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Carlos Alberto Torres
The emergence of post-national citizenships questions the principles and values as well as the rights and responsibilities in which national citizenships were founded. Does this new reality reflect a crisis of classical liberalism and particularly of its neoliberal declination facing the new challenges of globalization and diversity? Multiculturalism, one of the answers to the dilemmas of citizenship and diversity shows signs of crisis. In these context concepts such as cosmopolitan democracies and global citizenship education have been invoked as solutions to the possible demise of the regulatory power of the nation-state and failed citizenship worldwide. The implementation of the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in 2012 by the UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon sets a new program for education where Global Citizenship Education is predicated as a resource to enhance global peace, sustainability of the planet, and the defense of global commons.
For decades now, the discourse on women and education by states, governments, non-governmental organizations, and global development agencies has focused overwhelmingly on access. The excessive preoccupation with enrollment rates, dropout rates, and impediments and constraints on women’s access to education has led to a relative neglect of what access is and what kind of access is being provided. Is it benign, empowering, liberating, and emancipating? Or is it rather that the messages transmitted through schooling tend to serve ends other than women’s own agency and empowerment? The case for educating girls and women is often couched in an instrumental vocabulary centered on the idea that it is good for the state, nation, country, motherhood, family, community, economic growth, and development. Such utilitarian arguments overlook the idea that education is a basic human right, and the aim of women’s education should be to empower women themselves, for their own sake, instead of as a means to ends outside of themselves.
The underlying assumption in instrumental and utilitarian arguments is that what is taught in schools—the curriculum—is neutral and objective and empowers all those who are exposed to it. There is little understanding, especially among policymakers and bureaucrats, that curriculum is not neutral or impartial; rather it is a highly contested, contradictory, and conflicted space with various social groups (religious, sectarian, nationalist, ethnic, racist, or other) attempting to gain the inclusion of their own knowledge as the only legitimate one. The old questions in education—whose knowledge is legitimate knowledge, and who decides which knowledge to include from a vast universe of available knowledge—is as relevant today as it was when first posited. In other words, what a society, community, or nation decides to transmit as “the truth” and what it prefers to exclude are highly political decisions steeped in conflicts over hegemony and power.
One of the most dominant and hegemonic discourses, historically and in contemporary times, is patriarchy. The belief that men/masculinity and women/femininity are polar opposites, and that the former category is overall superior to the latter, which is subordinate to it, is a universal ideology that informs the discourses of the nation, state, family, development, and all the institutions of governments, states, and the global community. Patriarchal ideas, values, and practices enter into capitalist, neoliberal, nationalist, religious, and cultural narratives across the globe and adapt to the system in place. Feminism and Women’s Studies have unpacked patriarchal discourses by revealing masculine biases in the very construction, packaging, and distribution of knowledge. However, feminist knowledge is mostly ghettoized in Women’s Studies or Gender Studies Departments, without forming the essential core of the curriculum in all social, humanistic, and hard science disciplinary areas. Under pressure from human rights and women’s rights constituencies, some content may be added or deleted from the curricula and textbooks, but the dominant religious, nationalist, and neoliberal discourses remain devoid of the insights of feminism that have provided new ways of conceptualizing the world and transforming it into a place of greater justice and equality.
Catherine Doherty and Megan Pozzi
While meritocratic ideals assume a level playing field for educational competition, those who can may seek to tilt the field in their children’s favor to ensure better educational opportunities and the associated life rewards. A growing body of literature is researching “up” to better understand how advantage for some through the choice of elite or private schooling contributes to the relative disadvantage of others. Institutional claims to offering an “elite” education can rest on different logics such as social selectivity by dint of high fees or academic selectivity by dint of enrollments conditional on academic excellence. Private education provided by a non-government entity serves as an alternative to public sector provision for those who can afford it. The global spread of neoliberal metapolicy has fanned a general trend towards privatization. Such logics of social restriction can distinguish the whole school, niche programs of distinction within a school, or tracking practices that pool advantage in particular classes or subjects. While education policy debates wrestle with how to articulate competing ethics of excellence, inclusivity, and equity, elite branding unapologetically resolves these tensions by conflating excellence and exclusivity. To achieve and sustain elite status, however, relies on the extra work of carefully curating reputations and protecting the brand. Recent research has started to ask more difficult questions of educational privilege. Such research helps to understand: the curricular processes and nature of privilege achieved through elite and private educational choices; how such education harnesses the semblance of meritocratic competition to legitimate its forms of distinction; and the broader impact of these processes.
