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EDD 5229 • Liberal Studies in Knowledge Society • Lecture 8-9 • Understanding the • Curriculum Form of Liberal Studies: • Conception of Issue Inquiry Approach
(Content Knowledge) (Pedagogical Knowledge) (Curriculum Aim)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • The idea of “Issue” • According to the Oxford English Dictionary, • The noun “issue” means “a point or matter in contention between two parties; …a choice between alternatives; a dilemma”. • The phrasal expression “at issue” means “in controversy; taking opposite sides of a case or contrary views of a matter. • “To join issue” means “to accept or adopt a disputed point as the basis of argument in a controversy; to proceed to argument with a person on a particular point”. • “To make an issue of” means to turn into a subject of contention”.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • C. Wright Mills’ distinction between personal trouble and public issue: In the beginning chapter of the book Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills makes a useful distinction between “trouble” and “issue” • By trouble, Miils refers to problems which “occues within the characters of the individual and within the range of the immediate relations with others; they have to do with his self and with those limited areas of social life of which he is directly and personally aware. Accordingly, the statement and the resolution of troubles properly lie within the individual as a biographical entity and within the scope of his immediate milieu. A trouble is a private matter: values cherished by an individual are felt by him to be threatened.” (1970, p.15)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • C. Wright Mills’ distinction between personal trouble and public issue: • By issues, Mills specifies that “Issues have to do with matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life. They have to do with the organization of many such milieux into the institutions of a historical society as a whole, with the way in which various milieux overlap and interpenetrate to form the larger structure of social and historical life. An issue is a public matter: some value cherished by the public is felt threatened.” (1970, p. 15)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • C. Wright Mills’ distinction between personal trouble and public issue: • Apart from its public character, Mills also underlines the contradictory and ambiguous nature of an issue. He states that “often there is a debate about what the values is all about and what it is that really is threatens it. This debate is often without focus if only because it is the very nature of an issue…. An issue, in fact often involves …’contradictions’ or ‘antagonism.’” (1971, p. 15)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement:
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: In his book entitled Political Liberalism, John Rawls makes a distinction between reasonable and unreasonable disagreements. The distinction can further our understanding of the nature and features of the idea of issue. • By unreasonable disagreement, it refers to disagreements in public life, which grow out of “prejudice and bias, self and group interest, blindness and willfulness” (Rawls, 1993, p. 58) or of “simple ignorance or …mere undisciplined assertiveness.” (Dearden, 1984, p. 85)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • By reasonable disagreement, John Rawls defines it as “disagreement between reasonable persons.” (Rawls, 1993, p. 55). In understanding the idea of reasonable person, Rawls makes a distinction between rational and reasonable persons within the conception of modern man. • “Persons are reasonable in one basic aspect when, among equals say, they are ready to propose principles and standards as fair terms of cooperation and to abide by them willingly, given the assurance that others will likewise do so. ….The reasonable is an element of the idea of society as a system of fair cooperation and that its fair terms be reasonable for all to accept is part of its idea of reciprocity.” (1993, 49-50)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • “The rational is, however, a distinct idea from the reasonable and applied to a single, unified agent (either an individual or corporate person) with the powers of judgment and deliberation in seeking ends and interests peculiarly its own. The ration applies to how these ends and interests are adopted and affirmed, as well as to how they are given priority. It also applies to the choice of means, in which case it is guided by such familiar principles as: to adopt the most effective means to ends, or to select the most probable alternative, other things equal. (1993, p. 50) More specifically, “what rational agents lack is the particular form of moral sensibility that underlies the desire to engage in fair cooperation. …Rational agents approach being psychopathic when their interests are solely in benefits to themselves.” (1993, p. 51) As in everyday speech, we may characterize rational agents that “their proposal was perfectly rational given their strong bargaining position, but it was nevertheless highly unreasonable.” (1993, 48)
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • Accordingly, a reasonable disagreement is not disagreement generated prejudice, bias, ignorance, or even rational calculation of self-interest. They are disagreement between persons “who have an enduring desire to honor fair terms of cooperation and to be fully cooperating members of society.” (Rawls, 1993, p. 55).
