Roger Wood’s new book reviewed in the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality

The Influence of Teacher-Student Relationships and Feedback on Students’ Engagement with Learning by Roger Wood has been reviewed in the latest issue of the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality by Mark Plater. A positive and thoughtful review, Platerdraws attention to how the book draws together key points that have concerned him and colleagues for some time:


“Wood’s careful study adds to the growing weight of evidence to support the centrality of relationships and relatedness in human growth and flourishing. Those of us who are concerned with children’s spirituality have been arguing this point for decades, hoping to see more emphasis on such matters in education, medicine, parenting, social care and so on. Here then is further evidence to support our cause […] We would do well to take note of this study, and to acknowledge the implications for all of our children, and the many institutions that work with them.”


The full review is available here (subscription required). The book itself is available directly from Cambridge Scholars, and can be purchased by clicking here.

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Book Review: Current Streams in American Art Education

Art education is not among the primary concerns of the educational system. One of the difficulties, if it may be called so, is the great variety of arts in which one can be educated. The history of art itself is fragmented. Furthermore, modern technology has led to developments toward cinema, photography, video and visual arts of a technological type. We should not forget that all the arts have a rather complex technological base, so much so that the word “art” comes from the action of the artisan, i.e. “someone who can use the proper tools”. As Elena Polyudova observes, though, in all times and today as well peculiar generational features exist and some educational factors are typical of a specific historical period.

Thanks to her Russian origin, the author can observe the educational system from the outside. She tries to define and confine it in order to study it in depth, thus enacting a process of epoché and allowing for a suspension of judgement. Aiming for a better understanding, the scholar decides not to compare two different systems but just to describe the American system of art education. She immediately places it in medias res by considering only the sociological approaches of the new century. This position allows her to immediately approach the aesthetic experience currently present in the U.S.A. and, through it, to look at socialization and visual culture appearing as the new generations’ main features, and also to include what the scholar calls “museum pedagogy”.

The difficulties in choosing a school for one’s children start from pre-school education (for both fees and programmes). The systems most frequently found on the market for this age group are Montessori and Waldorf. Additionally, school services for early childhood are dissimilar from place to place. In more urbanised and richer areas there is a wider array of pre-school services (and they may also be specifically tailored for different cultures). In other cases there is a more limited offer even as regards the vehicular languages, English and Spanish. The use of specific words also clarifies the tendency to have an umbrella term such as “visual arts”, comprising drawing, painting, sculpture and other forms of crafts. “Performing arts” is another term that includes several types of performing activities (dance and theatre). Then there are “musical arts”, namely instrumental music and choir. All these forms are present at all levels of the educational system.

In the current world, the boundaries between disciplines and skills are no longer rigid, but depend rather on objectives and assessments that are transitory, constructed and revocable. Besides sizeable and flexible cognitive maps, an individual also needs tools to develop, enlarge and restructure them or to increase their powers of discrimination. All human knowledge, and therefore artistic knowledge as well, are subject to acceleration and globalization and consequently also to unpredictability, both in themselves as a whole and in their relations. The complexity of current society is generated by a fragmentation of specialist contents and a subdivision of the different disciplines with their contents, but a growing interdependency is becoming visible among the same disciplines. Education in the time of complexity is then very difficult and for students of every age and school level, cognitive opportunities have now multiplied and differentiated, exceeding the boundaries of any area of learning that the school may reasonably define.

In writing her book, Polyudova abandons comparisons and instead presents a study of the American system where she highlights constant change and focuses on the sociological changes occurring in education in the 21st century. The term “aesthetic experience” taken from Dewey was replaced by ideas such as socialization, visual culture and museum experience. We must not forget that art education is included in the standards of practical skills that are useful for general education and socialization. These standards view arts as interests in the scale of hobbies and supplementary activities present in daily life. As a result, the process of integrating art education becomes a pleasant time to be enjoyed, a bonus of skills for the practice of social adaptation.

Humanitarian subjects as well as the arts present a multicultural educational background whose main objective is creating a special educational context with a neutral topic to study. This is precisely where several issues collide, the first one being the ethnic origin of the different groups. The author examines the artistic training called California Art Standards, one of the examples that present a multicultural environment in the U.S. In California 30% of the population is non-native and made up of sixteen different nationalities. Here Polyudova (page 20) observes: “Not surprisingly, the Standards of this multicultural state modify the Federal Standards from the perspective of the state’s environment”. The reason for this is that performing arts provide children with a way of understanding themselves and the world, their personal experience is useful for creating and communicating through art. The point is the switch from the educational model based on the aesthetic approach (the contents), existing in the 20th century, to the social approach introduced by current standards. “Hence, modern American art education, current for the modern time, having deep and developed traditions in aesthetic education, is changing its direction toward using arts for teaching practical management and social skills in a multicultural society” (page 21). It is important for the teacher to become a facilitator who sustains the whole process of creativity and professional development and intertwines it as a support for the student’s personal goals. Many students use their creative potential in preparation for art college. Furthermore, a high percentage of high school students acknowledges that studying art provides some relaxed enjoyment in their otherwise stressful school life.

