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Antiblackness and the Adultification of Black Children in a U.S. Prison Nation  

Amir A. Gilmore and Pamela J. Bettis

Discourses in the early 21st century surrounding the presumption of childhood innocence were undergirded by antiblackness. The theorization of antiblackness within the context of race, gender, and education has been beneficial to understanding how the mistreatment of Black children and the illegitimacy of Black childhoods within the white American racial imaginary is seemingly justified. Foundational to the United States, antiblackness is a race-based paradigm of racial othering and subjugation through a litany of organized structural violence against Black people. Structured outside the realms of humanity and civil society, Black life, through this paradigm, is regarded as other than human. Arguably, antiblackness shapes all racialized, gendered, sexualized conditions and experiences of all Black people, including the age compression of Black children. Antiblackness scholarship posits that there is an institutional unwillingness to see Black youth as children. Discourses on what it means to be a child, who can occupy that position, and when a particular stage of a child’s development is reached, are all structured against Black youth. Pathologized as deviant, adult-like problems, Black children occupy life in a liminal space, where they are denied childhood status but carry adult-like culpability. As adultified Black youth, they lack autonomy and are not granted leniency to learn from their mistakes like their white peers. With their actions and intentions perceived as deviant, ill-willed, or hypersexual, Black children are susceptible a wide range of violence from school punishment, the criminal justice system, sexual abuse and exploitation, and excessive police force.

Article

Aristotelian and Kantian Virtues and Education  

Guðmundur Heiðar Frímannsson

Virtues are conditions for education, a part of education, and a result of it. Virtues are stable, desirable traits of persons. For a person to be virtuous, these traits of character must be regularly expressed in action. Choosing rationally to perform good actions is not sufficient for virtue; even though it may be a necessary condition for an action to be good, performing is necessary as well to exercise virtue. It is sometimes claimed that moral theory along utilitarian and deontological lines neglected or forgot the virtues in its theoretical work in the 20th century. This is true about much of 20th-century moral theory. Aristotelian moral theory has grown in influence since the early 1970s and it can be reasonably said that it is now just as influential as deontology and utilitarianism if not more so. Naturalism is a part of Aristotelian moral theory and has proved a much stronger base for moral action and moral argument than 20th-century moral theory was willing to accept with its fundamental distinction between facts and values. Values are just as fundamental to our understanding of the world as facts. Arguments in moral theory move easily from facts to values and values to facts. The relation between facts and values is more complicated than much of 20th-century moral theory allowed for. Immanuel Kant is often taken as an example of a philosopher who neglected the virtues. Yet Kant wrote a work, The Metaphysics of Morals, half of which was devoted to virtues. Education is a normative endeavor aiming at well-rounded individuals capable of fulfilling those functions that modern society requires from them, such as being a citizen, entering working life with valuable complex skills, or governing one’s own life. It is not possible to fulfill these functions without mastering the moral and intellectual virtues.

Article

Bildung-Centered General Didactics  

Ilmi Willbergh

Bildung-centered general didactics is a tradition of schooling and teacher education in Germany and the Nordic countries. It originated from the late 18th century during the development of nation-states, when the professions had designated areas of responsibility. The teacher’s duty was to interpret the curriculum, transforming it into meaningful teaching for the students in the classroom. Teaching comprises the totality of the three aspects of any teaching situation; the teacher, the student, and content, and their relations in specific practices. Bildung-centered general didactics puts content to the fore. It is a hermeneutical discipline centered on the topics of the culture as a whole. Bildung, in German and Nordic general didactics, is a concept grasping the normative ideals behind any educational phenomenon. Hence, the meaning of Bildung will vary from culture to culture and across time. However, the idea of Bildung is mostly associated with the ideals of modernity in Western history; the core question being how to educate autonomous and responsible democratic citizens. Since then, pedagogy has implied a paradox: how to cultivate the freedom of individuals through the exercise of power. Bildung-centered general didactics centers on this paradox in theory and practice, and at the macro and micro levels of the educational system. The most influential Bildung-centered general didactic approach is that of Wolfgang Klafki (1927–2016). Klafki’s primary term is categorical Bildung, a dialectic of the content and the student, and a didactic analysis as the means for teachers to contribute to the empowerment of students.

