2165 Slices
Medium 9781475817485

Decison Making, Models of Mind, and the New Cognitive Science

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

COLIN W. EVERS1

This paper explores a number of important implications for understanding educational decision making from the perspective of what I call the new cognitive science. In order to appreciate just how significantly different this new perspective is, I spend a little time examining three models of mind that have provided the methodological framework in which most past and present studies of decision making have been conducted. The first is the “absent mind” approach, embodying assumptions that have informed the behaviorist tradition of research. Developing out of perceived weaknesses in behaviorism, at least as an account of cognitively-oriented behaviors, is the “functionalist mind” approach, which underwrites traditional cognitivism and its manifestations in program writing artificial intelligence. Finally, I examine the “material mind,” an approach that seeks to limit functionally adequate accounts of cognition by using the requirement that they be more biologically realistic. That is, theories about human reasoning are to be constrained by the demand that they cohere with theories concerning the representation and dynamics of knowledge in the brain. I use the expression “the new cognitive science” to refer broadly to those efforts at theorizing about cognition that attempt to meet this constraint.

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Medium 9781475823684

Teacher Perceptions of Parent Involvement in Middle School

Journal of School Public Relations Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

DOUGLAS W. SMITH

ABSTRACT: Three hundred thirty-three middle school teachers were surveyed about current degree of, desires for, and obstacles to parent involvement in their schools. Teachers desired parents to be involved in PTO/PTA, volunteering, and chaperoning and not with curricular or school governance matters. About 10% of teachers reported parents are actively involved in their school. Reported barriers to parent involvement were inflexible parent work schedules, negative parent attitudes toward school, and lack of parent concern for children. Teachers report the ineffectiveness at using the telephone for communication with parents. Recommendations are made for nontraditional approaches to establishing parent involvement in middle schools.

I nvolving parents in the school can be a very difficult undertaking. Most teachers can tell horror stories about uncooperative, mean, and even violent parents. As a former inner-city middle school science teacher, I can remember many times just scratching my head and saying, “there must be an easier way!” Well, as many teachers have found out, there is an easier way—don’t bother with the parents! As is usually the case, the easy way is not the most effective way. This article presents the feelings, beliefs, and practices of 333 South Carolina middle school teachers regarding parent involvement in their schools.

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Medium 9781442229259

Leaner and More Robust

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Leaner and More Robust

Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt

Any true ecumenical dialogue requires a frank acknowledgment of differences, and the preceding exchange between Fr. Thomas Joseph White and Professor Keith Johnson certainly fulfills that requirement. The danger, of course, is that the differences might be brought into such high relief that any common backdrop is obscured. One might think that this is the case here, as the stark differences so vividly displayed leave us wondering whether those differences could ever be reconciled, or whether one side simply needs to capitulate to the other. Is this exchange only an exercise in ecumenical bridge-burning, or can resources for bridge-building also be found here? Perhaps my role as sideline commentator in this exchange would yet afford me an opportunity to weigh in on at least this question.

Professor Johnson correctly notes that, in setting up an Aquinas-Barth faceoff, one needs to ask (with apologies to Alasdair MacIntyre), “Whose Aquinas? Which Barth?” Professor Johnson mentions differing interpretations of both Aquinas and Barth, but does not pursue the difference those varied interpretations might make. Is it possible that the rather stark contrast between Aquinas and Barth—and perhaps between Catholicism and Protestantism—that emerges from this exchange is somewhat starker than it needs to be? Both Thomas and Barth are complex, and not always absolutely consistent, thinkers, and a somewhat different take on their respective positions might yield a somewhat different sort of exchange. My suggestion is that the possibilities for rapprochement might be enhanced by an Aquinas who is somewhat metaphysically “leaner” and a Barth who is more robustly engaged with the broader Christian theological tradition.

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Medium 9781475817447

Superintendents’ Multicultural Competencies

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

MARTHA N. OVANDO1,*

DAN TROXELL2

ABSTRACT: This study examined the competencies required by superintendents to lead schools in diverse cultural settings. Based on the perceptions of experts in the field of multicultural education and experienced school executives, an attempt was made to discover the multicultural knowledge (Banks, 1994b; Pearson, 1984), attitudes (Smolicz, 1979; Znaniecki, 1968), and skills (Haugland, 1987; MSA, 1987; Harris and Wan, 1991) needed by superintendents to better respond to the dramatic demographic changes and complexities of today’s diverse student population. Data were gathered and analyzed following a combined research design. It included three stages: 1) interviews with twelve experts in the field of multicultural education; 2) participation of fourteen expert superintendents using a modified version of the Delphi technique; and 3) written responses, of four superintendency practitioners, to a case report. Findings revealed agreement between experts and superintendents on what constitutes the multicultural competencies of superintendents to some extent. Specifically, seven categories of multicultural knowledge, four categories of multicultural attitudes, and two categories of multicultural skills emerged from the data. Further, each of these categories were stated in terms of tasks and subtasks to better reflect the specific attributes of each competency (Harris and Wan, 1991). While this study supports the importance of multicultural competencies for superintendents to be able to successfully lead schools in diverse settings, it also implies the need to develop diagnostic assessments and development endeavors so that school leaders enhance their capacity to achieve equity and excellence for all children.

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Medium 9781475823783

The Impact of Community Education on School Community Relations

Journal of School Public Relations Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

CHARLES F. PORTER

ABSTRACT: The task of achieving and maintaining good school community relations has never been easy, but new challenges bring with them a new urgency. Now, more than ever before, it is imperative for school districts to recognize and embrace community education. The community education philosophy strives to be all-inclusive. In a broad sense, it enables the community to strengthen the schools, and the schools to strengthen the community. When implemented to its fullest potential, it involves schools, parents, students, community members, and the neighboring organizations in the effective education of youth and their families. At its core, it supports school improvement, increases public involvement in and support of educational efforts, and strengthens families and communities. This article examines the benefits of integrating community education into district-level community relations through its six various components of programs and process.

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