Practical Applications of Theory: New Titles at OISE!

The implementation of policy and critical views of educational practice are the themes for this batch of new books,  which are packed with case studies, practical examples and thought-provoking discussions. These new books showcase some of the library’s most recent acquisitions in both English and French.

A recent publication from the University of Toronto Press, Adaptive Education: An Inquiry-Based Institution (2016) explores a question that is relevant and thought provoking for both front-line teachers and academicians: why is the latest research on education and the social sciences not being implemented in classrooms? The answer to this question is complex; the practical and institutional barriers to implementation of and participation in research make placing the blame on teachers ill-advised, and the authors suggest that new opportunities must be opened up to encourage a positive culture of discussion. Students who are interested in the role and implementation of research in educational institutions (at all levels) will find this book engaging and refreshing. Those interested in the intersection of curriculum, teaching, learning and academic research will find much to think about in this new book.

A recent (2015) collection of essays from scholars at the Université de Laval, Sciences sociales et théories critiques dans la formation des enseignants  is a French language resource that will be helpful for students and professors who are interested in the social sciences and teaching. This collection delves into the often ignored influence of the social sciences, including critical theory, on the education and professional formation of teachers. The intellectual traditions stemming from the social sciences have become common to the profession of teaching; and through examining these connections from a number of theoretical and practical perspectives the authors seek to determine if the instruction of teachers can be accomplished outside of the influence of the social sciences. Those interested in the unique status of schools of education within larger institutions will enjoy the historical case studies.

How can we approach tough issues in education in an informed and socially conscious way? Education Policy Perils: Tackling the Tough Issues  (2016) is a collection of essays from seasoned editors Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen that explores some of these issues, and more. “Educational Leadership in the Current Policy Environment” and “Curriculum and Assessment Policy Perils” make up the two halves of the book, and each section takes a social, pedagogical and practical look at the tough issues facing schools globally. These issues include intellectual freedom, the increasing influence of newly globalized standards of education, social justice and the corporate influence on schools and their teaching practices. The case studies are primarily American, but many of the themes will resonate with researchers seeking to make a difference in education.

DisCrit: Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory in Education.  This book centers around the concept of “DisCrit” or Dis/ability Critical Race Studies, as originally formulated by Subini A. Annamma, David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri. All three authors are editors for this volume, which is part of a larger series on disability, culture, and equity. The book is divided into six sections and twelve chapters, each of which takes on a different aspect of the growing body of work on DisCrit. Students interested in intersectional education, critical theory and social justice will find rich material for thought. Recent case studies and a dynamic theoretical perspective make this work well suited to students looking for the most current and up to date developments in this field, as well as materials relating to larger themes such as social justice, inclusive education and intersectionality.

Changing the way that teachers are taught inevitably influences classroom realities. La Vogue des Compétences dans la formation des enseignants: Bilan critique et perspectives d’avenir (2014) traces the origins of the movement within teaching towards competency-based education as a key part of the development of good teachers. This French language resource from the Université de Laval explores the restructuring of educational thought around the competencies model, and the effect of this movement on the scientific, social scientific and critical foundations of teacher education. The intersection of state standards, international trends and the real needs of teachers and their students come together in this discussion. This is a good resource for examining the influence of these concepts on both teacher and student experiences.

Implementing, meeting and remaining critical of expansive and far reaching educational standards is a concern for many educators. Assessing the Common Core: What’s Gone Wrong–And How to Get Back on Track (2016) provides a thorough introduction to the current issues surrounding the common core state standards (CCSS) in place in the United States. This work will be of interest to Canadian scholars as a point of comparison and for the study of school reform in North America at large. Calfee and Wilson take a critical view of the newest version of the CCSS, and call for reform. Positive but cautious, the chapters of this book include a projected future for American education in 2024, advice for the implementation of new frameworks, and two appendices with the common core standards for several elementary and secondary subjects. This is an excellent resource for those interested in educational policy.

You can find these titles, and many more new additions to the OISE collection, on the ground floor of OISE Library. They will be available on the “New Acquisitions” shelf across from the reference desk.

Happy Reading!

About Nora Frauley-Elson

Graduate Student Library Assistant at OISE Library| Master of Information 2017, University of Toronto
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