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • Rawls has specified numbers of sources, from which disagreement among reasonable citizens in constitutional democracy could have derived. More specifically, Rawls suggests, “these sources I refer to as the burden of judgment.” (1993, p. 55) That is, if reasonable citizens have to come to term with (not completely resolve) their disagreements, they are burdened with reasonable judgments on the following sources of reasonable disagreements
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Availability and reliability of evidences: “The evidence—empirical and scientific—bearing on the case is conflicting and complex, and thus hard to assess and evaluate.” (Rawls, 1993, p. 56) This source of disagreement derives on the ground that the evidences required to settle the dispute are in conflict or unavailable. For example, the effects of GM (genetic-modified) food or cloning (both beneficial and harmful effects), the causes of the damage of the ozone layer, or the effects on the development of children growing up in queer families, etc. are still in dispute among natural and social scientists. And there are not sufficient and reliable evidences to make informed decisions on the issues in point.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Relevance and relative weight of evidences: In cases where evidences have been scientifically and empirically proven to be reliable, disputes may still derive on the ground that the evidences in point are irrelevant to the issues in dispute. Furthermore, “even where we agree fully about the kinds of considerations that are relevant, we may disagree about their weight, and so arrive at different judgments.” (Rawls, 1993, p. 56) Parties in dispute may put forth relevant and reliable scientific evidences in support of the stances in controversial issues. As a result, disagreements will derived on the ground that how relative weights should be assigned to different evidences relevant to the issue in dispute.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Judgment and interpretation of concepts: People’s concepts, not only moral and political concept but also empirical and factual concepts, are “vague and subject to hard cases; and this indeterminacy means that we must rely on judgment and interpretation (and on judgment about interpretation) within some range (not sharply specifiable).” (1993, p. 56) This is another source where reasonable disagreement may have invoked.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Value judgments and preferences: Disagreements may not only involve judgments of factual evidences, but may also be caused by desirable and preferable attributes, which individuals or social groups attached to the issues in point. For example, legalization of same-sex marriage may invoke value controversy between personal liberty of choice and the stability of the institutional orders of a given society. Furthermore, the normative concepts attached to social and political issues are most likely to be indeterminacy in nature and subject to different interpretations. Hence, disagreements between values and their interpretations are another reasonable ground from which controversial issues may derive.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Prioritization of values: Even where there are general agreements on the relevance and interpretations of the values involved in an issue, disagreement can still derive from the priorities ascribed to each of the values and preferences involved. • Positional and experiential considerations: “In a modern society with its numerous offices and positions, its various divisions of labor, its many social groups and their ethnic variety, citizens’ total experiences are disparate enough for their judgment to diverge.” (Rawls, 1993, p. 57) As a result, they will constitute reasonable disagreements in modern liberal-democratic society.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Normative and perspective considerations: Another source of disagreements among reasonable citizens in liberal-democratic society is differences in comprehensive moral doctrines or overall socio-political perspectives, for examples differences in the socio-political orientations between unionists and employer and business federations; or differences in public-policy stances between liberals and communitarians; etc.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • …sources of reasonable disagreements • Institutional imperatives: “Any system of social institutions is limited in the values it can admit so that some selection must be made from the full range of moral and political values that might be realized. This is because any system of institutions has, as it were, a limited social space.” (Rawls, 1993, p. 57) Public choices are not made in social, economic, political and cultural vacuum; they are bounded by different institutional constraints. However, reasonable citizens may disagree on whether institutional imperatives should be imposed on particular sets of social actions and/or interactions, for examples controversies over restriction of smoking in in-door areas, legalization of same-sex marriages, etc.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • John Rawls’ conception of a reasonable disagreement: • The burdens of judgment and necessities of issue inquiry: In modern liberal-democratic societies, citizens are often confronted by these reasonable disagreements or controversial issues. As a result, they are burdened with these hard decisions and judgments.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • The nature of issue-inquiry approach to Liberal Studies • In light of C.Wright Mills’ conception of issues and John Rawls theory of reasonable disagreement political liberalism, we may define the enquiry object, i.e. a issue with the following attributes • Issues are public in nature. They differ from personal trouble or problem, which involves individuals' personalities and/or milieux. Issues usually involve institutional or systemic deficiencies and their impacts of individuals' livelihoods and well beings. • Issues are disputatious, contradictory or even antagonistic in nature because they usually embedded in some institutional and systemic arrangements, which invoke contradiction or even antagonism among different social groupings in social institutions and systems.
