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Article

Challenging the Nature—Culture Binary Through Urban Environmental Education  

Marijke Hecht

Environmental conditions facing our local and global communities in the early 21st-century demand an urgent shift in education toward fostering healthy multispecies communities through stronger relationships between human and more-than-human beings. Environmental education, which has long pushed for interdisciplinary pedagogies that connect people and place, is well positioned to serve this aim. However, for the field to continue to develop and meet the challenges of the 21st century, it needs to address its roots as an outgrowth of science education where entrenched Eurocentric perspectives, such as human exceptionalism and the persistence of a nature–culture binary, are pervasive. These perspectives contribute significantly to the ongoing extraction of natural resources and degradation of habitats, which are tied to pressing environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. For environmental education to effectively impact learning in ways that lead toward a lasting protection of people and the planet, the field must be more critical of its roots and practices. Urban environmental education, which takes place where the majority of people live globally and in landscapes where humans and more-than-human beings are in close proximity, has the potential to challenge existing practices and continue to grow the field. Rethinking the nature–culture binary and the insistence on human exceptionalism are necessary for transformational improvements to the local landscape and planetary health. Two existing approaches that can support field-level change are critical place-based and Indigenous L/land-based pedagogies, which are drawn from different traditions but both support the transformation of relations between human and more-than-human beings. However, this requires an interrogation of if and/or how non-Indigenous scholars might take up Indigenous philosophies and pedagogies respectfully and ethically.

Article

Sweden and Education as a Market  

Lisbeth Lundahl

Since the late 1970s, the relationship between the state, the public sector, and the economy has undergone a profound transformation globally toward privatization, commercialization, and market organization. Pronounced marketization of education has occurred even in the Nordic countries, traditionally characterized as having social democratic/universalistic and egalitarian welfare systems, but with considerable national variations. Sweden has caught international attention by introducing unusually far-reaching, state-supported privatization of educational provision and strong incentives for school choice and competition. Central issues addressed include the factors associated with the exceptionally swift and far-reaching market reforms in Sweden, as well as the persistence of the resulting system and its consequences according to current research. A hasty reform decision, paucity of envisioned alternatives, and the appeal of school choice for an expanding middle-class contributed to the neoliberal turn in Swedish education politics. Generous rules of establishment and possibilities of profit-making attracted big businesses, particularly after the decision in the mid-1990s to fully tax-fund independent “free” schools. Within a 10-year period, substantial proportions of the schools were owned and run by large, profit-making companies and chains. Research has shown that the school choice and privatization reforms, besides providing parents and young people in the urban areas with a vast smorgasbord of schools, have fueled growing educational inequity and segregation since the 1990s. Despite increasing criticism of the design of school choice and profit-making in education from many sides, recently even from conservative–liberal media and politicians, the Swedish “market school system” persists and flourishes.

Article

Multilingualism in Monolingual Schools and the German Example  

Ingrid Gogolin

The majority of European countries consider themselves as monolingual nation-states. Some exceptions are countries composed of different linguistic territories, such as Belgium and Switzerland. Another form of exception is countries where certain territories are inhabited by linguistic minorities who are granted particular linguistic rights. Monolingualism with exceptions for special constellations or cases is therefore considered the “linguistic normality” in European nations. This understanding of normality is also reflected in the nations’ public institutions and is particularly pronounced in the national education systems. The linguistic reality in Europe, however, contrasts with this notion of normality. Since time immemorial, the regions that have become European nation-states have been characterized by linguistic diversity, not only across but also within their boundaries. Since the second half of the 20th century, however, the number of languages that are vital and used daily has considerably increased. The most important driver of this development is international migration. Some European countries—Germany in particular—belong to the most attractive immigration destinations of the world. Despite of this reality, European national education systems largely persist in their monolingual mindset—or in other words: in a monolingual habitus. This ambiguity can be amply illustrated by the example of the German education system. Education research shows that it belongs to the causes of educational disadvantage for children from immigrant families. This is precisely why innovation initiatives have been launched to mitigate the risks to teaching and learning associated with multilingualism, while making the best use of the resources offered by linguistic diversity to all children—be they growing up in monolingual or multilingual families.

Article

Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) for Student Well-Being  

Karen Moran Jackson and Rosemary Papa

The use of artificial intelligence in education (AIED) is a growing concern for both its potential benefits and misuses. Originating in research following the Second World War, artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technology that perform activities, such as making predictions and generating text, at levels equivalent to human ability. Early AI efforts had little public applications, but that began to change in the late 20th century, with applications in education becoming common in the early 21st century. AI is dependent on data collection and model selection, technical aspects of development that allow for personalized data but that also permit human biases into the system. AIED applications have taken largely predictive and decision-making roles, but generative applications are becoming more common. How different types of AIED applications become integrated into educational systems will depend not just on student and teacher needs, but on larger stakeholders in educational systems, such as administrators, policymakers, and business interests. AIED applications are subject to ethical violations and concerns, so development and implementation must be guided by ethical principles, even as ethical governance of AI in schools is riddled with challenges. Implications for educational organizations include developing more robust frameworks and principles around data access and generative AIED challenges, similar to those surrounding personalized medicine. These frameworks can guide oversight, auditing, and analysis of the performance of AIED applications, including miscues and mistakes. Educators should strive to implement AIED that is human-centered and based on principles of transparency, explainability, trustworthiness, accountability, fairness, and justice.

