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Article

Leadership Effect in Social Justice  

Kadir Beycioğlu

Social justice (SJ) is not a “newly discussed” issue. It has made a mark on the history of humanity. It was one of the most frequently discussed concerns of earlier religious and philosophical traditions for both their own context and other contexts around the world. Almost all disciplines, including philosophy, politics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and education, have been in search of a just world for people and have tried to find an answer to the question of what a socially just society is. Social justice has been a debated issue on the agendas of educational researchers, too. Similar to other fields, research on social justice in education has been attempting to describe and analyze its meaning and nature in educational settings. Educational researchers have made significant efforts to provide a definition of social justice in schools and to open the black box of social justice delivered to schools. In education, social justice, in short, may be seen as a fact directly related to providing equal opportunities for everyone in schools regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, social class, wealth, gender, family structure, sexual orientation, disability, and so on. This urges school leaders to be aware of their central roles and responsibilities in terms of justice issues in their schools, and this makes it very clear that a just school depends on leaders believing in social justice. In other words, school leaders and their efforts to create a just school have explicit effects on justice issues in schools.

Article

Critical Educational Psychology  

Tim Corcoran

Critical educational psychology has developed in response to traditional psychological applications taking place in education. Common amongst this area of work are concerns with reductionist and pathological ways of understanding those involved in teaching and learning. Further alignments occur with the promotion of social justice, empowerment, and recognition of difference, particularly in relation to ableism, racism, and other forms of prejudice. Critical educational psychologists rely upon varieties of psychological theory to support their work including social constructionism, sociocultural theories, and psychoanalytics. The intimate connection between theory and practice is regularly made explicit in critical educational psychology. Depending on geographic location, more regularly outside of North America, the referents educational and school psychology can be interchanged. Areas of applied work in educational settings include assessment, counseling, and working collaboratively with professionals such as teachers and speech pathologists. Critical educational psychologists examine the givenness of hegemonic psychological research and how this informs ways of knowing/being. Scientific methods are commonly targeted in this regard. Whether scientific accounts of people and the world should be dispelled outright provides grounds for ongoing debate. Even so, many critical educational psychologists are committed to working inclusively within and across different cultures and epistemologies. To this end, critical educational psychology is informed by explanations that are often marginalized from psychological discussion, such as critical race theory, contributions recognizing the global south, indigenous knowledges, as well as critical disability studies, posthuman theory, and new materialism. A central interest for critical educational psychology is championing difference differently. This is achieved through acknowledging the relationality of all things—human, nonhuman, material, and discursive—to affirm what is yet to be.

Article

Constructions of Social Justice, Marginalization, and Belonging  

Yongjian Li and Fred Dervin

The theme of social justice appears to be central in education research. A polysemic and sometimes empty notion, social justice can be defined, constructed, and used in different ways, which makes it a problematic notion to work with intra- and interculturally. Global education research has often relied on constructions of the notion as they have been “done” in the West, leaving very little space to constructions from peripheries. This problematic and somewhat biased approach often leads to research that ignores local contexts and local ways of “discoursing” about social justice. Although some countries are said to be better at social justice in education (e.g., top performers in the OECD PISA studies), there is a need to examine critically and reflexively how it is “done” in different contexts (“winners” and “losers” of international rankings) on macro- and micro-levels. Two different educational utopias, China and Finland, are used to illustrate the different constructions of social justice, and more specifically marginalization and belonging in relation to migrant students—an omnipresent figure in world education—in the two countries. A call for learning with each other about social justice, and questioning too easily accepted definitions and/or formulas, is made.