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • The nature of issue-inquiry approach to Liberal Studies • Accordingly, issue enquiry may categorize into different aspects of burden of judgment. • Factual and empirical judgment: • Empirical verification • Judgments on the relevance and relative weight of the verified evidences • Judgments on the interpretation of concepts • Value and preference judgment • Judgment on the relevance values and preferences • Judgment on value priority
What is At Issue? Understanding the Nature of Issue Inquiry • The nature of issue-inquiry approach to Liberal Studies • … different aspects of burden of judgment. • Institutional judgment • Relevance and legitimacy of positional and experiential considerations • Legitimacy and respectability of normative and cultural consideration • Appropriateness of institutional imperatives
Teaching of IEA: UK and US Experiences • Teaching controversial issues in the UK: • Teaching Controversial Issues as a approach to political education was initated in the 1970s in the UK by Bernard Crick and the working party of the Hansard Society (Crick, 1978; see also Stradling et al., 1984)
Teaching of IEA: UK and US Experiences • Teaching controversial issues in the UK: • The approach has gained its retrieval in Section 10 of “Guidance on the Teaching of Controversial Issues” in Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools: The Final Report of the Advisory Group on Citizenship (The Advisory Group on Citizenship, 1998)
Teaching of IEA: UK and US Experiences • Teaching controversial issues in the UK: • “A controversial issue is an issue about which there is no one fixed or universally held point of view. Such issues are those which commonly divide society and for which significant groups offer conflicting explanation and solution. There may, for example, be conflicting views on such matters as how a problem has arisen and who is to blame; over how the problem may be resolved; over what principles should guide the decisions that can be taken, and so on.” (The Advisory Group on Citizenship, 1998, P. 56)
Teaching of IEA: UK and US Experiences • The Issue-Centered Decision Making Curriculum in Social Studies in the US • Issue inquiry approach has a long tradition in the teaching of Social Studies in the US, for example • Oliver and Shaver’s jurisprudential approach (1966) • James Banks’ decision-making model (1973/1985) • Engle and Ochoa’s citizens’ decision-making approach (1988) • Multicultural education (Banks, 2002, 2007)
Issue Inquiry Approach in the UK and US • The Issue-Centered Decision Making Curriculum in Social Studies in the US • Most recently, Ochoa-Becker specifies the “Issue-Centered Decision Making Curriculum as the curriculum for education for democratic citizenship in the US. She underlines that “The overarching purpose of this Issue-Centered Decision Making Curriculum is to improve the quality of decision making by democracy’s citizens as they respond to issues that require resolution. …The decision making process advanced here is applicable to virtually every domain of our lives.” (Ochoa-Becker, 2007, p. 124)
Dimensions of IEA Models • Decision-making Models: In the book entitled Teaching Strategies for the Social Studies, James A. Banks constructed the following teaching for making decision on controversial issues in social studies curriculum. The model basically consists of three components: • Social inquiry • Value inquiry • Rational decision
Decision-Problem Social inquiry Value inquiry Social Knowledge Value Clarification Products of previous inquiries by social scientists Rational Decision Intelligent social action A social studies curriculum focused on social inquiry, valuing, decision-making, and intelligent social action (Source: Banks, 1985)
Decision-Problem What action should we take regarding race relations in our city? Social Inquiry Key Concepts Conflict Culture Discrimination Specialization Power Value Inquiry 1. Recognizing value problems 2. Describing value-relevant behavior 3. Naming values 4. Determining value conflicts 5. Hypothesizing about value sources 6. Naming value alternatives 7. Hypothesizing about consequences 8. Choosing 9 Stating reasons, sources, and consequences of choice Knowledge necessary for naming alternatives and making predictions Value Clarification Making a Decision 1. Identifying Alternatives (Using generalizations related to key concepts to identify alternatives) 2. Predicting Consequences of each alternative (Using generalizations related to key concepts to predict consequences) 3. Ordering Alternatives Which is most consistent with value position identified above? Action
Doubt-concern Problem Formulation Theory-Values Formulation of Hypotheses Definition of Terms - Conceptualization Collection of Data Evaluation and Analysis of Data Testing hypotheses: Deriving generalizations and theories Beginning inquiry new A model of social inquiry
Value Problem Relevant behavior Conflicting values Possible consequences Related values Alternative values Possible consequences Sources Possible consequences Value preference Sources Reasons Operations of Value Inquiry Model, Graphically Illustrated
Dimensions of IEA Models • The institutional dimension: Cleo H. Cherryholmes (1980) suggests that apart from the what he call the “decision making theorem”, which basically coincides with Banks’ decision-making model, in preparing reasonable citizens in constitutional democracy, the teaching models should also compose of an institutional dimension. He underlines that “social decisions are made in the context of social institutions. Given the decision-making theorem and decisions that are made in institutional setting, …students should be aware of and sensitive to their institutional environments if they are to be effective and responsible decision makers.” (Cherryholmes, 1980, p. 121-122)
Dimensions of IEA Models • The institutional dimension: …Cherryholmes specifies the “institutional theorem as following: “Citizenship education should help students learn about and analyze institutional contexts and processes by which individual and group decisions are made.” (1980, p. 121) Accordingly, students may be guided to enquire into • What is the history of their institutions? • What actions are permitted? • What actions are proscribed? • What is prescribed? • What is the verification, justification underlying the prevailing institutional arrangements?
