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The Educational Philosophy of Reconstructionism
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The Educational Philosophy of Reconstructionism

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  1. The Educational Philosophy of Reconstructionism

  2. Introduction • Theodore Brameld (1904-1987) founder of social reconstructionism, in reaction against the realities of World War II. • In the 1930s Brameld was drawn to a social activist group of scholars at Teachers College, Columbia University (i.e. Counts, Rugg, Curti, and Kilpatrick). • Counts especially influenced him profoundly. Writing in The Social Frontier, a journal of educational and political critique, he argued for a radical philosophy that focused analysis on weaknesses in the social, economic, and political structure. • From this analysis came constructive blueprints for a new social order that challenged social inequities like prejudice, discrimination, and economic exploitation.

  3. What is reconstructionism? • centers on the idea of constant change and emphasizes addressing of social questions • a quest to create a better society and worldwide democracy. • focuses on a curriculum that highlights social reform (as the aim of education)

  4. Theodore Brameld (1904-1987) was considered the founder of social reconstructionism, • He recognized the potential for either human annihilation through technology and human cruelty • and the use technology and human compassion to create a beneficent society

  5. Notable Reconstructivisits • George Counts (1889-1974) - recognized that education was the means of preparing people for creating this new social order. • Paulo Freire (1921-1997) - a Brazilian whose experiences living in poverty led him to champion education and literacy as the vehicle for social change. - humans must learn to resist oppression and not become its victims, nor oppress others. - saw teaching and learning as a process of inquiry in which the child must invent and reinvent the world.

  6. Social reconstructionists beliefs • curriculum should focus on student experience and taking social action on real problems, • inquiry, dialogue, and multiple perspectives and community-based learning are strategies for dealing with controversial issues. • systems must be changed to overcome oppression and improve human conditions

  7. Brameld’s ideas • considered democracy the core of his educational philosophy. • In Ends and Means in Education (1950): A Midcentury Appraisal he asserted that education needed a reconstructed perspective. • suggested reconstructionism as an appropriate label to distinguish this philosophy. • worked with students and teachers to develop democratic objectives. • Insisted that controversial issues and problems ought to play a central role in education • he considered no issue out of bounds for discussion and critical analysis.

  8. Brameld–opposed any theory that viewed values as absolute or unchanging. Values must be tested by evidence and grounded in social consensus. • Education has two major roles: to transmit culture and to modify culture. • reconstructionism is a philosophy of values, ends, and purposes, with a democratically empowered world civilization as the central goal of education. • Defensible partiality which is a central concept in reconstructionism, suggests a search for answers to human problems by exploring alternative approaches and then defending the partialities that emerge from a dialectic of opposition.

  9. by his advocacy of teachers as social change activists • Brameld's unpopular commitment in intercultural education and education for a world community in the 1950s was more widely embraced as multicultural and global education a half century later.

  10. Examples • Concepts such as multiple intelligences or alternative learning procedures have come from reconstructionist motivation built on other philosophies • Not all innovations are applicable to any society. It’s either the society should be changed first or the innovation should be modified to fit the society’s needs accurately.

  11. Analysis • sees education as cultural transformation • suitable to deal with the realities of a “crisis-culture” such as ours. • Education can serve as an agent in achieving cultural transformation. There is a reciprocal relationship between education and culture, one influencing the other according to Brameld • In our efforts to improve education, we have to see this relationship and deal with the ills and problems of a larger society. • The changes needed for our social institutions are not evolutionary in nature, but revolutionary. • According to Ozmon and Craver (1990), this means that changes are made in the structure of institutions. These fundamental changes are guided by broad social goals or ends.

  12. Beyond the present nation states, reconstructionists stand for a world community of nations • In the present interdependent world, problems must be shared on a global scale. • Perhaps Brameld’s most important • contribution to global education was his recognition of common purposes and strivings among people of every race and nationality

  13. lDemocracy is another goal that reconstructionists want to implement in schools and in society • Conflicts are resolved not by imposing the majority will upon all people, but by genuine dialogue between groups. Participants are encouraged to take a stand on issues. • Different from this view, reconstructionists believe that knowledge transforms the whole, on both personal and cultural levels. • as a philosophy of education, encourages debate and dialogue on issues, even controversial ones, so that people can take a stand or “take sides.”