Article

An Overview of Qualitative Inquiry in Curriculum Studies  

Gabriel Huddleston and M. Francyne Huckaby

The relationships between curriculum studies and qualitative inquiry are built upon similar trajectories and theoretical concerns. There are key points in the histories of both of these inter/trans(un)disciplinary fields, the work of certain scholars working in both, and shared concerns. Historically, the lineage of curriculum studies and qualitative inquiry intersect around a shared investigation of education, specifically in schools. Of note is the common turn away from (post)positivism and an attentiveness to emic forms of inquiry that seek to understand from the inside out. Some commonalities include, but are not limited to, currere, duoethnography, autobiography, and broader qualitative research. Comparing the journey of curriculum studies and its qualitative forms of inquiry to traveling through the universe, travel begins on a home planet, reaching the farthest reaches of spaces, but a return is required, or at the very least, eventually inevitable. In the case of curriculum studies, explorers return to curriculum and, therefore, education. As curriculum has expanded beyond questions of knowledge to include the lives of those experiencing curriculum, qualitative inquiry has been a constant and loyal companion forging a journey that does not require one land at the place from which one launched.

Article

The Destructive Long-Term Impact of Disasters on Black and Brown Schooling Communities in the United States  

Cassandra R. Davis

Recent research shows that hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding are likely to increase in quantity and intensity. Yet, despite the frequency of these hazards, there is little work that documents the relationship between disasters, low-income communities of color, and schooling. There is a dearth of literature documenting how these communities in high-impacted areas are affected, recover, and remain resilient following a storm.

Article

Purposes of Arts Education  

Rebecca Heaton and Richard Hickman

A range of arguments is used to justify the inclusion of the arts in schools’ curricula from different parts of the world, moreover, "the arts" can mean different things to different audiences. It is therefore useful to contextualize why and how arts education contributes to such things as social utility, personal growth, and aesthetic awareness. Arts education in many countries is being marginalized, and the cognitive value of arts education is being sidelined. By reinstating the arts in education as cognitively driven, culturally relevant, and progressive, an arts offering can be formed that aligns with, and advances, contemporary perspectives and practices in education.

Article

Teacher Activism in the United States  

Kurt Stemhagen and Tamara Sober

There are a variety of ways in which teachers engage in activism. Teachers working for social change within their classrooms and teachers who engage in advocacy and organize to influence policy, law, and society are all doing work that falls under the umbrella of teacher activism. While there are numerous catalysts, many teachers become activists when they encounter unjust educational or social structures. There are also considerable obstacles to teachers recognizing their potential power as activists. From the gendered history of teaching to the widespread conception of teaching as a solitary and not a collective enterprise, there is rarely an easy path toward activism. The importance of collective as opposed to individual social action among teachers is increasingly recognized. Many cities now have teacher activist organizations, a group of which have come together and created a national coalition of teacher activist groups. Overall, teacher activism is an underresearched and undertheorized academic area of study. Possibilities for collective action should be fully explored.

Article

Social Justice Leadership, Equity, and the Digital Divide  

Anthony H. Normore and Antonia Issa Lahera

To commit to Brown v. Board of Education’s legacy of advancing social justice and democracy, it is necessary to look at practices (i.e., the types of discourse, experiences, processes, and structures) that promote the development and support of school leaders committed to social justice, equity, access, and diversity. Leadership preparation programs need to provide the knowledge base for aspiring school leaders to understand how they ought to respond to the changing political, moral, and social landscapes in which they live and work. Of equal importance is the curricular focus on interrelating social justice, democracy, equity, and diversity so that aspiring school leaders can identify practices that explicitly and implicitly deter social progress. Furthermore, these school leaders ought to be able to develop a knowledge base on how to respond to these injustices in their school leadership practices. As leadership development and preparation program personnel prepare new leaders, the discourse of social justice and marginalization is an important objective in the curriculum of preparation programs. Personnel in leadership programs have an opportunity to take part in discourse about how to shape the quality of leaders they produce for the good of society. To this end, researchers offer critical insights into the types of discourse, experiences, processes, and structures that promote the development and support of contemporary principals committed to social justice and democratic principles. Included in the research discussion are the tenets of social justice leadership, democracy, diversity and the digital divide, digital access, and digital equity.

