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Engineering and Social Justice

In the University and Beyond

Edited by Caroline Baillie, Alice Pawley, and Donna Riley

An increasing number of researchers and educators in the field of engineering wish to integrate considerations of social justice into their work and practice. In this volume, an international team of authors, from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, invite scholars to think and teach in new ways that acknowledge the social, as well as technical, impact engineering can have on our world and that open possibilities for social justice movements to help shape engineering/technology. The book examines three areas of an engineering academic’s professional role: teaching, research, and community engagement. Some of the authors have created classes to help students think through their roles as engineering practitioners in a changing society, and present case studies here. They also explore questions of access to engineering education. Others contributors are focusing their research on improving the lives of the marginalized and powerless. Yet others are engaging local groups and exploring ways in which universities might serve their communities and in which academic institutions can themselves be more socially just. The contributors take a broad social and ecological justice perspective to critique existing practices and explore alternatives. The result is a handbook for all scholars of engineering who think beyond the technical elements of their field, and an essential reader for anyone who believes in the transformative power of the discipline.

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Engineering in Pre-College Settings

Synthesizing Research, Policy, and Practices

Edited by Senay Purzer, Johannes Strobel, and Monica Cardella

In science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in pre-college, engineering is not the silent “e” anymore. There is an accelerated interest in teaching engineering in all grade levels. Structured engineering programs are emerging in schools as well as in out-of-school settings. Over the last ten years, the number of states in the US including engineering in their K-12 standards has tripled, and this trend will continue to grow with the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. The interest in pre-college engineering education stems from three different motivations. First, from a workforce pipeline or pathway perspective, researchers and practitioners are interested in understanding precursors, influential and motivational factors, and the progression of engineering thinking. Second, from a general societal perspective, technological literacy and understanding of the role of engineering and technology is becoming increasingly important for the general populace, and it is more imperative to foster this understanding from a younger age. Third, from a STEM integration and education perspective, engineering processes are used as a context to teach science and math concepts. This book addresses each of these motivations and the diverse means used to engage with them. Designed to be a source of background and inspiration for researchers and practitioners alike, this volume includes contributions on policy, synthesis studies, and research studies to catalyze and inform current efforts to improve pre-college engineering education. The book explores teacher learning and practices, as well as how student learning occurs in both formal settings, such as classrooms, and informal settings, such as homes and museums. This volume also includes chapters on assessing design and creativity.

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Essential Readings in Problem-Based Learning

Exploring and Extending the Legacy of Howard S. Barrows

Edited by Andrew Walker, Heather Leary, Cindy Hmelo-Silver, and Peggy Ertmer

Like most good educational interventions, problem-based learning (PBL) did not grow out of theory, but out of a practical problem. Medical students were bored, dropping out, and unable to apply what they had learned in lectures to their practical experiences a couple of years later. Neurologist Howard S. Barrows reversed the sequence, presenting students with patient problems to solve in small groups and requiring them to seek relevant knowledge in an effort to solve those problems. Out of his work, PBL was born. The application of PBL approaches has now spread far beyond medical education. Today, PBL is used at levels from elementary school to adult education, in disciplines ranging across the humanities and sciences, and in both academic and corporate settings. This book aims to take stock of developments in the field and to bridge the gap between practice and the theoretical tradition, originated by Barrows, that underlies PBL techniques. The book is divided into four sections, each containing contributions by leaders in the field. Chapters in the first section focus on the structure of PBL and the critical elements of the approach. Articulating the underlying problems to be addressed, the role of facilitators, and the process to be followed in achieving a successful PBL intervention are all discussed. The second section explores how PBL has been adapted to function in areas outside medicine, from climate science to teacher education, while the third section explores how the methodology has been combined with other approaches to teaching and learning, such as learning by design and project-based learning. The fourth section assesses the impact of PBL techniques on improving both research and teaching. An epilogue speculates about the future of PBL, synthesizing contributions from the previous chapters and suggesting key themes for further exploration.

