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Allison & marielle group presentation learners and learning 2016

  1. Learners & Learning Week 5: February 9th , 2016 Presentation by Marielle Voksepp & Allison Platzen
  2. Learners & Learning Required Reading #1: From “Somatic Scandals” to “a Constant Potential for Violence”? The Culture of Dissection, Brain-Based Learning, and the Rewriting/Rewiring of “the Child” (Baker, 2015)  Researchers believe studying the brain can guide educational programs and strategies.  Critics argue that using this research to ‘design’ children is ethically unacceptable.  Brain Based Learning (BBL) theory emerged in the late 1990s and is founded on the functions and structures of the brain.  Without making an argument for or against its use, Baker’s article examines five levels of assumptions in using neuroscience in educational research.
  3. Learners & Learning Required Reading #2: White innocence: A framework and methodology for rethinking educational discourse and inquiry (Gutierrez , 2005/6)  Discusses the bias of dominant discourse and the effect it has on the outcomes of research on non-dominant groups.  ‘White innocence’ is used as an analogy to emphasize an invisible position of power.  More difficult than ever for immigrants to experience equitable education.  Gutierrez calls for the development of an analytical framework to bring visibility to “inequity and supremacy in educational policy, practice and…empirical work” (p. 1).  Equity-oriented humanist approach to research is needed that is neutral and objective to represent cultural communities respectfully.
  4. Required Reading #3: Queering Early Childhood Studies: Challenging the Discourse of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (Janmohamed, 2010)  Examines early childhood education (ECE) through a feminist poststructural lens and challenges heteronormativity  Main Ontario textbook in ECE lacks queer identity  Only superficial attempts are made to embed diversity & equity  Challenges the notion of what is “developmentally appropriate”  Children’s value systems and sense of morality are connected to the expectations of the parents, teachers and community members Learners & Learning
  5. Learners & Learning Required Reading #4: Constructivist pedagogy (Richardson, 2003)  Constructivism is a theory of learning not teaching  Massively complex movement  Social & Psychological Constructivism  Five elements of constructivist pedagogy for the classroom (p.1626)  Constructivism’s roots are western, liberal and individualistic  Danger of imposing this dominant model of pedagogy on everyone  Students learn from multiple forms of instruction
  6. Learners & Learning “The Public School and the Immigrant Child” from The Curriculum Studies Reader Jane Addams 1908 “…one of the most difficult situations you have to meet is the care and instruction of the immigrant child…” (Addams, 1908, p. 40)
  7. Learners & Learning Key words: Americanism – attachment or allegiance to the traditions, institutions, and ideals of the United States Culture – the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group Immigrant – a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country In Oxford Dictionaries online. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com
  8. Learners & Learning Key ideas: oAt the beginning of 20th century, after the largest surge in history of Italian immigrants to America, Jane Addams published 3 major criticisms of the way public schools treated immigrant children. oPublic school at the time did not fully understand the moral and emotional struggles faced by immigrant children. oAddams recognized that “one of the most difficult situations you have to meet is the care and instruction of the immigrant child”, but believed schools had the duty of connecting them with their cultural past (Addams, 1908, p. 25).
  9. Learners & Learning #1: Separating child from parent oSeparating immigrant children from their parent’s ideals and thus their cultural heritage caused them to become “disturbed and distracted by the contrast between the school and the home” (Addams, 1908, p. 25). oLoosening children from authority and control of their parents too early results in poor choices; arrests among immigrant children exceeded that of native American born children two fold (Addams, 1908, p. 26).
  10. Learners & Learning #2: Ill prepared for industry oImmigrant children were entering American ‘industry’ or the workforce unprepared for what to expect; preparing them should have been easy as a result of industry having become more international. #3: Setting a poor example oChildren who were cut off from their parents would struggle with keeping their own families together once they themselves became parents.
