in education

Editorial

Patrick Lewis

University of Regina

It is the longest day of the year as I sit writing this editorial; we have, borrowing from one of the titles in this collection, "come full circle" through the solar year. With summer comes the promise of long, warm, if not hot, sunny days, all of which help us forget the long cold winter most Canadians experience. This summer issue of in education, however, does not forget; indeed, each piece raises and reminds us of challenges, some older and ongoing and others newer.

Similar to the inexorable journey of the seasons, Paul Orlowski in “Social Studies and Civil Society” reminds us of the relentless march of neoliberalism and the seemingly insidious reach of the corporatisation of society, including schooling. Yet, within his critical look he holds out more than hope, suggesting a way out, or rather through, the neoliberal framework. The social studies curriculum and the social studies teacher can do the pedagogical work of guiding students through a critical analysis of ideologies, media, and societal discourses in order to become informed citizens--something old is new again. In looking at things old, Scott Hughes in “Not Just for Boys” takes readers on an exploration of the so-called gendered issue of the education of boys, suggesting that rather than focussing on gender, perhaps it would be more fruitful to take up notions of fairness, kindness, and care. He articulates that the non-gendered human qualities of kindness, fairness, and care may be more valued pedagogical practice in the education of not only boys but also girls--what was once called the pastoral care of children.

In “Confronting Race and Colonialism,” Bryan Smith navigates the often-disruptive terrain of racialization, in particular Whiteness, in the journey of preservice teachers positioning. Teaching continues to be a profession populated overwhelmingly by White practitioners; however, the children they work alongside everyday in schools are increasingly diverse. He takes a different turn in examining Whiteness through what he calls a “subset of tenets of critical race theory,” notably ideas of silences and exclusions within his own teaching practice with preservice teachers. He discovers that, although discomforting and at times daunting, this work can and should be taken up in the primary/junior classrooms with children at least to the ethical and moral consideration of planting seeds. In “Coming Full Circle,” Brooke Madden also explores Whiteness but within a research project with in-service teachers journeying through the process of decolonising practice in a government funded “initiative to improve schooling for urban Aboriginal students.” She frames the work through the Anishnawbe medicine wheel drawing up the four directions and from the centre, a relational positioning. Using the medicine wheel, she shares the journey of the participating teachers and their own experiences of re/positioning their relationality to curriculum content, place, narrative, and others by way of examining their “own colonial histories, as well as their complicity in contemporary strategies of colonial oppression,”

Finally, this issue ends with or perhaps come back to neoliberalism in Douglas Brown’s piece, “Liberalism, Advanced Liberalism, and the Governmental Policy Challenge in Education.” Utilising Foucault’s notion of governmentality, he carefully analyses how governance through neoliberalism has become a rationalized practice of how we do things. He implores readers and stakeholders to remember “the complexity of the everyday warrants our attention and diligence” so that we can realize how educational policy is influenced and shaped through this often unnoticed/unquestioned process.

Dear Reader, enjoy these long warm days of summer, but while you are doing so, remember the machinations of humanity, with all its good and ill, persists. And as these works in this issue remind us, we need to pay more attention to the quotidian rather than just the extraordinary.



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