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The Social Foundations Reader

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

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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Reflection Questions


1. Identify key trends and issues that you believe will have an impact on 21st century schools and classrooms. Discuss how these trends and issues will influence schools and the changing roles and responsibilities of teachers.

2. Find an online philosophy of education inventory or ask your teacher for one. Take the inventory and find out which educational philosophy is most similar to your values and beliefs about education. Using your dominant philosophy as a guide, discuss how you will answer the questions presented in the introduction; specifically, discuss how you will address and accommodate individual differences. Remember, if there are discrepancies between your beliefs and your actions, you will need to provide a rationale for those shifts.

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