- Global Talks Thursday (Dec 10, 2020): Dialogue on Curriculum and Instruction in Relations to the Pandemic/Online Education
- Call for Papers: The Labour of COVID section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour
- THE REGIMES OF TRUTH OF (GLOBAL) CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
- Dr. Sebastián Plá of #UNAM | “Curriculum and Structural Violence: Teaching Social Studies in Latin America’s Secondary Schools”
- Sandra Mathison: Privatizing private schools should top list of funding changes
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Author Archives: E Wayne Ross
Global Talks Thursday (Dec 10, 2020): Dialogue on Curriculum and Instruction in Relations to the Pandemic/Online Education
Call for Papers: The Labour of COVID section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour
As instructors and students brace for a fall semester taught on-line, the effects of COVID on the labour of post-secondary learning continue to set in. Course outlines and assessment criteria are being reworked. Students wrestle with rising tuition and the prospects of prolonged periods of unemployment. As recent Canadian Association of University Teachers survey results suggest, the pandemic is making higher education even less tenable for current and prospective students. International students stuck in their home countries will be forced to participate in classes across time zones. Research programs are being put on hold. Making matters worse, the gutting of teaching and learning resources at some universities have forced administrators to piece together support for instructors and staff ill-equipped to make the transition on-line. Workloads have increased. But in the midst of this crisis, some post-secondary institutions seek opportunity to advance particular agendas. It was only after significant backlash from students and lecturers that the UK’s Durham University halted its attempt at providing online-only degrees in its effort to significantly cut in-person teaching. In Alberta, the government has merely delayed a performance-based funding model as a result of COVID, signaling that austerity, not improving the quality of education, is driving policy decisions. Meaningful interventions by faculty associations have been limited as the collegial governance process is sidelined for the sake of emergency pandemic measures. And what of academic and support staff who face increase workloads and the prospects of limited child care when the fall semester resumes? To this concern, what are the gendered effects of COVID? What do these circumstances mean for precariously employed sessional and term instructors? This special edition of Workplace invites all academic workers to make sense of COVID through a work and employment lens. Possible themes include:
- Faculty association responses to a shift towards on-line education
- “Mission creep” and the lure of distant learning for post-secondary institutions: opportunities and threats
- The gendered and racialized implications of COVID in the classroom and on campus
- Implications for sessionals, adjuncts and the precariously employed
- COVID and workplace accommodations: from child care to work refusals
- Student experiences and responses
- COVID and performance-based funding policies
- COVID and the collective bargaining process
- Internationalization and the COVID campus
Aim and Scope: Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor is a refereed, electronic, open access journal published by a collective of scholars in critical higher education promoting a new dignity in academic work. Contributions are aimed primarily at higher education workplace activism and dialogue on all issues of academic labour.
Invitations: Contributions from all ranks of academic workers – from tenured and tenure stream to graduate students, sessional instructors, contract faculty, and administrative support staff – are encouraged to submit.
Deadlines: Submissions will be considered for peer review and publications on a rolling basis. The final deadline is February 28, 2021. A complete volume of The Labour of COVID will be complete and made available in the spring of 2021. Formatting and submission guidelines can be found here
Please direct questions about the special issue to Dr. Andrew Stevens at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
Event cancelled based on UBC recommendations regarding COVID-19.
Institute for Critical Educational Studies
THE REGIMES OF TRUTH OF (GLOBAL) CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
Marta Estellés, PhD
University of Cantabria (Spain)
Thursday, April 2, 2020
12:30 – 1:30 pm
University of British Columbia, Vancouver — Scarfe 1209
The aim of this presentation is to briefly problematize current ways of thinking and talking about (global) citizenship education. Citizenship is a process more than it is an attribute, since the concept has incorporated the main characteristics both of the political transformations experienced by the State and of the State’s relations with society. The successive battles for the definition of citizenship have an impact on that institution of socialization that is school. Examining the evolution of curricular prescriptions and orientations is enough to glimpse changes in the languages and frames through which certain relations between the individual, the community, and the State are naturalized.
