Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Diana K. Moyer

Committee Members

Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon, Cheryl B. Travis, Gary J. Skolits

Abstract

To counteract the relative isolation and increasing de-valuation of the social foundations of education within teacher preparation programs in colleges of education in the United States, the purpose of this study was to contextualize the multi-faceted professional lives of educators who teach within this interdisciplinary academic field. Using a qualitative methodology encompassing elements of Delphi technique and grounded theory, current assessments of their employment in higher education settings included analysis of present conditions and changes they have experienced throughout the courses of their professorial careers. A comprehensive examination of the present circumstances of the foundations of education included a critique of the history of the discipline, considered foundational for scrutinizing contemporary issues.

The social foundations of education are involved in another period of marginalization due to the current political and social milieus which define schooling success through the application of narrowly-conceived, quantitative accountability measures. Internal and external pressures on teacher preparation programs within colleges of education in the United States have impacted the viability of the social foundations in the following ways: isolation of practitioners within colleges of education; separate departmental placements from teacher education programs; decreases in course requirements and in new hires in the field; declining influence in curriculum development and implementation; dearth of participation in educational policy formation; and, student resistance to content related to pluralism in schooling and society.

Recommendations centered on reconstructing a unified identity for the social foundations of education, clearly communicating the mission and purposes of its content and perspectives through collaborative efforts, and dramatically increasing the connectedness of social foundations educators to others. These diverse stakeholders included others within the discipline, teacher education programs and colleagues, other academicians, public school personnel, community members, and important national and global initiatives which affect equitable schooling opportunities for diverse individuals and groups.

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