the relevant problem-solving approaches, not just to master procedures but also to understand how those problem-solving approaches make sense in terms of underlying concepts. Although mathematics, engineering, and science differ, certain dimensions or aspects of students’ epistemologies are common across the STEM disciplines. These dimensions include to what extent students: (a) view knowledge as factual and procedural versus conceptual and heuristic, (b) view learning as acquiring separate pieces of knowledge versus linking those pieces into a coherent whole, and (c) think they can make sense of what they are learning by relating it to their own informal knowledge, experiences, and ways of thinking. Crucially, the epistemological views a student exhibits in a course are not necessarily a hardened personality trait or belief. A student might exhibit different epistemological views in different contexts, based in part on how the class is taught. Indeed, common STEM classroom cultures and structures can inadvertently invite students to adopt epistemological views that support superficial learning. Furthermore, broader cultural narratives, most notably the trope that mathematics and mathematical sciences can be understood only by people with innate talent, influence students’ epistemological views, again favoring those associated with superficial learning. Additional epistemological issues arise in integrated STEM units and lessons. In such lessons, mathematics, science, and engineering are “de-siloed,” often in the context of understanding and/or addressing a local or societal problem. However, unless STEM lessons are carefully crafted, students can experience the “problem” as little more than a motivational hook to engage them in mathematics and science business as usual. In that case, students might adopt the same epistemological views as they do in a siloed mathematics or science course. By contrast, when students frame the STEM lesson as an authentic engineering design challenge or attempt to understand an issue in which they learn and/or apply mathematics and science as needed to understand and/or address the challenge, students are more likely to view their learning as sense-making, drawing on multiple streams of both formal and informal knowledge.

Article

Epistemology and Teacher Education  

Matthew Smith

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article. For teachers to effectively engage in given pedagogical practices, they need to have beliefs that support these approaches to teaching. These are not philosophical beliefs per se; rather, they are the individual understandings that teachers hold about the nature of knowledge and knowing, which underpin and guide their actions and which are referred to as personal epistemologies. A wide range of paradigms for understanding and studying personal epistemologies is evident in the research literature in this field, but these different perspective and approaches—while varied in outlook and conclusion—point to how important it is that initial teacher education courses allow for the development of sophisticated personal epistemologies through explicit teaching that enables students to think ontologically and epistemologically, and that teacher educators initiate and sustain reflective and discursive practices throughout their courses to promote the best possible outcomes for the children that student teachers will go on to teach in their subsequent careers.

Article

Ethnographic Inquiry in Teacher Education  

José Ignacio Rivas-Flores

Teaching’s purpose is to build a society’s knowledge and skills through a group of students using a curricular proposal within a social and institutional framework. It therefore takes place in institutions specifically created for this purpose, which, as such, represents a culturally constructed environment that is in line with the conditions of the society in which this process unfolds. Thus professional cultures have been historically constructed according to the working conditions, the teaching experiences transmitted from generation to generation, and the evolution of the educational systems. In addition, institutional cultures are developed according to the particular history of each school. Student cultures also form as social groups within these institutions. This represents a complex system that goes beyond mere instruction by curriculum. Preparing the professionals who will go on to work in these institutions requires an understanding of these cultural frameworks and the competence to be able to act on them. Ethnographic research promotes an understanding of educational reality from a critical reflective perspective, and this is only possible if researchers themselves participate in those frameworks. Ethnography can be understood as a shared construction of places for reflection, aimed at comprehending the cultural, social, and political phenomena that involve participants in the processes of change and transformation. Teacher preparation must, therefore, be established with an ethnographic approach, which reconstructs the school experience from a critical reflective perspective. In this way, the conditions for developing a professional identity based on the reconstruction of this experience are created. The theories, in this case, offer the opportunity to pursue this critical dialogue, breaking away from the prescriptive role that they adopt from a positivist perspective. Ethnography contributes to the tasks through three basic dimensions. First, teacher preparation throughout is an object of educational inquiry: there are many research studies of an ethnographic nature that report teacher training methods in an attempt to understand the processes taking place. Second, ethnographies are a tool for preparing future teachers: in this case, this refers to a curricular use of ethnography aimed at future teachers’ understanding of the educational processes through research. Third is a way of understanding learning—in other words, ethnographic attitude as a learning strategy and the use of ethnographic inquiry strategies and tools as means of learning about educational processes. This last case generally entails staying and acting in schools, and it is what most clearly links research and teaching in a shared process.