Article

Educating Teachers for High-Poverty Schools  

Bruce Burnett and Jo Lampert

A great deal of scholarship informs the idea that specific teacher preparation is required for working in high-poverty schools. Many teacher-education programs do not focus exclusively on poverty. However, a growing body of research emphasizes how crucial it is that teachers understand the backgrounds and communities in which young people and their families live, especially if they are to teach equitably, without bias, and with a critical understanding of historical educational disadvantage. Research on teacher education for high-poverty schools is largely associated with social-justice education and premised on two key assumptions. The first is that teachers do make a difference and should be encouraged to see themselves as agents of change. The second is that without nuanced knowledge of poverty and disadvantage, and especially its intersection with race, teachers are prepared as though all students and all communities have equal social advantage. Through targeted teacher education, social justice teachers aquire the knowledge, skills and attributes to understand what they can and cannot do. Teachers with strong communities of practice and agency can resist the idea that they can eradicate poverty on their own, but can enact teaching in ways that are equitable and respectful, culturally responsive and safe. It is increasingly possible to observe how debates propose or challenge how preservice teachers should learn about high-poverty contexts. There are also numerous models, globally, of what works in preparing teachers for high-poverty schools; however, providing evidence or proving how specialized teacher preparation affects the educational outcomes of high-poverty students is difficult.

Article

Diversity, Decentralization, and Social Justice in School Reforms in Japan  

Kaori Okano

Japan’s two major national school reforms succeeded in helping transform the country from a premodern feudal society into a modern nation-state in the mid-19th century, and after World War II from a militarist society into a liberal democracy. Since then, there have been numerous reform initiatives. The key drivers of the reforms since the 1990s have been neoliberals, neoconservatives, progressive educationalists, and human rights advocates. Reflecting both struggle and collaboration among these groups, the reforms have been multidirectional and not necessarily consistent. The major reform directions identified are (a) decision-making becoming more decentralized, (b) educational offerings becoming more diverse and flexible, (c) the emergence of greater individual choice, (d) recognition of a widening gap among students and addressing equity and social justice, and (e) a greater role for outside-school providers. There is a significant degree of autonomy and discretion for actors in the middle (local governments, education boards, and schools) and teachers (both independently and collectively). They have utilized this in interpreting the national government’s directives, often avoiding direct challenges to the center.

Article

Transformative Leadership  

Carolyn M. Shields

Transformative leadership theory (TLT) is distinct from other leadership theories because of its inherently normative and critical approach grounded in the values of equity, inclusion, excellence, and social justice. It critiques inequitable practices, oppression, and marginalization wherever they are found and offers the promise not only of greater individual achievement but of a better life lived in common with others. Two basic propositions (or hypotheses) and eight tenets ensure the comprehensiveness of TLT. The first hypothesis is that when students feel welcome, respected, and included, they are better able to focus on learning and, hence, distal academic outcomes improve. The second hypothesis is that when there is a balance between public and private good emphases, and students are taught about civic participation, democratic society is strengthened. To fulfil these hypotheses, TLT is neither prescriptive nor instrumental; it does not offer a checklist of actions, but instead offers eight guiding tenets to ensure responsiveness to the needs of specific organizational and cultural contexts. The origins of TLT lie in a rejection of primarily technical approaches to leadership that do not adequately address the diversity of 21st-century schools and that have not been able to reduce the disparities between dominant and minoritized groups of students. Transformative leadership theory, like transformational leadership, draws on Burns’s concept of transforming leadership, although the two have sometimes been confused and confounded. Transformational leadership has more positivist overtones and focuses more on organizational effectiveness and efficiency; TLT has been operationalized as a values-based critical theory, focused both on beliefs and actions that challenge inequity and that promote more equity and inclusive participation. TLT draws on other critical theories, including critical race theory, queer theory, leadership for social justice, and culturally responsive leadership, as well as transformative learning theory, in order to promote a more equitable approach to education. Thus, it takes into account the material, lived realities of those who participate in the institution as well as organizational contingencies. To do so, the following eight specific interconnected and interrelated principles have been identified from the literature: • the mandate for deep and equitable change; • the need to deconstruct and reconstruct knowledge frameworks that perpetuate inequity and injustice; • the need to address the inequitable distribution of power; • an emphasis on both private and public (individual and collective) good; • a focus on emancipation, democracy, equity, and justice; • an emphasis on interdependence, interconnectedness, and global awareness; • the necessity of balancing critique with promise; • the call to exhibit moral courage. Questioning, dialogue, free-writing, reflection, deliberative and distributive processes, and relationship-building are central to the successful implementation of TLT. TLT in education is a proven way to address the persistent opportunity and achievement gaps between dominant and minoritized students and of enhancing democratic participation in civil society. In other areas, such as business, non-profits, social services, or sociocultural support agencies, TLT offers a comprehensive way for leaders to reflect on how to provide equitable, inclusive, and excellent environments for both clients and employees.