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Bringing a Humanistic Approach to Special Education Curriculum  

Michelle Parker-Katz and Joseph Passi

Special education curriculum is often viewed as an effort to provide ways for students with disabilities to meet specific academic and socio-/behavioral goals and is also heavily influenced by compliance with multiple legislative policies. Critical paths forward are needed to reshape a special education curriculum by using a humanizing approach in which students’ lived experiences and relatedness to self and others is at the core of study. Intentional study of how students and their families draw upon, develop, and help shape local supports and services that are provided through schools, along with community and governmental agencies and organizations, would become a major part of the new curricular narrative. However, the field of special education has been in large part derived from an epistemology rooted in science, positivism, and the medical model. The dominance of these coalescing epistemologies in educational systems has produced a myriad of structures and processes that implicitly dictate the ways special educators instruct, gather data, and practice. Core among those is a view that disability is synonymous with deficit and abnormality. What emerges is an entrenched and often implicit view that the person with disabilities must be fixed. In adopting a humanistic approach in which we value relationships, the funds of knowledge families have helped develop in their children and the identities individuals shape, and the linkages of persons with multiple community networks, the groundwork could be laid for a new curricular narrative to form. In so doing, the field could get closer to the grounding principle of helping all students with disabilities to thrive. For it is in communities that people can thrive and choose to participate in numerous life opportunities. In such a way curriculum is integral to lived experience, to the fullness and richness of lived experiences—lived experiences that include the study of academic subject matter along with the development of social and emotional learning.

Article

Curriculum History  

Kelly P. Vaughan

The field of curriculum studies in the United States has transformed from an area of study primarily concerned with curriculum development in schools to one focused on understanding and theorizing curriculum inside and outside of schools. Since the 1960s, the field of curriculum studies also has become more historical. Curriculum history, as a subset of curriculum studies, originated during the reconceptualization of curriculum studies and debates about revisionism within those studying histories of education. The field of curriculum history emerged with a range of perspectives (revisionist, critical, international, postmodern), areas of focus (intellectual histories, single event accounts, biographies, institutional practices), and source materials. The differences in both theoretical perspectives and methodologies require that we move away from the idea of a singular account of curriculum history and toward the concept of a multiplicity of curriculum histories. In the period of post-reconceptualized curriculum studies, curriculum historians have moved the field in multiple methodological and theoretical directions. The areas of curriculum studies and curriculum history continue to develop and change. There are efforts to create a more international understanding of curriculum history. There are also efforts to move beyond linear narratives of progress and revisionist efforts to speak into this field’s silences. Within this complex field, curriculum studies scholars and curriculum historians will continue to grapple with the relationships of past, present, and future; with connections between theory and practice; and with expanding (both geographically and epistemologically) ways of understanding.

Article

De/colonizing Educational Research  

Kakali Bhattacharya

Decolonizing educational research encompasses the understanding and entanglement of colonialism and decolonizing agendas. Such an understanding includes the colonial history of the world, in which once-colonized and settler colonial nations configure varied, divergent, and overlapping decolonial agendas that can inform educational research. However, such divergent agendas are always in relation to resisting colonizing forces and imagining a utopian future free of colonizing and other interconnected structures of oppression. To represent the shuttling between the present and the utopian imagination, de/colonizing is written with a slash and theorized. De/colonizing educational research requires understanding western intellectual canon-building dating back to the European Enlightenment and disrupting such superiority of knowledge construction through knowledge democracy, intellectual diversity, and pluriversity. De/colonizing educational research is committed to negating and erasing the ontoepistemic violence caused by colonizing and related structures of oppression. Engaging de/colonial approaches to inquiry in education requires restructuring both education and educational research. De/colonizing educational research must include a global agenda while simultaneously marking specific localized agendas. This is how the violence in settler colonial and once-colonized nations can be disrupted, mitigated, and eradicated in educational research, education, and nation-states. Calling for liminal and border work and recognizing that colonizing forces of oppression are not static, de/colonizing educational research advocates for an understanding of fluidity in resistance.

Article

Ecopedagogy and Education  

Ruyu Hung

The neologism ecopedagogy was coined in the late 20th century to represent the joining of ecology and pedagogy. However, ecopedagogy is not an education about ecology but an education through ecology, meaning that it is an education based on an ecological worldview. A worldview is the fundamental understanding of life and the world. Ecological worldview means the ecological approach to the understanding of life and the world. The basic ideas of the ecological worldview come from the science of ecology, of which there are two interpretations: ecology of stability and ecology of instability. Both provide a general, shared outline of the world and how it works but each offers distinctive values of philosophy, ethics, culture, and society with regard to the ecosystem. Ecopedagogy, which encompasses both ecological worldview and education, develops into two broad movements: philosophical ecopedagogy and critical ecopedagogy. For the former, referred to as ecosophy, focuses on the metaphysical investigation of the human-nature relationship and related issues in education. For the latter, ecojustice, the mission is to critique the injustice and oppression involved in environmental issues and to construct a utopian society of planetary civilization.