Article

Ethnography and the Study of Los Saberes Docentes (Teaching Knowledge) in Latin American Countries  

Ruth Mercado and Epifanio Espinosa

A specific comparative framework that incorporates an interpretive process dedicated to developing a more complex understanding of teaching knowledge incorporates the specific local contexts in which studies on teaching knowledge are conducted. Research on teaching knowledge within the region grew and diversified from the 1980s and 1990s. There are two key thematic contributions of this body of research: the nature of teaching knowledge and pedagogical approaches to teaching specific curricular content focusing on early literacy. Points of comparison between the different contributions of studies addressing teaching knowledge can be found. Additionally, institutional and social inequalities are manifested in schools and education in Latin American countries. Teaching knowledge, which teachers produce in and adapt to different social spaces (in other words, through practice), is crucial for fostering the development and learning of the students who attend school under the challenging conditions of the schools in these countries.

Article

Evidence-Based Educational Practice  

Tone Kvernbekk

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a buzzword in contemporary professional debates, for example, in education, medicine, psychiatry, and social policy. It is known as the “what works” agenda, and its focus is on the use of the best available evidence to bring about desirable results or prevent undesirable ones. We immediately see here that EBP is practical in nature, that evidence is thought to play a central role, and also that EBP is deeply causal: we intervene into an already existing practice in order to produce an output or to improve the output. If our intervention brings the results we want, we say that it “works.” How should we understand the causal nature of EBP? Causality is a highly contentious issue in education, and many writers want to banish it altogether. But causation denotes a dynamic relation between factors and is indispensable if one wants to be able to plan the attainment of goals and results. A nuanced and reasonable understanding of causality is therefore necessary to EBP, and this we find in the INUS-condition approach. The nature and function of evidence is much discussed. The evidence in question is supplied by research, as a response to both political and practical demands that educational research should contribute to practice. In general, evidence speaks to the truth value of claims. In the case of EBP, the evidence emanates from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and presumably speaks to the truth value of claims such as “if we do X, it will lead to result Y.” But what does research evidence really tell us? It is argued here that a positive RCT result will tell you that X worked where the RCT was conducted and that an RCT does not yield general results. Causality and evidence come together in the practitioner perspective. Here we shift from finding causes to using them to bring about desirable results. This puts contextual matters at center stage: will X work in this particular context? It is argued that much heterogeneous contextual evidence is required to make X relevant for new contexts. If EBP is to be a success, research evidence and contextual evidence must be brought together.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Learners on the Autism Spectrum  

Amanda A. Webster

The rising number of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in schools, and the unique characteristics of these students, has led many educators and parents to question the types of programs and strategies that are most effective in supporting them to achieve within school climates and curriculum of the early 21st century. Moreover, educators and parents must sort through the plethora of information and reports of interventions and treatments claiming to treat or cure autism in order to determine what strategies will best support their children or students. A number of studies have focused on determining the evidence base of specific practices for students on the autism spectrum. However, only a few have investigated the applicability of these strategies in inclusive school environments or specifically employed strategies to address academic needs. This has created a research-to-practice gap for educators working with students on the autism spectrum in inclusive school settings. More promising are studies which have highlighted elements of effective practice in education programs. An analysis of this research reveals four principles of best practice for schools and educators working with students on the autism spectrum: provision of a supportive and structured learning environment for staff and students; consistent provision of child-centered and evidence-based curriculum and instruction; multidisciplinary engagement and collaboration; and meaningful communication and collaboration between families and schools. These principles provide a framework for teachers and parents to work alongside students on the autism spectrum to plan, implement and evaluate strategies that can be embedded and implemented in the class program and are effective in supporting the specific needs of individual students on the autism spectrum.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Learners who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Regular Classrooms  