Jane Kenway and Diana Langmead
Whatever else it involves, elite schools’ core work is to help to make and remake class through education. Here, we provide an overview of their everyday practices of class-making and present ways of categorizing them: the spatialization of their social imaginations, their mobilization of feelings, and their class-based disavowals. These practices are well established in the local (national/state) context, and we devote the first part of the article to these. In the second part, we shift the angle of scrutiny and outline such schools’ class-making practices in the contemporary global context.
In 1982, Denny Taylor coined the term “family literacy” to reference the ways young children and their parents interact around texts. Since then, the term family literacy has generally been applied to the practices that occur in homes to support young children as they become readers and writers. However, 30 years later, this definition negates the full scope of possibilities that might inform our understandings of the literacy practices that occur within home spaces and among family members. These possibilities reflect two important trends increasingly recognized within literacy research communities. First, technological advances have affected the ways people read and write and the multimodal literacy practices that have come to define literacy in families and homes. These developments are often the focus of New Literacy Studies as defined by the New London Group and others. Second, while generally not addressed in terms of family literacy, a substantial and growing body of research has documented the out-of-school literacy practices of adolescents and youth. Many of these literacy practices are enacted and displayed in home settings. While connections between out-of-school literacy practices and family literacy are generally not explicit, homes and families provide significant social contexts that are critical to engaging in technological, peer-informed, and popular culture practices. In short, family literacy does not end once children learn to read. In contrast, family literacy assumes new forms and involves new modalities that both echo and extend the literacy practices found within families. This is significant as it challenges conceptions of adolescent and youth literacy as being separate from the literacy practices of families.
To extend what is meant by family literacy, it is redefined as more than traditional activities that involve young children with texts. Instead, researchers are challenged to consider the full range of literacy practices that occur among family members and within homes across time. In doing this, family literacy and new literacy studies are brought together. Thus, the term family/home literacy is used to recognize not only the literacy practices that are enacted between children and parents, but the full range of literacy practices that occur among all family members—including siblings, extended family members, and friends. In short, family/home literacy practices are intertwined with home literacy affordances, which include the texts, opportunities, and technological resources that are available and used in homes. In order to explore family/home literacies over time, children’s literacy practices including traditional and technological family/home literacy practices are explored. Issues raised include parental mentoring of school-age children as they encounter new technologies at home, the adaptation of available resources by children as they move into and through adolescence, and transactions involving texts (both traditional and digital) among adolescents, young adults, and their parents.
Besides being protected by the First Amendment, the right of students and faculty to express divergent opinions—even discomfiting opinions—is central to the academic mission of schools, colleges, and universities. Two familiar Millian arguments underscore this point. First, the dynamic clash of contrary ideas offers the best prospect we have of arriving at the “whole truth” about any complex subject. Second, unless it is subject to periodic questioning and critique, any established and received bit of wisdom “will be held in the manner of a prejudice with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds.”
These arguments notwithstanding, anyone who has ever spent time in classrooms knows that educators sometimes curtail student speech. Can such conduct be justified in educational institutions dedicated to free and open inquiry and the examination of multiple perspectives? In mundane cases, student speech is suppressed for the sake of minimizing disruptions and maintaining order and efficiency in the classroom—as when the teacher cuts off a particularly loquacious student in order to allow others to get a word in, or a tangent-prone student in order to keep the discussion on point and avoid protracted digressions, etc. Even the most ardent defender of free speech must concede that censorship, in such cases, is necessary for the effective functioning of the educational environment.
A more complex and philosophically interesting set of cases involves educators who silence students for the sake of civility. Granted, when the speech in question involves personally targeted insults, gratuitous put-downs, and the like, the rationale for censorship seems unassailable. But what about speech that is strictly relevant to the topic under consideration, doesn’t descend to the level of direct, personal invective, and yet, nevertheless, denigrates members of some widely stigmatized group—e.g., a student’s declaration, during a discussion of the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling, that homosexuality is aberrant and a legitimate target of deterrent legislation? Is silencing this kind of utterance the appropriate course of action for educators? Or are the interests of all parties better served by permitting such views to be expressed and discussed openly in the classroom?
