EDCP 508: Readings for January 28 & February 4

Readings and Resources

Readings from AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization)

Articles Summarizing Educational Alternatives:

A Map of the Alternative Education Landscape by Ron Miller

An Introduction to Educational Alternatives by Robin Ann Martin

The Whys and Hows of Alternative Education: An Idea Whose Time Has Come by Jerry Mintz

Readings from Everywhere All The Time: A New Deschooling Reader (Hern, 2008)

Section I (Tolstoy, Bhave, Illich, Holt, Unschooled Kids, Tagore, Goldman, pp. 1-45)

Section II (Hern, Redhead, Mercogliano)

Section IV (McKellar)

Additional readings and resources at InFed.org 

Additional Reading from AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) website:

Definitions of Selected Alternative Methods & Approaches:

Democratic Education: There is no monolithic definition of democratic education or democratic schools. But what we mean here is “education in which young people have the freedom to organize their daily activities, and in which there is equality and democratic decision-making among young people and adults,” as quoted from AERO’s Directory of Democratic Education. These schools and programs take many forms and include public and private alternatives and homeschool resource centers. See a list of democratic schools here. [See also: Global map of educational alternatives by Reevo.]

Homeschooling, or Home-Based Education: educating one’s self or one’s children at home. This can be done independently (see unschooling), through an “umbrella” curriculum (similar to a correspondence course), in consultation with the school system, or by hiring tutors and mentors. Often, a local group of homeschoolers will form a “homeschool resource center,” which may then offer classes, field trips, support groups, legal advice and more.

Montessori Education: Maria Montessori (1870-1952), the first woman physician in Italy, was working with retarded and emotionally disturbed children around the turn of the century when she discovered that they, as well as normal children, learn best through their senses by working with concrete materials. Building on the earlier work of Eduard Seguin, who had taught deaf-mute children, Montessori devised a set of manipulative learning materials that invite children to explore colors, shapes, textures, sounds, language, and even geometric relationships. For example, she designed a series of beautifully colored glass beads to develop numerous mathematical skills. Children responded to these materials enthusiastically, and in her “prepared environment,” Montessori and her followers have consistently found children developing intense concentration, self-confidence and a strong interest in learning to read, write, and understand their world.

In the Montessori classroom, children are grouped in 3-year age spans and are introduced to materials and activities according to their developmental stages and “sensitive periods” of special interest in the environment. They are then free to practice independently or in small groups for much of the day–a Montessori classroom resembles a busy workshop with activity taking place in every direction. At the same time, Montessori educators usually emphasize care, courtesy and orderliness within the environment. The Montessori approach is well developed at the elementary level and is becoming increasingly popular in public magnet schools.

Reggio Emilia Approach: The Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to early childhood education has developed and continues to evolve as a result of over 40 years of experience within a system of municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Parents, who started the schools in the 1940s, continue to participate to ensure the schools reflect the values of the community. From the beginning, the late Loris Malaguzzi, leader, philosopher and innovator in education, who was then a young teacher, guided and directed the energies of those parents and several teachers. Through many years of work with them, he developed an education based on relationship, which has become widely known and valued. The Reggio Emilia approach is built upon a solid foundation of connected philosophical principles and extensive experience. Educators in Reggio Emilia have been inspired by many early childhood psychologists and philosophers, such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gardner and Bruner.

Please understand that we are not referring to an early childhood method or set curriculum, but rather a deep knowledge in theory and community-constructed values that have been and are continuously being translated into high quality early childhood practices. As a result, educational theory and practice in Reggio Emilia is strongly connected. To learn more about fundamental principles of the Reggio approach, read Lella Gandini’s article, “Fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education,” published in the November 1993 issue of Young Children or Lella’s chapter in Next Steps Toward Teaching the Reggio Way: Accepting the Challenge to Change, edited by Joanne Hendrick.

The Reggio educators’ intention in sharing their experience with educators around the world is to encourage others to understand their own values regarding childhood, education and community. Reggio educators hope to promote dialogue among educators, so that they will come to understand their own identity as a school community. Through this process, educators can then ensure that the learning and relationships of children, teachers and parents within their school community reflect their shared values.

Unschooling: home-based education that is completely self-directed; often involving internships, volunteer work, and other direct participation in the greater community.