  11. Learners & Learning Conclusions & Connections: Addams believed that the school teacher should know or seek to know something about the lives these children and parents lead. Given the chance, schools may find there is a wealth of cultural material: handicrafts, folk songs, cultural traditions, that can enrich the lives of other children as well. Welcoming these tools as opportunities may help to bring a sense of ease to the immigrant children of arriving in America. A few decades later, Dewey emphasizes the importance of culture and environment to a student’s learning experience (Simpson, 2001, p.199). “The immigrant child cannot make this demand upon the schools because he does not know how to formulate it; it is for the teacher both to perceive it and fulfill it.” (Addams, 1908, p. 27) As described by Gutierrez (2005/6), immigrants still experience difficulties accessing equitable education (100 year later).
  12. Learners & Learning Questions to Prompt Reflection/Discussion:  What do you do as an educator to understand the cultural past of immigrant children in your classroom?  Is there more your school/board could do to make the experience of new immigrants a positive one?  Do you believe Ontario’s current school system is well equipped to receive a surge of new immigrants as a result of the refugee crisis? Why or why not?
  13. Learners & Learning “The Hunt for Disability: The New Eugenics and the Normalization of School Children” from Teachers College Record Bernadette Baker 2002 “What lends public schooling its distinctiveness as an institution historically and still now is that it is not and has never been a place for every child” (Baker, 2002, p.680).
  14. Learners & Learning Key words: Eugenics: “refers at the broadest level to a belief in the necessity of “racial” or “national” improvement through the control of populational reproduction” (Baker, 2002, p.665). Mainstreaming or Inclusive Schooling: “placing students who are perceived as having primarily “mild to moderate” disabilities in regular or mainstream classrooms rather than having the students sent to separate or special schools…”(Baker, 2002, p.680). Ableism: discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. Ontological issue: relating to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. Disability: a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses or activities. In Oxford Dictionaries online. Retrieved February 4, 2016, from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com
  15. Learners & Learning Purpose: “This paper is an attempt to reconsider issues of sameness, difference, equality, and democracy in present public school systems. It focuses on the question of (dis)ability and the implications of rethinking (dis)ability as an ontological issue before its inscription as an educational one concerning the politics of inclusion” (Baker, 2002, p.663).
  16. Learners & Learning Key Idea #1: What does eugenics refer to?  Late 19th century scientific & social discourses promoted the belief in a hierarchy of human races/nations and preference for Anglo-Saxon type characteristics.  “Much debate has arisen around this question as to which program, theories, or moments can be identified as “truly” eugenicist or not” (Baker, 2002, p.665).  Baker uses fellow historians’ research to show how eugenics was not a discrete movement, but rather as Garton suggests, “that it was imbricated in wider class, race, religion, gender […] to shape social policies” (2000, p.11).
  17. Learners & Learning Key Idea #1: What does eugenics refer to?  It is a myth that eugenics simply disappeared after the Holocaust.  Old vs. new eugenic discourses: eugenics was made “palatable” by being introduced in “civilized” Europe and still today these ideas are disguised as seemingly progressive, for example “proactive racism” or “quality citizenship” (Kaplan, p.667).  Lowe (1997) argues that eugenics discourse has had a huge impact on education and identifies 5 areas of educational policy and practice influenced by eugenics in the 20th century: 1. Testing 2. Differential treatment 3. Quality of home life and mothering 4. Transmission of opinions through children’s books and school texts 5. The planning of educational buildings (detailed list on p.671).
  18. Learners & Learning Key Idea #2: Classification systems for disability  Current trend is what Foucault (1979) called “dividing practices”, whose goal was to classify and label “problem populations” such as “mixed race” peoples, the juvenile delinquent, the homosexual, the neuropath, etc.  “Disability talk is often conducted in terms of a “problem”, a conundrum, or if you like, a headache that simply won’t go away (Campbell, 2000, p.309 in Baker).  Baker explains that an “outlaw ontology” is perpetuated, meaning a way of being that is thought outside the normal and as such needs to be chased down, like the outlaws of old Western films. This situates disability in a very negative discourse.  Educational labeling (ADHD, LD, BD) has become increasingly popular and raises many questions and issues for teachers, parents and students.