Article

Indigenous Language Revitalization  

Anne Marie Guerrettaz and Mel M. Engman

Countless Indigenous languages around the world are the focus of innovative community regeneration efforts, as the legacies of colonialism have created conditions of extreme sociopolitical, educational, and economic adversity for the speakers of these languages—and their descendants. In response to these conditions that Indigenous people face globally, the burgeoning field of Indigenous language revitalization and maintenance has emerged since the 1990s with the goal of supporting speakers of these languages and future generations. Indigenous language revitalization involves different but often interlocking domains of research, practice, and activism. Given the uniqueness of each community and their desires, history, values, and culture, the significance of the local is critical to the global phenomenon that is language revitalization. For instance, cases on five different continents offer valuable insights into this field, including the Hawaiian language in Oceania; Myaamia in the United States (North America); Básáa in the Cameroon (Africa); Sámi in Finland (Europe); and, Cristang and Malay in Malaysia (Asia). These offer examples of both local resources and common challenges that characterize revitalization efforts. The field of Indigenous language revitalization is interdisciplinary in nature, exemplified through five lines of inquiry that significantly contribute to this area of research: (a) theoretical linguistics and anthropology, (b) applied linguistics, (c) education, (d) policy studies, and (e) critical studies, including postcolonial studies, Indigenous studies, and raciolinguistics. Questions of research ethics are central to the field of Indigenous language revitalization since reciprocity and collaboration between researchers and Indigenous communities matter as the lifeblood of Indigenous language revitalization work. Finally, we believe that the notion of Indigenous language revitalization pedagogies along with underexplored Indigenous concepts (e.g., from Yucatecan and Māori scholars) offer compelling directions for future research.

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

Transformational School Leadership to Dismantle Inequitable Systems  

Deirdra Preis

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

Article

Trauma-Informed Practice in Early Childhood Education  

Elspeth Stephenson

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

Article

Navigating Change: Pacific Islanders, Race, Sport, and Pipelines to Higher Education  

Keali'I Kukahiko

Tagata Pasifika (Pacific People) is a transnational affiliation whose collective colonial experiences provide island nations of Oceania a means for contestation over local discourses of power and race. Employing the principle of Tagata Pasifika within higher education necessitates recognition of how postsecondary institutions are significant sites of conflict that engender the collective resistance among Pasifika communities for the following reasons: (a) to close the educational opportunity gap between Pasifika communities and spheres of influence—positions of power that dictate policies, social circumstances, and human living conditions; (b) to affirm Pasifika participation in the knowledge production process by developing ontological self-efficacy and decolonizing spaces in higher education that erase and marginalize Pasifika ontologies; and (c) to engage action research as opportunities that enact various forms of sovereignty, such as the ability to participate in cultural practices as authentic and legitimate ways of knowing and being or recognizing Pasifika intellectual participation as a process of action, or inaction, informed by cultural and experiential values. A salient college access point for Pasifika communities is the phenomena of college athletics because Pasifika college football players are 56 times more likely to matriculate to the National Football League. However, low graduation rates—only 11% of Pasifika college football players graduated from the Football Championship Series college division in 2015—have made this “untraditional” pathway an extractive pipeline that provides the National Collegiate Athletic Association membership institutions with athletic labor. Although college athletes continue to have the conditions of their admissions leveraged against them to prevent student resistance/activism, student-athletes have an unprecedented potential for influence in the “post-COVID” landscape of college athletics.

Article

“Race,” Inequality, and Education in the Czech Republic  

Dana Moree, Alena Kosak Felcmanova, and Magdaléna Karvayová

“Race” and education are profoundly interconnected in the Czech context, and this is especially visible with respect to the issue of the Roma population. The communist regime of the former Czechoslovakia made use of the educational environment to strengthen its ideology through teacher training, discriminative legislation, and changing the content of education. “Race” issues in society were “solved” by segregating most Roma children into what were called “special schools” for the mentally disabled. The fall of communism introduced freedom and changes to all of society, particularly in the education system, but new education legislation was not passed until 15 years after the fall of communism, and it did not address issues around discrimination sufficiently. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Czech Republic for having discriminated against a group of Roma children during the 1990s. This means a discriminatory situation and its consequences were still visible almost 30 years after the fall of communism. In response to this ruling, inclusion policy began to be promoted in Czech schools as of 2016. The situation from the perspective of legislation has been becoming more equal—the Act on Education has been amended, the financial support for disadvantaged children in education has become more transparent, and so on, but data from research conducted after amendment of the Act on Education show that the situation in or near what are called “socially excluded areas” has become much more difficult. Roma children are segregated not just by the official decisions of school establishers (municipalities) but also through parents, teachers, and head teachers from the majority population who interpret the applicable rules in such a way that Roma children, pupils, and students are concentrated into specific schools and do not attend school together with majority-society (non-Roma) children. “Race” issues, in combination with poverty, are drawing new borders around access to education. Roma children are not always welcome in the schools. These are reasons why the interconnectedness of the education system with issues related to racism in the context of a transforming society should be carefully analyzed. There are several facets of the topic, which we should take into consideration: First, terms like race, culture, and ethnicity are very often used without a deeper discussion of their meaning. It is necessary to use them precisely and reflectively. Second, this interconnectedness between race and education works on individual and interpersonal levels, the cultural level, and the structural level. They all should be taken into consideration while planning research, changes, or interventions. Finally, the interplay between these three levels is visible when we analyze real examples from the field (e.g., an intervention initiated by a nongovernmental Roma organization, Awen Amenca, in the city in the Czech Republic with the highest concentration of socially excluded localities).