  14. Standard 2 Technology and Society InteractionStudents recognize interactions among society, the environment and technology, and understand technology's relationship with history. Consideration of these concepts forms a foundation for engaging in responsible and ethical use of technology. Students learn that the interaction between society and technology has an impact on their lives, that technology may have unintended consequences which may be helpful or harmful. They learn that interaction of technology will affect the economy, ethical standards, environment and culture. Students evaluate the impact of products or systems by gathering and synthesizing information, analyzing trends and drawing conclusions. Students analyze technological issues and the implications of using technology. They acquire technological understanding, and develop attitudes and practices that support ethical decision-making and lifelong learning.

  15. Conclusion • American society is, and has always been, diverse and pluralistic. What is special in recent years is a change in the attitude towards diversity and pluralism. • Multicultural education has developed theories and practices for dealing with ethnic and other differences in the American context. • we see the flowering of reconstructionism in the recent interests and achievements of multicultural education. • Today multicultural education seems to maintain a national focus dealing with ’t the diversity of American society, and this certainly seems appropriate • But reconstructionism draws our attention to a global understanding of issues or a world vision.

  16. While working with each culture, whether it is in the United States or elsewhere, we need to embrace a larger vision which transcends any particular culture. • The accepted assumptions and practices of any specific group will be seen in a different light when the global vision is focused.

  17. Examples of Reconstructionism In US Schools • The United States government has used this idea of reconstructionism in public school systems to tackle issues plaguing society at that time.  Such as the the struggle of African Americans • In 1896 the Supreme Court in the landmark decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson, found that the doctrine of “separate but equal” concerning segregation of public facilities did not violate the constitution.    It was not until 1954 that the doctrine of "separate but equal" was challenged. • The supreme court case Brown vs. Board of Education was a clear cut example of society battling over our public institution of schools as a means of changing sociality values and believes.  The case did prove that separate but equal was unconstitutional

  18. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan asked business leaders of the United States, why Japanese businesses were thriving in their economy more so than the U.S.A.  The business leaders pointed at teachers and schools.  So in a form of reconstructionism, to help form a more well balanced society and culture which would help the United States economy thrive in the future as in Japan, Reagan implemented a system of change.  The School year length increased, students going to college for teaching changed to having to have 100 pre-hours of student teaching.  • In 1983 before this our society held teachers at a level of low prestige as well as low pay.  After this change in the school system and how it was being run, teachers’ prestige level has risen dramatically and although pay is still not justified, it has also increased.  

  19. The Antioch Intimacy Policy is one of the most extreme examples of attempting to control and change behavior in a school setting.  The college implementing a intimacy policy where students had to have written permission to pursue certain steps of intimacy.  • Title IX where equals rights for men and women sports in schools, including primary, secondary and collegiate level schools.  • the 1971 Denver Court Case that said that Cleveland Schools were going to be forced to bus black kids to the white schools and visa versa.  • That was another on going example of control using school issues as a tool to change society.  In the 1970’s some companies were giving schools funding and in return, students had to watch 10 minutes of commercials in the morning from these companies as a means of direct advertisement.  This idea, also known as Channel 1, was a big business strategy of using schools as a driving mechanism to fuel sales for their companies.

  20. Some conglomerates such as Exxon Mobile and Dow Chemical have even taken advantage of this push of reconstructionism as a means of business marketing. It gave them the opportunity to cover up for years of world wide pollution. By having professionals come in and shape the views of children towards these companies, they change the way the future society will view them • With the decline of family morals and the breakdown the American family increasing, the schools have implemented a means of sculpting children’s values by implementing a character education program into schools.  Many believe that developing character at an early age will help enlighten our society and increase the productivity our children’s future

  21. Questions • What are examples of Reconstruction that you have experienced as a teacher, or as a student? Give examples of past/current Reconstruction on a national level? • What social issues can arise? What is/not acceptable reconstruction in schools ? • Do you agree with reconstructionism?