Tag Archive: Philosophyof

Perceptions of ethical public school leadership among K–12 Indiana school principals (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

This research attempted to determine the ethical perceptions of Indiana K–12 public school principals through their ratings of selected ethical preparedness statements. The goal was to determine if significant differences exist among public school principals in the state of Indiana based on level and locale of school, gender, ethnicity, source of ethical development, and years of service related to ethical areas of knowledge, disposition, and performance as derived from the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium: Standards for School Leaders ISLLC) Standard 5. The population for this study consisted of 1,900 public school principals in the state of Indiana. A survey instrument was emailed to the respondents, with a return rate of 62%. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used, with follow up tests comparing each pair of groups) performed with Mann-Whitney tests. Significant differences were found in level and locale of school, years of service, ethnicity and sources of ethical development as they relate to the areas of Knowledge, Dispositions, and Performances of selected ethical preparedness statements derived from ISLLC Standard 5. Further research is recommended to better understand the reasoning behind why more K–5 public school principals respond more often on educational surveys than other principals, why grades 7–12 administrators have a more conservative and ethical outlook, how ethical development plays such a crucial role in professional training, and why gender consistently brings about no significant difference—all referencing the outcome variables of Knowledge, Disposition, and Performance as they pertain to ISLLC Standard 5.

Unpacking racial ideologies in Taiwan: How Han teacher education students view other racial groups in national and global contexts (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

This study critically examines Han-Taiwanese teacher education students racial ideologies in both national and global contexts. The current Asian American racial studies only look at Asian immigrants racial views in the U.S. context, and do not take a further step to study their racial views in their home countries. This study adds a further layer to our understanding of race relations and racial ideologies by looking at Asians living in an Asian country. The participants in this study are students in teacher education programs at different universities and currently serve their teaching internship in elementary schools. This study utilized qualitative research methods based on individual interviews, journal writing and focus groups. The analytical framework in this study employed critical race methodology that assists in providing an understanding of how colorblind racial ideology influences these preservice teachers attitudes toward other racial groups in both national and global contexts. The findings reveal that these preservice teachers conform to the white hegemonic discourse and perpetuate racism in both national and global contexts. The internalization of whiteness and influences of colorblind racial ideology make them become racially unaware of their privilege over minority groups. In addition, although racial discussions are not encouraged in Taiwanese society, colorblind racism does occur through Social policies, interracial marriage, housing integration and schooling. Findings in this study suggest that anti-racist curriculum should be employed in teacher education programs in order to assist students in developing critical thinking and awareness of racism and racial issues. The anti-racist curriculum also helps to accentuate the needs of more racially based research done in Taiwan to undress colorblindness of Han Taiwanese in both Taiwan and the global white-dominant racial system.

Governing risky lives: Discourses, practices, and assumptions embodied within school health initiatives (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

Foucault’s work on governmentality provides a useful means for understanding the ways in which discourses surrounding school Health initiatives are increasingly mobilized, and interventions that seek to govern the unhealthy lives of youth are rationalized. Through fieldwork involving observations and interviews at one school participating in a state-wide Health program, this research explored the deployment of knowledge and discourses that surrounded the creation of the unhealthy student. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with faculty and staff members involved in creating and implementing the school’s Health initiatives. The constant-comparison method was used to examine interview transcripts and field notes. Discourse analysis also informed the analysis. Poststructuralism provided the theoretical frame that guided this research. This qualitative research is situated within a growing body of knowledge concerned with understanding the connections and resonance between Foucault’s notion of governmentality and the ways in which schools have responded to health promotion activities in general, and more specifically, tenets of the new public health. IT is argued that the school’s health initiatives, as a strategy of governmentality, sought to actively shape subjectivities and the conduct of students and faculty in particular ways. By problematizing the current unilateral discourse surrounding health, nutrition, and overweight, this research aimed to expose these discourses for their potential enlightenment, usefulness, and/or harm in the lives of students. This was done in an effort to provoke alternative visions for what might constitute a healthy body and healthy modes of conduct and correspondingly, obligations and responsibilities of schools in light of these.

Dewey, Darwinism, and teaching democracy: The importance of evolutionary thought for citizenship education (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

In 1929, John Dewey concluded an address at the University of Edinburgh by asking, “What revisions and surrenders of current beliefs about authoritative ends and values are demanded by the method and conclusions of natural science?” A liberal reading of Dewey reveals that his construction of method, especially as IT applied to education, denied the possibility and, indeed, the desirability, of any end or value that might be said to be authoritative. Likewise, although the term “scientific method” is frequently used to convey the notion of authority and rigor in the popular media and in the field of education, developments in the Philosophy of science suggest that there is no such unitary method of science. The works of Feyerabend, Kuhn and Campbell, in particular, point to the role of creativity, reasoning based upon previous like examples, and evolutionary patterns constructed as a process of blind variation followed by selective retention of alternatives) in scientific advancement. In fact, much of recent scholarship affirms Deweys own early view of the vitally important nature of Darwins theory of evolution, not only to the sciences but to every realm of human endeavor. Scholarly opinion in Philosophy of science suggests that scientific methods themselves are, in fact, evolutionary in nature. While this post-positivist formulation of the notion of methods) is broadly considered applicable to areas including human cognition and artificial intelligence, the construction of method in education has thus far remained largely uninformed by these discussions. A reconsideration of Deweys own notions of the nature and role of methods) in education, based in Darwinism, affirms their connection to current theorizing about the methods of science. The addition of this theory base to the Deweyan emphasis on education for the purposes of democracy offers promise to educators generally, especially those concerned with citizenship education, and suggests possibilities for critical educators seeking to move beyond the theory-praxis gap.

