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Philosophy, Death, and Education  

Peter Roberts

Often regarded as one of life’s few certainties, death is both instantly familiar to us and deeply mysterious. Every adult will have encountered death in some form, sometimes through the loss of a family member, sometimes less directly via friendships with others or the viewing of news items on television or the Internet. Yet, few take the time to examine death closely and to consider its significance in shaping human lives. Death is of interest both for what we know about it (in observing and living with others who die) and for what we do not know about it (“What will happen to me after I die?”). Death seems, on the face of it, to lend itself well to both philosophical and educational inquiry. For, if, as Socrates claimed, philosophy prepares us for death, this suggests an educational process (“How does it prepare us?”) that warrants careful investigation. It is, however, not just philosophy that prepares us for death but also death that prepares us for philosophy. Our understanding of death can exert a powerful but often unnoticed influence over our ontological and epistemological views, our ethical commitments, and our educational endeavors. Death can prompt us to ask: What does it mean to be a human being? What do we value and why? What and how should we seek to know? How should we live?


Ideology and Education  

David Backer

“Ideology” has fallen out of favor as a term of art. Terms like “equity,” “bias,” “gap,” “discourse,” “norm,” various “isms,” “consciousness,” “experience,” and “policy” tend to appear in scholarly and mainstream education dialogue when it comes to social-political practices. Yet the term is important both historically and for the present day. After its first formal usage in the 18th century, intellectuals produced several concepts of ideology. Ideology transformed from a science of ideas to propaganda; from critiques of truth and falsity to necessary strategy; from a focus on consciousness to a focus on practice. These transformations impacted educational research, particularly in the postwar period during a renewed emphasis on schooling’s social context. Revisiting the various concepts of ideology, particularly ideology as a practice, is valuable for educators and scholars today.


Intuition and Education  

Emily Sadowski

Intuition is a mode of consciousness wherein content is perceived by sudden, direct awareness. Intuition sees the wholes of things, perceiving patterns, and making connections. Intuitive awareness occurs to the conscious mind without any identifiable processing, cognitive or otherwise. The intuitive mode is useful for creativity, problem solving, decision making, and all forms of discovery. Scholars have addressed intuition in education by drawing attention to its possibilities for professional practice, and by theorizing how intuition can be harnessed to improve educational outcomes. Intuition offers an important balancing effect to the hegemony of rational analysis, but like everything to do with consciousness, its function is not well understood. Philosophers of education often conceptualize intuition as a form of expertise, relying on Gladwell’s Blink as a referent to the experience. But intuition encompasses a broader range of experience; so-called parapsychological experiences such as telepathic communication and pre-cognitive awarenesses are also common intuitive experiences and need more attention by educators. It is possible to learn to improve the intuitive function. Such training involves cultivating an acceptance of uncertainty and pursuing a depth of self-awareness so that intuitive content can be distinguished from projection, fear, and simple guesses.


World Language Education and the Pedagogical Imperative  

James P. Lantolf

L. S. Vygotsky proposed that human consciousness entails the dialectical interaction between memory, attention, perception, emotion and motivation, imagination, and rational thought, organized in large part through language, or more appropriately, communicative meaning-making activity. The development of consciousness occurs more or less spontaneously (i.e., unplanned) in everyday life activity and in more systematically organized and intentionally planned educational activity. An important component of the developmental process is the conceptual knowledge that cultures make available to their through various types of social relations. In everyday life, this knowledge is largely empirically based, while in formally organized educational development conceptual knowledge is highly systematic and much more readily recontextualizable than is everyday knowledge. Academic concepts are derived from rigorous research and as such reveal processes and components of material reality that are otherwise hidden from direct empirical observation by our senses. The responsibility of presenting and explaining academic concepts to students in educational activity is carried out by specially prepared individuals—teachers—who engage students in intentionally planned and (hopefully) rigorous interactions, mediated largely, though not exclusively, through language. According to the pedagogical imperative, as it relates to instruction in world languages, relevant high quality theoretical and conceptual knowledge must be made pedagogically viable; that is, understandable to both teachers and learners and it must be useable by learners to mediate their generation of meaning in practical communicative activities. The knowledge must be presented in a memorable way, usually in a holistic visual representation rather than traditional verbally based rules of thumb and learners must be guided through appropriate prompts, clues, and hints provided primarily by teachers, but at times also by peers, to internalize this knowledge so that it becomes functional in communicative practices. Finally, recognition must be given to the fact that development of any kind, including that provoked by educational practice, must not only take account of the participants (students and teachers) intellect, it must also profoundly consider the emotional aspects of the educational process as teachers and learners engage in the dialectic process captured by Vygotsky in the Russian term, obuchenie, or teaching–learning, whereby teachers and learners engage in a process of mutual mediation.


Critical Perspectives on Positive Youth Development and Environmental Education  

Marianne E. Krasny, Tania M. Schusler, Jesse Delia, Anne Katherine Armstrong, and Lilly Briggs

Positive youth development (PYD) assumes that, when given appropriate support, all youth have the capacity to develop the assets that enable them to succeed in life. Such assets include competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution to community, otherwise known as the six Cs of PYD. Environmental education (EE) programs that focus on youth action and empowerment offer the support needed for youth to develop these assets. Youth after-school, summer, and residential programs, often serving low-income and minoritized youth, increasingly are using environmental action and learning as a means to achieve PYD outcomes. Yet both PYD and EE have been criticized for not addressing the root causes of poverty and environmental degradation. In response, critical traditions in PYD and EE have emerged, in which youth reflect and act on structural barriers to human and environmental well-being in their communities. As youth and their mentors seek to address systemic inequities impacting themselves and their environment, they develop additional “Critical Positive Youth Development/Environmental Education” assets including critical reflection, efficacy, the ability to take collective action, and community-level empowerment.


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.