Greg Leigh and Kathryn Crowe

The question of how best to teach learners who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) is perhaps the oldest topic in any area of education for children with diverse learning needs. Developments in a number of fields have accounted for more DHH learners achieving educational outcomes commensurate with their hearing-age peers than at any point in that long history. Efforts to further develop and implement effective educational practices with these learners continue, with an abundance of interventions proposed in the literature and in practice. Despite this, evidence for their efficacy remains limited. Such evidence as there is tends to be drawn from observations of professional practice and not always from the outcomes of high-quality research. This is not to say that a lack of research evidence for a particular educational practice means that it is necessarily ineffective or should not be used. Rather, it is to acknowledge the preeminence of quality research outcomes as the cornerstone of an evidence-base for educational practice with DHH learners while recognizing that contributions can come from two other sources: the expertise and experiences of professionals involved in the education of DHH learners in educational settings, and the views and preferences of DHH learners and their families about how the best educational outcomes can be achieved. The vast majority of DHH learners are educated in regular classrooms alongside their hearing peers, including a significant minority whose primary or preferred language is a signed language. Questions of how best to facilitate access to regular classrooms for those DHH learners are inextricably linked to issues in three areas: (a) communication, language, and literacy; (b) classroom access; and (c) pedagogical practices and other educational supports. The first area covers the unique set of challenges that relate to DHH learners acquiring a language (i.e., whether that be spoken or signed) and how best to support their ongoing development and use of their communication, language, and literacy skills in the classroom. The other two sets of issues, relate to the difficulties that are typically encountered by DHH learners in gaining access to the regular classroom curriculum through their preferred language and mode of communication (i.e., how best to access the auditory and visual environment of the classroom on an equitable basis with their hearing peers), and how best to support that access through instructional techniques and/or specialist support services. In all three areas there remains the challenge of assembling an evidence base for practice from quality research evidence.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders  

Jessica Whitley

Students identified with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) comprise a diverse group in terms of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral strengths and needs. Identification and diagnostic criteria and terminologies vary widely across and within many countries and school systems, resulting in a complex research base. Estimates of prevalence range from 4 to 15% of students meeting criteria for an emotional and/or behavioral disorder or difficulty. Approaches to teaching learners with E/BD have shifted since the turn of the 21st century from an individual, deficit-focused perspective to a more ecological framework where the environments interacting dynamically with the learner are considered. Research increasingly demonstrates the benefits of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) where the needs of most students can be met through universal preventative and whole-class approaches. Students who do not find success at the first level of supports receive increasingly specialized services including intensive, wraparound services that involve partners beyond school walls. MTSS are common across North America and beyond and are typically focused on externalizing behaviors; positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) is the most prevalent multi-tiered system currently being implemented. Since the mid-2000s, efforts have been made to focus on academic as well as behavioral goals for students, often through the inclusion of response-to-intervention approaches. Comprehensive strategies that combine academic and behavioral support while drawing on learner strengths and relationship-building are successfully being adopted in elementary and secondary settings. Approaches include social and emotional learning, mindfulness, peer-assisted learning, and a range of classroom-based instructional and assessment practices that support the academic, social, and emotional development of students with E/BD.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Learners With Mild to Moderate Disabilities  

Rebekka J. Jez

With the rise in inclusive practices, information on evidence-based practices for teaching learners with mild to moderate disabilities is an important topic. Many professional and government organizations are working to disseminate this information to educators; however, the process can be thwarted by time, resources, training, and implementation of practices. By using multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) such as response to intervention (RtI) or positive behavior interventions and support (PBIS), schools can assess for, identify, and implement supports for all learners. If a learner continues to encounter challenges, even with high-quality teaching and strategies, then a more intensive intervention may be needed. One schoolwide change would be to use universal design for learning (UDL) to ensure strategies and supports are provided to all learners. Additionally, students may benefit from assistive technology. Teachers can learn about free and commercial evidence-based educational practices to create a safe environment, implement positive behavioral supports, and provide systematic, explicit instruction in academic areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social sciences.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Learners with Multiple Disabilities  

Vera Munde and Peter Zentel

Designing education for learners with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) is a special challenge for both professionals and researchers. Learners with PIMD experience a combination of significant intellectual and other disabilities, such as motor and sensory impairments. Heterogeneity in terms of combination and severity of disabilities is a common characteristic of this group. In the past, learners in this target group were described as not being able to learn due to the complexity of their disabilities. Recent studies do provide evidence that learners with PIMD are in fact able to learn, however, evidence-based practice for designing education for this group of learners is still scarce. One reason could be the difficulties associated with conducting intervention studies such as randomized controlled trials or controlled clinical trials with this target group. Most studies are designed as single-case studies. Hence, only a small number of studies have investigated topics such as communication, assessment, and teaching curricula to generate knowledge about the education of these learners. The most important conclusion of these studies is that all teaching activities need to be designed according to the strengths and needs of each individual learner with PIMD.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices in Special Schooling  