Article

Gratitude and Education  

Inga Bostad

Gratitude may at first glance seem foreign to philosophy of education. Being grateful is often described and interpreted in psychology, anthropology, sociology, or religious contexts, while philosophers have to a lesser degree regarded gratitude as an interesting topic, and there is no agreed upon definition or status of gratitude in philosophy of education. However, the discipline of pedagogy is more than what happens in school, in education and upbringing; it may be interpreted in a broad sense, as the study of how we live together for the renewal and reproduction of a society, and thus the concept of gratitude throws light on the double relationship between teacher and student, wherein one both gives and receives, and makes us see ourselves as relational and dependent on others. In the philosophy of education, gratitude may work as a critical concept revealing imposed social and political orders, power relations, and repressive mechanisms as well as delineating interdependence and interconnectedness, appreciating the efforts and contributions of others as well as social justice. One can define gratitude as a positive, appropriate, and immediate feeling or attitude toward, or a response to, an advantage or something beneficial. Gratitude thus depends on a subject, a being with some kind of intention, consciousness, or emotional life directed toward something or someone. Being grateful to others may express and accordingly justify social hierarchies as well as a balance between actions and benefits, between behavior and quality of life. There are thus arguments for seeing gratitude as both a critical and an enlightening concept. Some argue that gratitude is first and foremost an imposed burden, and that the debt of gratitude is intimately interwoven with, but also differs from, being grateful, as the first implies that a person experiences indebtedness to someone for having received something that also requires some kind of response or reciprocation. Others view gratitude as a neglected and meaningful enrichment of people’s lives: gratitude may promote feelings of community, responsibility, and belonging. Moreover, it can strengthen our appreciation of other people’s efforts and kindness, and of valuable social and cultural institutions. Someone is grateful because they acknowledge what someone else has invested, and being able to express gratitude, or being hindered from it, is also part of the pedagogic relation. It is first and foremost the relationship that defines gratitude; it is both something other than the object—the undertaking or the experience that makes us grateful—and in relationship with that object. To be grateful expresses a sense of life, a condition that addresses not only what you get, but also the responsibility we have as relational human beings.

Article

Imagination and Education  

Moira von Wright

The concept of imagination, with its potential to contribute to education, is attracting increasing interest as humanity faces major challenges such as migration and climate change. Imagination is expected to enlarge the mentality of human beings and help to find new solutions to global problems. However, educational thinkers have different understandings of what imagination and imaginative thought can actually contribute to. Imagination is the mental ability to visualize what may lie beyond the immediate situation and to “see” things that are not present. It is a central element of meaning creation in education—in the relationship between mental pictures and reality, between humans and the outside world, and between the past and the future. Imagination is a way of seeing, a happening in the here and now. No single specific definition of imagination exists, and this term is used in a variety of ways. Because it is so evasive, the idea of imagination has been contested and questioned, so its meaning depends on the theory and context with which it is associated. Many educational theories simply neglect the concept of imagination, or limit its meaning to common fantasizing and playfulness, whereas others give imagination a central role in the processes of understanding and learning. The socially and politically emancipating dimension of imagination has been emphasized, as has its moral significance and relation to self-formation and education. Some thinkers argue that education should not be satisfied with developing students’ ability to think imaginatively, create a narrative and develop social imagination; rather, it needs to intentionally raise young people to “live imaginatively”—that is, to live a rich life with an open mind, being ready to think in new ways and change their habits when former ways of thinking prove untenable for moral and ethical reasons. Despite these differences of opinion, the value of imagination in education is undeniable. Yet questions remain: How does “bad fantasy” differ from “good imagination,” and what are the educational consequences of such a distinction? How can imagination be a common ground in education, and how can it be a liminal space or topos for the different perspectives of children and adults in that area? How can imagination be part of a greater social responsibility and a way of life?

Article

Islamic Pedagogy for Islamic Schools  

Nadeem A. Memon

Since the early 1980s, the number of Islamic schools in Western contexts such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom has increased steadily. What began in the 1980s as a handful of schools aspiring to preserve the religious identities of Muslim learners has grown into substantial schooling segments within the private and/or independent schooling sectors in their respective contexts. These schools are full-time day schools that adhere to national or state educational policy and practice while aspiring to foster religiosity. Empirical research on Western Islamic schools, however, commonly critiques these schools for superficially appending Islam onto an existing public school model. Aside from Islamic dress codes, prayers, and religious studies classes, Islamic schools commonly adopt wholesale standardized curricula, testing regimes, methods of teaching, school policies, and measures of success that reflect global education trends with the hope of attaining internal community legitimacy and external public validation. An overemphasis on academic competitiveness has cultivated a culture of performativity at the expense of a distinct educational model and approach. Despite a rich heritage of educational thought in the Islamic tradition, a significant disconnect between Islamic educational theory and Islamic schooling practice remains. As schools continue to strive toward distinction, bridging this theory–practice divide is critical. Moving toward Islamic pedagogy, not in the sense of a method of instruction but pedagogy as a human science that addresses the big questions about what makes education that is “Islamic” distinct, will ground Islamic schools in a nuanced educational theory they can call their own.