“Just reading”: Ethics, aesthetics, and justice in the study of American literature (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

This dissertation begins by asking a fundamental, pressing question that especially troubled me during my years of Social work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps: “Why study American literature, or any literature at all?” My first chapter examines the contradictory and politically loaded responses to this question. The debate about whether literature and literary study are in a crisis has split scholars into those who stress the importance of literature’s ethical functions and those who stress its aesthetic qualities. I argue that aesthetics and ethics are not mutually exclusive tools, capable of serving only the left or the right. I propose a theory of reading that values literature for its ability to push our thinking toward new, experimental concepts, an ability that is best understood in the context of Kant’s non-formalist account of the sublime, and its ability to reflect, reveal, and critique the Social construction of reason, an ability that is best understood in the context of Gramscian thought. The aesthetic and the ethical inform both abilities. In subsequent chapters, I support this argument by demonstrating how hegemonic beliefs are undercut by my reading of three American novels from different historical periods: Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Nella Larsen’s Passing, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . My last chapter uses Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying to re-examine the practice of justice in teaching these novels, and in teaching American literature at universities, high schools and middle schools.

The traveling spark: Alice Yardley and child-centred education. The development of her educational thought, 1913–2002 (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

The British author and educator Alice Yardley 1913–2002) worked in Nottingham City Schools UK) as a teacher and headteacher between 1934 and 1961, and was instrumental in the evolution of the English Infant School for five to seven year olds as a model of progressive theory and practice in action. Between 1970 and 1974 Alice Yardley wrote a series of eight books published as the Young Children Learning Series. Each volume covers a range of topics connected to a particular aspect of the childs life in the modern Infant School, where the teacher-child relationship is one of mutual respect, and an individualized child-centered approach to teaching encourages exploration, experimentation, and the development of aesthetic feeling and self-expression Yardley, 1970, p.7). When first published, these books were widely read in Britain, the US, and Canada, during a period of intense interest in the British Primary School and its American manifestation in the open education movement. Having first read and loved Alice Yardleys books as a beginning teacher, twenty years later I became interested in the question of how the philosophical and pedagogical stance evidenced in her published work evolved in the course of her life as an educator. In 1996 I traveled to England to meet her, and in 1999 began the work of documenting her educational life story. Alice Yardley died in 2002 at the age of eighty-eight. Based on information gathered from interviews with Alice Yardley over a three year period 1999–2002) and incorporating a number of primary sources, including her memoir, notebooks, archival documents and records, visits to places where she lived and taught, and conversations with her colleagues and students, the dissertation draws on historical and interpretive biographical methods, and a feminist oral history structure, in which subject and researcher are active in the construction of the narrative. Setting her work in the Social and historical context of a period of increased interest in following the child, I trace the development of Alice Yardleys educational thought through her experiences in childhood, as a teacher in infant classrooms, during World War II, and as the head of three large inner city schools. The influence of these experiences, and key events—what she called thinking points—on her theory and approach as expressed in her published work is considered, and consistent themes are followed to their mature articulation in the first four books in the Young Children Learning series. A summary of Alice Yardleys educational Philosophy is also included. This work brings into the public domain the figure of Alice Yardley, a seminal woman educator and teacher-writer in the history of child-centered education. IT also bears witness to our collaboration over space and time in a joint mission of making the invisible visible, capturing an important story in the history of women in education whose often unseen work contributed to the forward movement of progressive educational practice and theory in the twentieth century.

Activity theory as a lens for considering culture: A descriptive case study of a multinational company developing and supporting training around the world (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

Activity Theory has often been used in the literature as a way to examine human activity, but the bulk of that work has been done in educational settings. Where IT has been used in workplace environments, IT has typically been used to enhance theoretical understandings of work and the humans who engage in work. IT has not typically been used with an eye to advancing the business causes of the companies it has been used with. In addition, it has not been used internationally with multi-national companies. This is a shame, for with its Elements of Activity and its idea of contradiction, Activity Theory does seem to hold much promise for being able to shed light on cultural issues encountered by companies operating across national boundaries. This research presents a descriptive case study of a company using Activity Theory to shed light on the potential cultural conflicts the company faced as it designed and developed training interventions for use in its affiliates around the globe. The research focused on being practical—on creating tools the company could use, and on detailing the methodology sufficiently that other instructional designers could employ Activity Theory in a similar way in other situations which they felt were relevant. Although Activity Theory was not completely internalized by the company, with the assistance of a facilitator coaching them in its use the company was able to use the theory to avoid cultural conflicts, enhance understandings about cultural conflicts which did occur, debrief cross-cultural training interventions, identify improvements for future training interventions, and publicly share internally held cultural knowledge and beliefs.