  19. Learners & Learning Key Idea #2: Classification systems for disability  Many studies in the 1980s noted the “overrepresentation of working class children, minority children, or both, in LD classifications”.  Baker asks us to think about “disability as something beyond what is considered “in” a child or “had” by a child”. She suggests that we must look past who is being labeled as special needs and consider “the very formulation and definition of skills, needs and readiness themselves” (p.683).  “Is labeling a way of morphing “disability” into the assumptions of an ableist normativity, with all its racial-cultural overtones, rather than questioning certain priviledged ontologies and epistemologies to begin with?” (Baker, 2002, see these and other thought-provoking questions on pg. 688-689).
  20. Learners & Learning Key Idea #3: Possible Alternatives to the Problem  The reality in public schools is that they are forced to engage in identification and counting if they wish to receive funding.  This labeling process has “real effects and real consequences for real children’s subjectivity and for those adult subjectivities that assert who or what a (better) human is” (Baker, 2002, p.692).  Many decisions are based on testing…IQ tests, reading tests,- which make some students appear as problems and others as star students. These and other “gate keeping” mechanisms form the basis of formal education.  How can we reinvent a world without formal schooling? Is it ok to think of some humans as “normal” and some as not? Baker seems to think it would take a series of reversals in order to set the record straight in public schools.
  21. Learners & Learning Conclusions and Connections:  Current attitudes, policies and practices surrounding education and special needs are deeply rooted in eugenic thought which can be observed throughout history.  Baker suggests that although there are problems with the educational system treats students with disabilities, the bigger problem lies in the negative discourse surrounding the idea of “disability”.  In line with this week’s topic, Baker calls into question society's definition of “the learner” and what is perceived as “normal”. She urges us to be critical of “certain privileged ontologies and epistemologies” (p.688) and be aware of the serious impacts of the labeling process on parents and students.
  22. Learners & Learning Questions to Prompt Reflection/Discussion:  Can you think of any practices associated with the idea of eugenics in your current educational setting or from past experience?  What are some examples of modern day eugenics?  How do you think eugenics has contributed to your perspective on education, specifically in the area of special needs?  Have Baker’s arguments changed your understanding of how eugenics and the term “disability” have influenced our current educational system?
  23. Learners & Learning “The Alchemy of the Mathematics Curriculum: Inscriptions and the Fabrication of the Child” from The American Educational Research Journal Thomas Popkewitz 2004 “…while reforms stress the need for educational equity for “all children” with “no child left behind,” the pedagogical models divide, demarcate, and exclude particular children from participation” (Popkewitz, 2004, abstract on p.3).
  24. Learners & Learning Key words: Alchemy: A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination (oxford dictionary online). Inscription devices: intellectual tools which translate and order school subjects required to teach students, for example: problem solving (Popkewitz, 2004, p.4).
  25. Learners & Learning Key Ideas:  Popkewitz’s interest was in studying how “pedagogical inscription devices”, such as problem solving, are constructed within the standards- based mathematics reform. These devices “embody principles that normalize and divide and thus embody practices of social inclusion and exclusion” (2004, p.5).  “It is common for educational research to be thought of as finding the correct strategies to replace children’s “intuitive” reasoning with new sets of rules for “acting” and “seeing” (Popkewitz, 2004, p.6).  The mathematics curriculum is not only about solving problems. There is a whole psychology behind this alchemy. “Effective instruction is to have children “want to” as well as “be able to” (Brousseau, 1997, p.12 in Popkewitz, 2004, p.12).
  26. Learners & Learning Key Ideas:  Popkewitz compares two fictional categories (fabrications) of students: the child as a “problem solver” and the disadvantaged child.  The child as a “problem solver” is being prepared to face the “ubiquitous uncertainty of the future and learning how to meet the obligations of an individual in a democracy” (Popkewitz, 2004, p.14).  Profiles of the “problem-solving child” and programs to help children who are not able to perform properly are invented. Popkewitz argues that these characteristics “have little to do with the logic of mathematics knowledge, or with the learning of the individual outside some system of cultural and collective values” (2004, p.15).