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Fear

Across the Disciplines

Edited by Jan Plamper and Benjamin Lazier

This volume provides a cross-disciplinary examination of fear, that most unruly of our emotions, by offering a broad survey of the psychological, biological, and philosophical basis of fear in historical and contemporary contexts. The contributors, leading figures in clinical psychology, neuroscience, the social sciences, and the humanities, consider categories of intentionality, temporality, admixture, spectacle, and politics in evaluating conceptions of fear. Individual chapters treat manifestations of fear in the mass panic of the stock market crash of 1929, as spectacle in warfare and in horror films, and as a political tool to justify security measures in the wake of terrorist acts. They also describe the biological and evolutionary roots of fear, fear as innate versus learned behavior in both humans and animals, and conceptions of human “passions” and their self-mastery from late antiquity to the early modern era. Additionally, the contributors examine theories of intentional and non-intentional reactivity, the process of fear-memory coding, and contemporary psychology’s emphasis on anxiety disorders. Overall, the authors point to fear as a dense and variable web of responses to external and internal stimuli. Our thinking about these reactions is just as complex. In response, this volume opens a dialogue between science and the humanities to afford a more complete view of an emotion that has shaped human behavior since time immemorial.

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Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education

Critical Theory and Practice

In this new collection, contributors from a variety of disciplines provide a critical context for the relationship between feminist pedagogy and academic feminism by exploring the complex ways that critical perspectives can be brought into the classroom.

This book discusses the processes employed to engage learners by challenging them to ask tough questions and craft complex answers, wrestle with timely problems and posit innovative solutions, and grapple with ethical dilemmas for which they seek just resolutions. Diverse experiences, interests, and perspectives—together with the various teaching and learning styles that participants bring to twenty-first-century universities—necessitate inventive and evolving pedagogical approaches, and these are explored from a critical perspective.

The contributors collectively consider the implications of the theory/practice divide, which remains central within academic feminism’s role as both a site of social and gender justice and as a part of the academy, and map out some of the ways in which academic feminism is located within the academy today.

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The Fifth Element

Social Justice Pedagogy through Spoken Word Poetry

Crystal Leigh Endsley

Explores spoken word poetry as a tool for social justice, critical feminist pedagogy, and new ways of teaching.

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First Strike

Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles

Damien M. Sojoyner

California is a state of immense contradictions. Home to immense wealth and long portrayed as a bastion of opportunity, it also has one of the largest prison populations in the United States of America and consistently ranks on the bottom of education indexes. Taking a unique, multifaceted, insider’s perspective, First Strike delves into the root causes of its ever-expansive
prison system and disastrous educational policy.

Recentering analysis of Black masculinity beyond public rhetoric, First Strike critiques the trope of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and instead explores the realm of public school as a form of “enclosure” that has influenced the schooling (and denial of schooling) and imprisonment of Black people in California. Through a fascinating ethnography of a public school in Los Angeles County, and a “day in the life tour” of the effect of prisons upon the education of Black youth, Damien Sojoyner looks at the contestation over education in the Black community from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights and Black liberation movements of the past three decades.

Policy makers, school districts and local governments have long known that there is a relationship between high incarceration rates and school failure. First Strike is thefirst book that demonstrates why that connection exists and shows how school districts, cities and states have been complicit and can reverse a disturbing and needless trend. Rather than rely upon state-sponsored ideological or policy-driven models that do nothing more than to maintain structures of hierarchal domination, it allows us to resituate our framework of understanding and begin looking for solutions in spaces that are readily available and are immersed in radically democratic social visions of the future.

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The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences

Ian Shapiro

In this captivating yet troubling book, Ian Shapiro offers a searing indictment of many influential practices in the social sciences and humanities today. Perhaps best known for his critique of rational choice theory, Shapiro expands his purview here. In discipline after discipline, he argues, scholars have fallen prey to inward-looking myopia that results from--and perpetuates--a flight from reality.

