Abstract: While the original objective of environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD) acquired an awareness of the natural world and its current plight, animal welfare (AW), animal rights (AR), and deep ecology (DE) have often been absent within EE and ESD. AW and AR focus their attention on individual animals, while the DE perspective recognizes the intrinsic value of the environment. In this article, we shall discuss how the integration of these three approaches within EE/ESD can and should be improved, with particular reference to the ethical underpinnings of educational scholarship and practice. This article will argue that these three positions are well placed to enhance the democratic practices of EE/ESD through the adoption of an inclusive pluralism that embraces representation of non-human species and recognizes their interests.
Abstract: Play as a learning practice increasingly is under challenge as a valued component of early childhood education. Views held in parallel include confirmation of the place of play in early childhood education and, at the same time, a denigration of the role of play in favor for more teacher-structured and formal activities. As a consequence, pedagogical approaches towards play, the curriculum activities that constitute play, and the appropriateness of play in educational settings, have come under scrutiny in recent years. In this context, this study investigates children’s perspectives of play and how they understand the role of play and learning in their everyday activities. This article reports on an Australian study where teacher-researchers investigated child-led insights into what counts as play in their everyday classroom activities. Children (aged 3–4 years) described play as an activity that involved their active participation in “doing” something, being with peers, and having agency and ownership of ideas. Children did not always characterize their activities as “play”, and not all activities in the preschool program were described as play. The article highlights that play and learning are complex concepts that may be easily dismissed as separate, when rather they are deeply intertwined. The findings of this study generate opportunities for educators and academics to consider what counts as “play” for children, and to prompt further consideration of the role of play as an antidote to adult centric views of play.
Abstract: A great deal has been written about immigrant children and youth. Drawing on work done in the USA, this paper focuses on implications for school improvement policy and practice. Discussed are (1) the increasing influx of immigrants into schools; (2) different reasons families migrate; (3) concerns that arise related to immigrant students; (4) prevailing school practices for addressing immigrant concerns; (5) a framework for broadening what schools and communities do; and (6) policy implications, cautions, and recommendations for embedding immigrant concerns into a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system of student and learning supports.
Abstract: In the UK, as elsewhere, the use of ‘contextual’ data has been strongly advocated in order to inform undergraduate admissions decision-making. More than a third of UK universities currently take the socioeconomic or other background context of undergraduate applicants’ attainment into account when deciding whom to shortlist, interview, make standard or reduced offers to, or accept at confirmation or clearing. Even more universities plan to do so in the future. Contextualised admissions policies are considered by many commentators to be intrinsically fairer, and to represent a potentially powerful means of addressing the persistent under-representation of HE students from less advantaged backgrounds, but their impact has not yet been rigorously evaluated. In order to be effective, the indicators must be accurate, appropriate, and complete, and policies for their use must demonstrably widen participation, presumably without compromising student achievement. This paper reviews the indicators available for judging context, and the existing evidence base on how contextually-identified students perform in higher education. It illustrates the considerable difficulties of using any available indicators, alone or in combination, in terms of trustworthiness. And it explains how their use could introduce new injustices while tackling merely the symptoms of stratified participation in HE. This is far from a counsel of despair. We need to widen participation and the use of context stills shows considerable promise. The paper therefore presents the case for a new study by the authors, looking at which of the available contextual indicators are best in practice, and what difference their use would really make to widening participation at HE.
Abstract: We show how young people’s expectations about application to university change during the teenage years, drawing on the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE). We reveal the pattern of change by family background, prior attainment at the end of primary school (measured by Key Stage 2 tests) and, critically, the combination of the two. We document the relationship between expectations about university application and the decision on whether to stay on in full-time education at 16. We point to the importance of schools in sustaining or changing expectations. We relate the expectations reported by the teenagers in LSYPE to their actual university application decisions by age 20 or 21. Expectations are high but not universally high. Family background gaps in expectations widen during the teenage years.
Abstract: Our article proposes a set of six criteria for analysing science-technology-society-environment (STSE) issues in regular textbooks as to how they are expected to contribute to students’ scientific literacy. We chose genetics and gene technology as fields prolific in STSE issues. We derived our criteria (including 26 sub-criteria) from a literature review of the debate in science education on how to increase scientific literacy. We inspected the textbooks regarding the relationships between science, technology, society, and environment, and considered the presence of the decontextualized and socially neutral view of science as distorted view. We, qualitatively and quantitatively, applied our set of criteria to two German Biology textbooks and identified, in total, 718 STSE statements. Based on the frequencies of different criteria and sub-criteria in the textbooks, we drew conclusions concerning STSE issues and the underlying conceptions of science and technology, which might hinder the furtherance of scientific literacy. The applicability of our approach in other science education contexts is discussed.