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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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Eleanor J. Blair and Yolanda Medina

The relevance of introductory foundations of education classes to teacher preparation is often debated by those who would like to capture those credit hours for other purposes. And yet, these courses have survived decades of assaults and mutations that reflect efforts to accommodate the needs of competing interests, retaining content related to the historical, social and philosophical foundations of education. If truth is going to be told here, most students have few ideas about what the social foundations represent and many ideas about the lack of importance of these interdisciplinary courses to the practice of teaching in K–12 schools. With this fact in mind, the content of this textbook was selected in an attempt to present the most interesting and compelling ideas of foundations of education scholars within a critical context that promotes a connection between theory and practice. The goal here is to facilitate the development of teachers who actively question taken-for-granted assumptions about how we “do” schooling in the 21st century; teachers who will question not just the context for education, but the content as well.

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