Waldorf Education: Waldorf education was conceived by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) as a means of cultural and spiritual renewal after the devastation of the First World War. Steiner believed that modern Western society had placed too much emphasis on external, materialistic values, at the expense of the imaginative, creative innermost spirit of the human being. The Waldorf curriculum draws upon the mythologies, legends and arts of the great civilizations through history to awaken the creative and emotional life within every child. Since Steiner emphasized the close relationship between children and the adults who are their mentors and models, a group of students stay together with their teacher each year from first through eighth grades, and teachers are trained to be unusually perceptive of children’s temperaments and learning styles.

Teaching methods are carefully designed to match the phases of psychological/spiritual development that Steiner identified; for example, since young children learn primarily through sensation, teachers pay close attention to the use of color, form, and music in the environment, and natural materials, such as wood, wool, and cotton, are always used rather than anything plastic or artificial. Early elementary children take in the world primarily through images and feelings, so for these ages Waldorf teachers recite vivid stories and present the curriculum poetically rather than through dry textbook facts. Young children learn through movement, imitation and play, so the teacher leads the class through numerous games, dances and exercises (such as counting or reciting poems while clapping or marching), and introduces them to a unique form of expressive movement, eurhythmy, that Steiner invented. At all stages, imagination and artistic expression are cultivated to the fullest extent possible.

EDCP 508 (Alt Ed): Notes from Class #2 Discussion

Class Organization/Activities:

Individual projects
Weekly presentations on topics (e.g., alt ed practices/activities)
Cooperative/collective projects
Proposals/feedback on/for projects
Comments on readings via the course blog
MEd projects
Workshopping papers
Collaborative work in class
Comfort/Discomfort in the classroom
Speakers who work in alt ed
Experiences in alt ed settings
Formative feedback on projects/activities
Collaborative work on wiki: Annotated bibliography; What are our questions?; Create a “canon” for class

Alt Ed Topics:

History(ies) of alternative education
Examples of alternative education practices
Frameworks for alt ed
Critiques of traditional education/schooling
Theoretical foundations of alternative education
Social change/social movements
Democratic education
Thematic school organization (technology, LGBTQ, mini-schools)
Alternative education and the state (e.g., legal issues)
Obscure alt ed initiatives
Alt Ed in relation to Traditional Education: Working in traditional schools and challenging boundaries/obstaclesCan alt ed flourish in traditional settings?; Practical ways to create alt ed space in traditional settings

Structural Issues in Alt Ed

Advantages/disadvantages of alt ed
Legitimacy of alt ed
Community engagement with alt ed
Post-secondary settings/issues
Institutional constraints on alt ed
Assessment/evaluation in alt ed



EDCP 564 – Texts, Politics, and Ideologies of Curriculum Development

University of British Columbia
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Winter Term 2
(January 6 – April 8, 2015)

EDCP 564
Texts, Politics, and Ideologies of Curriculum Development
Thursday (16:30-19:30)
Room: Scarfe 1003

Instructor: E. Wayne Ross

Course Description
This course will examine content and ideology of school both past and
present, as well as within the Canadian context and beyond. This will include analysis of political and economic influences on curriculum and curriculum development, as well as case studies of conflict, including textbook ‘wars’.

Readings will include:

Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum (3rd Ed.). New York: Routledge.

Au, W. (2011). Critical curriculum studies: Education, consciousness, and the politics of knowing. New York: Routledge.

Freeden, M. (2003). Ideology: A very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

New course: History, Theories, and Practices of Alternative Education

University of British Columbia
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Winter Term 2
(January 6 – April 8, 2015)

EDCP 508 (032)
History, Theories, and Practices of Alternative Education
Wednesday (16:30-19:30)
Room: Scarfe 202

Instructor: E. Wayne Ross

Since the 1980s, schools have been subjected to increased standardization, test-based accountability, and corporate management models, trends often labeled as the global education reform movement or GERM. One of the key effects of GERM on curriculum and teaching has been the search for low-risk ways to meet learning goals, undermining alternative and experimental pedagogical approaches and risk-taking in the classroom. This seminar will explore histories, ideologies, and practices of alternative education movements. A key aim of the course is to examine the various cultures of learning, teaching, and curriculum embedded within the diverse landscape of alternative education and the implications for formal and informal education today. Emphasis will be placed on (but not limited too) the liberal/progressive and anarchist/libertarian traditions of alternative education, including movements such as Socialist Sunday Schools, Modern Schools (Ferrer Schools), democratic free schools, as well as the deschooling movement.

Readings will include:

Miller, R. (2002). Free Schools, free people : Education and democracy after the 1960s. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Hern, M. (2008). Everywhere all the time : A new deschooling reader. Oakland, CA: AK Press.

Hern, M. (2003). Field day : Getting society out of school. Vancouver, BC: New Star Books.