  27. Learners & Learning Key Ideas:  Another criticism is that this method “opens up to scrutiny and makes administrable the inner thoughts and characteristics of the child” (Popkewitz, 2004, p.16).  “Curriculum has been rewritten to produce greater student involvement and participation, personal relevance, and emotional accessibility. But the changes in student participation have also inserted an iconic image of the scientific “expert” (Popkewitz, 2004, p.21).  Students who do not “embody the norms of autonomy and collaboration” are those who psychologically have “low expectations”. These disadvantaged children are also those who live in poverty, who are not native speakers of English, who have disabilities, females and many nonwhite students have been often the victims of low expectations (Popkewitz, 2004, p.23).
  28. Learners & Learning Conclusions and Connections:  In today’s reformed curriculum, students are expected to do a lot more than simply master the subjects being taught. There is a whole alchemy of hidden devices created with the intention of better preparing students for life after school.  Popkewitz warns that these “inscription devices”, such as problem solving, often times interfere with students’ natural learning process. They also have the negative effect of putting students on the spot, highlighting difference and segregating students based on ability.  This article highlights ways in which the reformed curriculum has furthered the segregation of learners into distinct categories, such as “the problem solver” and the “disadvantaged student”. We are thus encouraged to critically reflect on “the how” and “the what” we are being asked to teach.
  29. Learners & Learning Questions to Prompt Reflection/Discussion:  How does your particular school subject support or reject Popkewitz’s conjectures of the reformed curriculum?  What has your experience been incorporating “pedagogical inscription devices”, such as problem-solving, into your classroom instruction?  Is Popkewitz’s juxtaposition of the “problem-solving child” vs. the “disadvantaged child” in line with your own student observations?
  30. Learners & Learning “John Dewey’s Concept of the Student” from Canadian Journal of Education Douglas Simpson 2001 “…education is an endeavor that was designed to see a community of inquiring selves creating themselves and one another. Children create themselves and help create others.” (Simpson, 2001 p. 188)
  31. Learners & Learning Key words: Educative – Intended or serving to educate or enlighten. Noneducative experience – having no impact on the immediate or future growth of a child. Miseducative experience – intentionally directed a person away from personal and social growth. Antieducative experience – exploited children or stunted their inquiring tendencies. (Simpson, 2001, p. 192)
  32. Learners & Learning Key ideas: The author examines John Dewey’s concept of the student through his poetry to reveal that Dewey believes students need more help than was originally implied in his earlier work. Simpson states that educators misinterpreted Dewey’s ideas; he aims to clarify these through careful examination of Dewey’s poetry which informs readers of his opinions on students, teachers and education. Dewey believed learning was a social activity, not individual; focus of education should be shifted from curriculum and teacher to the child and their impulses (or instincts). “…in his poetry Dewey echoes, expands, and clarifies his thinking about several subjects including philosophical anthropology and pedagogical theory.” (Simpson, 2001, p. 184)
  33. Learners & Learning Simpson’s examination of Dewey’s philosophical anthropology: Contrary to his peers, Dewey believed an individual’s mind didn’t develop by itself but was formed by social experiences, is constantly growing (Simpson, 2001, p. 185). The student’s nature: When educators guide a student’s growth, his/her nature leads to educative experiences; they need to assist in the conversion of impulses into insights through a process of learning. One of the reasons for education was to “ensure that genuine and thorough transmission takes place” and that schools are institutions of creation (Simpson, 2001, p. 188). The student’s soul: Contrary to his early work, Dewey later decided that the soul was a social construct and the child needs an educational environment where to discover their ‘self’. Educators play a significant role directing impulses and guiding students in this development.
  34. Learners & Learning The student’s significance: oSignificance, meaning and value are concepts created by humans and did not exist before society and history. Students must develop moral thinking as a requirement to make decisions (Simpson, 2011, p. 190). Simpson’s examination of Dewey’s pedagogical theory: Dewey’s views of child development grew into his natural learning theory and philosophy about education. School should learn from student’s natural learning activities and develop them into “someone who reflectively constructs purposes and plans to reach selected ends” (Simpson, 2001, p. 191).
