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The Social Foundations Reader

Critical Essays on Teaching, Learning and Leading in the 21st Century

Edited By Eleanor Blair and Yolanda Medina

The Social Foundations Reader is meant for undergraduate and graduate students in introductory foundations of education classes. No other contemporary reader provides such a broad and yet critical view of the issues typically addressed in an introductory foundations course. Instead, most provide a generic and typically conservative perspective on schools and classrooms and do little to encourage students to consider the important roles of critical theory and social justice in the creation of school environments that are responsive to issues of equity and diversity. This book provides a different lens through which students can view what happens in twenty-first-century schools while also considering the perspectives of multiple constituencies: parents, teachers, students and communities. The reader of this text is exposed to a wide range of scholarship in the foundations of education; essays range from the more traditional work of John Dewey to the controversial ideas of Henry Giroux. Contested topics associated with teaching, learning and leading in contemporary public schools are considered within a context where grappling with the answers to fundamental questions that will ultimately guide meaningful school reform is an essential part of becoming an educator. Each of the five sections in the book is accompanied by an introduction and summary/reflection questions to both guide reading and challenge students to think critically about how to synthesize and apply the ideas being presented.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Blair, Eleanor, editor. | Medina, Yolanda, editor. Title: The social foundations reader: critical essays on teaching, learning and leading in the 21st century / edited by Eleanor Blair, Yolanda Medina. Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2016. Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2015029769 | ISBN 978-1-4331-2942-1 (hardcover: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4331-2941-4 (paperback: alk. paper) | ISBN 978-1-4539-15844 (e-book) Subjects: LCSH: Critical pedagogy. | Education—Social aspects. Classification: LCC LC196.S628 2016 | DDC 370.11/5—dc23 LC record available at

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

Cover art by Maria Fernanda D’Alessandro, Dominican independent artist.

© 2016 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006

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