As a conclusion we can highlight how in her work Elena Polyudova suggests, with curiosity and intelligence, that we do not limit ourselves to assessing similarities and differences, since differences are often not relevant at first sight, and instead take a different perspective, that of the outsider who “does not judge and evaluate because his or her intention is to ponder on a system in an attempt to understand”. The author wants “to make a narrative analysis rather than give the reader comparisons” (page 1).

Reviewed by Mariselda Tessarolo, Senior Scholar of the Studium Patavinum and previously Full Professor of Sociology of Cultural and Communication Processes at the University of Padua


Current Streams in American Art Education is available now, and can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars by clicking here.

Call for Articles: Interdisciplinary pedagogical approaches to intercultural competence development

Call for Chapter Proposals

Interdisciplinary pedagogical approaches to intercultural competence development

Interdisciplinary pedagogical approaches to intercultural competence development is a new edited volume that will be comprised of innovative and interdisciplinary pedagogical approaches to intercultural competence development among clinicians, practitioners, academicians, and researchers in the following fields: medicine, translation and interpretation, criminal justice and law, business, education, and psychology. Hence, the academic readership extends beyond a single discipline and critically engages researchers across diverse professions. This volume aims to pave the way to promote collaborative efforts and re-examine the role of intercultural competence development in a globally changing landscape.

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Book Announcement: A Handout on Medical English for Health Professionals

A Handout on Medical English for Health Professionals now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

9781527500365
Hardback, pp228, £61.99 / $105.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of A Handout on Medical English for Health Professionals by Goretti Faya Ornia and Héctor Hernández Lázaro.

This book offers a guide to medical English, and is addressed to healthcare professionals and students with an upper-intermediate level of English. It will also be useful as a handout for specialised English courses offered in medicine, nursing, and physiotherapy degrees, and can be used as a self-study book. Continue reading

Book Review: Intercultural Communicative Competence in English Language Teaching in Polish State Colleges

The book entitled “Intercultural Communicative Competence in English Language Teaching in Polish State Colleges” was written by Piotr Romanowski. It constitutes seven chapters: the first three chapters present the theoretical background of culture, communication and intercultural communicative competence (ICC); the fourth and fifth chapters deal with the approaches and techniques of developing ICC; and the last two chapters show the results of the empirical studies carried out in Polish State Colleges. The ’Introduction’ explains the book’s focus and organization, and briefly describes each chapter.

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Book Announcement: Erasing Invisibility, Inequity and Social Injustice of Africans in the Diaspora and the Continent

Erasing Invisibility, Inequity and Social Injustice of Africans in the Diaspora and the Continent now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

9781443894975
Hardback, pp317, £64.99 / $109.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Erasing Invisibility, Inequity and Social Injustice of Africans in the Diaspora and the Continent, edited by Omiunota N. Ukpokodu and Peter Otiato Ojiambo.

This volume engages the reader in understanding past and contemporary critical issues in African scholarship, both in the diaspora and on the continent, that have been marginalized, unexamined, and under-researched, and proposes ways to make them visible. The book is timely as it imagines and reimagines scholarship on Africans in the diaspora and on the continent. It is bold, and authentically unpacks African immigrants’ individual and collective cultural, educational, social, and institutional experiences, especially in the context of US Pk-12 schools as they navigate and negotiate transnational spaces regarding identity and shifting positionalities. The editors and contributors, who are themselves African immigrants, exemplify their spirits of Sankofa as they look back to their roots in order to give back to their “Motherland” by fighting for the visibility, equity and social justice of Africans in the diaspora and on the continent. The book proposes critical and insightful ideas that educators, researchers, policy makers, social and human services, and community leaders will find valuable. Continue reading

Book Announcement: Guide to Early Childhood Education: Development – Design – Diversity (Paperback)

Paperback edition of Guide to Early Childhood Education: Development – Design – Diversity now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

9781443895057
Paperback, pp299, £37.99 / $64.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the paperback release of Guide to Early Childhood Education: Development – Design – Diversity, edited by Pamela R. Cook.

Guide to Early Childhood Education: Development – Design – Diversity is a textbook of articles and essays exclusively written to provide a resource for educationalists working in the field of Early Childhood Education (ECE), and programmes from around the world. The text has been formally prepared in three significant parts to offer encouraging insights, early learning ideas, classroom environmental changes and pertinent information and internet resources to assist in guiding successful learning. This textbook is primarily suited for ECE administrators, directors, students, teachers, instructors, professors, and additional personnel that will be teaching or working with children in age levels ranging from infant and toddler through to school-age grade three.
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