The results of our research show that the two major cycles of socio-institutional restructuring in Western countries – from the crisis of the nineteenth-century liberal regimes to the present – have imposed different trends in relation to citizenship education in schools. The first cycle reached its culmination with the implementation of Welfare States after the Second World War. It was not a coincidence that the first major defense for democratic citizenship education appeared in this moment, with the reformist impulse that gave rise in 1916 to Social Studies in the US. The recognition of socio-economic rights and the formation of citizenship appeared inextricably linked in the texts of the reform, in an attempt to establish a new “regime of truth” that radically redefined the meaning of education for all, and not only for a privileged minority. This redefinition also implied a criticism of the patriotic and nationalistic purposes of education. This language, however, started to become blurred as neoliberal policies instituted their own frames in the 1980s with Reagan in the US and Thatcher in the UK. Citizenship education began to adopt the rhetoric of accountability with its emphasis on testing, performance levels, skills, etc. and the focus was on promoting responsible and active citizenship that clearly emphasized duties over rights. Thus, it began to be assumed that citizens should be responsible for their own well-being and not the State. Recent discourses on global citizenship education should be seen as heirs of this last redefinition. After all, global citizenship education “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and resolve global challenges” (UNESCO, 2014, p. 15), assuming that the responsibility of solving those challenges lies with the individuals, not on governments or international organizations.
Marta Estellés, PhD, is Assistant Professor of the Department of Education at the University of Cantabria (Spain). Her research interests include citizenship education, social studies education, curriculum policies and teacher education. She has published several works on the intersectional field of democratic citizenship education and initial teacher education. She is currently working on a research project related to teachers’ political views and behaviors and their attitudes towards including controversial issues in the classroom. She is also part of the Fedicaria collective (http://www.fedicaria.org), which advocates for critical social studies education.
Dr. Sebastián Plá of #UNAM | “Curriculum and Structural Violence: Teaching Social Studies in Latin America’s Secondary Schools”
By Sandra Mathison
Opinion: With a public system still reeling from more than 15 years of cuts by the previous government, there is no excuse for funnelling billions of dollars to private schools.
As the B.C. education ministry rethinks how to fully and adequately fund the province’s schools, at the top of their list should be privatizing private schools by discontinuing public subsidies to independent schools.
Since 2013, the province has subsidized private schools to the tune of $2.6 billion. The subsidies for 2018-19 alone were $426 million, and projections for this school year are $436 million.
These subsidies to private schools have increased at an astronomical rate: funding increases (adjusted for inflation) to private schools have increased by 122.8 per cent since 2000-01, compared to a 15.9-per-cent increase in funding to public schools during this same period.
According to recent surveys by the Institute for Public Education, CUPE B.C. and the B.C. Humanist Association, most British Columbians believe public funding of private schools needs to end. In a poll that Insights West conducted for us in May, four in five British Columbians (78 per cent) oppose providing taxpayer funds for elite private schools. Sixty-nine per cent of British Columbians oppose funding to faith-based schools.
Let private schools be private, and let them deserve the label “independent schools.”
Private schools cost taxpayers by direct taxpayer-supported subsidies, but also by exemptions from paying property taxes, numerous personal tax benefits for individuals, and collecting large sums of tax-deductible donations.
Private schools also cost B.C. in non-economic ways. Faith-based schools are allowed to ignore human-rights laws and discriminate against employees based on marital status or sexual orientation. Our poll shows that few British Columbians are aware that faith-based schools are exempted from the B.C. Human Rights Code, but once they were aware of this, 81 per cent of respondents did not believe they should be allowed this exemption.
Let private schools be private, and let them deserve the label “independent schools.”
Private school admission processes segregate students by class and/or beliefs, rejecting students who don’t “fit” their values. These schools are therefore isolating students from peers who are not like them. Many B.C. taxpayers’ children would not be admitted to these private schools — because they can’t afford them, do not have academic credentials, or they are not suitable given the school’s philosophy.
Private schools reject the idea that schools ought to be about equity, about providing an education for all students regardless of their individual attributes.
If the education ministry needs a plan, they could immediately end subsidies to elite “Group 2” schools, those spending more per student than public schools and charging significant tuition fees. These are schools such as St. George’s in Vancouver and Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.
Then they could phase out subsidies to faith-based schools over a short period of time, say two to three years.
The ministry should review private schools that serve needs not currently well met by the public schools (possibly, Indigenous schools and programs for students with special needs) and work toward integrating those schools/programs into the public education system. They should ensure there is sufficient funding provided to public schools to meet those needs.
And at the same time, tax exemptions that diminish revenue that could support public education need to change.
With a public school system still reeling from more than 15 years of cuts by the previous government, and students with special needs bearing the brunt of the underfunding, there is no excuse for funnelling billions of dollars to private schools. That money should be allocated to the public school system where it can help every child achieve their fullest potential.
Sandra Mathison is the executive director of the Institute for Public Education B.C., a professor of education at the University of B.C., and co-director of the Institute for Critical Education.