Article

Researching Relationships Between Rural Education, Space and Social Justice  

Hernan Cuervo

The relationship between rural schooling, space, and theories of justice is important to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals (e.g., students, teachers, principals) learning and teaching in rural places. To understand these challenges and opportunities, social justice needs to be comprehended at the level and setting where it is being enacted. This need for a contextualization of social justice, rather than universal and impartial notions of the concept, contributes to make visible the structures and relationships that constitute the space of rural schooling. This is important because the entrenched inequities experienced by rural school participants (e.g., students, staff, and the community) can only be fully addressed through a plural conceptualization and practice of social justice. This plurality needs to include a politics of distribution and a politics of recognition if it aims to make rural school spaces equitable and just. The work of Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth has been key to theorize the plural conceptualization of social justice in the intersection with space and rural education. Their scholarly work has been crucial because traditionally, a politics of distribution has tended to be the main social justice dimension applied in educational policies to redress perennial inequalities, such as shortage of staffing. This has produced a shortcoming and one-size-fits-all approach that can homogenize the diversity of rural spaces and schools. Against this dominance of distributive justice, a politics of recognition, through the work of Young, Fraser, and Honneth, is key to enhance the resignification and value of the rural space, knowledge, and schooling. To illustrate the need for a plural approach to social justice, two issues in rural education are particularly important: the constitution of the rural school curriculum and the perennial problem of recruiting and retaining school staff. While distribution of resources is important, at the core of both issues is a need for the social respect and cultural resignification of rural knowledge, experiences, and ways of life. This approach that takes recognition theory seriously into account, as well as distributive justice, helps to better understand how rural schooling can be socially just.

Article

Engineering Education and Social Justice  

Jon A. Leydens, Juan C. Lucena, and Donna M. Riley

Engineering education and social (in)justice are connected in complex ways. Research indicates that while issues of social (in)justice are inherent in engineering practice, they are often invisible in engineering education. The mechanism by which social justice is rendered invisible involves mindsets and ideologies in engineering and engineering education. Hence, innovative strategies and practices need to address these mindsets and ideologies, rendering social justice visible in engineering education. Imagined future scenarios for social justice in engineering education indicate how social justice could be readily marginalized or accentuated, with accompanying detriments or benefits.

Article

Educational Qualitative Research in Colombia  

Paula Andrea Echeverri-Sucerquia and Carlos Tobon

The historic agreement signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government, as well as the peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), mark the beginning of an end to decades of raw violence in Colombia. Against all odds, Colombia has found ways to survive the pain, to heal, and to begin anew. The Colombian experience mirrors that of many other Latin American nations, as well as others around the world, where a history built in the midst of war, violence, and resilience has shaped people’s ways of interpreting the world and building knowledge. Evidence of this is the focus of conference papers, theses, and dissertations presented at international conferences by and about Latin Americans. Undeniably, in spite of the particularities that describe the Latin American social experience, the hemispheric North has exerted a great epistemological influence in the South. However, Southerners have imprinted their idiosyncrasies, their own ways of understanding, creating, and transforming. A review of educational qualitative research in Colombia illustrates this tension: on the one hand is the focus on evidence-based research, highly influenced by academic work in the North, and, on the other hand, there is a struggle for research that strives for social justice. Such complex tension entails both challenges and opportunities for qualitative research in education.