In the method-driven academic culture we inhabit, argues Shapiro, researchers too often make display and refinement of their techniques the principal scholarly activity. The result is that they lose sight of the objects of their study. Pet theories and methodological blinders lead unwelcome facts to be ignored, sometimes not even perceived. The targets of Shapiro's critique include the law and economics movement, overzealous formal and statistical modeling, various reductive theories of human behavior, misguided conceptual analysis in political theory, and the Cambridge school of intellectual history.

As an alternative to all of these, Shapiro makes a compelling case for problem-driven social research, rooted in a realist philosophy of science and an antireductionist view of social explanation. In the lucid--if biting--prose for which Shapiro is renowned, he explains why this requires greater critical attention to how problems are specified than is usually undertaken. He illustrates what is at stake for the study of power, democracy, law, and ideology, as well as in normative debates over rights, justice, freedom, virtue, and community. Shapiro answers many critics of his views along the way, securing his position as one of the distinctive social and political theorists of our time.

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For the Children?

Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State

Erica R. Meiners

“Childhood has never been available to all.” In her opening chapter of For the Children?, Erica R. Meiners stakes the claim that childhood is a racial category often unavailable to communities of color. According to Meiners, this is glaringly evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, where the differentiation between child and adult often equates to access to stark disparities. And, what is constructed as child protection under closer examination, often does not benefit many young people or their communities. Placing the child at the heart of the targeted criminalization debate, For the Children? considers how perceptions of innocence, the safe child, and the future operate in service of the prison industrial complex.

The United States has the largest prison population in the world, with incarceration and policing being key economic tools to maintain white supremacist ideologies. Meiners examines the school-to-prison pipeline and the broader prison industrial complex in the U.S., arguing that unpacking child protection is vital to reducing the nation’s reliance on its criminal justice system as well as building authentic modes of public safety. Rethinking the meanings and beliefs attached to the child represent a significant and intimate thread of the work to dismantle facets of the U.S. carceral state.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach and building from a scholar and activist platform, For the Children? engages fresh questions in the struggle to build sustainable and flourishing worlds without prisons.

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Framing Identities

Autobiography and the Politics of Pedagogy

Wendy S. Hesford

How do historically marginalized groups expose the partiality and presumptions of educational institutions through autobiographical acts? How are the stories we tell used to justify resistance to change or institutional complacency? These are the questions Wendy S. Hesford asks as she considers the uses of autobiography in educational settings. This book demonstrates how autobiographical acts-oral, written, performative, and visual-play out in vexed and contradictory ways and how in the academy they can become sites of cultural struggle over multicultural education, sexual harassment, institutional racism, hate speech, student activism, and commemorative practices. Within the context of Oberlin, a small liberal arts college in Ohio, and beginning with a speak-out organized by Asian American students in 1995, this book looks at the uses of autobiographical practices in empowering groups traditionally marginalized in academic settings. Investigating the process of self-representation and the social, spatial, and discursive frames within which academic bodies and identities are constituted, Framing Identities explores the use of autobiographical acts in terms of power, influence, risks involved, and effectiveness. Hesford does not endorse autobiography as an unequivocal source of empowerment, however. Instead, she illustrates how autobiographical practices in the academy can mobilize competing and often irreconcilable interests. Hesford argues that by integrating self-reflection into cultural, rhetorical, and material analyses-and encouraging students to do the same-teachers not only will largely justify attention to the personal in the classroom, they will help their communities move beyond a naive identity politics. Framing Identities provides a model for teacher-researchers across the disciplines (education, English, composition, cultural studies, women’s studies, to name a few) to investigate the contradictory uses and consequences of autobiography at their own institutions, and to carve out new pedagogical spaces from which they and their students can emerge as social, political, and intellectual subjects.

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