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Boundaries of the Educational Imagination

Wayne Hugo

The educational imagination is the capacity to think critically beyond our located, daily experiences of education. It breaks away from the immediacy of personal understanding by placing education within wider, deeper and longer contexts. Boundaries of the Educational Imagination develops the educational imagination by answering six questions: What happens when we expand continuously outwards from one school to all the schools of the world?; What happens if we go inside a school and explore how its material equipment has changed over the past 300 years?; What is the smallest educational unit in our brain and how does it allow an almost infinite expansion of knowledge?; What is the highest level of individual development we can teach students to aspire towards?; What role does education play in a world that is producing more and more complex knowledge increasingly quickly?; How do small knowledge elements combine to produce increasingly complex knowledge forms? Each question goes on a journey towards limit points in education so that educational processes can be placed within a bigger framework that allows new possibilities, fresh options and more critical engagement. These questions are then pulled together into a structuring framework enabling the reader to grasp how this complex subject works.

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Burning Down the House

Politics, Governance, and Affirmative Action at the University of California

Burning Down the House presents a riveting analysis of one of the most nationally prominent and bitterly contested policy battles in the history of American higher education: the struggle to eliminate affirmative action at the University of California. A timely and essential addition to the literature on affirmative action, it examines the political, economic, legal, and organizational factors that shaped the debate in California and offers unique insight into the contemporary politics of admissions policy, university governance, and the role of higher education in broader state and national political contests to come.

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Class Degrees

Smart Work, Managed Choice, and the Transformation of Higher Education

Evan Watkins

A current truism holds that the undergraduate degree today is equivalent to the high-school diploma of yesterday. But undergraduates at a research university would probably not recognize themselves in the historical mirror of high-school vocational education. Students in a vast range of institutions are encouraged to look up the educational social scale, whereas earlier vocational education was designed to cool outexpectations of social advancement by training a working class prepared for massive industrialization.In Class Degrees, Evan Watkins argues that reforms in vocational education in the 1980s and 1990s can explain a great deal about the changing directions of class formation in the United States, as well as how postsecondary educational institutions are changing. Responding to a demand for flexibility in job skills and reflecting a consequent aspiration to choice and perpetual job mobility, those reforms aimed to eliminate the separate academic status of vocational education. They transformed it from a cooling outto a heating upof class expectations. The result has been a culture of hyperindividualism. The hyperindividual lives in a world permeated with against-all-odds plots, from beat the oddsof long supermarket checkout lines by using self-checkout and buying FasTrak transponders to beat the odds of traffic jams, to the endless superheroes on film and TV who daily save various sorts of planets and things against all odds.Of course, a few people can beat the odds only if most other people do not. As choice begins to replace the selling of individual labor at the core of contemporary class formation, the result is a sort of waste labor left behind by the competitive process. Provocatively, Watkins argues that, in the twenty-first century, academic work in the humanities is assuming the management function of reclaiming this waste labor as a motor force for the future.

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The Crisis of Meaning

In Culture and Education

David Trend

The Crisis of Meaning was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Pick up any newspaper and it is clear that the United States is facing a democratic crisis. Recent culture wars and debates about political correctness and culture have illustrated how conventional definitions of citizenship and national identity have been thrown into question.

Investigating what he views as an inseparable link between culture and politics, David Trend analyzes how notions of patriotism, citizenship, community, and family are communicated within specific public and private institutions. He extends the meaning and purpose of pedagogy as a cultural practice outside the classroom, focusing on political activism in education, the mass media, and the art world.

The Crisis of Meaning supplies a crucial theoretical understanding of the ways in which the pedagogical and political intersect at a variety of cultural sites, as it points us toward a "democratic" process of national identity formation. It is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the connections between education and politics.

David Trend is executive director of the Center for Social Research and Education in San Francisco and also executive editor of the Socialist Review. He is the author of Cultural Pedagogy: Art/Education/Politics (1992).

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Critical Condition

Replacing Critical Thinking with Creativity

Should we stop teaching critical thinking? Meant as a prompt to further discussion, Critical Condition questions the assumption that every student should be turned into a “critical thinker.”