Article

Reinforcing Administrator Cultural Consciousness During the Social Media Revolution  

Thomas R. Hughes, Ijeoma Ononuju, and Grace Okoli

Schools have traditionally been viewed as socializing institutions, and expectations encountered across the educational profession have typically brought administrators to the forefront of the most complex cultural issues experienced across the nation. While growing social instability abounds and fuels an expansion of targets for widespread intolerance, it is increasingly evident in 2020 that the footings upon which racial tolerance was seemingly being built were likely never as solid as was once thought throughout the United States. Contemporary school leaders are expected to face increasingly complex challenges every day. These demands draw them further into a conflict-ridden reality where they are called upon to broaden their cultural awareness and increase their direct connection to the communities they serve. In light of these developments and especially factoring in the escalating intrusions from social media, it is clear that practices once employed to introduce and instill racial understanding within school administrator candidates are in need of updating. If these efforts are going to be successful in effectively supporting equitable leadership in our schools, this updating needs to be geared toward reinforcing and even expanding insights and abilities well beyond the traditional introductory considerations that have been advanced by training models to this point.

Article

Educational Leaders Without Borders  

Rosemary Papa and Fenwick W. English

Educational leaders in many countries have come to realize that (a) many of their problems are similar to those in other nations; (b) some of those problems fall outside the boundaries of the nation-state and involve many countries; (c) not only does the problem of social, material, and political inequalities fall outside the purview of the school to resolve, but beyond basic literacy and numeracy skills, schools tend to reproduce such inequalities; and (d) an awareness of educational issues when shared and dissected can present new opportunities for the local leader. Educational Leader without Borders (ELWB) is a group of international scholars and researchers who have joined together to study and discuss their potential solutions outside the politics of the local nation-state. An urgent situation has developed as mass migrations have erupted from climate change and war (leading to failed states) and from neoliberal attacks on promoting solutions for schools, thus further eroding schools’ efficacy for children of the poor and disenfranchised. The most difficult problems are those resulting from long-standing cultural practices which are deeply embedded in the public mindset and past traditions. Misogyny is one such tradition. It begins with denying young girls access to formal schooling in many parts of the world, excluding them when menstruation begins, and following the cultural traditions that support limiting rural boys in their education. Neoliberal pursuits have erupted and expanded the chasm between those-who-have and those-who-have-not. Western education is bashed and seen as polluted by these neoliberal norms. As ELWB scholars, we wrestle with the research done on others by others as the field of education is a context-bound integration of the society within which it is embedded. The context is shaped by the history, culture, and political policies of the specific nation state which are heavily influenced especially by economic and military considerations. Global awareness of issues, we believe as educational leaders, raise the possibilities of greater local understanding and ultimately on-the-ground actions by those immediately affected: school leadership, staffs, students, families, and communities. The counternarrative for this is the one-size-fits-all educational neoliberal approach found in the growing tentacles of artificial intelligence and all of its media supports. ELWB seeks new knowledge that is enhanced by all that technology offers but is not bound by it. We believe that human interactions are steeped in promising practices, with localized actions and the belief that education offers happiness in life while supporting the planet earth. This is the goal of the ELWB.

Article

Service Learning and Teacher Education  

Nadine Petersen, Sarah Gravett, and Sarita Ramsaroop

Although teacher education actively promotes the ideals of social justice and care, finding ways of enculturating student teachers into what these values mean in education remains a challenge. Additionally, the literature abounds with the struggles of teacher educators to prepare student teachers with the knowledge and competencies required for the complex task of teaching. A way to address this is through the inclusion of service learning (SL) in initial teacher education programs. SL, as a form of experiential learning, with reflection at its core, serves as a means of deepening student learning about the practice of social justice and care and as a way of both drawing on, and informing, student teachers’ practical and situational learning of teaching. SL also holds potential for preparing teachers with the competencies required for the 21st century. The research on SL in teacher education draws on theoretical perspectives of experiential learning, democracy education, social transformation, multicultural education, critical reflection, and education for civic responsibility. A limitation is that the literature within developing contexts is underrepresented, limiting access to useful lessons from the research in these contexts and preventing wider theorization in the field.

