Democratic Education in the 21st Century (An updated call for papers)

Guest Editor: Bertram (Chip) Bruce

Editor of Schools: Studies in Education: Andy Kaplan

In an age of climate disasters, extreme income inequality, conspiracy theories, anti-democratic movements, segregated schooling, pandemic, and more, the need for democratic education has never been greater, but it may also seem less viable than ever. Classics such as John Dewey’s Democracy and Education are still relevant, but invite us to re-invent education for today.

The symposium

Schools: Studies in Education, published by the University of Chicago Press, is hosting a symposium on this topic to celebrate the journal’s twentieth anniversary. The mission of Schools is to present inquiry into the subjective experience of school life. Unique among academic journals of education, Schools features articles by and about the daily life of classrooms, descriptions and reflections on the meaning of what happens when learning actually occurs. 

To celebrate our twentieth year of publication, this symposium shares ways to think about democratic education in today’s world, and how we should plan for the future. How should issues such as indigenous people’s rights, racism, women’s rights, authoritarian governments, the concentration of wealth, the climate crisis, pandemics, and more make us analyze, discuss, and work to create democratic education?

We highly encourage submissions from classroom educators at all levels, from educators outside the United States, and from educators associated with alternative schools or informal learning.

Our initial call for papers in February 2022 led to proposals by almost 40 educators from all over the world. We held two zoom workshops for contributors over the past summer, which led to exciting manuscript submissions. The submissions include articles about teacher education, a ninth grade program devoted to the dreams and hopes of its students, an after school leadership program for Black teenagers, and a social justice program for pregnant and parenting teenagers. Some or all of these articles will likely appear in the first of what promises to be a robust series of an ongoing symposium.

Manuscript preparation

Interested authors should submit a one-page prospectus describing what their project entails. This is to determine appropriateness and balance for the special issue. We anticipate a mix of empirical and theoretical contributions. Completed manuscripts will undergo the usual Schools: Studies in Education review process before final acceptance.

Articles should be a maximum of 8000 words (25 double-spaced pages). Please follow the Schools style guide.

There is a possibility of a follow-on book publication based on revised versions of the articles, after publication in Schools.

Deadlines

For consideration in the Fall 2023 publication:

  • December 15, 2022: one-page prospectus for your proposed article
  • January 15, 2023: response to the prospectus
  • April 15, 2023: final manuscript deadline
  • May 1, 2023: editors’ review of the manuscript sent to author
  • June 1, 2023: outside review of the manuscript
  • July 1, 2023: final revised copy

For consideration in the Spring 2024 publication:

  • February 15, 2023: one-page prospectus for your proposed article
  • March 15, 2023: response to the prospectus
  • October 15, 2023: final manuscript to be considered for the Spring 2024 issue
  • October 31, 2023: editors’ review of the ms.
  • November 30, 2023: outside review of the ms.
  • December 31, 2023: final, revised copy

Beyond the classroom walls: Imagining the future of education, from community schools to communiversities

The book asks readers to adopt a critical and comprehensive view of education (pre-K to lifelong learning) as existing both within classroom walls, and in the surrounding world, including communities and workplaces. It presents an integrated view of online learning, community schools, communiversities, and learning through work.

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Realities of community-based learning during lockdown

It was great to see the published paper copy of our article: “Realities of Implementing Community-Based Learning during Lockdown: Lessons from a Troubled Journey.” You can see photos of the authors below.

Saraswoti School, Shikharpa, Nepal

In the Editor’s Introduction to the Schools Studies in Education issue, Andy Kaplan writes,

In “Realities of Implementing Community-Based Learning during Lockdown: Lessons from a Troubled Year,” Raunak Chaudhari, Smriti Karanjit Manandhar, and Bertram C. Bruce examine the fortunes and misfortunes they encountered implementing a program at King’s College in Kathmandu, Nepal. They had conceived the program as a meaningful experiment in education reform, an effort to connect classroom learning to the needs and desires of the world outside the university. Although the onset of the pandemic seriously altered the original design of the course, the course provided many valuable experiences as well as an important example of how the ambitions of integrated learning create conditions of adaptability that are well suited to emergent and emergency circumstances.

Raunak Chaudhari

Video: Fulbright Specialist in Nepal, 2019

The Frames film program has produced a short video of my work in Nepal, focusing on the Fulbright Specialist trip in 2019. I hope you enjoy it.

The Frames Film Program provides opportunities for multi-barriered youth (ages 16 to 30) to learn the basics of filmmaking — at no cost.​ It is an off-site program of Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House. As a Vancouver-based film production and life skills program, it provides opportunities for youth to learn the basics of filmmaking in a supportive, safe and fun environment.

Democratic Education in the 21st Century

A Call for Papers

Guest Editor: Bertram (Chip) Bruce

Editor of Schools: Studies in Education: Andy Kaplan

In an age of climate disasters, extreme income inequality, conspiracy theories, anti-democratic movements, segregated schooling, pandemic, and more, the need for democratic education has never been greater, but it may also seem less viable than ever. Classics such as John Dewey’s Democracy and Education are still relevant but invite us to re-invent education for today.