EDCP Seminar: Abraham DeLeon “A Schizophrenic Scholar out for Stroll: Multiplicities, Becomings, Conjurings”
Institute for Critical Education Studies
September 22, 2016
11:30am – 1:30pm
University of British Columbia
Curricular Discourses with Practical Implications:
Perspectives and Experiences From Spain & South America
This seminar brings together scholars from Spain and South America working within a variety of curriculum studies traditions to discuss curriculum issues in contexts ranging from elementary education to higher education. The seminar will be an opportunity to explore how curricular discourses have implications in educational practices in local, national, and global contexts.
A National Curriculum: Educational Standardization or Common Cultural Base
Renato Gazmuri, Assistant Professor, Universidad Diego Portales (Chile).
Dr. Gazmuri received his PhD at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)
Critical Literacy in the Social Studies Elementary Classroom
Breo Tosar (Spain)
PhD Student in Social Studies Education, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Human Rights in the Curriculum: Precarity and Complexity
Héctor Gómez (Chile)
PhD Student in Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia
Challenges and Tensions in Curriculum Management: Theory and Practice
Public Seminar Sponsored by
Institute for Critical Education Studies
July 13, 2016
2125 Main Mall
University of British Columbia
Carolina Castro, Héctor Gómez, and Fernando Murillo, co-authors in the recently published book Desafíos y Tensiones en la Gestión Curricular: Teoría y Práctica [Challenges and Tensions in Curriculum Management: Theory and Practice] in Chile, will present their contributions to the discussion of curriculum design, development and implementation in the contexts of schools and higher education.
The book, co–edited by Gómez and Castro, gives voice to a variety of perspectives and experiences in schools and higher education. In this regard the authors ask: How is curriculum managed? Who is involved in the process and how? What authority do curriculum managers have, and how is power distributed in order to influence and make decisions on the curriculum? What effective spaces for innovation exist? How are perennial and new issues considered in the management of curriculum?
Bachelor in Education – Primary School Teacher, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum. Head of the Curriculum Unit at Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile.
Bachelor in Education – TEFL, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum, UBC PhD student in Curriculum Studies
Bachelor in Education – Teacher of History and Social Sciences, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum, UBC PhD Student in Curriculum Studies
Institute for Critical Education Studies
Faculty of Education
University of British Columbia
‘Reclaiming the School as Pedagogic Form’
Dr. Jan Masschelein
(Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
May 12, 2015
12:00 – 2:00pm
(Education Building, UBC Vancouver)
In my contribution I will use the word ‘school’ to refer to a specific pedagogic form i.e. a concrete way (including architecture, practices, technologies, pedagogical figures) to gather people and things (arranging their company and presence) so that, on the one hand, it allows for people to experience themselves as being able to take care of things, and, at the same time and on the other hand, to be exposed to something outside of themselves (the common world). It is a very specific combination of taking distance and (allowing for) re-attachment. As a consequence, the term ‘school’ is not used (as is very often the case) for so-called normalizing institutions or machineries of reproduction in the hands of the cultural or economic elites. There is reproduction and normalizing, of course, but then the school does not (or does no longer) function as a pedagogic form.
Put differently: schools are particular ways to deal with the new generations and to take care of the common world that is disclosed for them. If education is the response of a society to the arrival of newcomers, as Hannah Arendt formulates it, and if schools are particular ways of doing this, ways that are different from initiation and socialization, ways that offer the new generations the possibility for renewal and the opportunity of making its own future, i.e. a future that is not imposed or defined (destined) by the older one, ways that imply to accept to be slowed down (in order to find, or even, make a destiny), ways that accept that education is about the common world (and not individual resources), then we could state that the actual ‘learning policies’ of the different nation states as well as of international bodies are in fact threatening the very existence of schools (including school teachers).
To reclaim the school, then, is not simply about restoring classic or old techniques and practices, but about actually trying to develop or experiment with old and new techniques and practices in view of designing pedagogic forms that work under current conditions, that is, that actually slow down, and put society at a distance from itself.
Jan Masschelein is head of the Laboratory for Education and Society, and of the research group Education, Culture and Society at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). His research concerns the public and societal role of education and schooling, the role of the university, the changing experiences of time and space in the age of the network, the educational meaning of cinema and camera, the architecture of schools and architecture of the learning environment, a pedagogy of attention, the notion of ‘pedagogy’, the pedagogical role of teachers and social workers. His book, In Defense of School (with Maarten Simons) is available at http://goo.gl/NN4XeD.