Dimensions of IEA Models • The multicultural dimension: As national societies and ethnic groups are drawn closer both spatially and temporally by global-informational networks, educators such as James A. Banks propose that multicultural dimensions such as added into the teaching model preparing future citizens to make reasonable decisions on public issues. Banks has put forth a five-dimension model for multicultural education as follow.
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • In light of the precedent discussions, a teaching framework for the LS in NSSC with following constituents may be constructed
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • Issue analysis: It refers to first of all identifying the social backgrounds from which the issue invokes. Second is to identify the parties engaging in an issue. In public and social issues, they may involve different political parties, interest groups or stake-holders. However, in a controversial social issue, the engaging parties may be numerous in number and their opinions about the issue may vary diversely. Nevertheless, as in most political issues, these diverse stances will subsequently aggregate or even polarize into two opposite camps. Thirdly, it is to how the parties involved aggregate and aligned into opposite camps. Finally, it is to collect the statements and arguments each parties put forth.
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The factual inquiry: It refers to analyzing the factual statements put forth by parties engaging in a disputing issue. Usually these factual statements fall into one of the following categories • Descriptive, definitional and characterizational statements: They provide factual descriptions of the phenomena relating to the issue under study. Accordingly, they define the status quo of the situation. For examples, the air of HK is highly polluted; the ozone layer of the earth has been damaged; global warming exists; Queen Pier is part of Hong Kong’s collective memory; Olympic Games is purely an athletic events; Olympic Games is an international political event, etc. In connection to the analysis of this kind of statements, one may reveal the definitional issue involved in the dispute. For example, one may ask are the parties involved share common definition of the situation or are they simply talking across each other?
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The factual inquiry: • Causal statements: They make claims of causal relationship between phenomena relating to the issue in point. For example, polluted air is hazardous to health; damaged ozone layer is hazardous to health; global warming is hazardous to the environment; genetic modified food is hazardous to health; genetic modified food is hazardous to environment; etc. In connection to the analysis of the causal statements invoked in the dispute, one must not accept the causal statements in the face-value and should further interrogate the validity and reliability of the methodology through which the causal statements are substantiated.
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The factual inquiry: • Relevance, priority and interpretation of factual evidences: According to John Rawls formulation, empirically verified fact evidences must further be assessed in terms of its relevance to the issue in contention. Furthermore, even the factual evidences are admitted to be relevant they must be then assessed in terms of their significance to the issue in point. As a result, different weights may be assigned to various evidences and priorities will be assigned to them. Accordingly, based on the evidences and their relativity, one can then characterize the issue in a comprehensive-conceptual interpretation, that is to draw a factual conclusion for the issue.
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The value inquiry: It refers to clarifying and prioritizing the desirable or preferable attributes or standards of worth imputed by engaging parties to the phenomena pertaining to the issue in point. • Concept of value: Values are desirable and preferable attributes a person impute to objects in his environment. • “Conduct, performances, situations, occurrence, states of affairs, production, all these is associated with the ways in which we perceive them, appraise them, judge them, and the way we are inclined towards or away from, attracted to or repelled by, such objects, production, states of affairs, performances, manifestations of conducts. We choose them. We prefer them over other things in the same class of comparison. We want to follow their model or to replicate them. We want to emulate them.” (Aspin, 1999, p.125)
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The value inquiry: • Concept of value: Values are desirable and preferable attributes a person impute to objects in his environment. • 價值：「大體上說來，一切具價值之事物，都是人所欲得的，人所尋求的、喜悅的、愛護的、讚美的、或崇敬的。簡言之，即都是人所欲或所好的。一切具負價值或反價值之事物，則都是人所不欲得的，人所不尋求的、厭棄的、憎恨的、貶斥的、鄙視的。簡言之，即都是人所不欲或所惡的」。（唐君毅，2005，頁707）
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The value inquiry: • Constituents in the definition of value • The valuator • The valuation • The object under valuation • The result of the valuation • Private pursuit and actualization of the result • Public action of actualization of the result
A Teaching Frameworks of Issue Inquiry Approach for Liberal Studies • The value inquiry: • Typology of values: Values can be classified according to many different criteria. The most two common classifications are • Distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic (or instrumental) values: • “An intrinsic value can be defined as something that is valuable for its own sake” (Ellis, p.12) or important in and of itself. • “An extrinsic value is valuable not for its own sake, but because it facilitates getting or accomplishing something that is valuable for its own sake.” (Ellis, p.12) It means the worth or desirability of a thing or person is derived from its instrumentality and efficiency in achieving something more desirable.