  35. Learners & Learning The student’s environment:  An educators responsibility is to build environments for the student to engage in and reflect upon.  The environment must connect student’s common ways of leaning to avoid factors that may create an unfriendly learning environment. The student’s education:  Dewey had concerns over traditional education’s negative effect on the development of the child and continued to encourage educators to avoid non-, mis-, or anti- educative experiences; that adults, school and society built walls to hide students from rich educative experiences.  He outlined a criteria that experiences must follow in order for experiences to be ‘educative’, which included: problems of interest, stimulus for new questions and sufficient time for development (Simpson, 2001, p. 192).
  36. Learners & Learning The student’s thinking: Children are natural learners and educators should direct their activities into learning experiences; educators should provide authentic problems and cultivate thinking. In one of his poems, Dewey expresses that students would not be able to recover from a non-reflective, oppressive environment: “I think he is dead, they have smothered him” (Simpson, 2001, p. 193) and that only those who rebel will learn to think. The student’s teacher: Dewey’s view of the ideal teacher encompassed a specific set of characteristics (as listed in Simpson, 2001, p. 195) that would allow a student to be well served. He was very critical of educators and believed too many were influenced by the past and their own experiences: “how many lost the impetus to learn because of the way in which learning was experienced by them?” (Dewey, 1923/1963, p. 26-27). Dewey understood that teachers were part of the curriculum and wanted them to understand that open-mindedness was necessary for continued learning and developing new insights.
  37. Learners & Learning Conclusions & Connections: oDewey battled with others in his interpretation of students as learners, while traditionalist views believed that children’s intellectual abilities were limited and knowledge should be poured into them. oHe was sure that environments and cultures affect students thinking in both positive and negative ways and was also concerned with moving beyond performance standards to developing children that were contributors to a healthy society. oSimpson states that if Dewey's concepts are viable “it is the students nature and destiny to experience the joys and pains of inquiring, reflecting, and learning… pain should come from educative learning experiences, not from walls that schools and society create...” (Simpson, 2001, p. 199). oDewey’s theories of the child’s mind growing through social experiences contradicts more recent research on BBL as described by Baker (2015).
  38. Learners & Learning Questions to Prompt Reflection/Discussion:  Dewey felt that educators were strongly influenced by the past and their own educational experiences, bringing to mind our exercise on autobiography, how strongly do you feel your teaching practices are influenced by the past?  Taking note of the various cultures that are represented in your classroom, have you observed that these students learn in different ways from one another?  Can you identify an non-/mis-/anti- educative experiences in today’s curriculum? (see definitions on slide 31)
  39. Learners & Learning References: Required Bernadette Baker (2015) From “Somatic Scandals” to “a Constant Potential for Violence”? The Culture of Dissection, Brain-Based Learning, and the Rewriting/Rewiring of “the Child”, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 12:2, 168-197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15505170.2015.1055394 Gutierrez, Kris. (2005/6). White innocence: A framework and methodology for rethinking educational discourse and inquiry. International Journal of Learning, 12. http://www.Learning-Journal.com Janmohamed, Zeenat. (2010). Queering early childhood studies: Challenging the discourse of developmentally appropriate practice. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 56(3). Richardson, Virginia. (2003). Constructivist pedagogy. Teachers College Record, 105(9), 1623-1640. http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/83927 Supplementary Addams, Jane. (1908). The public school and the immigrant child. Ch 3 in Flinders, David & Thornton, Stephen. (Eds.) The curriculum studies reader, 2nd ed New York: Routledge. http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/84091 Baker, Bernadette. (2002). The hunt for disability: The new eugenics and the normalization of school children. Teachers College Record, 104(4), 663-703. http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/83929 Popkewitz, Thomas. (2004). The alchemy of mathematics curriculum: Inscriptions and the fabrication of the child. American Educational Research Journal, 41(1), 3-34. http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/83926 Simpson, Douglas. (2001). John Dewey’s Concept of the Student. Canadian Journal of Education, 26(2), 183-200. http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/83884

Notas del editor

  1. Photo borrowed from www.myenglishclub.com
  2. Image from http://desktopbackgrounds4u.com/brain-cartoon-images.html
  3. Image from http://stillhopefulmom.blogspot.ca/2013/08/the-tipped-scale.html
  4. Image from 123rf.com
  5. Image from inthelearningage.com