The new book Teacher Education: Demands from the Boundaries, by Hector Gomez and Fernando Murillo Munoz intends to generate a space of discussion, reflection and dissemination of outlying or peripheral perspectives and topics about the education of teachers, originated as a response to the installation of an hegemonic, standardized, and apparently objective discourse about this field, which is characterized by strong external control, evaluative practices centered on measurement, and subsequent causal relationship that put forth reduced representations of “quality”.
These discourses and practices have been systematically installing an idea of what is necessary instead of what is possible, expelling from the educational relations the context, its complexities and, ultimately, the subject.
The seeming certainty emerges, circulates and reproduces, generating notions of “common sense” in the actors involved in the field of teacher education, notions from which they design, manage and implement ways of “being a teacher” that allow their existence in the belief of an alleged ideological neutrality.
This book is an attempt to discuss these assumptions, reflect on their origins and forms of reproduction, and disseminate alternative ways of understanding, establishing dialogue and learning in this field.
Héctor Gómez holds a Bachelor in Education (History and Social Sciences) and a Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum. He is a professor and researcher at the Faculty of Education of Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez and Head of the Curriculum Unit at Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile.
Fernando Murillo holds a Bachelor in Education (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) and a Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum. A former curriculum advisor and policy maker for the Chilean Ministry of Interior, Murillo is a professor and curriculum advisor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities at Universidad Alberto Hurtado and Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile. Murillo is currently a PhD student in the UBC Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy.
The Institute for Critical Education Studies sponsored a seminar on the book by Gomez and Murillo at UBC in the fall of 2014.
Monday, January 12 at 7:30pm
SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Segal Rooms; Vancouver, BC
Wednesday, January 14 at 5:00pm
Coach House at Green College, UBC; 6201 Cecil Green Park Road (off NW Marine Drive, opposite Chan Centre and Rose Parkade)
A talk by Professor Steven Salaita, who is at the centre of an international protest against academic censorship.
Salaita, author of six books and many articles, was “unhired” from a tenured position in American Indian studies at the University of Illinois when donors pressured the university because of Salaita’s tweets on his personal Twitter account about the Gaza massacre last summer.
Because this action is widely recognized as part of a broad effort to silence voices for Palestinian rights and justice, and as one incident in the long history of colonial treatment of indigenous peoples, the case has attracted international attention.
Salaita’s books will be available at this event.
“Steven Salaita & Academic Censorship“: an interview on Voice of Palestine
It’s report card season. Just how useful are report cards? How should parents respond to their students grades? What kind of questions can or should parents ask teachers about the assessment of their students’ performance? Should parents reward their students for good grades?
Sandra Mathison, an expert on evaluation and co-director of Institute for Critical Education Studies, offers advice on these and other issues in the UBC News Experts Spotlight.
Listen to the podcast of Dr. Mathison’s comments on CBC’s On the Coast, with Stephen Quinn.
From The Province: Don’t overreact when it comes to school report cards: Expert
From Yahoo News: Don’t reward good report cards: UBC professor
From E-Valuation: Reporting Evaluation Results ~ The Case of School Report Cards
Next information session:
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
BC Teachers’ Federation
4:00 – 5:30pm
100 – 550 West 6th Ave.
Does size matter when it comes to public school classes?
Important context is the ongoing BC teachers strike, where class size and composition are key elements of contract negotiations. The ruling BC Liberals stripped class size and composition rules from the BC teachers contract in 2002, a move that has twice been judged as illegal by BC courts.
I’ve written a brief summary of class size research, with key references, which you can find here.
You can read a very recent review of the research on class size here.
Last month, Global TV BC broadcast a “town hall” discussion on a wide variety of education issues related to education in BC and the ongoing dispute between teachers and government, including class size. You can watch that segment here.
Here’s a good background piece from The Tyee: Everything You Need to Know about BC Teacher Bargaining
Listen to The Current segment (21 minutes) on class size here.
Class size and composition is arguably the single most important public policy issue in the current dispute between BC teachers and government.
The educational and economic implications of class size and composition policies are huge, but in the context of collective bargaining and related court cases public discussion of the costs and benefits of class size reduction has been cut short.
Class size is one of the most rigorously studied issues in education. Educational researchers and economists have produced a vast amount of research and policy studies examining the effects of class size reduction (CSR).
What is the research evidence on CSR?
Since the late 1970s, the empirical evidence shows that students in early grades perform better in small classes and these effects are magnified for low-income and disadvantaged students. Most studies have focused on primary grades, but the relatively small number of studies of later grades also shows positive results of CSR.