Article

Principals’ and School Leaders’ Roles in Inclusive Education  

Barbara Pazey and Bertina Combes

The United States and other developed countries have acknowledged and supported the rights of students with disabilities to receive an appropriate education for decades. The role of the principal and school leader in overseeing educational programs and ensuring these entitlements become a reality for students with disabilities has taken center stage. Discussions related to principals and school leaders fulfilling the roles of leader and manager on behalf of students with disabilities linked the complementary disciplines of general and special education leadership. The leadership approach they adopted led to debates surrounding the concept of inclusion and the provision of an inclusive education on behalf of students with disabilities. Current definitions of inclusive education are typically linked to concepts of equity, social justice, and recognition of the student’s civil right to be granted full membership in all aspects of the educational enterprise. The processes involved in creating an inclusive school environment require principals and school leaders to examine the values and beliefs that influence their own thinking and behaviors before they can communicate a vision of inclusion. Principals and school leaders must be willing to act in concert with others to create the type of school culture that unanimously and positively responds to difference so every student can achieve full membership and feel welcomed and valued.

Article

Aspirations to Gender Equality in Philosophy, Political Activism, and Education  

Gregory Bynum

Late 20th-century and early 21st-century social movement toward gender equality in society has been significant. Parents and educators commonly expect that all youngsters should have the same life opportunities regardless of gender. In education, girls and young women are excelling, often equaling and even surpassing boys and men in academic performance and in earning college degrees and graduate degrees. Further, women are more frequently assuming traditionally “masculine” professional roles (doctor, lawyer, manager, legislator, governor, and others) while men more frequently assume traditionally “feminine” roles, successfully taking on more child care and housework, and working in nursing and other traditionally “feminine” fields. At the same time, preferences for gender hierarchy are still strongly expressed in many areas of society. At the top of leading social institutions including government and business, men still possess far more political, economic, and intellectual leadership power and authority in comparison to women; and in reaction to political and economic power imbalances, women’s rights activists sometimes express the idea of female superiority instead of arguing for gender equality. In the area of socialization, girls and women continue experiencing high levels of gender-specific pressure to conform to narrow ideals of physical beauty and emotional supportiveness, while boys and men continue experiencing pressure to avoid communicating about their vulnerabilities and emotions, possibly stunting their emotional development and impairing their mental health. In this context, gender equality emerges as a vital, early-21st-century educational imperative that is essential in actualizing what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has designated the right of all people to an education for the “full development of the human personality.” In the gender equality imperative’s emergence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the following elements are all interrelated: philosophical perspectives and sociopolitical developments indicating a need for gender equality, thinking and practices opposed to gender equality, and the development of pro-gender-equality educational understandings and practices.

Article

Gender, Justice, and Equity in Education  

Elisabet Öhrn and Gaby Weiner

The field known as gender and education emerged in the 1970s, and currently addresses a range of issues of equity and justice in education with the widespread incorporation of “intersectionality” (i.e., the interlocking nature of gender and other categorizations such as social class, race, ethnicity, sexualities, disability). The topics and practices constituting the field have changed over the years, as demonstrated in a survey by the authors of Gender and Education, the main journal of choice for those working in the field. Key topics addressed by researchers include patterns of examination achievement, curriculum and school practices, and the variety of femininities and masculinities produced with/in schooling and education. Overarching themes on the conduct of the field include decreased focus on practice and action, increased emphasis on theorization, critique of the dualisms on which the field is based (girl/boy, male/female, masculinity/femininity), and Anglophone and Western bias.