David Mitchell

Increasingly, around the world, educators are being expected to draw upon research-based evidence in planning, implementing, and evaluating their activities. Evidence-based strategies comprise clearly specified teaching methods and school-level factors that have been shown in controlled research to be effective in bringing about desired outcomes in a specified population of learners and under what conditions, in this case those with special educational needs/disabilities taught in special schooling, whether it be in separate schools or classrooms or in inclusive classrooms. Educators could, and should, be drawing upon the best available evidence as they plan, implement, and evaluate their teaching of such learners. Since around 2010 there has been a growing commitment to evidence-based education. This has been reflected in: 1. legislation: for example, the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act in the United States, which encourages the use of specific programs and practices that have been rigorously evaluated and defines strong, moderate, and promising levels of evidence for programs and practices; 2. the creation of centers specializing in gathering and disseminating evidence-based education policies and practices, brokering connections between policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers; and 3. a growing body of research into effective strategies, both in general and with respect to learners with special educational needs. Even so, in most countries there is a significant gap between what researchers have found and the educational policies and practices implemented by professionals. Moreover, some scholars criticize the emphasis on evidence-based education, particularly what they perceive to be the prominence given to quantitative or positivist research in general and to randomized controlled trials in particular. In putting evidence-based strategies into action, a five-step model could be employed. This involves identifying local needs, selecting relevant interventions, planning for implementation, implementing, and examining and reflecting on the interventions.

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

Extremism, Values, and Education in Policy and Practice  

Lynn Revell and Sally Elton-Chalcraft

The relationship between extremism and schools is a seemingly contradictory one. The UK Prevent Duty’s aim (to prevent and also root out extremism in schools) is often, ironically, blamed for aiding the radicalization process, but it is also identified by states and international bodies as a primary tool with which to combat it. In the early 21st century there has been a development of policies and law designed to prevent violent extremism (PVE) as a part of an international response to 9/11 in 2001 and the war on terror. Policy approaches to extremism in education were revised and reworked in the first and second decades of the 21st century in response to various events, including the 2005 London and 2017 Manchester bombings, and the increasing fear that education system had allowed homegrown terrorists raised in England to commit terrorist acts. The promotion of fundamental British values in school and teacher education contexts has been met with varied responses. Since the inception of this strategy, it has been criticized from a number of perspectives. The National Union of Teachers passed a motion at its annual conference in 2016 condemning the idea of promoting “fundamental British values” as an act of cultural supremacism and other researchers have noted that conceptually the strategy is flawed and counterproductive. In 2014 a document that was to become known as the Trojan Horse letter was leaked to Birmingham City Council, which outlined an alleged plot by hardline jihadists to take over a number of Birmingham schools. The outcome of the affair had ramifications beyond that initial cluster of schools and impacted on the way all schools engaged with the counterterrorism agenda. The furor surrounding the event acted as a catalyst for the generation of policy that introduced an even greater meshing between education and the security agenda, resulting in the concepts of Muslims being seen as a “suspect community” and teachers being positioned as “agents of surveillance.” Research has also investigated the extent to which there has been a “chilling effect” in educational settings in the early 21st century as a result of the Prevent policy, with both teachers and learners feeling under scrutiny, and cautious about speaking freely in their educational environment. Many researchers consider that teachers face a dilemma—to deliver governmental policy uncritically (the safe option to ensure compliance and positive outcomes in terms of Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills); or to challenge a perceived governmental stranglehold and take the more risky option, whereby teachers critically explore effective ways of promoting British values. Some scholars in the second decade of the 21st century have argued that teachers have subsumed counterterrorism policy into their own safeguarding practice. Extremism, values, and education is an emerging field in educational research, that is uncovering (among other things) the extent to which educational professionals from Early Years to university level challenge the prejudicial implications of the Prevent Duty legislation, are providing open spaces for critical and informed debate, and are adhering to policy to prevent violent extremism.