Randomized experiments are the “gold standard” in social science research. One such study, known as Project STAR, involved 11,500 students and 1,300 teachers in 79 Tennessee schools produced unequivocal results that CSR significantly increased student achievement in math and reading.
A CSR experiment in Wisconsin illustrated student gains in math, reading, and language arts. In Israel, which has high, but strict maximum class size rules, a rigorous study of CSR produced results nearly identical to Project STAR. Studies in Sweden, Denmark, and Bolivia find similar results.
Do all studies of CSR produce unequivocal positive results? No, but the vast majority of research, including the most rigorous studies, leave no doubt about the positive effects of CSR.
The research evidence on CSR led to class-size caps in California, Texas, Florida, and British Columbia, before the BC government stripped them from the teachers’ contract in 2002.
Why are smaller classes better?
Observational research in reduced size classes finds that students are more highly engaged with what they are learning. That is, students have higher participation rates, spend more time on task, and demonstrate more initiative.
In turn, teachers in smaller classes spend more time on instruction and less time managing misbehavior. They also have more time to reteach lessons when necessary and to adapt their teaching to the individual needs of the students.
One, perhaps counter-intuitive, finding from the research is experienced teachers are better able to capitalize on the advantages of smaller classes than more novice teachers.
How small is small enough?
Project STAR reduced class size from an average of 22 students to 15. Previous research found significant positive effects of CSR at below 20.
Based on these findings some have argued that CSR is not effective unless these levels are attainable. But, the broad pattern of evidence indicates a positive impact of CSR across a range of class sizes.
What about the costs?
There are demonstrable costs involved in reducing class size. As with all public policy questions both benefits and costs must be considered. The potential future costs of not creating smaller classes in public schools also must be taken into account.
Reduced class size boosts not only educational achievement, but has a positive impact on variety of life outcomes after students leave school.
Results from a number of studies show that students assigned to small classes have more positive educational outcomes than their peers in regular-sized classes including rates of high school graduation, post-secondary enrolment and completion, and quality of post-secondary institution attended.
Additionally, students from small classes have lower rates of juvenile criminal behavior and teen pregnancy; and better savings behavior and higher rates of homeownership than peers from regular-size classes.
What are the policy implications of CSR research?
Class size in an important determinant of a broad range of educational and life outcomes, which means policy decisions in this area will have a significant impact on future quality of life in the province.
The money saved today by not reducing class size will be offset by more substantial social and educational costs in the future, making class size reduction the most cost-effective policy.
Sample of CSR Research Articles:
Angrist, J.D., & Lavy, V. (1999). Using Maimonides’ rule to estimate the effect of class size on scholastic achievement. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(2), 533-575.
Browning, M., & Heinesen, E. (2007). Class Size, teacher hours and educational attainment. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 109(2), 415-438.
Chetty, R., Friedman, J.N., Hilger, N., Saez, E., Schanzenbach, D.W., & Yagan D. (2011). How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from Project STAR. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 126(4), 1593-1660.
Dynarski, S., Hyman, J., & Schanzenbach, D.W. (2013). Experimental evidence on the effect of childhood investments on postsecondary attainment and degree completion. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(4), 692-717.
Finn, J., Gerber, S., & Boyd-Zaharias, J. (2005). Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 214-223.
Fredriksson, P., Öckert, B., & Oosterbeek, H. (2013). Long-term effects of class size. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(1), 249-285.
Krueger, A.B. (1999). Experimental estimates of education production functions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(2), 497-532.
Krueger, A.B., & Whitmore, D. (2001). The effect of attending a small class in the early grades on college test taking and middle school test results: Evidence from Project STAR. Economic Journal, 111, 1-28.
Krueger, A.B., & Whitmore, D. (2002). Would smaller classes help close the black-white achievement gap? In J.Chubb & T. Loveless (Eds.), Bridging the Achievement Gap (pp. 11-46). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Molnar, A., Smith, P., Zahorik, J., Palmer, A., Halbach, A., & Ehrle, K. (1999). Evaluating the SAGE program: A pilot program in targeted pupil-teacher reduction in Wisconsin. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(2), 165-77.
Word, E., Johnston, J., Bain, H.P., et al. (1990). Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR): Tennessee’s K-3 class size study. Final summary report 1985-1990. Nashville: Tennessee State Department of Education.
Urquiola, M. (2006). Identifying class size effects in developing countries: Evidence from rural Bolivia. Review of Economics and Statistics, 88(1), 171-177.