The book starts with the pre-Socratics and the impact that Socrates’ death had on his student Plato and traces the increasingly violent use of critical “attack” on a perceived opponent. From the Roman militarization of debate to the medieval Church’s use of defence as a means of forcing confession and submission, the early phases of critical thinking were bound up in a type of attack that Finn suggests does not best serve intellectual inquiry. Recent developments have seen critical thinking become an ideology rather than a critical practice, with levels of debate devolving to the point where most debate becomes ad hominem. Far from arguing that we abandon critical inquiry, the author suggests that we emphasize a more open, loving system of engagement that is not only less inherently violent but also more robust when dealing with vastly more complex networks of information.

This book challenges long-held beliefs about the benefits of critical thinking, which is shown to be far too linear to deal with the twenty-first century world. Critical Condition is a call to action unlike any other.

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Dewey, Russell, Whitehead Philosophers as Educators

#REF!

Brian Hendley

Hendley argues that philosophers of edu­cation should reject their preoccupation with defining terms and analyzing concepts and once again embrace the philosophical task of con­structing general theories of education.  Hendley believes that like Dewey, Russell, and Whitehead, philosophers should take a more ac­tive, practical role in education.

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Disrupting Adult and Community Education

Teaching, Learning, and Working in the Periphery

Robert C. Mizzi

Reconceptualizes local, national, and transnational adult education practices in light of neoliberalism and globalization.

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Does God Belong in Public Schools?

Kent Greenawalt

Controversial Supreme Court decisions have barred organized school prayer, but neither the Court nor public policy exclude religion from schools altogether. In this book, one of America's leading constitutional scholars asks what role religion ought to play in public schools. Kent Greenawalt explores many of the most divisive issues in educational debate, including teaching about the origins of life, sex education, and when--or whether--students can opt out of school activities for religious reasons.

Using these and other case studies, Greenawalt considers how to balance the country's constitutional commitment to personal freedoms and to the separation of church and state with the vital role that religion has always played in American society. Do we risk distorting students' understanding of America's past and present by ignoring religion in public-school curricula? When does teaching about religion cross the line into the promotion of religion?

Tracing the historical development of religion within public schools and considering every major Supreme Court case, Greenawalt concludes that the bans on school prayer and the teaching of creationism are justified, and that the court should more closely examine such activities as the singing of religious songs and student papers on religious topics. He also argues that students ought to be taught more about religion--both its contributions and shortcomings--especially in courses in history. To do otherwise, he writes, is to present a seriously distorted picture of society and indirectly to be other than neutral in presenting secularism and religion.

Written with exemplary clarity and even-handedness, this is a major book about some of the most pressing and contentious issues in educational policy and constitutional law today.

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Educated in Whiteness

Good Intentions and Diversity in Schools

Angelina E. Castagno


Educators across the nation are engaged in well-meaning efforts to address diversity in schools given the current context of NCLB, Race to the Top, and the associated pressures of standardization and accountability. Through rich ethnographic accounts of teachers in two demographically different secondary schools in the same urban district, Angelina E. Castagno investigates how whiteness operates in ways that thwart (and sometimes co-opt) even the best intentions and common sense—thus resulting in educational policies and practices that reinforce the status quo and protect whiteness rather than working toward greater equity.

Whereas most discussions of the education of diverse students focus on the students and families themselves, Educated in Whiteness highlights the structural and ideological mechanisms of whiteness. In schools, whiteness remains dominant by strengthening and justifying the status quo while simultaneously preserving a veneer of neutrality, equality, and compassion. Framed by critical race theory and whiteness studies, this book employs concepts like interest convergence, a critique of liberalism, and the possessive investment in whiteness to better understand diversity-related educational policy and practice.

Although in theory most diversity-related educational policies and practices are intended to bring about greater equity, too often in practice they actually maintain, legitimate, and so perpetuate whiteness. Castagno not only sheds light on this disconnect between the promises and practices of diversity-related initiatives but also provides insight into why the disconnect persists.

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