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.
Few would deny that processes of globalization have impacted education around the world in many important ways. Yet the term “globalization” is relatively new, and its meaning or nature, conceptualization, and impact remain essentially contested within the educational research community. There is no global consensus on the exact time period of its occurrence or its most significant shaping processes, from those who focus on its social and cultural framings to those that hold global political-economic systems or transnational social actors as most influential. Intersecting questions also arise regarding whether its influence on human communities and the world should be conceived of as mostly good or mostly bad, which have significant implications for debates regarding the relationship between globalization and education. Competing understandings of globalization also undergird diverse methodologies and perspectives in expanding fields of research into the relationship between education and globalization.
There are many ways to frame the relationship of globalization and education. Scholars often pursue the topic by examining globalization’s perceived impact on education, as in many cases global convergence around educational policies, practices, and values has been observed in the early 21st century. Yet educational borrowing and transferal remains unstraightforward in practice, as educational and cultural differences across social contexts remain, while ultimate ends of education (such as math competencies versus moral cultivation) are essentially contested. Clearly, specificity is important to understand globalization in relation to education. As with globalization generally, globalization in education cannot be merely described as harmful or beneficial, but depends on one’s position, perspective, values, and priorities.
Education and educators’ impacts on globalization also remain a worthwhile focus of exploration in research and theorization. Educators do not merely react to globalization and related processes, but purposefully interact with them, as they prepare their students to respond to challenges and opportunities posed by processes associated with globalization. As cultural and political-economic considerations remain crucial in understanding globalization and education, positionality and research ethics and reflexivity remain important research concerns, to understand globalization not just as homogeneity or oppressive top-down features, but as complex and dynamic local and global intersections of people, ideas, and goods, with unclear impacts in the future.
Many countries are increasingly debating the need for inclusive education systems that deal with learner difference and diversity in all educational settings as a quality issue. Such debates emphasize high quality education for all as an issue of learners' rights and an essential goal toward which educational policy must aim. Current policy developments and trajectories in an increasing number of countries view inclusive education as a policy approach, not a policy goal in itself, and there is an increasing focus upon formulating education policy that moves beyond the debates over “if” or “why” inclusive education should be an aim for education systems.
When the focus of attention is upon how to improve the achievement of all learners, at all levels of inclusive lifelong learning, in a meaningful way that enhances their opportunities for effective participation in society, then policy governing inclusive education systems must provide a clear vision for and conceptualization of inclusive education. Policy must also clearly outline that the effective implementation of inclusive education systems is the shared responsibility of all educators, leaders, and decision-makers.
In addition, the operational principles guiding the implementation of policy structures, and procedures within inclusive education systems must be those of equity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Policy efforts aimed at improving system equity, effectiveness, and efficiency can act as key levers for raising the achievements of all system stakeholders—learners, their parents and families, educational professionals, community representatives, and decision makers.
Incorporating Universal Design for Learning and Evidence-Based Practice to Enhance Inclusive Teacher Education Programs
Spencer Salend and Catharine Whittaker
In light of the need to prepare reflective and effective teachers who can differentiate their instruction to support the learning of all students in inclusive classrooms, this article describes the process faculty have used to incorporate universal design for learning (UDL) and evidence-based practice (EBP) into an inclusive teacher education program’s curriculum and practicum experiences. This process, which was implemented via a five-year federal grant, includes: (a) engaging in curriculum mapping to integrate UDL and EBP into program syllabi, learning activities, and assignments; (b) developing a practice-based evidence model (PBE) to guide teachers in collecting and reflecting on classroom-based data to make evidence-based decisions about their practices; (c) designing a lesson plan template to guide educators in using UDL and EBP to differentiate their instruction; and (d) redesigning a teacher observation form to align it with current teacher evaluation models and to assess teaching effectiveness related to planning for, implementing, and reflecting upon the use of UDL and EBP.