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Medium 9781475819533

Perceptions, Engagement, and Practices of Teachers Seeking Professional Development in Place-Based Integrated STEM

Teacher Education and Practice R&L Education ePub

LOUIS S. NADELSON AND ANNE SEIFERT

ABSTRACT: As science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) continue to grow in economic and social importance, it is critical that citizenry are prepared to be STEM literate. Furthermore, the workforce demands on STEM necessitate students seeking STEM degrees and pursuing STEM careers. Primary and secondary (K–12) teachers play an important role in helping students develop fundamental understanding of STEM and the motivation to consider STEM professions. However, many teachers are in need of professional development to enhance their effectiveness to teach STEM. Our summer institute (attracting more than 350 teachers per summer) is structured to increase teacher STEM-teaching capacity. With a desire to move to a place-based approach (e.g., leveraging STEM resources in the local community), we sought to establish the perceptions and practices of the teachers who attend our summer institute, as well as the impact of the institute. Of particular interest was how the teachers were using local resources, opportunities, and people to support their STEM teaching. Our results show preinstitute averages for a range of measures with significant increases postinstitute. We also found a range of engagement in place-based STEM practices. Implications and recommendations are provided.

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Medium 9781442229136

COMMENTARY

Ecclesia, Pro Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Paul J. Griffiths

In her fine book, Light in Darkness, Alyssa Pitstick undertakes two enterprises.2 The first is a retrieval and formulation of what she calls the traditional doctrine of the descent, by which she means the church’s constant teaching about what Christ did between his death on Good Friday afternoon and his Resurrection on the morning of Easter Day. And the second is exegesis of and commentary upon Hans Urs von Balthasar’s teaching on the same matter, whose upshot is to show that the two bodies of teaching are irreconcilable. Her work, as she presents it, is thus partly reconstructive in positive-theological mode, and partly polemical: she wants to establish the bounds of orthodoxy on her topic and to show that von Balthasar’s view of it stands outside those bounds. In the comments that follow I shall assume that her interpretation of von Balthasar is correct, and will engage her critically only on the question of whether there is a traditional doctrine of the descent and, if so, what it is. This is not to say that I take her to be correct about von Balthasar. I have insufficient expertise to make it proper for me to venture an opinion one way or another on that question. It is only to say that I bracket altogether the question about von Balthasar, addressing Pitstick instead only on the question of her understanding of the authority she attributes to what she calls the traditional doctrine of the descent. I shall try to show that what she says about this drastically overestimates the extent to which there is settled doctrine on this topic, and therefore also misconstrues the nature of her own enterprise.

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Medium 9781475816563

Education for All and National Legislation

International Journal of Educational Reform Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Kishore Singh

ABSTRACT: Right to education, which is an integral part of UNESCO’s constitutional mission of ensuring “full and equal opportunities for education for all,” is at the core of the Education for All process. While reforming education polices as part of this process, many countries have modernized and developed national legislation, often with technical assistance provided by UNESCO. As a strategic objective of Education for All, doing so strengthens foundations of the right to education in national legal systems. It brings to light the fundamental principle of the equality of educational opportunities, enshrined in UNESCO’s Convention Against Discrimination in Education, a key pillar of Education for All.

The right to education is well established in a number of instruments adopted by UNESCO and the United Nations. As an internationally recognized right, education is a “human right in itself and an indispensable means of realizing other human rights.”1 Education plays an important role in empowering individuals and transforming societies because it is essential to the socioeconomic development process and a powerful instrument in poverty reduction strategies. At the World Education Forum in 2000, governments, international organizations, and agencies made a collective commitment to the Education for All (EFA)2 and to the realization of the right to basic education as a fundamental human right. Owing to increasing recognition of the centrality of education in people’s lives, the realization of the right to education for all has assumed added significance.

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Medium 9781475819137

Editorial: Teaching for Social Justice—Teacher Education and Democracy at a Crossroads

Teacher Education and Practice R&L Education ePub

PATRICK M. JENLINK

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. (Neibuhr, 1946, p. xi)

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. (King, 1963, p. 77)

Teaching for social justice is a decidedly political activity, situated amid growing racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Teaching for social justice is taking a dialectical stance that favors equitable and just treatment of all students, acknowledging that when and where there are relative differences, distinctions must be made. Teaching for social justice is to recognize that diversity is a defining element of our society, and as such it is a defining element of our democratic way of life. When we fail to embrace diversity, when we fail to challenge injustice and inequity, we simultaneously undermine the viability of our democratic society.

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Medium 9781475816259

Teaching Thinking Skills in the United Arab Emirates: An Examination of the Current Curriculum in the 1st Through 12th Grades

International Journal of Educational Reform Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Khalifa Ali Alsuwaidi

A major paradigmatic teaching shift has taken place in the United Arab Emirates, from the traditional format to one in which students are actively engaged in their own learning processes. While core values that are central to Islamic beliefs are retained, the methodology now focuses on teaching thinking, rather than rote memorization. A random sample (n = 393) of teachers in 1st through 12th grades responded to a survey developed to evaluate their views of this paradigmatic shift. Overall, the respondents considered the new, modern curriculum to be a better tool than the traditional curriculum in terms of educational goals, curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment, although there are areas that continue to need improvement, particularly with regard to the educational goals of helping students develop their critical thinking skills.

Several influences have converged to create a new emphasis on the teaching of thinking and other general skills during the elementary, junior high, and high school years around the world. Prominent among these are workplace readiness and the constructivist movement. Although education in the Arab nations has been tied to religious fundamentalism during the 20th century and traditional teaching techniques relied primarily on rote learning within a teacher-centered, religious-oriented context, teaching thinking is not at all antithetical to the Holy Qu’ran. In fact, more than 640 verses in the Qu’ran challenge believers to use their minds for critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking, and decision-making. Particularly, as we enter the 21st century, it is important to cultivate these skills to enable our youth to function effectively in their own world as well as in the global community.

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