The symposium

Schools: Studies in Education, published by the University of Chicago Press, plans to host a symposium on this topic to celebrate Schools’ twentieth anniversary of publication. The mission of Schools is to present inquiry into the subjective experience of school life. Unique among academic journals of education, Schools features articles by and about the daily life of classrooms, descriptions and reflections on the meaning of what happens when learning actually occurs. 

To celebrate our twentieth year of publication, we propose a symposium on how to think about democratic education in today’s world, and how we should plan for the future. How should issues such as indigenous people’s rights, racism, women’s rights, authoritarian governments, the concentration of wealth, and more make us analyze, discuss, and work to create democratic education?

We highly encourage submissions from classroom educators at all levels, from educators outside the United States, and from educators associated with alternative schools or informal learning.

Deadlines

  • November 15, 2021: One-page prospectus for your proposed article
  • July 25, 2022: in preparation for the workshop, send first draft, outline, or notes to Andy Kaplan; the folder containing these drafts will be accessible to contributors by August 1 
  • August 15: online workshop
  • October 15: final ms. to be considered for the Spring 2023 issue
  • October 31: editors’ review of the ms.
  • November 30: outside review of the ms.
  • December 31: final, revised copy
  • Spring 2023: publication of the first set of articles
  • Similar deadlines will apply for the Fall 2023, or beyond, issues

Manuscript preparation

Interested authors should submit a one-page prospectus describing what their project entails. This is to determine appropriateness and balance for the special issue. We anticipate a mix of empirical and theoretical contributions. Completed manuscripts will undergo the usual Schools: Studies in Education review process before final acceptance.

Articles should be a maximum of 8000 words (25 double-spaced pages). Please follow the Schools style guide.

Articles will appear in the Spring and Fall 2023 issues. There is a possibility of a follow-on book publication based on revised versions of the articles, once the symposium has been published in Schools. 

Thinking with Maps: Understanding the World through Spatialization

Spatial reasoning, which promises connection across wide areas, is itself ironically often not connected to other areas of knowledge. Thinking with Maps: Understanding the World through Spatialization addresses this problem, developing its argument through historical analysis and cross-disciplinary examples involving maps.

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Sensible planning for online learning

Sensible planning for online learning

800px Online Learning learn from home elearning

Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the rush to online education, schools and colleges appear to expect instant transference of their on-campus programs to new media such as Zoom and Moodle.

Anyone who has observed the implementation of online education knows that this is a recipe for disaster, one that will lead to little meaningful learning and much angst on the part of students, teachers, parents, and administrators.

In this context, it’s worth taking a look at what has contributed to the success of some online learning.

The LEEP online masters program

In 1996, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now the iSchool) at the University of Illinois began offering master’s degrees over the Internet, with only brief periods of on-campus learning.

This program, actually just a scheduling option for the traditional degree, is called LEEP. It has a 24-year record of success from the perspectives of students, faculty, staff, employers, researchers evaluating the program, and formal accreditation bodies.

Upon graduation, one student said that it

has truly been a marvelous, exhilarating experience. I have met and learned from a wonderful group of students and teachers. At times overwhelming, but always challenging, the GSLIS classes have taught me far more than I could have imagined. I have gained insights and confidence, knowledge and skills, and friends for a lifetime. The virtual community of LEEP3 continues to develop and thrive. [Quoted in a 1999 paper by Dean Leigh Estabrook, “New Forms of Distance Education”]

Why has LEEP been so successful, especially in contrast with what many are doing today? This is worthy of a longer discussion, but it’s useful to list a few of the characteristics of LEEP that have helped it to succeed:

  1. Voluntary participation: Faculty were invited to participate, but were not required to do so. Although some were eager to give the new modality a try, others needed to see how their colleagues fared first.
  2. Planning and preparation: Through course releases and other mechanisms, faculty were given time to prepare new courses or new versions of existing courses that reflected the affordances and constraints off the new medium.
  3. Match to available resources: There was detailed consideration of the background knowledge needed by students, and of the necessary technical features such as bandwidth, computer and operating system platforms, or microphones and speakers.
  4. Technical support: There was substantial technical support for both students and faculty, so that they could concentrate on the course content.
  5. Reflection: There was an annual retreat to discuss successes, surprises, and challenges.
  6. Analysis and ongoing revision: The program was regularly and systematically studied through surveys, interviews, and analyses of course interactions. This has led to books, articles, conference presentations, and other publications, which contributed to the program’s continuing development.
  7. Collaboration: The program was developed in collaboration with other units within the university and with similar programs at other institutions.

What schools are doing instead

All too often today, participation in online education is mandated, with little participatory planning, little support, and no opportunity for reflection or revision. This will not work. Perhaps the only thing worse is the equally haphazard approach being taken to new forms of on-campus instruction, necessitated by covid times.
 
Few things are more important now than education and support for young people’s development. Having safe and successful schooling is also critical for the economy. But none of that can happen without more investment of resources and more thoughtful implementation.

International Handbook of Progressive Education

International Handbook of Progressive Education cover

International Handbook of Progressive Education (Peter Lang, 2015) represents a project involving over 60 authors and editors from countries around the world.

Mustafa Yunus Eryaman and I are editors, aided immeasurably by Section editors John Pecore, Brian Drayton, Maureen Hogan, Jeanne Connell, Alistair Ross, and Martina Riedler.

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