Benefits or harms of No Child Left Behind (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 reauthorizes and extensively amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and establishes control over the majority of federal programs and spending that affect public education. Embedded in the Act are various requirements that states and schools must adhere to as a condition of receiving federal education funds as well as harsh sanctions for failing to meet the requirements. No Child Left Behind notably shifts federal education policy by expanding its role into the areas of standards and assessment, accountability, curricula, discipline and administration, and providership. The Act also exacerbates tensions and blurs the line between competing ideologies of the role and nature of public education. NCLBs dominant reliance on proven research methods and statistical data, and its provisions regarding student assessment, failing schools, and parental choice open the schoolhouse door to commercial marketteers, further transforming public education into a consumer good, classrooms into marketplaces, and students and teachers into immaterial byproducts. No Child Left Behinds requirements often have more than one result, with some results doing more harm than the Acts stated good. The principle of double effect PDE) provides a lens to evaluate instances where there are two effects of a single act´╝Ť that is, PDE can explain the permissibility of an action that causes an undesired or harmful effect secondary to promoting some good end. By using philosophical analysis generally, and the principle of double effect specifically, this dissertation examines No Child Left Behinds implementation requirements, specific programs, and their effects to determine the Acts benefits or harms. The dissertation proceeds with a review of NCLBs historical context and key features, an introduction to the principle of double effect, and a discussion of democratic and market ideologies and their relationship with education. This dissertation recognizes the various populations affected by the Act, but focuses specifically on students with disabilities and the relationship of the principle of double effect to the implications of NCLB. Chapter Four extends the principle of double effect to NCLBs implementation requirements and specific programs to identify their consequences or effects. The dissertation concludes with a synthesis of the questions and problems presented by NCLB and the implications for students, teachers, public education, and our communities.

Collegiate journalists, media literacy, the culture of fear, and Conscientizacao: A critical ethnography (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

This qualitative project explored collegiate journalists experiences with a mass-media generated Culture of Fear and investigated the theoretical interconnections of this culture, journalism education, college newspaper advisement, and the awakening of Freirian critical consciousness, or Conscientizacao. A tremendous amount of power and responsibility rests with individuals who create mass media products, and likewise with educators who teach and mentor the creators of these mass media products. Media literacy instruction and education for critical consciousness may positively impact traditional journalism curricula and provide journalism educators resources in which to address the quickly evolving and dynamic nature of modern mass media. Five 20- to 45-year-old undergraduate journalism student editors, staff writers, and photographers for the campus newspaper at a regional university in the southwest United States participated in the study, and archival data from introductory journalism courses taught by the researcher were utilized as data as well. The researcher also serves as the faculty adviser to the campus newspaper for which the student editors work. This study draws upon models of research and analysis found in both ethnographic and phenomenological qualitative traditions. Three dominant themes emerged during analyses: “The Culture of Fear,” “Media Literacy,” and “Conscientizacao and Education for Critical Consciousness.” Several sub-themes emerged within each macro-level theme. While this project began as an examination of collegiate journalists experiences with a mass-mediated Culture of Fear, media literacy, and Freirian notions of critical consciousness, the researcher also was able to begin critically defining the role he played as an educator for critical consciousness within a journalism curriculum and as a collegiate publication adviser.

Methodologies of relationship: Risking self-(re)definition through communities and dialogues of difference (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

This dissertation discusses methodologies of teaching stressing relationships between class participants through the development of a “community of difference” that uses a “dialogue of difference.” In these classrooms, community creates a constructive space for incorporating the lived experiences and multiple identities of individuals into learning processes, favoring the development of critical thought, individual voice, and awareness of difference. My pedagogy combines writing center and composition studies models for writing and discourse communities with the work of Black feminist theorists like Patricia Collins and bell hooks. These women conceptualize community and identity theories that support the idea of self-redefinition within community that may lead to greater understanding of difference. I also draw on Mikhail Bakhtins concept of the “utterance” to call attention to the ways language may represent individual experience and knowledge. An instructor can employ language use and relationship in a classroom community as a dialogue of difference that critically considers sociohistorical and immediate forces that affect individual experience and identity. In addition to developing self-definition, this kind of environment can also be used to stress continual self-redefinition within community and a responsibility towards recognizing difference in community. The autobiographical first chapter, “Biography of a Pedagogy,” positions the development of my pedagogical and methodological convictions at the cross-section of my own sociohistorical circumstances and experience. I present my subsequent theoretical work with a number of composition theorists and Black feminist theorists, and Mikhail Bakhtin in the second chapter, and the last chapter addresses the practice of relationship and research on the subject.