Article

Factors to Consider while Teaching Early Numeracy Skills in an Inclusive Education Setting  

Sheri-Lynn Skwarchuk

Developing numeracy skills from the beginning of one’s school career predicts academic achievement and correlates with life satisfaction in adulthood. For these reasons, all students should be afforded a strong early numeracy foundation. In school, teaching practices supporting diverse learners in mathematics should consider individual developmental capabilities and a growth mindset. Students should also be supported by a pedagogically knowledgeable and strengths-based collaborative team and accurate and ongoing assessment practices. With such supports, students may be afforded maximum opportunities to develop solid early numeracy skills, continue their development of conceptual and calculational knowledge in school mathematics coursework, and minimize anxieties regarding mathematics learning.

Article

Foreign Language Education in Japan  

Ryuko Kubota

Historically, foreign language education in Japan has been influenced by local and global conditions. Of the two major purposes of learning a language—to gain new knowledge from overseas and to develop practical communication skills—the latter pragmatic orientation became dominant toward the end the 19th century, when access to foreign language learning increased and English became a dominant language to learn. The trend of learning English as an international language for pragmatic purposes has been further strengthened since the 1980s under the discourses of internationalization and neoliberal globalization. An overview of the current status of foreign language education reveals that there are both formal and non-formal learning opportunities for people of all ages; English predominates as a target language although fewer opportunities to learn other languages exist; English is taught at primary and secondary schools and universities with an emphasis on acquiring communicative skills, although the exam-oriented instructional practices contradict the official goal; and adults learn foreign languages, mainly English, for various reasons, including career advancement and hobbyist enjoyment. Such observations include contestations and contradictions. For instance, there have been debates on whether the major aim of learning English should be pragmatic or intellectual. These debates have taken place against the backdrop of the fact that the learning of a foreign language—de facto English—is much more prevalent in society in the early 21st century compared with previous periods in history, when access to learning opportunities was limited to elites. Another contradiction is between the multilingual reality in local and global communities and the exclusive emphasis on teaching English. This gap can be critically analyzed through a critical realist lens, through which multilayers of ideology in discourses and realities in the material world are examined. The predominance of English is driven by a neoliberal ideology that conceptualizes English as a global language with economic benefit, while testing and shadow education enterprises perpetuate the emphasis on English language teaching. The political economy of foreign language education also explains the longstanding socioeconomic disparity in English ability.

Article

Freedom and Education Revisited  

Pedro Tabensky

There is an influential and highly diverse tradition of philosophers and philosophically inclined educational theorists who argue that education should aim at freedom, indeed that education, properly understood, is the practice of freedom. On the one hand, there is the movement that neither commences nor ends with John Dewey (active during the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century), but of which Dewey’s philosophy of education is the neuralgic point. On the other hand, there is the movement, inspired to some extent by Dewey but quite distinct from it, launched by Paulo Freire in the second half of the 20th century—known as critical pedagogy. Freire and his followers—bell hooks and Henry Giroux, among them—explicitly claim that education is the practice of freedom and think of this practice as emancipatory in its aims. Dewey never explicitly describes education as the practice of freedom, but Richard Rorty, one of Dewey’s most influential followers, does so, and he correctly attributes the view to Dewey.

Article

1964 Freedom Schools in the United States  

Kristal Moore Clemons

The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project served thousands of children and adults in over 40 Freedom Schools created to combat voter suppression and encourage youth to engage in the Civil Rights Movement. The Mississippi Freedom Summer Project included three main initiatives: Freedom Schools and community centers, voter registration on the official state rolls, and a freedom registration plan designed to independently elect a slate of delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Voter registration was the cornerstone of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and approximately 17,000 Black residents of Mississippi attempted to register to vote in 1964, but only 1,600 of the applications were accepted by the registrars. The Freedom Schools utilized a curriculum focused on the philosophical tenets of the Civil Rights Movement, arithmetic, reading, writing, and African American history. The purpose was to supplement what children in the various counties in Mississippi were not receiving in their traditional public school setting. Marian Wright Edelman, activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), reinvigorated the contemporary Freedom Schools movement in the 1990s. The CDF’s Black Community Crusade for Children saw the CDF Freedom Schools program as an intergenerational collaboration between Civil Rights Movement–era activists and younger generations.