Chapter Ten: Prospects for Education
- As a class exercise, brainstorm a list of all the forces outside the schools that are having an impact on what schools do. Organize your list in order of descending importance and give reasons for your ranking.
- Find a recent media piece that is critical of schools or proposes changes in schools. What assumptions underlie the article? How well supported are the proposals by evidence or argument? What alternatives might exist for dealing with the same issue?
- Review a few issues of a popular journal from the 1970s or 1980s (e.g., Educational Leadership or Phi Delta Kappan). What were the key issues at that time? Are they still current? If not, why not?
- Interview an experienced teacher about the changes in policy and practice he or she has seen over the years. Which changes have had a lasting impact, and why? Which have disappeared with little trace, and why?
- Interview a teacher or principal in a school that contains a great deal of diversity (ethnic, racial, immigration, language, socio-economic status, etc.). What issues does the school have to consider as a result of these factors? What steps do schools take to try to ensure all students can engage and succeed in learning?
- Obtain labour market data for your city or province. What occupations are most common, and how does this compare with Canada as a whole? What are the implications of these data for schools in your area?
- Interview one or two teachers about the use of technology in schools. What do they see as the future potential of these technologies of education? What do they see as their limitations? Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Talk with members of a school staff or parents to learn what mechanisms their school uses to raise and debate educational issues in the school and with the community. Is there an active process of studying and learning about emerging issues and problems? Why or why not?
- Investigate the role that education research plays in affecting school policy and practice. Which policies and practices have strong research support, and which do not? What could be done to improve the connection between research and practice?